THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 178

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 178

…All in all the evening could not have gone better… the script was followed, the prime rib delicious, and the campaign drumbeat remains uplifting and rosy…

Splendid Evening by Abrishami Hessam

Barbara Z. is a faithful campaign foot soldier.

“How did you remember my name?” asks the middle-aged woman who has met Roy in person just once.

“It is plain ol’ polite to recognize the folks you work with, that’s what my Mamma told me.”

“I look forward to our rally in Milwaukee,” she courts a hug from him.

“You must excuse us Barb. The senior Senator from Wisconsin is calling us over to the head table.” Francine is responsible for forward progress, when Roy is stuck in neutral.

All in all the evening could not have gone better. The script was followed, the prime rib delicious, and the campaign drumbeat remains uplifting and rosy; a good time had by all, unless you are a closet Freelove supporter.

But despite his overwhelming support and the resulting successes lavished on his crusade, Roy is seriously procrastinating over the selection of his 2nd. To be sure his feet are dragging on the issue, the only issue that he has not expressed with clarity. The Freelove camp is hinting toward the unconstitutionality of this delay in the mandated selection process. They are drooling at the chance to grill an additional target, less angelic than the sainted ex-astronaut.

“You know Francine,” he muses on the way to a Milwaukee rally, “I wonder if I could possibly get elected without a VP, with Braden unavailable and you, well you are you.”

“I am me, but you better get a grip Roy! Thomas Jefferson and his boys made sure that the highest constitutional office has a line of succession; bing, bang, boom and we are down to the President pro tempore and you would not approve of that particular Senator!”

“Good point… speaking of lists, have you seen the latest one given me by the Republican Committee. Most of them are party regulars and most of them are not my biggest fans. All but one wanted to be president, not the second fiddle. Not fans of attending funerals for 3rd World leaders or speaking to the National Farmer Organization’s annual convention, I guess?”

“They would rather have you impeached first.”

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THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 178

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page 213

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 177

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 177

…The world as we know it has an expiration date, unless we reach for the stars…

Roy continues his Chicago campaign speech.

“Think about it closely. Picture the world within the framework of our children and our grandchildren, not just our own short lifetimes. A watershed moment is at SOL-logohand my fellow citizens of planet Earth. What if we do not deploy a Space Colony II? What if we don’t achieve the speed-of-light and aggressively fund the SOL Project? What if we sit on our butts without giving ourselves a hand up and out, settling for the status quo?

“There is a simple answer to those questions; the what-ifs and should-haves will be our ultimate undoing. The world as we know it has an expiration date, unless we reach for the stars. As President of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, I will work tirelessly for the purpose of our participation in the greater galactic neighborhood we refer to as the Milky Way. I invite the rest of the world to join us in speeding up the technological processes necessary to accomplish these things before the end of this decade.”

The huge gathering in the Hilton ballroom has been clobbered over the head with a sledgehammer. They have been told, ‘You are trapped in a burning building and there is one way out… will you get out or will you perish in the flames?’

The worldwide digital audience, the national addressees in particular are cautiously enthusiastic. All of Crippen’s futurist views are outdone by the lack of the long awaited announcement of his vice-presidential running mate, but no one dare doubt his reasoning. It is hard to doubt someone so prepared, so sincere. Freelove’s camp is especially anxious to have another person to sling mud at, seeing that mud just doesn’t stick to Roy Crippen.

At the reception following his “Space Speech”, aspiring first lady Francine is at his side, amid all the optimistic talk. He treats his campaign people like royalty and their loyalty is secure. If someone dares to falsely accuse their candidate of wrongness, be prepared for a fight.

One such loyalist compliments Roy on his tie. He knows most by name, “Why thank you Barb. Francine picks out all my clothes. Without her fashion sense, I would be wearing dirty jeans and Bart Simpson tee-shirts.”

Francine rolls her eyes.

Barbara Z. laughs like it was the funniest thing she has heard in a year.


