Oklahoma Capital Investment Board violates state law

September 21, 2009

Oklahoma Capital Investment Board Violates State Law
 
By Ray Carter

Posted: September 21, 2009

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Capital Investment Board (OCIB) has sold tax credits to support a state-operated venture capital investment program without following statutory requirements, state Rep. Mike Reynolds said today.
            As a result, the Oklahoma City lawmaker today called on law enforcement officials to investigate the agency.
            “We cannot allow a quasi-governmental agency to violate state law without consequence,” said Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City. “I have long questioned the legality of OCIB’s activities – this episode is just the most blatant example of the group’s disregard for the rules.”
            Oklahoma law (74 O.S. 2001, Section 5085.7), specifically states:  “The [Oklahoma Capital Investment] Board shall not transfer tax credits except in conjunction with a legitimate call on a Board guarantee.”
On Aug 18th, Reynolds formally requested if a “legitimate call” had ever been made and if so to provide a copy. After almost three weeks he received a reply from OCIB that did not provide the information requested.
            As a result, on Sept. 18 Reynolds contacted Devon Sauzek, who provides advice to the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Capital Investment Board, to determine whether or not the bank for whose benefit a guaranty was provided by OCIB ever made a formal demand for payment under the terms of the guaranty.
 Sauzek stated that the bank did not make such a demand, Reynolds said.
 Without the demand under the terms of the guaranty, OCIB did not have statutory authority to sell the tax credits.
            The Oklahoma Capital Investment Board, originally created in 1987, has $100 million in tax credits at its disposal to use as incentives for companies. The agency has no employees and its daily operations have actually been contracted to an outside, private firm that is not required to provide information to lawmakers or members of the public under the state’s Open Records Act.
            “This is yet another example of noncompliance by OCIB with the requirements of the statutes that govern its operations, resulting in a loss to the State Treasury and the taxpayers of Oklahoma,” Reynolds said. “I believe this activity warrants a full investigation by the appropriate law enforcement officials.”

OSU President Burns Hargis talks international issues in OKC

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: August 18, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis was the special guest of the Institute of Interfaith Dialog and the Raindrop Turkish House Tuesday during a special luncheon and discussed OSU’s international legacy.

The good-natured university president said that OSU has 1,700 students from abroad and said that the university needs to do more to integrate international students into the larger college community and the local community in Stillwater.

Talking about a recent trip to Thailand, Hargis said four Thai university presidents and two Thai governors are OSU graduates.

“We have a strong relationship with countries around the world,” Hargis said, adding that 100 different countries are represented at OSU.

“(Students) have an ability to meet people from around the world without leaving Stillwater, Oklahoma,” Hargis said.

And with that relationship and with all those intercultural opportunities, Hargis said a major goal at OSU will be to make sure every student spends a semester studying overseas.

Of course there are financial issues to consider, as well as language barriers for some.

“I think it’s critical for our students to round out their (college ) experience” by seeking such an experience overseas.

At the same time, many international students come to Stillwater, earning master’s degrees or Ph.D.’s and then go home.

“We lose them,” Hargis said. “A lot of them never really bonded with the university community and that’s our fault.”

“I don’t want anybody to be a stranger on the campus of Oklahoma State,” he added.

Hargis said the big job now is to “break down these barriers and integrate these students into our community.”

“Find out what you want to do,” he said, aiming the comments at his school’s students. “Never let money trump your passions.”

During a question and answer segment at the end, Hargis was asked about the balancing act schools like OSU have to do when it comes to funding athletics and academics.

Hargis said that if one is intellectually honest about the subject, they will realize that heavily funding athletics draws many people to the university and often results in media exposure nationwide. He also mentioned the multi-million dollar donations OSU has received lately.

State Sen. Andrew Rice was in attendance at the luncheon and asked Hargis if matching American students and international students together – like Rice was when he was an Oklahoma football-playing student at college in Maine, matched with a poet from Virginia –  would make sense.

Hargis clarified and said that these students are graduate students and the scenario wouldn’t apply.

The IID and Raindrop Turkish House are both located at 4444 N. Classen Blvd. in Oklahoma City. For more information call (405) 593-1778 or (405) 426-5425 or visit online at www.interfaithdialog.org or http://www.raindropturkevi.org.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

New Toby Keith video/single, ‘American Ride,’ garnering lots of interest

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: August 17, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Norman resident and country superstar Toby Keith is back on the charts with a new “politically-charged video,” “American Ride,” that was released last Friday on country music video channel CMT and is being called by some critics as “equal-opportunity satire” This is demonstrated by showing a “tidal wave” of illegal aliens coming across the US-Mexico border or Barack Obama as a tool of the bankers or George W. Bush giving Pat Robertson a piggy-back ride. Excellent!.

