Friday, November 30, 2012

HEALTH - Mobile Phone Turns Enzyme Solution into a Gel

From Mark Crispin Miller 

ISIS Report 14/01/05

Mobile Phone Turns Enzyme Solution into A Gel

A highly reproducible non-thermal effect of mobile phones depends on interaction between protein and water. Dr. Mae-Wan Ho says it brings us closing to understanding the biophysics involved in how weak electromagnetic radiation can have biological effects.
Sources for this article are posted on ISIS members’ website. Details here

Serious brain damage unaccounted for

The most striking effect of exposure to the radio-frequency (RF) radiation from mobile phones is damage to the brain and brain cells of rats (see "Mobile phones & brain damage" SiS24), which were found at levels of exposure far below the current safety limits. After just two hours of such exposure, blood albumin leaked into the brain causing brain cells to die; and the effects lasted for at least 50 days after a single exposure. But no clear mechanism has emerged to explain this or other ‘non-thermal’ effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) even after a concerted, Europe-wide research programme (see "Confirmed: mobile phones break DNA and scramble genomes", this series).
I have suggested that phase changes in cell water triggered by EMFs may be involved in causing many biological effects, but there has been a complete lack of support for research in that area (see "Electromagnetic fields, leukaemia and DNA damage", SiS24).
Now, new research findings make that suggestion a great deal more plausible.

A ‘breakthrough’ in identifying mechanisms?

Researchers at the University of Rome in Italy led by Mario Barteri in the Chemistry Department report striking changes in a solution of an enzyme after exposure to RF radiation from mobile phones. This is the first time such a simple, reproducible, in vitro system has been devised to study the effects of EMFs.
The enzyme, acetylcholine esterase, involved in transmitting nerve signals from the brain to the skeletal muscle, has been purified and studied in great detail and commercial preparations are readily available. The researchers chose to study the acetylcholine esterase from the electric eel.
The enzyme was dissolved in a buffer solution in water and identical samples were exposed to RF radiations within the range of 915-1822 megahertz for 1 to 50 minutes, while the control (unexposed) was wrapped securely in aluminium foil to screen the RF radiations. A commercial cellular phone was used as the source of RF radiation at a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 0.51W/kg, with the mobile phone operating in the receiving mode.
After exposing the enzyme solution, the researchers used a range of physical measurement techniques to characterise the changes.
First they passed the solutions down a gel filtration column, which separates protein molecules by size. At short irradiation times between 1 to 10 min, no difference from the unexposed control was found; a single protein peak was identified, representing the enzyme in its usual ‘dimeric’ form consisting of two protein units associated together. However, after 20 min or more, a new peak was formed in addition to the old; the new peak representing the monomeric or dissociated form of the protein. This profile remained stable after one day at room temperature, showing that irreversible change had taken place in the solution.
Measurements on the rate constants of the enzyme activity similarly indicated that up to 10 min of RF radiation exposure had no effect, but after 20 min or more, the rate constants changed dramatically, which was consistent with previous findings from another laboratory reporting increase in the enzyme activity in mice after twenty minutes exposure to mobile phone radiation.
This change in the kinetic properties of the enzyme was apparently not accompanied by change in the three-dimensional shape (conformation) of the protein, at least as measured by circular dichroism (a technique for characterising the shape of molecules based on measuring the unequal absorption of right and left plane-polarized light).
Measurement by X-ray scattering, however, revealed a drastic change in the collective organisation of the protein in solution, which suggested that a phase of ‘hydrogel’ had separated out from the main solution. This hydrogel was made up of monomeric protein molecules associated with lots of water molecules to form a collective phase.
Finally, the researchers took a scanning electron micrograph of the control and the exposed sample, which showed up the marked difference. The native, unexposed sample appeared as a random suspension of enzyme molecules; whereas the irradiated sample appeared as a highly oriented sample with a regular periodic pattern.