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 177


page 213

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 157

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 157

…“And please keep my Father and Mother alive in time to be rescued, Amen.” Deke McKinney speaks to God from his heart…

A sleeping giant has awoken. The righteous of the world have spoken.

Global missile defenses all over the world are at the highest possible alert. Every fleet, every army, all radars are at the ready. There are mandatory commercial air travel ground stops. The planet is taking a deep breath, in hopes that the SALT IV Nuclear Treaty will hold, especially for arsenals not in the control of responsible leaders–

–Such is the risk that was taken by the leader of the free world:

“My fellow Americans: Today I come before you to announce a global response to certain aggressions perpetrated without our knowledge and against our long-term interests…Image result for my fellow americans

“To this end, the Congress of these United States and the greater Space Colony Global Coalition has supported the necessary actions to seek out and destroy facilities of known enemies of mischief. The United Korean Peninsula is currently enduring the wrath of our Coalition, as is Talibanistan, who has conspired to attempt to deny the greater world from conquering space…

“The destruction of Space Colony 1 has been positively linked to both nations and their propensity to independently cause trouble, whether here on Earth or in space, has been cut away from them in a swift and humane manner.”

— Watching President Sanchez’ address to the world is Aldona Afridi Fletcher Fitch and his family, “Praise to the God of Israel, He has used His mighty hand to defeat His enemies, Amen.” —

— Huddled close in front of the fireplace, watching the Presidential announcement on the mantle television {and ten quick steps from the King Ranch bomb shelter}, are five people who know the meaning of holding those close to you near. The preceding events that cement their resolve are overshadowed by those which directly affect the security of the entire planet.

Braden King, the ranch patriarch speaks, “Dear Lord, we thank you for your bountiful Image result for god cartoongoodness, we praise you for the wonders of the Universe you created, and we pray for your blanket of protection, for us and your faithful around the world.” The mood is solemn, heads are bowed.

“And please keep my Father and Mother alive in time to be rescued, Amen.” Deke speaks to God from his heart.

Amen indeed.


THE RETURN TRIP

GOD By Marian Avramescu

Episode 157


page 192 (end ch. 7)

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 146

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 146

…What Francine cannot say {the devil’s-in-the-details} is that an out-of-control computer has an itchy trigger finger or that the destroyed Sang-Ashi space probe had itself likely destroyed Space Colony 1 …

— True to his word, Roy Crippen arranges for a hotline conversation with President Sanchez, irrespective of the leader’s chosen availability. It is midterm Congressional election season and Sanchez and the Democrats may be busy clinging to their support base, fundraising, campaigning, and solidifying their slim majority.

“If I were president, I would be spending less time on politics and more on sound policy,” he mutters to himself. He doesn’t much care for Pete Sanchez as a person, let alone his policies. It is at times like these that Roy feels he could make a real difference in the White House; a thinker and a doer he would be, not a manipulating party person who is mentally missing when things really matter.

A mere 7 meaningful minutes is going to pass as the secure cellular call bounces off
 three different satellites on the way to Keokuk Iowa via Washington D.C. That tiny towns in agricultural Iowa or the town halls of New Hampshire carry any weight in political circles, speaks volumes about the very drivel that is keeping Roy from jumping into the national arena with both feet. Today, the country’s business is being conducted from an ethanol plant in the middle of 100,000 acres of corn.

Roy thinks compassionate thoughts about Francine, who is currently in the midst of her maiden news conference. International incidents rarely have their roots sprouting from the hopeful unknown of the space program and the New Mayflower Incident, as it is being called, is being blown way out of proportion.

Peering out to the newly constructed conference room, with ten rows of ten chairs, he sees Francine control the room with cool familiarity. Perhaps they were going easy on her, hands are raised, questions concisely put, shouting at tolerable levels, and hardly a discouraging word expressed.

This is itchy

What she cannot say {the devil’s-in-the-details} is that an out-of-control computer has an itchy trigger finger or that the destroyed Sang-Ashi space probe had itself likely destroyed Space Colony 1, to set these events into action.