With it’s martial feel and driving fiddles, Jib-Jab-styled Americana imagery and stunning visuals that keep you wanting more, it’s a more traditional-sounding song musically, with Keith singing that despite all the problems in the country, this “American ride” is a helluva lot of fun, at least while it lasts.

And as a conservative Democrat, Toby Keith is a classic Oklahoma voter. While the state is strongly Republican, he represents, in this video, what a lot of Americans, particularly in the Heartland, are beginning to feel.

At his website www.tobykeith.com, Keith explained that “I’m a ‘right-wrong guy,’ not a ‘right-left guy,’ and this video shows that. We took shots at everyone.”

And I would argue that “American Ride,” an animated video directed by Michael Salamon, is Keith’s most overtly politically-oriented video since 2002’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).”

It is good to see Toby Keith remaining politically and culturally relevant while still producing terrific country-pop that stays in your head. Just note his last big hit, “God Love Her,” or 2006’s “A Little Too Late.”

Reports say that “American Ride” is the fastest-rising songs of his career, with it being the most added song this week according to country music radio analysts.

Now, let’s hope Toby Keith will schedule a full-fledged concert here in the Sooner State. He is currently on tour with Trace Adkins on his “America’s Toughest Tour.”

The new album American Ride is scheduled for release on Oct. 13 on his Showdog Nashville record label.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

More questions than answers regarding local disinfo campaign against Little River Music Valley

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 16, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

TECUMSEH, Okla. – “We’re here on the country side of Tecumseh,” said singer Brandon Clark of the Brandon Clark Band. “I haven’t been to Tecumseh since high school.”

And then the Tulsa-based Brandon Clark Band launched into their next song. And while it was mid-August in Oklahoma, the afternoon sun was shining and the temperature was tolerable as a light breeze blew through the surrounding countryside.

As the band cranked out their rockin’ “Oklahoma beer joint music” the small crowd smiled and bobbed their heads. And when we say “small,” the turnout was a lot smaller, considering the show was being held on a Saturday afternoon. Not only did the line-up feature the Brandon Clark Band but also the up-and-coming Turnpike Troubadours and headliners No Justice.

Meanwhile, Lance Faulkner looks nervous. As the owner and operator of Little River Music Valley, located in the bucolic outskirts of Tecumseh, he tells Red Dirt Report that just two weeks earlier, 500 people showed up for a show he held featuring Red Dirt originals Jason Boland and The Stragglers.  But on a beautiful day, No Justice and the two opening acts are attracting far fewer numbers. Why?

Faulkner suspects that a concerted effort on the part of a local oil company to keep people from going to Little River Music Valley for no apparent reason is why more people aren’t streaming through the gate.

This online newspaper was first told of the situation via Brandy Reed, a Nashville promoter who represents No Justice. Reed has been very helpful in keeping RDR informed about news related to No Justice, a band that is among the most popular on the Texas/Red Dirt music scene.

Reed said she and the band were baffled by the campaign.

No Justice lead singer Steve Rice said in an email to Red Dirt Report that he was not sure why  the disinformation campaign was being undertaken by local folks.

Faulkner said the same thing. And for the employees at Kwick Stop who were made aware of the truth, they were allegedly warned by their bosses at Modern Oil Company that they would be fired.

As previously reported here at Red Dirt Report and at The Norman Transcript, Faulkner explained that flyers were appearing in Kwick Stop convenience stores in Tecumseh which read “The concert at Little River on August 15th – Cancelled – We will reschedule later.” This was patently false, Faulkner said, and customers patronizing Kwick Stops were seeing these flyers and believing it to be true.

The people behind the disinformation effort “want to hurt the place so they won’t come back,” said a girl who saw the Kwick Stop flyer and almost did not come to the show to see No Justice, the band she was wanting to see.

The girl and her three friends were surprised that a local business would try to hurt Little River Music Valley’s business.

Others who were out there to enjoy music, time with friends and maybe a little beer and BBQ brisket, said they couldn’t believe it either.

“It’s not right,” said Butch Neil, of Shawnee. Neil was working the beer stand at Little River Music Valley and is friends with Faulkner.

Taking your Red Dirt Reporter on a tour of the adjacent Music 4 Life recording studios, Neil said his friend is only trying to offer a place in the country for people to hear good music.

