Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Why right wingers don't believe humans are causing climate change

It's not surprising that many right wing Tea Party types don't believe human activity has anything to do with climate change on the planet.  Look at the following article to see what they are fed (or not fed) in their "news."  Scientific truth is absent by design from FOX, their channel of choice.  Roger Ailes and Rupert Murdoch want to keep their viewers dumb and dumber...and they seem to be succeeding with certain portions of the population, which is unfortunate for all of us, because these people vote -- and almost always against their own interests (and ours). But never more so than in the most important planetary challenge facing us now, which won't be addressed because of the rabid right wing media's manipulated/controlled ignorance of Tea Party type voters.  These people are in total denial.  Life on Earth these days is like being on the Titanic with them as the ship was listing and hearing them say, "This ship is NOT sinking.  We were told it's unsinkable and we're not going to believe anything different. So there!"  And down we all go.....Glub. Glub. BLUB.


By Dominique Mosbergen

This week, a science writer was asked to appear on Fox News to discuss the future of science and technology. However, he says there was one caveat: The issue of climate change would be off-limits.

On Wednesday, Michael Moyer, an editor at Scientific American, described his experience with the news outlet this way:In a blog post on Scientific American, Moyer explained that he had offered to discuss what he foresees as the "trends for the future" on "Fox & Friends."

"About the only interesting thing that the scientific community is sure will happen in the next 50 years is that climate change is going to get worse, and that we’re going to have to deal with the impacts. So I put that as one of my talking points," he wrote.

But Moyer says a producer of the show soon reached out to him to tell him explicitly to not discuss climate change during the segment. Not wanting to back out of an opportunity to "share cool science with whomever will listen," Moyer agreed to still appear on "Fox & Friends" Wednesday.

That, however, will likely be the last time Moyer will appear on the show.

"I found the tone and topics of coverage while I was sitting in the green room this morning to be not something that I wanted to be a part of in the future," he told Talking Points Memo of his "Fox & Friends" experience. "I didn't realize that the drumbeat of conservative propaganda was so ubiquitous on the show."

In an statement to Business Insider, Fox News disputed Moyer's version of events.

"We invited Michael on for a segment on technological and scientific trends we can expect in the future. We worked closely with him and his team and there was never an issue on the topic of climate change," Suzanne Scott, SVP of programming at Fox News, said. "To say he was told specifically not to discuss it, would be false."

Moyer, however, insists that the Fox producer wrote this in an email: “[C]an we replace the climate change with something else?”

This wouldn't be the first time that Fox News' coverage of climate change has been called into question. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found the conservative news outlet covers climate change inaccurately 72 percent of the time.

A 2013 study also found that the more time viewers spend watching conservative media, the more skeptical they become of climate science.

"There are some things that in science and scientific discourse are not controversial at all," Moyer told Talking Points Memo in light of his Fox News experience. "I hope that we can all as a society agree to at least discuss them and come up with good solutions. Just because you don't want something to be true doesn't make it not true."

According to a recent Associated Press-GfK poll, about four in 10 Americans said "they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases," per the AP. That's in stark contrast to the 97 percent of climate scientists who say global warming in the last 100 years has very likely been caused by human activity.


From my local news -- disturbing facts about ocean acidity

In the Monterey Bay area, we were recently warned of toxicity in seafood caught here.  Of course, those who live in the right wing Bubble World won't believe humans are causing climate change, but the rest of us are listening to the vast majority of scientists and heeding their warnings. Sadly, nothing can be done in the U.S. about the environmental disaster threatening the Earth and its inhabitants, because of who rules our country--the greed-driven wealthy elite who buy the politicians and tell them how to vote (and it's always against cleaning up the environment, because that would take $$$ out of the pockets of the now deregulated obscenely rich corporations and their CEOs). 