RF radiation trigger interaction of enzyme protein with water


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Free Forty Million Americans: Privatize Marriage Or When Premises Collide

Free Forty Million Americans: Privatize Marriage
Or When Premises Collide

by Stehen Safranek
Civilization is built upon the family. It is the primary relationship within which all values are transmitted to future generations. From the family grows the clan and the tribe, and ultimately the city and the state. Although this idea of the beginning of the state may not be recognized in the 21st century, the concept of marriage and family is at the heart of a political and social debate throughout America and beyond.
Debate about marriage is necessary because its costs and consequences impact all of us. It is at once the most personal and the most public of acts. In the debate about marriage, those who stand for "traditional" marriage and those who want to adjust that term to modern times all work within a worldview that places the state at the heart of the debate. Into that debate we must inject the view that persons, and voluntary groups of persons should not have their behavior mandated by the state.
The failure to allow voluntary organizations to help manage marriage is perhaps understandable, but it is the core source of many of the problems we confront today.
Marriage is an ancient institution; like all human institutions it works best when the parties involved know that their various investments will be respected and the intention of the marriage contract enforced. This is the essence of "purposeful behavior" as viewed by economists such as Murray Rothbard.
We do not willingly invest in relationships or businesses if we do not have a reasonable expectation that our investment will be safe and realize the type and kind of profit we expect. Through most of human history marriage has been the institution that was used to ensure the safety of the children and the perpetuation of subsequent generations; an expensive endeavor. The idea of natural rights was not at issue, marriage was originally formed before any known system of philosophy and before any understanding of the causality described through economics. Indeed, it was marriage that gave rise to economics not vice versa.
The current chaos surrounding marriage cannot be resolved by more state action. Instead, if the state uncouples itself from marriage and allows persons to be "purposeful" actors in marriage, many of the problems with marriage will be resolved.
Marriage is an institution in which humans invest enormous capital; it is therefore important that those investments be protected. Indeed, marriage may be for some an investment that will last for more than 50 years. Consequently, like long terms bonds on public works projects, stable expectations are critical. The term capital here cannot be narrowly conscripted as cash or its equivalents. Instead, capital is the entire process in which persons invest themselves.
Marriage involves three critical personal, social and legal aspects all of which are "capital" investments for those entering marriage. First, marriage always includes a series of agreements and compromises between the two or more persons involved in a marriage projecting into the distant future (contract). Second, marriage naturally gives rise to the birth of children who must be nurtured by the parents (children). Third, marriage may involve the most intimate joining of two persons who have become one (commitment or covenant creating a status). All three of these elements, contract, children and covenant, have long been considered part of marriage in America. Historically, the law was arranged to promote and protect these three aspects of marriage.
A variety of laws promote and protect these aspects of marriage. Children born within a year of the death of a husband are legitimate heirs (children). No person even has the ability to disprove this fact except the mother. Children born within marriage are the children of the parties. An outsider does not have the power to prove otherwise (covenant). Spouses cannot testify against each other even if one of them wants to do so (covenant). Adults must give consent to be married (contract). A party to the marriage can terminate it in the state in which they reside (covenant as status). Some or all of these three aspects of marriage are generally intended in and created in every marriage.
Because the present state model takes no account of covenant, externalizes the value of children and asserts its own view of the contract, marriages fail at exceedingly high rates.
To understand why this is taking place we must examine how this happened.
For centuries the Catholic Church was the arbiter of the dissolution of marriage in Europe. Marriage was a life time commitment. At that time, all three elements of marriage were specifically recognized legally and therefore dissolution of marriage was limited to those instances when a real covenant was not seen to have occurred at the moment of consent, i.e. an annulment was given. When England broke with the Catholic Church, the long established and considered rules created by the Catholic Church were largely followed. These rules were essential in such an age. Without stable rules surrounding marriage, the most valuable things a parent could leave a child or spouse, real property, would be destabilized. And, since the descent of such property was largely based upon relationship to an heir, marriage was important. Henry VIII could have sired a child in many ways. However, only in marriage could he sire a legitimate heir with real property and inheritance rights.
By the time America freed itself from English rule, America did not control the dissolution of marriage through a particular church. Practices of marriage dissolution, such as those followed by the Puritan Church, were giving way to civil solutions. In America marriage dissolution was early on considered a matter of legislative power, i.e. a "bill of divorce" was granted.
This public route was deemed necessary in early America because marriage was considered a public good and therefore its dissolution needed to be for the common good. This idea, collectivist in nature, denied to individuals their contract right and ignored the covenant many had made. However, its purpose was clear – to protect other citizens from having to care for children or a spouse unable to care for themselves. As typically occurs, the creation of this "public good" led to the sense that all incidents of marriage were completely under state control – ignoring economics and natural rights. The rights of any persons joined in marriage were deemed to be state issues.
The consequences of this state model are perfectly predictable. When racial discrimination was a central part of politics, states prohibited persons of different races from marrying. When the eugenics movement swept across America, criminals and those deemed unfit were prevented from marrying or were sterilized to prevent their "breeding."
Marriage’s legacy in America has therefore been one of complete state control of marriage and its incidents. Although Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations was published just as the Revolution was beginning in 1776; the Austrian understanding of human action works made no impact on this issue and still is absent today. Instead of human action and choice, the heavy hand of legislation is the only tool used to shape marriage.