“When Lance first told me about (the flyer campaign) I was like, ‘What?’” he said, noting that the flyers first appeared a few weeks ago.

Red Dirt Report placed a call late last week to Chance Sparkman, whose family owns Modern Oil Co., the business that owns the local Kwick Stop / Sinclair gas stations.

“It’s kind of childish,” Neil said of the situation, adding that local businesses should help, not hinder efforts to attract popular bands to the area.

When Faulkner was asked if he knew Sparkman or if there was any bad blood between them, Faulkner shakes his head. He doesn’t know Sparkman and simply referred to him as “a jerk.”

Chad Masters, drummer for Turnpike Troubadours (this was actually Masters’ last day as TT’s drummer. He was to be replaced by Mama Sweet drummer Giovanni Carnuccio, interestingly enough), said he heard about the situation through the band grapevine.

And regarding Mama Sweet, they and Seventies-styled retro band Superfreak were scheduled to play that night in Tecumseh and JT’s Cowtown USA. Could it simply be mere jealousy over the success of Little River Music Valley? Red Dirt Report attempted to contact JT Walker, owner of the club, and did not have any success.

If there are any new developments related to this story, Red Dirt Report will be sure to report on it.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

Back from Pittsburgh

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 17, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – Flying back from Pittsburgh, Pa. yesterday morning, your Red Dirt Reporter began typing a piece about my trip to the Steel City datelined “Somewhere Over Ohio.”

The trip was well worth it in that RDR was able to meet fellow journalists, bloggers and think-tank types who take a serious interest in where America is going, particularly in the age of Obama and the neo-Marxist agenda of the far left.

Flying into Pittsburgh on Thursday August 13, and a very informative taxi ride to the Sheraton hotel along the Monongahela River, we got settled in, did a little writing and met a couple of people affiliated with the Franklin Center and Sam Adams Alliance, both of which were attending the weekend’s RightOnline conference affiliated with Americans for Prosperity.

Interestingly, Netroots Nation, the liberal blogging convention, was also taking place in Pittsburgh, right across the river from us and was featuring liberal luminaries from Bill Clinton to Howard Dean.

The first night, at a dinner at a local Italian restaurant, approximately 30 of us crammed into a small room, enjoying ravioli, wine and conversation. We got a better sense of who was working where and how they got involved with freedom-focused journalism. There is a great and growing group of conservative and libertarian activists, writers and thinkers who are fed up with the liberal media and their Obama-worshiping ways.

And this is where I should inform readers that big changes are in store for Red Dirt Report and your Red Dirt Reporter. In the very near future, I will be transitioning to a new site – Oklahoma Watchdog – and will be focusing on government corruption, political issues in Oklahoma and related issues. Red Dirt Report will still be operating daily, as it has since July 4, 2007. Stories from Oklahoma Watchdog will be regularly linked at Red Dirt Report.

So, look for more investigative pieces from your Red Dirt Reporter, a.k.a the Oklahoma Watchdog.

But back to Pittsburgh – the rest of the weekend was informative, interesting and the highlight for this political junkie was the inspiring speech by Pennsylvania senatorial candidate Pat Toomey, who is running against elderly and confused incumbent Arlen “Magic Bullet” Specter.

While we missed the Saturday speakers, including Michelle Malkin and Ed Morrissey, this reporter came away from Pittsburgh having learned a lot via some great seminars that were offered. One of the most important being a discussion of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and how to go about that.

Perhaps the most inspiring moment of the trip to Pittsburgh was the early morning taxi ride to the airport on the day I left. My driver, a Nigerian immigrant who became an American citizen in 2007, was the most upbeat and positive person I've met in a while. The driver had lived in Lagos and London and said Pittsburgh was a slice “of heaven.” He loved the pace of life, the livability and the people. He was able to buy a nice house in Pittsburgh and was going on and on about the city and how far it has come since it's rougher days 20 years ago.

And what little I saw of Pittsburgh, I would have to say that things are going well. A Steelers game was going on the first night I was there and the gold and black jerseys were everywhere. Things are buzzing in Pittsburgh, that's for sure. And next month they are hosting the G20 summit. Amazing!

Back here in Oklahoma, I guarantee that FOIA requests will be made in the coming months and that serious questions will be asked. While Oklahoma is blessed with some great representatives, there are some that need to be investigated. They need to be held accountable.

That is where Oklahoma Watchdog comes in.

As we like to say here, ‘stay tuned!’