This is the stuff that comprises a competent Press Secretary. Give them enough information to fill column inches or that 30 second video clip for the evening news.

“I believe that I have answered all your questions for now and I look forward to dealing with you folks in the near future. Thank you and good day.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 146


page 180

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 141

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THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 141

…My God, any morals this country has left will be flushed down the toilet if she gets in office…

As his role of back-seat-driver, Roy Crippen can only sit back and be a worrisome observer of situations he has minimal control over.

Take the United States’ inaction as it applies to the mounting evidence that the United Korean Peninsula is engaged in active sabotage against the World Coalition. That they can enlist the help of the ever-dangerous, sprawling Talibanistan, is even more infuriating to him and he discusses these and other issues with his new Press Secretary Francine Bouchette, “If I were president, I would have put an end to that nonsense a long time ago. We have allowed them to swallow South Korea whole and why, because we were afraid that they would use their nuclear weapons on some defenseless nation.”

“On the subject of president,” Francine ignores his long held worldviews and moves on to the now of things, “it seems there is a growing faction of Republicans who are touting you as the party’s nominee for 2032.”

“You are sounding like my Political Advisor, instead of Press Secretary.”

“Advisor, mouthpiece….what’s the difference? One of the reasons you hired me is because you did not have the time or interest in keeping track of the extraneous details.”

“And dealing with the media hoard… which you have lifted off my plate. I owe you my debt of gratitude for that, among other things, if you know what I mean?”

“Let us keep the “other things” out of this. Once this nation gets past this Space Colony malaise and things return to normal, it is going to need a Republican leader with a clear vision, not (current President) Sanchez’ V P Sylvia Freelove!”

“Are you telling me that Freelove is the Democratic frontrunner for ’32? My God, Image result for toilet flushing gifany morals this country has left will be flushed down the toilet if she gets in office.

“So if you do not want traditional marriage banned or the damned ACLU to become Attorneys General, you better start thinking about listening to the conversation.”

“I don’t have the money to make a run at the presidency? It takes big bucks to get to the White House.

“If the world wants to restore the America of our great-grandfathers, the dollar$ will take care of itself.”


THE RETURN TRIP

Episode 141


page 174

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The White House – WIF Fun Facts

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Fascinating Facts

About

the White House

lego-white-house

One of the most famous, if not the most famous, Presidential homes in the world is the White House, which is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. Over 6,000 people visit it every day, and it is one of the top tourist attractions in America’s capital. Of course, besides being a famous monument, it is also a home that is steeped in history.

 These are 10 of the most fascinating facts about the White House and the people who lived in it.

10. They Had A Design Contest To Build It

In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which established Washington, D.C. as the capital of the United States. Congress also ordered that the capitol buildings, including the President’s House needed to be built within 10 years.

In order to find architectural plans for the house where the President would live, Congress held a contest. At the urging of George Washington, Irish-born architect James Hoban submitted his plans, which Encyclopedia Britannica said was influenced by Leinster House in Dublin.

Hoban won the contest and his reward was $500 and a lot in D.C. He was also hired on to oversee the construction of the President’s House, which started in 1793. The second President, John Adams, moved into the house in 1800, before it was actually finished.

The total cost of building the President’s House (its name before the White House) was$232,372, which is the equivalent of about $100 million today.

9. It Was Built By Slaves, Freed Slaves, And Immigrants

In July 2016, former First Lady Michelle Obama made some waves during her speech at the Democratic National Convention when she said “…I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves.” After the comment, several prominent people said it wasn’t true, or justified the use of slavery by saying they were “well-fed” slaves. However, Obama’s statement was totally correct.

According to the book The Invisibles: The Untold Story of African American Slaves in the White House, about 400 of the 600 people who built the Capitol, including the White House, were slaves. The other 200 were about 50 freed slaves and the remainder were poor immigrants.

The White House Historical Association confirms that slaves did help build the White House, but they weren’t government owned. Instead, they just rented them out from slave owners. Because that totally makes it OK, right?