The importance of human choice has never been revisited in such a way as to reveal the conflict of premises between individual choices and state mandated ones. The fallacy that the state knows the good of two persons as a "public good," and the popularity of utility theory, tools for wealth transfer, were gaining acceptance.
By the middle of the 1800's America had placed divorce in the hands of the courts and approximately 100 years later in the 1960's, beginning in California "no-fault" divorce swept through America. Both state court determinations – based upon "fault" and "no-fault" – ignore the principles upon which American government was founded; the right of the individual to determine for themselves what forms and contracts best served their needs.
Interestingly, although divorce has gone through these different stages, marriage – the allowance of it and what it means to people and who could perform it – have been quite stable. Most people knew what was expected; most honored the commitment because of the social and personal costs of failing to do so. Common law marriage has been known since time immemorial. In order to eliminate the need to "prove" that a marriage had occurred, states increasingly disallow "common law marriage" and require a license to be married. This is one of those innovations made for the benefit of proof – nothing is considered a better piece of evidence than a signed license registered by the state. Such licenses are remarkably easy and inexpensive to obtain. Furthermore, the actual marriage can be witnessed by a variety of persons including priests and ministers. The "marriage" laws of most states encompass a few short statutes setting forth age and relationship limitations. These limitations go to the ability of the individual to make informed choices before an agreed age and to cultural values common to nearly all human cultures.
Today marriage – the legal creation of the state of being married – through a license is one of the easiest legal events of great significance.
The ease with which marriage is contracted fails to make participants aware of the weight and significance of the contract they are signing.
Dealing with problems upon the dissolution of marriage or disputes that may arise even within marriage can be incredibly complex. The more a marriage actually encompasses contract, children and covenant, the more difficult a dissolution is to manage. Because the raising of children is complex, a vast array of laws and supervision is required when dissolution of such marriages occur. Covenant and contract are also complex. "No-fault" dealt with those complex realities by imposing a one size legal norm – contract and covenant are of no legal importance. It was the imposition of a Soviet Standard much like the USSR handled the production of clothing in the 50s; one size, one color, and it hardly fits anyone. But some profit from this apparatus – state divorce courts have grown to prodigious levels, an array of social workers, therapists and other "experts" are enriched by the divorce bonanza ushered through state divorce gates. These courts and these experts hold virtually every family in their jurisdiction in complete control – their judgments can be disturbed only upon a showing of an abuse of discretion. The inscription on those courthouses should read like the inscription on the gates Dante places at the entrance to Hell, "abandon all hope, ye that enter there."
In dissolution proceedings no-fault generally takes account only of the financial aspects of contracts. Labor, sacrifice, and the complete giving necessary for marriage are deemed a gift to the marriage and cannot be compensated. Yet, when, as is necessary, a woman relinquishes a job in order to have children and care for them, the foregone financial opportunity of the wife is not compensated for by the husband who agreed to have children. The countless acts of self-sacrifice necessary to a good marriage are deemed of no importance by the law.
When one party files for divorce that party cancels the covenant and any long term agreements. The life the couple has lived is deemed essentially "even" no matter how much fault is involved. Promises made and promises broken are of no merit.
No-fault was instituted in the 1960's on the promise of making a painful process easier. The argument in favor of those laws was straightforward: people are getting divorced; requiring people to prove fault or to fight each other over the incidents of marriage was messy (besides some people were making up "fault" in order to get divorced); simple, clear rules will make it easy for those who want to get divorced to get divorced; therefore we should have no-fault divorce. This message resonated throughout legal America and led to a simplification of divorce laws. However, this simplification failed to take into account many facts about marriage and how divorce and marriage affect society.
While jettisoning the notion of fault, legislators ignored the underlying premises on which marriage law rested. Instead of contract, children and covenant, marriage was seen as a choice to be unchosen at any time – no questioned asked. In so doing, no-fault ensured that the purposive activity necessary for healthy marriages was valued as nothing. Both natural law and Austrian economics can predict the outcome of such laws.
Anytime individuals engaged in ongoing relationships can retain their profits and sever their liabilities, the motivation to do so is great. Human nature being what it is; no-fault divorce provided a justification for the least ethical to take and even secret assets and depart. Moreover, its very structure encouraged even those who were ethical to be less so by rewarding fault and bad faith.
No-fault divorce has worked as promised for those who bring little into a marriage, commit little in the marriage itself and have no children. In such marriages – marriage as simple barter – the divide the goods in half and send the adults on their way mentality serves the ends sought by the proponents of no-fault divorce. Indeed, parties to such marriages often consent to the dissolution in a short hearing, sharing the minimal filing fees. This simplicity has allowed many to treat marriage as a frivolous Las Vegas event that can be dissolved when seen in the sobering light of main street USA; but in so doing it has allowed us to confuse completely different types of marriages. Vegas marriages hold little capital and so couples were never at risk of loss during the marriage.
Yet, good stable marriages and the raising of children require huge risk. Marriages that involve children, contract and covenant are nevertheless treated legally in the same manner as the Las Vegas marriage. Because the law treats marriage as no-fault, but because people recognize that marriage involves covenant, contract and may involve children, rational people are discouraged from marrying. Other rational people who enter marriage do not have children and do not take risks – thereby ensuring that the marriage will never be capable of becoming what it can become. Moreover, those who do not want covenant, contract or children are actually encouraged to marry – no-fault says you have a free way out. Given these three rational responses, divorce rates have predictably risen.
When states adopted no-fault dissolution laws, they failed to account for the ability of the law to shape attitudes and actions. Nobody was prepared for the tsunami of broken families swept into domestic courts or the assets gobbled up by courts, attorneys and other forms of loss. The legislatures came up with an idea and applied it to America's families without even considering that those families deserved at least as much consideration as a rare species of lizard. No one thought of mandating an Family Environment Impact Report. Nobody thought of even preserving a few families in Human Life parks or Zoos where traditional marriages could be observed.