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

Pat Toomey speaks to conservative bloggers, activists

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 14, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Saluting the conservative activists, bloggers and political junkies in the audience, Pat Toomey, candidate for U.S. Senate from Pennsylvania, spoke as the keynote speaker before the Americans For Prosperty / RightOnline.com forum dinner Friday night.

Red Dirt Report is here in the Steel City this weekend taking part in the conservative gathering representing Oklahoma and meeting other bloggers, journalists and think-tank activists who are affiliated with the new Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.

Your Red Dirt Reporter had the pleasure of sitting at a table with Toomey, most recently the president of Club for Growth, who was heartily embraced by the conservative crowd. Across the Monongahela River, liberal bloggers and liberal icons like Bill Clinton and Howard Dean were attending the Netroots Nation.

Aired live on C-SPAN, the down-to-earth Republican candidate drily joked about Republican-turned-Democrat incumbent Sen. Arlen Specter and his decision to jump from the GOP.

 “One look at a poll and Arlen Specter decided he wasn’t running against me,” Toomey said.

Of course many Americans who follow the news have seen the coverage of Specter at town hall meetings in Pennsylvania being chastised by constituents over his support of Obama’s proposed government-run health-care plan. Recent polls show Specter’s support dropping quickly here in the Keystone State.

“Pennsylvania citizens and increasingly American citizens are coming to the conclusion that Washington is out of control,” he said, adding, “I’d argue we have the most liberally-elected government in the history of the Republic.”

He noted how government doesn’t create wealth, rather, “government destroys wealth and redistributes wealth,” alluding to the idea that higher taxes will not make the nation strong.

“They’re attempting to take America down a road we’ve never seen before,” Toomey said, adding that Bill Clinton admitted at the Netroots event that even though the health care plan, proposed by Obama, is unpopular but must be forced upon Americans.

Clearly disgusted, Toomey said, “Such is their contempt for the American people.”

But Toomey was positive.

“They will not be able to get this done,” Toomey said. “The voice of the American people is too loud, too clear.”

And speaking to his own run for the Senate seat from Pennsylvania, Toomey said he thinks it is time “for courage in the Senate” and that if elected, he would make courageous and common sense decisions on behalf of the American people.

Toomey is a plain-spoken, appealing and appears to be in a much stronger position to beat Specter.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

Who is behind bogus posters in Tecumseh area?

August 18, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 14, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

TECUMSEH, Okla. — Lance Faulkner is extremely frustrated. Not only because someone is trying to stop people from going to the Red Dirt music concert he is holding at Little River Music Valley here in Tecumseh, but also because the people behind this disinformation campaign are potentially hurting the livelihoods of the members of the three bands involved.

Both Faulkner and No Justice promoter Brandy Reed, with RPR Media in Nashville, contacted Red Dirt Report this week (we are in Pittsburgh, Pa., attending a journalism and blogging conference) and let this online newspaper know that the concert – scheduled for Saturday August 15 – featuring No Justice, Turnpike Troubadours and the Brandon Clark Band was still on, despite bogus flyers popping up in convenience stores in Tecumseh, announcing the show was canceled.

After Red Dirt Report wrote a story on this earlier this week, Faulkner told RDR that he is absolutely postive that the person behind the campaign is Chance Sparkman, whose family reportedly owns the Kwick Stops / Sinclair gas stations in Tecumseh where the flyers are appearing. Sparkman-owned Modern Oil Co. gas stations in Shawnee, the city where Modern Oil Co. is based, apparently do not have these flyers in their windows.

“They’re appearing all around my venue,” said an exasperated Faulkner. “A couple of people have already asked me this week if the show was still on.”

Faulkner said he called Sparkman earlier this week and asked him about the flyers and about why he was trying to keep people from attending the show he is promoting at Little River Music Valley, which is Oklahoma’s newest outdoor venue.

“He just hung up on me,” Faulkner said. “I called him back yesterday and left a voice message for him. I asked him to stop putting the flyers up in the stores and I threatened him with further action.”

Faulkner is already consulting an attorney about the issue. He is hoping the anti-entertainment campaign won’t hurt the success of the event.

“They’re not hurting me so much as they’re hurting the groups that are playing here. They’ll be selling T-shirts and CD’s. It’s their livelihood.”

Asked about Sparkman and his connection to all of this – his motivation, as it were – Faulkner said “I know it’s (Sparkman). It’s common sense. “You have to be here to know what’s going on.”

Faulkner added that someone working for Sparkman, a guy named “Bill,” is the one actually putting the flyers up. Faulkner also said as soon as he found out about the flyers, he tore them down.”