8. The British Burned It Down

In June 1812, the United States, which was only 36-years-old at the time, declared war on Great Britain. There were several underlying reasons for the war, but one of them was to take over Canada, which was a British colony, and make it part of America.

Throughout the war, each side had major victories and suffered terrible losses. One of the biggest military defeats for the Americans happened on August 24, 1813, when British forces invaded Washington, D.C. In retaliation for sacking York, which is now Toronto, the President’s House was relieved of a few souvenirs before it was set ablaze. The ensuing fire nearly destroyed the building. After torching the President’s House, several other prominent buildings in Washington were burned to the ground.

Rebuilding started soon afterwards and the White House was restored to its original architectural plans. In fact, James Hoban, who oversaw the original construction, was rehired to oversee the reconstruction to make it as close to the original as possible. The reconstruction was completed by 1817, just in time for President James Monroe to move in.

After the Burning of Washington, the Americans fought back against the British and won several important victories. This led to the signing of the Treaty of Ghent on December 24, 1814. Part of the treaty was that any captured territory by either side would be returned.

What’s interesting is how this part of history is taught in schools in the United States and Canada, who have had uninterrupted peace with each other since the War of 1812. In the United States, students are taught that the War of 1812 was a war that earned the respect of the British and strengthened the nation as a whole, allowing them to expand westward.Canadian students, on the other hand, learn that the War of 1812 was the one time that the aggressive Americans tried to invade Canada and for their troubles, they got their capital and the White House burned down.

7. Why Is The White House White?

One myth about the White House is that it’s white to cover up the fire damage that was caused when it burned down in 1814. However, that isn’t true because it was white before it was set on fire. In 1798, a lime-based whitewash was painted on to protect the porous stone from cracking. Usually, the whitewash would have weathered and faded away. However, instead they kept reapplying the whitewash until 1818, when it was painted with lead-based white paint.

The house was originally called the President’s House, but since it was distinctively white, its nickname was the white house for almost a century. It wouldn’t officially become the White House until 1901 under President Theodore Roosevelt.

6. Pets There Have Included Alligators, Badgers, Bears, and a Dog Named Satan

Besides being home to the First Family, the White House has also had its fair share of pets. Out of 45 Presidents, there are only three Presidents who have no record of owning a pet: Chester A. Arthur, Franklin Pierce, and Donald Trump.

In most cases, the pets were dogs or cats. Abigail Adams had a dog named Satan, for instance. However, it’s also been home to some more exotic pets. Calvin Coolidge had a menagerie and the main attraction was a 600 pound pygmy hippopotamus named Billy.

Two different Presidents had alligators roam the White House grounds – Herbert Hoover and John Quincy Adams. Supposedly Adams kept a gator in the bathroom in the East Room and used it to scare guests.

Martin Van Buren was given two tiger cubs by the Sultan of Oman. However, supposedly Congress made him donate the cubs to a zoo.

Finally, Theodore Roosevelt had a badger named Josiah and was given a bear, which his children named Jonathan Edwards, by a group of voters in West Virginia. However, he didn’t have the proper accommodations for the bear, which Roosevelt called “queer-tempered,” and he ended up donating the bear to the Bronx Zoo.

5. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Shower

Lyndon B. Johnson, the 36th President of the United States, was a relentlessly hard worker who was known for getting things done. He was also a man with a strong sexual appetite who seemed to be obsessed with his own genitals. He was known to whip it out whenever and where ever he wanted to. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that he had some odd requests when it came to his shower.

According to Kate Andersen Brower’s book The Residence: Inside the Private World of the White House, Johnson wanted to have several nozzles that switched from hot to cold. He also wanted the pressure to be intense, like a fire hose. Finally, he wanted a nozzle pointed directly at his genitals and to shoot up his rear end.

When the plumber said it couldn’t be done, Johnson himself called the plumber and chewed him out. To inspire him, Johnson said, “If I can move 10,000 troops in a day, you certainly can fix the shower.” So the plumber tinkered with the shower and it ended up with four nozzles. One time, an usher apparently tried the shower and it pinned him to the wall.