Theory was applied directly to the lives of millions and the theory, unexamined for the potential impact, ignored the reality of a marriage as a vehicle for holding the capital investment of two individuals making a shared investment unique to that couple. In fact, no contract built on a collectivist model can work for any specific couple.
Virtually nobody predicted that countless marriages involving children would dissolve. Nobody predicted that numerous long time marriages that appeared happy to everyone and to one of the spouses would end in dissolution. Nobody predicted that nearly 50% of all marriages would fail. No-fault created a devastating legal reality – marriage was no longer attached to contract, commitment or children. Instead, marriage was about autonomous fulfillment that could be judged by either spouse at any time in the marriage.
As marriage continues to be shaped, society itself will be reshaped to deal with the new situations created by these new realities. What the "no-fault" proponents failed to recognize, the new marriage proponents fail to recognize all the more – marriage is easy, the consequences of marriage including its dissolution are not. Marriage as mandated by the State today destroys the capital of trust, embeds deceit and mangles lives.
Throughout America, hundreds of thousands of cases are managed by divorce "judges" and social workers who must monitor custody, visitation and support of minor children. Putting that kind of power into the hands of individuals who are all too human invited abuse and such abuse has become endemic. The number of divorce and custody cases has reached dizzying heights. Even the direct costs of this tsunami are staggering.
In Michigan, a majority of all the active civil cases in state courts involve marriage dissolution. Some statistics show that the direct cost of divorce is $350 per family/year. But the present and future indirect costs dwarf this figure: costs borne by parties for lawyers, lost worker productivity, increased crime activity, increased mental illness and a host of unknown consequences. The public – even those who choose not to marry, and those who choose to marry with commitment and children – bear these costs.
Antagonism and distrust across gender lines and within families is also rising. One of the costs of no-fault divorce is the very fabric of family trust and continuity.
It need not be so. Nothing prevents the state from loosening its control over marriage and a movement for reform in the direction of individual rights and intermediate institutions is both needed and developing.
One of the most important and beneficial ways marriage reform can occur is to allow individuals to choose their own private marriage contract – along with the means, outside of the State, to mediate and enforce that contract.
One such movement could take place within Catholic and Jewish churches. Both of these institutions have established courts and procedures to deal with marriage issues. The TrueMarriage project is currently encouraging Catholics and others to establish clear agreements and procedures to adjudicate marriage issues.
Because the variety of commitments often involve concepts specific to certain faith communities, the state must allow alternative dispute mechanisms in those communities. This is a natural role for churches, which have always been a source of stability in the lives of individuals. These organizations would judge the marriage that the party entered. Thus, those who want a Baptist marriage could agree to be bound by the standards of a chosen Baptist denomination. Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and other religious groups could do the same. Moreover, a variety of private institutions could develop forms and standards to satisfy the needs of other people. And, those who like the state system could continue to choose nothing at all, though I suspect those so choosing would be few. Such freedom would ensure that the state is not imposing its Vegas concept of "marriage" on those who marry. Instead, the parties to the marriage, like all who enter significant contractual relationships, could create a contextualized process resolving disputes that arise in the relationship.
Perhaps the most difficult issue in the development of such institutions is cost. Each organization would have to develop a pricing mechanism for those entering marriage in order to "insure" for marital disputes. The actual costs of dissolution and costs of monitoring a divorce or separation with children would be difficult to fully calculate. But it could be done. Each organization would need to determine for itself how the cost of covenant breaking would be imposed and upon whom it would be imposed in the dissolution proceeding. To some degree, it would become clear over time which form of marriage was less expensive. However, one significant public problem remains in the marriage debate – children?
Currently, every family in America pays the cost associated with children of divorce. Not only do married and single citizens pay for the court system, they pay for the long term social costs of the dissolution. It is impossible to calculate the cost of divorce on children – to monetize it. How does one measure the effects of divorce on children over their lifetimes and the lifetime of their children? An accurate calculation could take generations.
Yet, this calculation was previously done. Previous generations – for generations and generations – thought that the costs of divorce were generally too great for society to bear. Thus, those who entered into marriage could not remove themselves from it, or could only do so in circumstances that were rare. This was the calculation done on the real costs of marriage, the costs discounted by the move to no-fault divorce. Certainly, faith communities and those willing to commit to main street marriage should not have their purposive activity ignored.
Even though the specter of "no-fault" hangs over all marriages, most Americans still believe in and want enduring marriages. Knowing that a marriage may be more difficult to destroy, and knowing that one's actions – virtuous actions oriented to achieving a lasting commitment and vicious action oriented toward breaking a commitment – have real consequences will only lead to more enduring marriage. Rewarding good conduct will encourage more of it as honorable behavior encourages trust and the investment of further relationship capital into the future.
When our investment in marriage is easily destroyed, it is natural that we reconsider whether or not marriage is purposive today. As issued by the State it is not; it is an agreement whose dissolution transfers wealth into the hands of those who have grown like barnacles on the whole system. We created these encrusted constituencies because we failed to use the principles of natural rights and the insights gained from an informed understanding of how markets impact human choice.
Strong marriages, even more than well run prosperous businesses, provide the capital for a more stable and prosperous future for all of us. Through our choices, given the freedom to choose, we can ensure that the stable family life that so many want is within their reach.
No excuse exists for allowing a state structure of divorce – worthy of the former Soviet bloc – to limit what is arguably the most purposive human activity.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From Steve Tvedten - EPA still pushing pesticides