Faulkner thinks that the operator of J.T.’s Cowtown Club in Tecumseh, where Superfreak and Mama Sweet are scheduled to play tomorrow night as well, is somehow involved in this campaign against Little River Music Valley.

And Reed has said No Justice, headling the show, is no happy with these turn of events.

“These advertisements are a hoax,” Reed told Red Dirt Report

As for Chance Sparkman, Red Dirt Report called Modern Oil Co. and tried to reach him. He did not answer and a message was left for him to make a comment if he wished. A call to J.T.’s Cowtown in Tecumseh went unanswered on Friday afternoon.

Regardless, Faulkner said the show will go on as scheduled.

Gates will open at 2 p.m. Saturday, with music starting at 2 p.m. General tickets are $25. VIP  reserved tickets are $35. For advance tickets, call 598-1170 or go to www.ticketstorm.com.

And for more information on Little River Music Valley – “A Little Place Where Big Things Happen” – go to www.littlerivermusicvalley.com.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

Health care issues dominate Cole town hall meeting in Moore, OK

August 12, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 11, 2009

andrew@oklahomawatchdog.org

MOORE, Okla. – With some holding signs which read “It’s not health care, it’s a death sentence” or wearing American flag shirts and NRA gimme caps, it was standing-room only at the Moore Public Library on Tuesday as over 300 people attended a town hall meeting hosted by U.S. Rep. Tom Cole (R-Moore).

In this decidedly conservative congressional district, Cole’s constituents were clearly upset by President Obama’s push, via the liberal congress, to get health care reform that will basically lead to socialistic, government-run health care.

And while a lot of town hall events have featured plenty of angry Americans letting their feelings be known, the Moore event was fairly cordial, save for a few moments where tense comments were made on both side of the debate. But make no mistake, the vast majority do not want government-run health care.

There were a few supporters of ObamaCare, with several determined ladies holding a sign which read “Yes To Health Care Reform.”

Walking in, Cole received a standing ovation, while a man in one corner unfurled a yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” Gadsden flag. The tension and anticipation was palpable.

“Never had a town meeting like this,” Cole said with a smile, before kicking off the town hall meeting.

Cole said issues like “Cap and Trade,” which he referred to as “cap and tax,” is “basically an energy tax” which will be tough on oil and gas producing states like Oklahoma. And while it passed in the House (none of the Oklahoma delegation voted for it), Cole said he is confident it won’t pass in the Senate.

“Cap and trade is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” said one man in the audience. “Twenty years from now, global warming will have as much credibility as Bigfoot.”

Of course it was health care reform that many came to talk about and hear more about. Cole said that the problem is that the Obama administration has not offered a plan for health care reform, rather, Obama has allowed liberals in congress to put it together.

Addressing health care, Obama said that with 50 million without health insurance, a lot are healthy young people, others include folks who don’t know that there are government options already available. And then there are all those illegal alien freeloaders flooding into the country. When Cole mentioned this, he received huge applause.

He then offered some solutions, including medical liability reform, a national market in insurance to promote competition, and thirdly allow small businesses to pool together and have an associated health plan that works for them. He said that insurance companies don’t want that but it’s the people that increasingly do.  Also, pre-tax dollar health insurance was suggested as well.

“What in the world is the hurry on this health care legislation,” asked John Madison, of Goldsby, who got some big applause from the audience.

“You’re 100-percent right,” Cole said. “We don’t need to be in a hurry. The more we look and debate, the better it is.”

He also warned the folks in the crowded library meeting room that “Once this thing (ObamaCare) is done, it will not be undone.”

One woman, who spent time in Florida, noted how Canadians flock to the Sunshine State in the winter months and line up to have surgeries they have trouble getting in their home country, due to socialistic health-care that is run by the Canadian government.

Asked about the good, government-offered health care that members of Congress receive, Cole agreed that if those that want it and pass it, they should have to be under it as well.

“I’d rather be sick here then sick  somewhere else,” Cole said, noting America’s good health care system.

But some wanted more. Several were clearly in favor of the liberal Democrat’s desire for a government overhaul of health care in the United States.

“Why are we so afraid of nationalized health care?” bellowed a self-described military veteran. He was booed.

Talking about the pressure put on her family because of her husband’s multiple tours in Iraq, “Joan of Norman” said, “(Obama) inherited a crack in the Liberty Bell and I don’t want that fixed. I don’t want health care fixed.”

One 18-year-old woman, who had difficulty articulating her question, managed to ask “Why is it always about money? Not about society?”