When Nixon moved into the White House in 1969, he ordered the plumber to get rid of Johnson’s shower.

4. Market Value

Before Donald Trump was elected President, we could say with certainty that the White House would never go on sale; but now, who knows what will happen? He is a real estate mogul, after all.

If he were to put it on the market, what would be a fair asking price? Well, the real estate website Zillow came up with an estimate for the house, which is a single family home with 142 rooms on six floors and about 55,000 square feet, and sits on an 18 acre lot. If you were to include all the historical artifacts with it and the hot tub that was installed under Bill Clinton (because of course Slick Willie installed a hot tub), then it would cost $398 million. Or if President Trump wanted to rent it out, it would cost $2,079,473.

3. The White House’s Deadly Water Supply

The ninth President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, holds two Presidential records and the common belief is that these two records are connected. The first is that Harrison gave the longest inaugural speech, which he did outside on a cold and miserable March day without a coat. The second record is that he was President for the shortest amount of time. He died on April 4, 1841, 32 days into his presidency, from what was believed to be pneumonia, which he caught while giving his long inauguration speech.

However, according to Dr. Philip A. Mackowiak of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who did a modern-day medical investigation, Harrison most likely died of Typhoid Fever and not of pneumonia. The source of the typhoid fever was the White House’s water supply. Mackowiak also thinks that the water in the White House killed President James K. Polk, who died in 1849, three months after leaving the White House, and president Zachary Taylor, who died in office in 1850.

2. Does It Have Secret Passages?

One of the most mythical elements of the White House is its secret passages and tunnels. For example, it was rumored that John F. Kennedy used the tunnels to sneak out of the White House to meet Marilyn Monroe. However, that’s all they appear to be – myths.

While there have been renovations of the White House over the years, including additions, the White House wasn’t really designed to house things like tunnels and secret passages. The closest thing to a secret lair is the Presidential Emergency Operations Center, which was built after the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time, the Council of National Defense urged Franklin D. Roosevelt to move out of the White House because they thought it was a “firetrap.” His compromise was to build a bomb shelter in the White House.

The Presidential Emergency Operations Center is in the basement of the East Wing. It serves as the communication center and it is able to withstand a nuclear blast. It’s also important to note that the shelter is not the same as the Situation Room, which is in the basement of the West Wing.

One notable time it was used was on September 11, 2001. Vice President Dick Chaney and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, among others, were evacuated from their offices into the Presidential Emergency Operations Center.

1. It Was Almost Torn Down In 1945 Because It Was In Such Bad Shape

By 1945, the White House had been lived in for 145 years and it was in rough shape. Besides being nearly destroyed in 1814, there was another fire in the White House on Christmas Eve 1929. The White House was hosting a party and when the fire started in the West Wing, Herbert Hoover left the party to oversee the removal of papers and documents from the Oval Office, while the First Lady kept the party going. The fire ended up gutting the West Wing, including the Oval Office.

Another problem was that the White House wasn’t constructed to have indoor plumbing and electricity and that was all added well after it was built. This added a lot of stress to the structure of the building. It got to be so bad that Harry S. Truman thought it was going to collapse. In fact, his daughter’s piano fell through a floor into the room below it.

The condition of the White House got to be so bad that it would have been cheaper to tear it down and build something new in its place. However, since it was a national monument Truman was against the idea. They chose to gut the interior of the White House and rebuild it as close to its original design as possible. The reconstruction took four years, during which time Harry and Bess Truman lived in Blair House, which is across the street from the White House.


The White House

wif-fun-facts-001

– WIF Fun Facts

Whistle-Blower Handbook – WIF Spotlight

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WIF Spotlight-001

Whistle-Blower HOF

(as of 2003)

But some people reach a point where they can no longer keep the secret. Whether it’s because they are morally outraged or just want plain revenge, some people risk their status, friends, careers, and even their lives to bring the truth to the light of public scrutiny, no matter how ugly or damning it may be. We call those people “whistle-blowers.” Here are the top ten of them who saw something wrong, and could not remain silent.