EPA Releases Integrated Pest Management Plan for Schools
The EPA is releasing its Strategic and Implementation Plan for School Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The plan sets forth the EPA's approach and activities for implementing the School IPM Initiative announced by EPA in 2010. Protecting children’s health is a top priority for the EPA. Children in the United States continue to face risks arising from exposure to pests and pesticides in school settings. IPM is an approach to managing pests that schools can use to reduce pest and pesticide risk for students and staff. The Strategic and Implementation Plans for School IPM demonstrate how the EPA will promote the goal that all of the nation’s children be covered by a verifiable and ongoing school IPM program.
For more information, visit 
For all of the safe and far more effective alternatives click on:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

GREEDLaw - he Death of a Slave-Catcher

The Death of a Slave-Catcher

Ogden Police Officer Jared Francom was fatally shot during a raid on the home of Matthew David Stewart last January 4. Francom was part of a twelve-man SWAT team attached to the Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force, a federally subsidized counter-narcotics squad. 
A few weeks earlier, a woman named Stacy Wilson who had broken up with Stewart called the Strike Force snitch line to report that Stewart was cultivating marijuana on his property. After three attempts to conduct a "knock and talk" search of the home, the Strike Force obtained a warrant for a nighttime paramilitary raid – despite the fact that they didn’t even bother to do a background check on the accuser.
In familiar fashion, the SWAT team knocked on the front door, shouted "Search warrant!" and immediately broke into the home with a battering ram. Stewart barricaded himself in a room and began shooting. Francom was shot six times, although it’s possible he was hit by "friendly fire." Five other officers were wounded, as was Stewart, who was arrested in a shed outside his home. He has been charged with one count of aggravated murder and seven counts of attempted aggravated murder. The state intends to seek the death penalty.
A search of the home turned up a handful of marijuana plants. Stewart, a veteran, insists that he used marijuana to treat a variety of physical and psychological conditions that are the residue of his time in the military. He also maintains that he didn’t know that the armed invaders – some of whom had long, unkept hair intended to make them look like meth addicts – were police officers. 