We can't even get the Congressional Republicans to vote for a minimum wage increase or equal pay for women, let alone for breathable air or clean water.  Speaking of the Bubble World, the right wingers on the Supreme Court tell us racism is over, even as people like Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling spout their racist bigotry to the applauding Ku Klux/Tea Party types who, either loudly or silently, agree with white supremacy.  The right wing attitudes and overtly racist jokes about our half-black President speak volumes about their true feelings on race.

At the end of the following article in today's news, I've added the warning article in our local paper re. eating seafood caught in Santa Cruz county or in Monterey county, plus a chart of fish to avoid as of newest recommendations of Seafood Watch. Personally, since the Fukushima disaster, which has spread radiation all over the globe and polluted the ocean waters, I am completely eliminating fish from my diet.


By Paul Rogers, San Jose Mercury News

In a troubling new discovery, scientists studying ocean waters off California, Oregon and Washington have found the first evidence that increasing acidity in the ocean is dissolving the shells of a key species of tiny sea creature at the base of the food chain.

The animals, a type of free-floating marine snail known as pteropods, are an important food source for salmon, herring, mackerel and other fish in the Pacific Ocean. Those fish are eaten not only by millions of people every year, but also by a wide variety of other sea creatures, from whales to dolphins to sea lions.

If the trend continues, climate change scientists say, it will imperil the ocean environment.

An unhealthy pterapod whose shell is dissolving due to rising levels of oceanic acidity. (NOAA/Steve Ringman)

"These are alarm bells," said Nina Bednarsek, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Seattle who helped lead the research. "This study makes us understand that we have made an impact on the ocean environment to the extent where we can actually see the shells dissolving right now."

Scientists from NOAA and Oregon State University found that in waters near the West Coast shoreline, 53 percent of the tiny floating snails had shells that were severely dissolving -- double the estimate from 200 years ago.

Until now, the impact on marine species from increasing ocean acidity because of climate change has been something that was tested in tanks in labs, but which was not considered an immediate concern such as forest fires and droughts.

The new study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a scientific journal based in England, changes that.

"The pteropods are like the canary in the coal mine. If this is affecting them, it is affecting everything in the ocean at some level," said one of the nation's top marine biologists, Steve Palumbi, director of Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove.

The vast majority of the world's scientists -- including those at NOAA, NASA, the National Academy of Sciences and the World Meteorological Organization -- say the Earth's temperature is rising because of humans burning fossil fuels like oil and coal. That burning pumps carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and traps heat, similar to a greenhouse. Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere have increased 25 percent since 1960 and are now at the highest levels in at least 800,000 years, according to measurements of air bubbles taken in ancient ice and other methods.

Many of the impacts are already being felt. Since the 1880s, when modern temperature records were first taken, the 10 hottest years have all occurred since 1998. Polar ice has melted, forest fires are burning in the West with increasing frequency, and the ocean has risen 8 inches since 1900 at the Golden Gate Bridge.

But what many people do not realize is that nearly a third of carbon dioxide emitted by humans is dissolved in the oceans. Some of that forms carbonic acid, which makes the ocean more corrosive.

Over the past 200 years, the ocean's acidity has risen by roughly 30 percent. At the present rate, it is on track to rise by 70 percent by 2050 from preindustrial levels.

More acidic water can harm oysters, clams, corals and other species that have calcium carbonate shells. Generally speaking, increasing the acidity by 50 percent from current levels is enough to kill some marine species, tests in labs have shown.

The new research on the marine snails does not show that increasingly acidic water is killing all of them, particularly older snails. But it is causing their shells to dissolve, which can make them more vulnerable to disease, slow their ability to evade predators and reduce their reproductive rates, the researchers said.

Some of the corrosive water near the shore could be a result of other types of pollution, such as runoff from fertilizer and sewage, said Stanford's Palumbi, who was not involved in the NOAA research. But because the study found rates of the snails' shells dissolving in deep water, far from the shore, human-caused carbon dioxide is the prime suspect, he added.

If people reduce emissions of fossil fuels, cutting carbon dioxide levels in the decades ahead, the damage to the oceans can still be limited, he said.