10. Cheryl Eckard

cheryl eckard

Of the great advancements in science that marked the 20th Century, one of the most remarkable has been the creation of thousands of new drugs and medicines. Diseases and conditions that once caused suffering and death across the globe can now be treated with just a few pills. Life expectancy is up, and people can live healthier lives than we ever dreamed possible. Unfortunately, sometimes the guys who make these wonder drugs are more interested in raking in as much cash as they can than making people’s lives better. Take GlaxoSmithKline for example.

In 2003, Glaxo Quality Assurance Manager Cherly Eckard warned her bosses that standards at one of their huge factories in Puerto Rico were leaving a lot to be desired. Drugs were being contaminated and frequently contained more or less of the active ingredients than they were supposed to. Eckard’s warnings went unheeded. Despite the fact that her job was on the line, she repeatedly complained to the company and tried to get the factory up to code. For her trouble, GlaxoSmithKline fired Eckard. Undeterred, she went to the authorities and blew the whistle on the company’s wrongdoing. After a lengthy legal battle, GlaxoSmithKline was fined $750 million and forced to clean up the problems at the factory. And Cherly Eckard? She was awarded a cool $96 million in damages. Doing the right thing can be profitable sometimes.

9. Marc Hodler

 

In theory, the Olympics are meant to be an international expression of cooperation, brotherhood, and the power of sport to unite mankind across cultures. For the athletes who participate in them, they are a culmination of years of struggle and preparation. They are a place where they can show the world their best and represent their country in beautiful displays of human achievement. For others, namely the people who organize the Games, they are sometimes seen as little more than a gold lined trough. One of the worst examples in modern history of the corruption that lies underneath the Olympics was the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Frustrated at repeated failures to win the Games (the closet one being the 1998 Games that went to Nagano, Japan), Salt Lake officials decided that they were going to get the games no matter what it took. And what it took was a whole lot of gifts to the people who choose the host.

It seemed that The International Olympic Committee (IOC) members had a price, and Salt Lake was more than willing to pay it. They gave cash, expensive trips, jobs, and even plastic surgery to IOC members in order to secure their votes. No one knows exactly how much was paid out, but it wasn’t an accident that the Salt Lake City Games were nearly $400 million over budget. Unfortunately, this was business as usual. But then one member, a former Swiss ski coach called Marc Hodler, had had enough. He went to the press and threw a light on the whole sordid affair. Thanks to him, several members were sacked and a new set rules were introduced. The Olympics are still mostly about money, but at least now they’re less about buying expensive gifts for Eurotrash.

8. Mark Whitacre

mark-whitacre

In 1992, Mark Whitacre was on top of the world. He was rich, happily married, and a rising star at his company. An executive at food industry giant Archers Daniel Midland, he was president of their Bioproducts Division which oversaw the use of food additives. But things changed dramatically that year when he became involved in an international scheme to fix the price of additives such as lysine and citric acid. Along with several major Agribusiness companies from around the world, ADM artificially set the world price for these additives and committed one of the biggest corporate crimes in American history .

Under pressure from his wife, Whitacre went to the FBI with details of the plan. If that had been the end of it, Whitacre would still probably be remembered as a great whistleblower, but he went one step further. For the next three years, Whitacre went undercover for the FBI and secretly recorded hundreds of meetings all over the world to expose the plot. His evidence led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines to the companies involved. Unfortunately, Whitacre was also busy embezzling $9 million dollars from the company at the time, so he ended up in jail himself, and for much longer than any of the people he helped expose. He’s since been released and even got to be played by Matt Damon in the 2009 movie about the case The Informant!