This is a potentially significant detail.
In early September, Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill determined that a man named Priest Jemelle Mitchell was justified in killing an intruder named Brandon Saunders – despite the fact that Saunders was unarmed. Infuriated to learn that Mitchell was involved with his ex-wife, Saunders broke down the door of her apartment. Mitchell responded by fatally shooting Saunders.
After reviewing the evidence, Gill concluded that the act of kicking in the door constituted trespassing with intent to commit an act of violence, and Mitchell was justified in believing that he faced "imminent peril and threat of injury."
If this is true of a situation in which an unarmed, jealous ex-husband threatens a man who was in his ex-wife’s apartment, how would the same standard not apply to a man confronting six heavily armed strangers who had broken down his door in a nighttime raid? 
The men who barged into Stewart’s home insist that they identified themselves as police. But the same was true of the people who raided the Sandy, Utah residence of Clayton Green in early October. In that case, however, the assailants were private sector criminals posing as their state-licensed counterparts.
Mr. Green was greeted at his door by a man wearing police garb, displaying a badge, and demanding access to their home. A few seconds later, Green and his wife were thrown to the floor and handcuffed with zip ties. They were held gunpoint while burglars ransacked the home. Although the Sandy Police Department admits that this incident was not an isolated case, they refuse to say how frequently this kind of thing happens in Utah. 
A few days after the incident at the Green family’s home, another armed raid was carried out against an elderly couple in Salt Lake City. Michael and Teresa Ryan were terrorized by an armed gang that busted down their front door and held them at gunpoint. This time, it was the police – specifically, a federally supervised joint narcotics task force – who committed this act of terrorism.
According to Salt Lake City Police Chief Chris Burbank, the only problem with the second raid was that it took place at the wrong address. Drug Enforcement Administration Agent Frank Smith, whose agency participated in the assault, blithely explained that "law enforcement, unfortunately, is not a perfect science."
Todd Blair of Roy, Utah was another victim of the imperfect "science" of paramilitary drug enforcement. 
At about 10 PM on September 16, 2010, Blair was in the basement of his home when he heard footsteps and the voices of strangers at the back door. Apparently thinking that he was being robbed, Blair grabbed a golf club and went upstairs to confront the trespassers – who were agents of the same Weber-Morgan Narcotics Strike Force that would invade Michael Stewart’s home roughly a year and a half later. 
The no-knock raid at Blair’s home was carried out on the basis of a single, anonymous tip that he was selling meth and heroin. After gunning down Blair, the officers were able to scour up less than half an ounce of marijuana. 

Following the standard perfunctory and predictable official review, the fatal shooting of Blair by Sgt. Troy Burnett was ruled a "justifiable" use of force by Weber County Attorney Dee Smith – the same official who is now determined to execute Matthew Stewart. 
The institutional response to the needless violent death of Todd Blair was the equivalent of a "sucks to be you" shrug. This was decidedly not the case after the death of Officer Francom.
"We have lost and brother and will grieve this loss knowing that officer Francom laid down his life for his friends and community," lamented Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson during a press conference following the shooting. He also praised "all of our heroes in the public safety family who have stepped up this day to the task of caring for our wounded warriors.  MORE

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Congressman Ron Paul's Farewell Speech to Congress

Congressman Ron Paul's Farewell Speech to Congress 



DOJ - Charges filed against British Petroleum

BP, supervisors face manslaughter charges; firm to pay $4 billion settlement in Gulf oil spill

The Justice Department announced Thursday that it had charged BP with felony manslaughter for the deaths of 11 people who were killed when the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew out, sending nearly 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
Attorney General Eric Holder said that federal grand juries had also indicted the two highest- ranking BP supervisors on the Deepwater Horizon rig with 23 counts of criminal wrongdoing, including manslaughter. Holder also announced the indictment of BP's incident commander with lying to and hiding information from Congress.
Earlier in the day, BP agreed to a criminal plea and will pay $4 billion over five years in a settlement with the Justice Department over the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said Thursday.
A source says oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
A source says oil giant BP has agreed to pay the largest criminal penalty in U.S. history, totaling billions of dollars, for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
While the technology required to drill — and cap — an oil well in deep water can be mind-boggling, cleaning up the spill required mostly tedious manual labor.
Click Here to View Full Graphic Story
While the technology required to drill — and cap — an oil well in deep water can be mind-boggling, cleaning up the spill required mostly tedious manual labor.
In addition, the London-based oil giant will pay $525 million over three years to settle claims with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
BP said it would increase its existing $38.1 billion charge against earnings for the spill by $3.85 billion.
The criminal settlement does not cover federal civil claims, including Clean Water Act claims, federal and state claims of damages to natural resources or private civil claims. Settling those would probably cost BP billions of dollars more, and the company said it is “prepared to vigorously defend itself against remaining civil claims.”
But it would resolve a variety of criminal charges. BP agreed to plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct or neglect of ships’ officers relating to the loss of 11 lives on the drilling rig that caught fire and sank; one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act; one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and one felony count of obstruction of Congress. BP said that the last of those is related to misreporting to a member of Congress the rate at which oil was gushing into the gulf.
The settlement is subject to U.S. federal court approval.  MORE