"But if we keep on the emissions profile we have now, by 2100 the oceans will be so harmed it's hard to imagine them coming back from that in anything less than thousands of years," Palumbi said.

"We are in a century of choice," he said. "We can choose the way we want it to go."


From the Santa Cruz Sentinel
The California Department of Public Health is advising consumers not to eat commercially or recreationally caught anchovy or sardines, or the internal organs of commercially or recreationally caught crab taken from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in some species and could be present in others. Anchovy and sardines are of concern because the toxin resides in their digestive tracks and these fish are not usually gutted before being eaten. Health officials are working with commercial fishermen to ensure that recently caught sardines, anchovies and crab were not distributed into the human food supply.

On April 4, the health department warned against eating recreationally harvested mussels, clams or whole scallops from Monterey or Santa Cruz counties due to dangerous levels of domoic acid found in mussel samples. That warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters.

Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood.


Below are some fish currently rated Avoid by Seafood Watch

Common name Latin name Source Comment
Atlantic Cod Gadidae Atlantic
King Crab
imported Some imported king crab is poached. Seafood Watch recommends domestic king crab from Alaska and California, whose fishing is better controlled.
Atlantic Flounders, Soles

Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants
Atlantic Halibut
Spiny lobster
Caribbean imported
Mahi mahi/Dolphinfish

Orange Roughy Hoplostethus atlanticus
Habitat destruction, bycatch of non-target organisms, and overfishing. There are also health concerns about mercury or other contaminants.
farmed, including Atlantic Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants
Scallops: Sea

Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants
imported farmed or wild
Red Snapper

Sturgeon Caviar
imported wild Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants
imported Limit consumption due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants
Tuna: Albacore, Bigeye, Yellowfin
longline Limit consumption due to concerns about overfishing, mercury or other contaminants
Bluefin Tuna

Limit consumption due to concerns about overfishing, mercury or other contaminants


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gun enthusiasts stalk and threaten CEO who developed guns only owner can fire

I cannot understand why anyone would be against this -- but when you read the Readers' Comments on the link below, you will see that, led on by the NRA, there are many who are. "Smart guns" have been developed by the German company Armatix,  but the NRA in the U.S. is having none of it.  Think of the children's lives that could be saved with guns like this in their homes. Every day we see stories of kids getting guns and killing their siblings, parents or friends (in yesterday's news, one 8-year-old kid even started shooting at pedestrians walking by).  But in this insane world, the inmates are running the asylum, and the head inmate in the NRA is a crazy man named LaPierre.

See story and video at:

Belinda Padilla, president and CEO of the U.S. division of firearm manufacturer Armatix, says she was stalked and threatened by “gun enthusiasts” after she tried to bring a safer handgun to market.

Armatix, a German company, has developed so-called “smart guns” that can only be fired by the owner. The company uses a watch that ties the owner to the weapon, called the iP1. Armatix is already selling the personalized weapons in Europe and Asia.

In an interview published by The New York Times on Monday, Padilla explained what happened when a forum of online “gun enthusiasts” published her cellphone number.

She said it began with a “few fuming-mad voice mail messages and heavy breathers” that got her to stop answering her phone.

And then photos of her home were posted online.

“In a crude, cartoonish scrawl, this person drew an arrow to the blurred image of a woman passing through the photo frame. ‘Belinda?’ the person wrote. ‘Is that you?’” according to the Times.

The Armatix USA CEO said that President Barack Obama’s administration had supported her company’s efforts after the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. But it had been difficult to bring the gun to market because of opposition from the gun lobby.

“Right now, unfortunately, these organizations that are scaring everybody have the power,” Padilla explained. “All we’re doing is providing extra levels of safety to your individual right to bear arms. And if you don’t want our gun, don’t buy it. It’s not for everyone.”

The Oak Tree Gun Club near Los Angeles had agreed to sell the Armatix smart pistol until, a forum of second-amendment rights advocates, found out about the news.

“I have no qualms with the idea of personally and professionally leveling the life of someone who has attempted to profit from disarming me and my fellow Americans,” one comment said.