This got a reaction from the audience and the young woman did not back down, apparently looking for a fight.

Cole finally had a chance to interject, merely calming everyone down saying “We will get through this national debate and come to a conclusion.”

Obama’s out-of-control creation of czars was the topic of one woman, who wanted Cole to explain why Obama was appointing so many of them.

“We now have more czars than Imperial Russia ever did,” joked Cole. “Every czar has a staff,” adding, “Who is really in charge of what?” The question remained unanswered and was a subject that troubled Cole and apparently many in the audience if the murmuring was any indication.

And regarding the world scene, Cole said there has been much success in Iraq and in Iran “major decisions to be made with dealing with that regime.”

And one unusual question to Cole came from a young man who addressed U.S. Rep. Ron Paul’s HR 1207 “Audit the Fed” bill, noting that the Federal Reserve’s actions were an example of “fascism.” Cole responded, saying he supported Paul’s efforts (“Ron Paul deserves a lot of credit”) and said he voted for it.

Rep. Cole will continue his district town hall tour with an appearance in Lawton on Thursday at noon at Cameron University’s CETES Conference Center at 2800 West Gore Blvd. For more information, go to www.cole.house.gov

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

IPS Research addresses questions related to upcoming swine flu vaccine trials

August 12, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 12, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

OKLAHOMA CITY – The turnout Tuesday evening for the IPS Research Co. swine flu vaccine forum may have been small but the information was of tremendous importance.

Hosting this IPS Research-sponsored forum was Dr. Louise Thurman. During the hour-and-a-half forum, held in a meeting room at Crossings Community Center in Oklahoma City, Thurman went through a power-point presentation going over the history of swine flu, officially known as AH1N1 2009 or simply H1N1, and how it is rapidly spreading around the world.

Oklahoma Watchdog  has been reporting on this upcoming vaccine trial, to be held here in Oklahoma City, since late July.

Companies are developing the vaccine to be available to the public in the fall. It’s on the fast-track, Thurman said of the swine flu vaccine manufacturing process.

And while influenza is an annual occurrence in the United States and around the world, Thurman explained that the swine flu is spreading incredibly rapidly, having appeared in April, a month not normally associated with the outbreak of flu.

“The flu doesn’t like heat and humidity,” she said. “It prefers cool and dry conditions.” This is why it is more common in the autumn and winter.

According to a letter printed in Maine’s Kennebec Journal this week, headlined “Swine flu vaccinations ‘disaster in the making,’” swine flu had killed 353 people in the U.S. as of July 31. Yet, the regular flu had “killed an estimated 21,000 this year in the U.S. according to the CDC.”

As of early August, there have been 237 lab-confirmed cases of H1NI in Oklahoma with one death reported. If there were no vaccine used, Thurman said, 2 billion cases of swine flu would probably result with 100 million cases in the United States and 1 million cases in Oklahoma.

As for the IPS Research clinical study, which is focusing on children between the ages of three and eight years old and adults age 65 and older,

1.      Five visits, two vaccinations, blood draw at each office visit, 11 monthly follow-up phone calls.

2.      Blood tests done at each visit will tell us the level of antibodies formed over the six week period of time.

3.      Compensation is $75 a visit and $10 per phone call.

4.      You will learn if your child is immune to the swine flu once study is closed.

5.      This test vaccine is made just like Fluvirin vaccine, but with the novel H1N1 virus commonly known as the “swine flu.”

Thurman said that the flu vaccine in 2010 will probably include the swine flu vaccine. In the meantime, she said, have good hygiene, stay healthy, and if you have symptoms, antivirals are most effective in the first 48 hours.

Thurman said there will be no placebo during the trials. Everyone will receive the vaccine, which will be provided by either Novartis or other vaccine manufacturers.

Regarding the children in the vaccine trials, it’s their parents that are bringing them in as a result of the front-page article in The Oklahoman a few weeks ago. She said side effects for the children should be nothing more than an upset stomach.

When asked if they had a specific number of people they would like to take part in the study, Thurman said the more the better.

“We would like to get as many as we can so we can make a difference in our community,” Thurman said, adding that Oklahoma City is one of 20 cities in the U.S. that will be participating in  the national trials. Reports have noted testing already starting in Fort Worth, Texas and St. Louis, Missouri. Thurman said tests will start no later than Aug. 28.

One man in the audience who asked a number of questions asked that in light of the problems connected with the 1976 swine flu vaccine – Guillain-Barre syndrome – “why would I be in favor of this?”