7. Coleen Rowley

rowley

When the first plane slammed into the World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th, 2001, the nation and the world were overcome with shock. From out of nowhere and with no warning, a small handful of terrorists had staged a massive attack in the largest city of the most powerful country on the earth. Suddenly war and terror weren’t something that happened “over there.” The fire, destruction and death that America had been spared for so long were right here on the doorstep. How had these men been able to strike at the heart of the country without raising a single bit of suspicion? Well, the truth is, they didn’t. It turns out that government agencies had intelligence that the attacks were imminent.

The FBI in particular, received a report from its Minneapolis field office that Zacarias Moussaoui was possibly involved in preparations for a suicide hijacking. That office, and Field Agent Coleen Rowley requested permission to search Moussaoui’s rooms and laptop, but were denied by her bosses. Once the attacks happened, Rowley was sure they could have derailed or delayed them if they had had the chance to go after Moussaoui. And she wasted no time in telling her superiors and the 9/11 Commission. Because of her honesty and willingness to come forward, changes were made in the FBI to improve counterterrorism investigations and intelligence gathering. She soon retired and was named one of TIME’s “Men of the Year” for 2002.

6. Peter Buxtun

peter_buxton

There are a lot of dark chapters in American history. A lot of times where the government or large institutions did horrible, horrible things, safe behind walls of silence and complicity. One of the worst examples of the US government treating its citizens like lab rats was the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments. For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service researched the natural progression of untreated syphilis. Unfortunately, to do this, they needed a group of people afflicted with the disease to not receive treatment. Despite the fact that it was unethical and grossly violated the Hippocratic Oath, the doctors who conducted the study decided to not only deny treatment to the participants, but to also deliberately mislead them as to the nature of their disease. They watched and took notes as 399 poor, African-American sharecroppers suffered the ravages of syphilis, even though a simple cure was discovered early in the study and could relieve them of their suffering at any time.

When Peter Buxton, a venereal disease investigator, joined the study in 1966, he started to raise concerns over the lack of ethical concerns. When his superiors decided to continue their research anyway, he went to the papers. In the ensuing investigation, it was revealed that the men in the study had, in many cases, also given the disease to their wives and passed it on to their children. The study was stopped and the government was forced to pay the participants and pay for their medical care for the rest of their lives.

5. Frank Serpico

serpico

After a hardscrabble youth on the streets of Brooklyn and a stint in the Korean War, Frank Serpico joined the New York Police Department in 1959. He rose through the ranks and quickly was promoted to plainclothes work exposing racketeering. Unfortunately for him, Frank Serpico was just about the only honest cop in New York City at the time. Appalled by the rampant corruption he saw all around him, Serpico went to his superiors with his evidence and waited while the charges made their way through the convoluted department bureaucracy. Unfortunately, the officers who weren’t so honest didn’t appreciate some upstart detective fouling up the good thing they had going.

Things only got worse when Serpico, out of fear that he was about to be discovered by his coworkers, went to the New York Times with the whole story. His courage led to the creation of the Knapp Commission and his testimony helped the badly tarnished New York Police Department clean up their act. Well, a little, anyway. Serpico paid a dear price for his whistle-blowing however as he was shot in the face during a job and wasn’t assisted by his fellow officers. Serpico survived the attack and soon retired from the force. He took his share of the hit book and film royalties (he also got to be played by Al Pacino) of his story and ended up living in the Swiss mountains for ten years. He remains today one of the prime examples of what one person can do if they have the courage to blow the whistle.

4. Karen Silkwood

silkwood

Karen Silkwood was a worker at the Kerr-McGee nuclear power plant in Oklahoma. Silkwood soon became active in the Oil. Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union and was in charge of investigating the health and safety concerns of workers at the plant. Despite the company’s assurances, Silkwood found what she believed were major violations of health and safety regulations. She reported her concerns to The Atomic Energy Commission, hoping that Kerr-McGee would make their workplace safer. Instead, her life became a living hell. Almost immediately after she went to AEC, Silkwood tested positive for massive plutonium exposure. Unable to determine where she had been exposed, investigators found that several surfaces in her house had been contaminated with plutonium. Kerr-McGee claimed she was deliberately exposing herself to create sympathy, while Silkwood alleged the company was giving her contaminated testing equipment.