Within days, any trace that Armatix merchandise had ever been at the Oak Tree Gun Club had vanished.

“Honestly, I was in disbelief,” she recalled. “It’s like I never existed.”

Padilla said that she now worries that even people emailing her for information about buying the gun actually wish to do her harm.

But she vowed not to give up.

“This is my mission in life,” she insisted. “If they really understood our technology, they wouldn’t be afraid of it at all.”


Psychedelic mushrooms alleviate anxiety and depression in cancer patients

It seems the mushrooms open a door to reality for many patients who are able to see their interconnectedness with everything they perceive. They begin to realize they are pure consciousness--beyond the identity with body and mind.  As one patient said, "I know now that my consciousness is bigger than me."  Another said, "I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside. I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real."  These people touched the bedrock truth of our real nature, which wise sages tell us eventually we will all come to realize.  Near-death experiencers tell the same story -- Dr. Eben Alexander, a neurosurgeon, had a near-death experience that taught him through his own experience that we are not bound as bodies or spirits--but are the divine energy that manifests as apparent matter (much as quantum physicists are discovering in their experiments that point them beyond the material world).  As more and more come to this realization and authoritative controlling religions are left behind, the world will begin to change...

Psilocybin--Magic Mushrooms--alleviate anxiety and depression in cancer patients

By Travis Gettys
  • 116

Researchers believe psychedelic mushrooms may help alleviate psychological and spiritual distress for patients with a life-threatening cancer diagnosis.

Survival rates for cancer patients have improved dramatically in recent years with improvements to diagnosis and treatment, but physicians sometimes struggle to address patients’ psychological needs.

A recent study suggests psilocybin – the psychoactive drug in magic mushrooms – may help patients with the anxiety, depression, anger, social isolation, and hopelessness they may experience while undergoing cancer treatment.

The hallucinogen treatment, which is currently seeking additional participants, has been shown to induce a mystical or spiritual experience in patients and offers a unique therapeutic approach to reduce anxiety in terminal cancer patients, researchers said.

“Mystical or peak consciousness states in cancer patients have been associated with a number of benefits including improved psychological, spiritual, and existential well-being,” said study co-author Anthony Bossis, of the New York University College of Dentistry.

The researchers said some cancer patients develop a demoralization syndrome that’s similar to post-traumatic stress disorder, and they become immobilized by their fear of death.

“The whole point (of psilocybin treatment) is to dislodge them from that,” researcher Jeffrey Guss told The Atlantic. “What’s remarkable is that even though we don’t tell them what narratives to form, there is an enormous commonality. Patients will come to me and say, ‘I understand intuitively now that love is truly the most important force on the planet. I experienced a profound sense of peace that I never felt before and it has stayed with me. I know now that my consciousness is bigger than me.’”

The study describes one patient who experienced extreme fatigue, pain, and psychological distress from his cancer and biweekly chemotherapy treatments.

But he reported dramatic changes in his attitude, coping, and mood 18 weeks after psilocybin therapy, saying his “quality of life is dramatically improved.”

Another patient, a pre-med student, described his experience with the therapy.

“I was outside of my body, looking at myself,” the patient said. “My body was lying on a stretcher in front of a hospital. I felt an incredible anxiety — the same anxiety I had felt every day since my diagnosis. Then, like a switch went on, I went from being anxious to analyzing my anxiety from the outside. I realized that nothing was actually happening to me objectively. It was real because I let it become real. And, right when I had that thought, I saw a cloud of black smoke come out of my body and float away.”

Patients in the study underwent two therapeutic sessions – one in which they were given psilocybin and another in which they were given a placebo.

They received psychological preparation before the psilocybin dose, followed by a series of psychotherapeutic sessions.

“Patients who have benefited from psilocybin clinical research have reported less anxiety, improved quality of life, enhanced psychological and spiritual well-being, and a greater acceptance of the life-changes brought on by cancer,” Bossis said. “It is a welcome development that this promising and novel clinical research model utilizing psilocybin has begun to gain clinical and academic attention.”