Thurman replied that Guillain-Barre syndrome is a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis. But that the methods used to create the current vaccine have been different since the early 1980’s.

The same man then joked, “It’s like that monkey movie … you know, 12 Monkeys, where they guy flew around the world  in a plane spreading that disease around the world.”

Strangely, no one mentioned anything about the current swine-flu outbreak having to do anything with a man-made release.

Oklahoma Watchdog  inquired about the use of squalene, an adjuvant that is an oil-based additive that is known to cause adverse auto-immune responses. Squalene has been linked to Gulf War syndrome, something Thurman acknowledged. This reporter interviewed Gulf War veterans in the 1990’s and the issue of squalene came up more than once. There is a concern out there, something Thurman downplayed.

“Gulf War veterans received a lot of vaccines because they didn’t know what they would encounter,” Thurman said. “There’s been a lot of studies looking at that. And in Europe, squalene is used in vaccines.”

Out of the seven doses that test subjects receive, Thurman said, “three will contain squalene.”

One man in attendance, Wayne Rohde, asked about the mercury-based thimerosal in the swine flu vaccines.

“There will be .025 milligrams (of thimerosal) in the vial,” Thurman said, noting that one can of tuna contains the same amount of mercury that six of the swine-flu shots would contain.

However, studies show that thimerosal, a mercury preservative, is 50 times more toxic than regular mercury and can lead to long-term immune, sensory, neurological, motor and behavioral dysfunctions.

So, IPS Research will be offering test subjects vaccines containing both squalene and thimerosal.

While there will not be any trials at IPS involving pregnant women, Thurman said that the CDC and health officials are planning to vaccinate pregnant women first because they have the highest mortality rate, followed by children between the ages of six and 24 months old. Health-care workers and first-line responders are also going to be targeted early on with these new vaccines.

Asked about waivers or consent forms for people involved in the trials, Thurman did not seem sure, other than to say that the vaccine manufacturer would take care of anyone who may be injured or killed as a result of their involvement in the trial. Folks are compensated approximately $500 for their involvement in the trial, a figure Rohde called “peanuts.”

Rohde, whose son Nicholas was diagnosed with autism, fought for “Nick’s Law” in 2008 and continues to fight for, as he puts it “legislation to require private insurance companies to provide insurance coverage for autism.”

Rohde suspects thimerosal-tainted vaccines led to the onset of his son’s autism.

“I don’t believe vaccine manufacturers take care of that person,” Rohde said, of any person injured or killed by a vaccine.

And Rohde’s comment echoes that of Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius who, in July, signed a document that says vaccine makers and federal officials will be immune from lawsuits that result from any new swine flu vaccine.

Currently, there are 110 million doses of swine flu vaccine available, Thurman said, adding that she believes “a huge number of people will get sick” before this Level 6 pandemic levels off and eventually subsides.

Concluding, Oklahoma Watchdog asked if reports in the media, suggesting that if the swine flu gets bad enough that inoculations will be mandatory, Thurman said, “Everything I’ve see has said it’s not going to be mandatory.”

For more information on IPS Research, go to http://www.ipsresearch.com.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media

Putin, Obama and the proverbial hornet’s nest

August 10, 2009

By Andrew W. Griffin

Oklahoma Watchdog

Posted: August 10, 2009

reddirtreporter@gmail.com

COMMENTARY

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Watchdog has been paying close attention to Russia’s aggression over the past year, noting that since Obama’s visit to Moscow last month, which accomplished little, that nation has been flexing its muscles.

We are not Kremlinologists here at Oklahoma Watchdog. Merely observers of the actors on the world stage – and taken from an American perspective.

As Newsweek noted, following Obama’s visit the U.S. and Russia “are v raskoryachku – neither friends nor enemies. In truth, they hardly have a relationship at all.”

Perhaps. But perhaps things are worse than the mainstream media and their pundits are letting on.

The latest example is noted in a Reuters report today where it notes that “two nuclear-powered Russian attack submarines had been patrolling the Eastern seaboard of the United States in a mission that was rare for post-Cold War times.”

The Russian Navy, however, “shrugged off” concerns expressed by Washington that their Naval exercises, held so close to American waters, was problematic.

“I don’t know if it’s news to anyone,” Anatoly Nogovitsyn, Russia’s deputy chief of general staff told a news conference. “The navy should not stay idle at its moorings.”

Nogovitsyn was straightforward in explaining the Russians’ reasons for patrolling international waters, yet so close to the U.S. east coast.

“This is our right – we felt bored making circles along our internal routes,” Nogovitsyn said.