Frustrated and afraid for her  and her family’s health, Silkwood decided to show her evidence to The New York Times. She left a union meeting with binders and documents to meet the reporters. She never arrived. Police found her car run off the road and Silkwood dead inside. There were no documents to be found. The case remains controversial and Kerr-McGee has always denied any wrong doing. Still, the chilling end of Karen Silkwood is a reminder that sometimes the price of blowing the whistle can be very high indeed.

3. Bradley Manning

Bradley_Manning

Although the long term ramifications of his act have yet to play out, Bradley Manning has definitely earned a place among the most famous whistleblowers of all time. A low level Army intelligence analyst, Manning was single-handedly responsible for one of the largest leaks of classified data in the history of the world. Serving in Iraq, Manning circumvented Army security and downloaded hundreds of thousands of documents related to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as pages after page of diplomatic cables.

Frustrated with the war, and his treatment by the army, he passed the trove on to Julian Assange, who rel;eased them to several newspapers and is currently in the process of publishing them on Wikileaks. Despite the lack of a clear “smoking gun” in the documents – they mostly add color to events already known or suspected – and Manning’s murky reasons for releasing them, it still remains an impressive revelation. It will take years for the true value of the document’s release to be gauged, but Manning will go down in history as a man who – right or wrong- ripped the lid off United States foreign policy in the 21st Century and forever changed the face of whistle-blowing.

2. Daniel Ellsberg

daniel-ellsberg

Long before Bradley Manning downloaded government documents onto Lady Gaga CDs, another man walked out of his government office with hundreds of documents that catalogued in great detail the malfeasance of American government institutions. The man, Daniel Ellsberg, was a graduate of Harvard, former Marine Lieutenant, Pentagon official, and researcher for the RAND Corporation think tank. Originally a supporter of the Vietnam War (and combatant in it) Ellsberg became disillusioned and decided he had an obligation to do whatever he could to try and bring the war to an end. Luckily for him, he had access to a report commissioned by Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara that became known as thePentagon Papers. The report detailed not only the history of the U.S.’s involvement in the war, but also how the White House had repeatedly lied to the public and Congress about their prosecution of it.

Originally, Ellsberg only circulated it among friends, but once the New York Times got a hold of it, he decided to leak it to several major American newspapers. A patriot at heart, he then surrendered to the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stand trial. At the trial, it was revealed that the same burglars who had broken into The Watergate had also broken into his doctor’s office looking for incriminating evidence. This, coupled with the revelation that the government had illegal wiretapped Ellsberg, led to his release. Ellsberg continued his anti-war activism, and remains today a hero for all those who believe a transparent government is an essential condition of democracy.

1. W. Mark Felt (Deep Throat)

W. Mark Felt

Although more than 40 years have passed since W. Mark Felt (then known only as Deep Throat) spilled his secrets to Robert Woodward in a dark Washington carpark, he still remains the most famous whistleblower of all time. The details of the case are well known. For many years, the administration of Richard Nixon had been involved in illegal break-ins, covert operations, and campaign violations. But if it hadn’t been for Felt, these events may have remained secret forever. His inside information on the Watergate Scandal helped Robert Woodward and Carl Bernstein publish a series of damning articles in the Washington Post and indirectly led to the destruction of Richard Nixon’s presidency.

But why did he do it? Associate Director of the FBI at the time, some have speculated that he was upset at being passed over for the Directorship after J.Edgar Hoover died, while others have claimed he was a profoundly moral man who felt he had a patriotic duty to expose the malfeasance of a corrupt Administration. Whatever his reasons, W. Mark Felt’s leaks did no less than change the way the American public viewed its most powerful institutions. From that time forward, the American people would no longer implicitly trust the president, and a deep culture of pessimism continues to surround almost every aspect of political life in the United States. All because W. Mark Felt told someone the truth.


Whistle-Blower Handbook

– WIF Spotlight