The researchers said some patients experienced intense anxiety while under the influence of psilocybin, and some even temporarily believed they had died, but they kept Valium, which reduces anxiety, and Zyprexa, which counteracts psychedelic drugs, on hand in case they were needed.

Bossis said the similar positive experiences by patients, who reported feeling God’s love and the interconnectedness of the world and all its inhabitants, suggested spiritual implications.

“Those concepts form the basis for so many religions: Christ-consciousness, Buddha-nature, Samadi in Hindu, Satori in Zen,” Bossis said. “There’s all this overlap. They speak the words of the mystics without ever having read them.”

The results match similar findings made by Swiss researchers who gave LSD to terminal cancer patients.

The eight participants in that study who received full doses of the drug improved by about 20 percent on standard measures of anxiety after two months of weekly therapy, while the four subjects who took much weaker doses got worse.

Doctors had previously tested LSD for its effect on a variety of conditions, including end-of-life anxiety, before such research was prohibited in 1966.

But psychiatrists around the world have been working in recent years alongside government officials and medical ethics boards to life restrictions on psychedelic research, including Ecstasy-aided therapy for post-traumatic stress and MDMA therapy for adults with autism-related social anxiety.


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Reincarnation -- re. Anne Frank   -- 9 minutes:  about reincarnation, 2 cases, including WW2 pilot and Anne Frank. --  more about Anne Frank reincarnation -- fascinating story --- woman looks a lot like her.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Oops! Cliven Bundy goes too far - Repugs back off

Republican politicians are backing away from Cliven Bundy now... At first, they jumped on board, declaring him a "patriot."  But...oops...uh oh...
  • 1410

Republican politicians began backtracking on their support of Nevada anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy after the New York Times caught Bundy making racially-inflammatory remarks blaming African-Americans for willingly submiting to dependency on federal assistance.

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton,” Bundy was quoted as saying to a group of supporters last Saturday. “And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Bundy’s statements about “the Negro,” published on Wednesday, were made during his daily speech to supporters outside Bunkerville, Nevada, where a crowd gathered to support him in defiance of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) during an attempted round up of his cattle. The confrontation was the result of Bundy’s refusal to pay grazing fees on federally-owned land for more than 20 years, in spite of multiple court rulings against him. Bundy has stated on several occasions that he does not recognize the existence of the federal government.

During the speech, Bundy said he remembered driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, which he called a “government house” with “always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch” with nothing to do.

The remarks brought about a quick rebuke from Chandler Smith, a spokesperson for Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV). Heller had previously called Bundy and his supporters “patriots” for their actions and challenged Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) description of them as “domestic terrorists.”

Smith told the Times that Heller “completely disagrees with Mr. Bundy’s appalling and racist statements, and condemns them in the most strenuous way.”

Bundy’s speech also seemingly derailed Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott’s (R) apparent attempt to link his gubernatorial campaign to the Bunkerville camp; Abbott had allegedly written a letter to the BLM accusing it of “threatening” to seize land along the Red River in northern Texas.

But after being contacted regarding the rancher’s “Negro” remarks, a spokesperson for Abbott was quoted as saying that Abbott’s letter “was regarding a dispute in Texas and is in no way related to the dispute in Nevada.”


John Paul II "ain't no saint": Maureen Dowd

Kudos to Maureen Dowd for saying the truth about the Pope the Catholic church is trying to sell as a saint to the faithful.  I agree with her:  a saint he ain't.  Which gives us yet another reason to question the Church's actions.  Pogo's statement "We have met the enemy and he is us"  applies to the Church perfectly.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The REAL Pirates of Somalia -- the truth

Toxicity and environmental abuse is everywhere on our planet -- and right now the poorest are suffering the most.  This film tells of a shocking tragedy we hear nothing about in our mainstream media.  Read the information below -- my comments within it are in red -- and watch the video.  We need to know what is going on in our world, no matter how terrible the information may be. Unless we, as a planetary people, wake up and make drastic changes in our leadership, we are dooming our planet and ourselves. We can't just keep going on with our everyday lives, pretending these horrors don't exist!  Very few seem to have noticed, but we are all on the Titanic together -- and we're going down FAST!