So, the Russians are bored, eh? Could it be like the bored boy poking a stick at the beehive? Simply interested in how to provoke the buzzing bees — or are they hornets? — safely inside?

Recall Obama’s visit and how there was a blogosphere buzz about Russian officials refusing to shake Obama’s hand? The question is not so much whether or not the officials did or did not shake his hand. It is the manipulation of the image by the media. Oh, it was subtle but it did get some attention.

Experts on Russia and those following U.S.-Russian relations are beginning to express their concern about where things are going.

Speaking on The Alex Jones Show on Wednesday, researcher Steve Quayle said “the situation between Russia and the U.S. is not good at all.”

And it appears that they are not happy with Obama.

As researcher and writer Webster Griffin Tarpley has said, “The Obama regime would like to maneuver Russia into a posture of hostility to Iran, playing on Russian fear of what Iran might finally do with nuclear weapons if they got them. With people like Putin and Lavrov, the Russians are not likely to fall such such a crude trick.”

And as former UN Ambassador John Bolton said on Fox News this week “(Russia) has a huge interest in selling advanced weapons systems and nuclear reactors to Iran.”

Back to Tarpley. In essence, Tarpley is saying that this American lightweight needs to move aside and let us do what is in the best interest of the Russian homeland. If they want to deal with Iran, then that is their right.

And back to Quayle, he echoed this on Jones’s show.

 “The Russians, they’ve let it be known they have nothing but contempt for Obama,” Quayle said.

This contempt may be manifesting itself in the proverbial “stick-poking-at-the-beehive” sort of way in the form of nuclear-powered war subs not far off the American shores.

Quayle added that China is not happy either. This could explain recent visits to that communist nation by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both women, who have claimed to be strong on human rights in the past, dismissed criticism that they hardly addressed the subject at all on recent visits. Free Tibet, ladies? Not a chance.

And then there are the rumors that Saudi Arabia is looking to align with Russia. We are awaiting more word on those developments.

Russia and China may have more in common in that they are tiring of America. With America still in the “poison chalice” of Afghanistan an in Iraq where the locals are ready for us to get out of there, the Chinese and Russians may smell blood.

As the eccentric blogger Lame Cherry noted in the fascinating blog post this week “Beware the Adventurous Man,” which compares Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s shirtless virility with his desire to have an equal on the world stage and finding none. Note Putin’s dive in a Mir submersible to the bottom of Lake Baikal, the deepest lake in the world.

Obama, meanwhile, opts to sip light beer with a whiny Harvard professor and other elites while vacationing on cushy Martha’s Vineyard. To a masculine, vodka-swilling Rooskie, Obama just screams wussiness. At least George W. Bush cleared brush down in Crawford.

Well, at least Obama put down his Bud Light and spoke with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev about Georgia, Iran, the Middle East and arms control. Russia still opposes American plans for a missile defense system in central Europe. So, any agreements on a successor to the 1991 arm control treaty known as START may be on hold until certain issues are ironed out.

Meanwhile, here at home, Oklahoma Watchdog, Lame Cherry and others observe the actions of the Obama administration and Obama himself and wonder if he has what it takes to make sure the Russians behave. I mean, would Ronald Reagan have put up with Mikhail Gorbachev running bombers and subs off of the coast of the state of Georgia? Yeah, OUR Georgia.

Writes Lame Cherry: “I in no way want people to think that Barack Obama is in the class of real male world leaders as he is not. He is a pansy, a eunuch, an effeminate, a mansexual of self-validation who drinks in the adoration of others like piss from a fairy.”

Ouch! And they called George H.W. Bush a “wimp.” I was interested in the UK Telegraph column by Gerald Warner, commenting on Bill Clinton’s bizarre trip to North Korea to get those two spies … journalists … from that weasel Kim Jong-Il.

“(T)he real instigator of America’s humiliation at the hands of a bunch of played-out Marxist-Leninist hoods is Barack Obama. President Pantywaist has rolled over again for Kim.”

Double ouch!

And Lame Cherry reminds readers that Putin and Medvedev, having nuke subs near New York, saw “the opportunity took the ground and shoved a nuclear missile up the Statue of Liberty’s toga.”

That’s a pretty dire scenario but in light of the brazenness of their behavior as of late, I think they know the American President is too busy with socialistic health care programs, clunker cars and cap and trade. It was a year ago that Georgia provoked Russia over South Ossetia. Methinks the Bear is starting to get restless and may roar again.

Copyright 2009 West Marie Media


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.