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

TRAVEL - Texas takes on the TSA - Again.


On Monday, Texas Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview) pre-filed a bill to stop aggressive TSA groping in the Lone Star State.
The Texas Travel Freedom Act, House Bill 80, would make it a criminal act to intentionally touch “the anus, breast, buttocks, or sexual organ of the other person, including touching through clothing,” without probable cause in the process of determining whether to grant someone access to a public venue or means of public transportation.
The act also provides additional protection for minors.
A public servant acting under color of his office or employment commits an offense if he…removes a child younger than 18 years of age from the physical custody or control of a parent or guardian of the child or a person standing in the stead of a parent or guardian of the child.

If passed, the law would prevent TSA agents from carrying out the most intrusive pat-down searches at airports across Texas. Tenth Amendment Center communications director Mike Maharrey said it only makes sense to put limits on these types of personal searches.

“If you walk up to somebody and grab their crotch out on the street, it will land you in jail. Blue uniforms and federal badges don’t grant some goon the power to sexually assault you, or at least they shouldn’t. A person doesn’t forfeit her or his personal dignity with the purchase of an airline ticket.”
Simpson said that since the federal government won’t back off of these intrusive and unconstitutional searches, the responsibility of protecting its citizens falls to the states, and ultimately the people themselves.
“Abel Upshur’s words are pertinent to our cause. ‘It is indispensably necessary to maintain the States in their proper position. If their people suffer them to sink into the insignificance of mere municipal corporations, it will be in vain to invoke their protection against the gigantic power of the Federal Government,’” he said. “Note his emphasis: it is the people through the states – under God’s favor – that must ultimately protect the people of our states from federal encroachments.”
Simpson sponsored a similar bill in the 2010 legislative session. HB1937 unanimously passed the Texas House. A week later, the bill passed favorably out of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee. But a letter delivered to key senators from U.S. Attorney John E. Murphy ultimately stopped the bill dead in its tracks. With the pressure on, Gov. Rick Perry placed the bill on a special session agenda, but political wrangling ultimately torpedoed the bill.

Maharrey says more Texas lawmakers need to grow a spine and stand up to the feds.
“Last time around, leadership in the Texas legislature failed miserably at its most basic duty – protecting its citizens. Basically, they said, ‘Sorry, we’re afraid. So we are going to go ahead and let strangers feel up our wives, sons, daughters and grandparents.’ This will continue and get worse until somebody puts their foot down and says, ‘No!’” Maharrey said. “The feds say they will shut down the skies over Texas? Let them. And then let them explain to America that they are doing it because they want to continue molesting innocent people at the airport. Americans hate this crap, and I think it’s pretty obvious who they will stand behind.”
If you live in Texas, begin contacting your representative and senator and let them know you want them to pass the Texas Travel Freedom Act. You can find contact information for your legislators HERE.
If you don’t live in Texas, contact your lawmakers and encourage them to introduce travel freedom legislation in your state. You can find model legislation HERE.
You can track travel freedom legislation across the U.S. HERE.