(Video: 23 and a half mins): 

This film charts the shocking events, which 
led to the heretofore unknown phenomenon 
of Somalian Pirates, whose fame was recently 
given the Hollywood treatment, in a film 
starring Tom Hanks.

In the wake of the civil war in Somalia, which
deposed the US-installed puppet dictator of a 
nation whose waters face strategic shipping 
lanes for petroleum carriers exiting the Middle 
Est to ports worldwide, the country did not find
peace but has descended into clan warfare since
1991. The current government cannot even 
control its own capital and Somalia is today 
considered to be the most dangerous country 
on Earth. (And THAT'S saying SOMETHING!)
Fishing ships from various industrialized countries 
in Europe, the US and China then began to take 
advantage of this chaotic situation, practicing a 
kind of fishing labeled I.U.U. Illegal, Undeclared, 
Their incessant and uncontrolled activity, 
employing methods of fishing that are prohibited 
in other regions of the world is depleting the fish 
reserves of a country that lacks the authority and 
resources to protect its coasts. It is estimated that 
the income generated by the illegal fishing amounts 
to more than 450 million dollars, annually. 
Tuna fishing has experienced a vertiginous and 
unsustainable increase in the last 10 years. The 
tuna fleet alone, comprised of Spanish ships, with 
60% of the catch and French ships, with 40%, 
illegally poach in Somalian waters, taking
approximately 500,000 tons of tuna each year. 
They are robbing the local population of its principal 
source of protein, while destroying the local 
fishermen's way of life and their ability to sustain 
themselves, bringing about an intractably hopeless 
situation, without remedy, to a fragile country in 
agony and almost dead from starvation. 

Since 1990, the Somalian community has protested 
repeatedly before the United Nations and before 
many intergovernmental organizations, their 
complaints falling on deaf ears. But the nightmare 
doesn't end there: 

Since the fall of the government in 1991, other ships 
began to appear near the Somalian coast. Their 
activities were more mysterious. The ships would enter 
Somalia's territorial waters, throw barrels into the sea, 
and leave. 

The contents of these barrels remained a mystery 
until the end of 2004 - the year in which a terrible 
tsunami struck Southeast Asia. When the tsunami 
reached Somalia, hundreds of barrels landed on the 
coast and many barrels broke open and began to leak 
upon the beaches. 

The people in the area soon became sick with 
respiratory infections, intestinal hemorrhages, strange 
chemical reactions on the skin and more than 300 
sudden deaths. After a time, babies began to be born 
with severe birth defects. 

Nick Nuttall, spokesman for the United Nations 
environmental program stated that when the barrels 
were broken by the strength of the tsunami, they 
brought to light an appalling activity: Somalia has been 
being used as a dumping ground for toxic wastes since 
the beginning of the '90s and which has continued, 
unabated for 14 years.

The toxic trash is of comprised of several different 
kinds: principally, radioactive uranium and heavy 
metals like cadmium and mercury. There is also 
hospital and industrial waste, chemical wastes and 
other kinds, of which the filmmaker does not wish 
to name, at this time.

The most alarming factor is the dumping of nuclear 
waste. The radioactive waste is killing the Somalian 
people and is totally destroying the oceans. Ahmedou 
Ould Abdallah, The United Nations special representative 
to Somalia declared to Al-Jazeera that dumping of toxic 
wastes continues to take place into the present time. 
The diplomat affirmed that he had reliable information, 
proving that European and Asiatic corporations are 
dumping the chemicals and nuclear wastes on the 
Somalian coasts. The United Nations sent 
representatives to observe the catastrophe and 
without any more thought, the chapter was closed.

So far, there hasn't been a single trial, detention, or 
sentence for the these criminal acts. 

Somalia is a devastated country that is literally 
starving to death, with rich countries flocking in 
to snatch away the fish - and on the way, they 
contaminate the country's waters with toxic and 
nuclear waste: This is the context in which the 
men that some call "pirates" appeared. (Who would
want to eat the tuna caught in such toxic waters? 
Fish is not on my menu at all anymore. ALL fish!)

Being completely defenselessness and undefended, 
some fishermen reacted in a desperate way. They 
began to form alliances of small armed groups and 
using motorboats, they tried to drive away the foreign 
fishing boats and dissuade the ships that dump wastes 
into their waters. 

They call themselves "Volunteer Somalian Coastguard". 
According to a survey, 70% of the Somalian population 
strongly supports this activity as a form of defending the 
country's territorial waters. One of their leaders, Sugule 
Ali, explains their motives: "To put a stop to the illegal 
fishing and the dumping in our waters. We don't consider 
ourselves outlaws of the sea. We consider those who fish 
illegally and dump toxic wastes to be the outlaws."

At first, no one took them seriously. The foreign fishing 
fleets continued to fish with impunity and the toxic waste 
dumping continued - but given that this is happening in a 
country that was armed to the teeth and divided into rival 
groups of current and ex-combatants, soon these groups 
joined the fishermen and this the erstwhile fisherman-based 
"Volunteer Somalian Coastguard" became heavily-armed.

Due to newfound weapons and aided by trained warriors, 
they began to see a lucrative business in the capture of 
these ships by creating the financial need for their rescue. 
As soon as they they began hijacking these these 
malevolent ships, the area began seeing a mass-clearing 
and the foreign fleets. 

The powerful nations saw their lucrative fishing business 
threatened and themselves deprived of their private and
cheap dumping ground for toxic and nuclear wastes. The 
United Nations, which has systematically ignored 
the Somali's complaints, began instead, to listen 
to the countries affected by Somalian "pirates". 

Spain and France, countries with important fishing 
fleets in the area headed the petition for a joint military 
action. This is how "Operation Atlanta" was born The 
mission brought eight battle ships, supply ships and 
surveillance aircrafts. 

Following the failure of the operation, its duration and 
budget was increased, with more than 20 ships and 
1,800 soldiers. The approximate cost for this operation 
to the Spanish government amounts to more than 6 
million euros per month. The cost of the Galician and 
Basque tuna fishermen's private security forces 
amounts to half a million euros per month. The Spanish 
government takes responsibility for half of this cost, 
using the nation's general budget. 

Let's remember the definition of a pirate: They rob 
at sea, taking possession of that which does not 
belong to them. They carry out their actions, 
heavily-armed and on occasion, they have the 
protection of a nation-State 

But...Why do these fleets fish there? Can't they do it in 
their own territorial waters? In their own oceans? No. 
And the reason they can't is terrible: It's been completely 
fished-out. The rich countries have exterminated the 
marine life in their own oceans. The marine ecosystems 
of Europe have been exploited to the limit.  (And now
they are fishing in toxic waters that they continue to
poison with more radioactive waste! Any fish they catch
there must be glowing with toxicity.  What IDIOCY!)

Senegal (also subjected to toxic dumping, along with 
many other African nations) trying to protect its own 
natural resources, stopped renewing its fishing agreements 
with EU counties in 2006 - but it seems impossible to stop 
the European fishing fleets. They mock the law, creating 
fake corporations and buying licenses from other countries 
and flying flags of convenience. One can purchase flags of 
convenience in a few minutes on the Internet for less than 
500 euros. 

In Senegal, fishing boats have ceased to be useful 
for their intended purpose and now they are used to 
transport immigrants, looking for a better future in
European countries. Ironically, they are flocking to 
the very same countries that have plundered their 
futures in their own country. In Somalia, the boats 
can no longer be used for fishing and now they are 
used for piracy. 

The global conference on the Oceans announced that 75% 
of the world's fish reserves have disappeared. The Food 
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations also 
reported that 80% of the worlds fisheries are over exploited 
and 30% of all marine species are under the biological 
security limit.