ANALYSIS - Election 2012: Image World

Posted: 13 Nov 2012 08:55 PM PST
A. D. Coleman, 2010. Photograph copyright by Willie Chu.Post-Season Wrap-Up (c)
According to a BBC report, the word “omnishambles” has been named “word of the year” by the Oxford English Dictionary: “The word — meaning a situation which is shambolic from every possible angle — was coined in 2009 by the writers of BBC political satire The Thick of It.” Putting an American spin on it, we get Romneyshambles: Any political project with Mitt Romney at its helm. Which explains why the most telling parodies of the campaign have Romney, not Obama, as their target.
Bain Capital logoMitt Romney’s claim to superiority over Barack Obama consisted almost entirely of the fact that he had business and managerial and financial expertise that Obama presumably lacked. Yet, in truth, Romney emerged from his ineffectual campaign as a demonstrably unqualified administrator of an enterprise doomed to failure by its many terminal flaws, most significantly Romney’s own incompetence at organizational oversight, human resource management, fiscal strategy, product branding, public relations, and leadership in general.
Despite his pampered upbringing and privileged whitebread life, Romney proved himself less capable at all of those basic executive tasks than a mixed-race street-smart guy 14 years his junior who’d never run even a small business. (In this I share the opinion of Frederick E. Allen, Leadership Editor of Forbes.) In short, in his role as senior executive of a project that he had to build from the ground up (rather than tear down), Romney couldn’t cut it. In every verifiable way, Willard Mitt Romney is Barack Hussein Obama’s inferior.
Project Orca vs. Project Narwhal
Project Orca smartphone view.
To see how this played out in terms of digital technology, click here for a detailed analysis of the Romney campaign’s disastrous “Project Orca,” the election-day “killer app” that wasn’t. This poll-monitoring web app was endorsed by Zac Moffatt, Digital Director for the Romney campaign and co-founder of Targeted Victory. The app wasn’t deployed to its intended 30,000 users until November 5 in beta release, it required familiarity with and printing out of a 60-page PDF training manual plus voter rolls that also wasn’t delivered to them (via email) until the evening before Election Day. After which it crashed.
This massive fail didn’t doom Romney and Ryan; their cause was already lost by dawn on November 6, when they awoke to a shitstorm they didn’t see coming because they wore blinders. But it certainly put the last nail in their coffins.(Which they can blame in part on know-nothings like Peggy Noonan, who in July 2011 derided Team Obama’s hiring of specialists in predictive modeling and data mining as “politics as done by Martians.”)
Project Orca iconThey’d named their effort Project Orca after the killer whale for which the Narwhal (the codename of Team Obama’s robust, successful counterpart IT program) is natural prey. If you want some laughs, click here for a video of the overconfident Gail Gitcho, Communications Director for Team Romney, explaining on November 5 how far ahead of Team Obama this software put them. (Here’s Romney, who knows nothing about IT, boasting in-house on November 1 about how Project Orca gives him an “unprecedented advantage on election day.”)
Obama, by contrast, not only ran the country with relative adroitness during his first term, but assembled and supervised a brilliantly successful reelection campaign at the same time. Click here for insight into the IT wizards behind the can of whup-ass he opened on the hapless Romney. Click here for a report on the Obama-Biden campaign’s involvement with behaviorial scientists. Click here for an overall analysis of how those combined to forge the November 6 triumph. And click here for a PDF file of VoteBuilder, the user manual for the Democratic Party app used by Team Obama, built on open-source code.
Romney Shafts His Staff
ABC News screenshot, January 24, 2012.ABC News screenshot, January 24, 2012.
Yes, I’m gloating. Again. Still. Not an admirable character trait, I acknowledge. But Mitt Romney made this very personal for me with his “47 percent” speech, so I’m finding it deeply satisfying to know that all his money couldn’t buy him the one thing he wanted most in life, that swivel chair behind the desk in the Oval Office. Oh hubris, where is thy sting-a-ling-a-ling?
Peggy Noonan got one thing right in that July ’11 screed, though she mistakenly applied it to Obama. Certainly it fits Romney better: “He is a loser. And this is America, where nobody loves a loser.” So the Mormon answer to Richie Rich has gone off to sulk en famille in some of his many mansions, starting with the one in San Diego, we’re told. But he and his cronies continue to lie, to themselves and everyone else.
Mitt Romney, concession speech, Boston, 11-7-12, screenshot.Mitt Romney, concession speech, Boston, 11-7-12, screenshot.
Worth noting that, as he was delivering his hastily cobbled-together concession speech early on November, in which he fervently thanked all those who’d worked on his behalf, his campaign was pulling the plug on them. As and others reported, “Campaign workers were left to pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they found that all the credit cards issued by Romney/Ryan 2012 were canceled as soon as the nominee finished his concession speech.”
That’s what you get for lovin’ Mitt. And that’s what you call a sucker punch. For the record: The fact that Willard Mitt Romney was a sucker for the lies fed to him by his support system doesn’t make the blow that knocked him out a “sucker punch,” in the words of an unnamed Romney adviser. As a headline at the Daily Kos put it, “Romney lost because Obama beat him.” Fair and square. Not with a sucker punch (with its insinuation of trickery) but with a roundhouse right that flattened him. No chicanery, no “voter suppression” (pace the flatulent Karl Rove). Just effective political campaigning, U.S.-style.
Playing the Long Game