Taking all of this into account, many scientific studies 
calculate that in the year 2048 all of the world's fishing 
reserves will have been depleted. 


Friday, April 18, 2014

Question: Where does the U.S. stand in wealth distribution?

The U.S. ranks below Nigeria in wealth distribution. The top 400 Americans “have more wealth than half of all Americans combined.” Four hundred people own half of everything there is to own. We’re not actually a wealthy nation. We’re a nation with a high school graduating class-size of wealthy people who own most everything.   That is what is meant by the big words "plutocracy" and "oligarchy."

Plutocracy -- a government or state in which the wealthy class rules.

Oligarchy  -
a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people, of royalty or great wealth.

The United States has such an unequal distribution of wealth that it's in the league of corrupt underdeveloped countries, no longer in the league of the developed nations, according to the latest edition of the world's most thorough study of wealth-distribution.

The most authoritative source comparing wealth-concentration in the various countries is the successor to the reports that used to be done for the United Nations, now performed as the Credit Suisse Global Wealth Databook. The latest (2013) edition of it finds (p. 146) that in the U.S., 75.4% of all wealth is owned by the richest 10% of the people. The comparable figures for the other developed countries are: Australia 50.3%, Canada 57.4%, Denmark 72.2%, Finland 44.9%, France 51.8%, Germany 61.7%, Ireland 58.4%, Israel 68.9%, Italy 49.8%, Japan 49.1%, Netherlands 54.6%, New Zealand 57.6%, Norway 65.9%, Singapore 61.1%, Spain 54.0%, Sweden 71.1%, Switzerland 71.5%, and U.K. 53.3%. Those are the top 20 developed nations, and the U.S. has the most extreme wealth-concentration of them all. However, there are some other countries that have wealth-concentrations that are about as extreme as the U.S. For examples: Chile 72.5%, India 73.8%, Indonesia 75.0%, and South Africa 74.8%. The U.S. is in their league; not in the league of developed economies. In the U.S., the bottom 90% of the population own only 24.6% of all the privately held wealth, whereas in most of the developed world, the bottom 90% own around 40%; so, the degree of wealth-concentration in the U.S. is extraordinary (except for underdeveloped countries).

The broadest mathematical measure of wealth-inequality is called "Gini," and the higher it is, the more extreme the nation's wealth-inequality is. The Gini for the U.S. is 85.1. Other extremely unequal countries are (pages 98-101 of this report) Chile 81.4, India 81.3, Indonesia 82.8, and South Africa 83.6. However, some nations are even more-extreme than the U.S.: Kazakhstan 86.7, Russia 93.1, and Ukraine 90.0. But Honduras and Guatemala are such rabid kleptocracies that their governments don't even provide sufficiently reliable data for an estimate to be able to be made; and, so, some countries might be even higher than nations like Russia.


Noah's Ark carried dinosaurs, too: Creationist

He says they took "younger ones."  Sigh.  One thing is sure: we don't have to wonder how he votes.

One of the founding border members of the Creationist organization Answers in Genesis believes that dinosaurs accompanied Noah on his Ark as the entire world was flooded by God.

Speaking to Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association on Thursday, Carl Kerby insisted it wasn’t infeasible for the giant reptilian creatures to have been on Noah’s Ark.

The self-described “creation scientist” said he had debunked the notion that two of every animal could not have possibly fit on Noah’s Ark. The Bible states that the boat was about 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 50 feet high, Kerby explained.

“I see some people that like to mock and ridicule, especially about the dinosaurs, how did they put the big old dinosaurs on there?” he said. “Well, I would suggest to you they didn’t take the big old dinosaur — they would have taken the younger ones. You think of a guy like me, if you’re going to go repopulate a planet, you’re not taking me with you. I’m old. My repopulating days are done. You take my son or my grandson. My grandson is a whole lot smaller than I am.”

Creationists believe that the Flood began approximately 4,359 years ago. Scientists have found that dinosaurs went extinct by the end of the Cretaceous Period about 65 million years ago.


U.S. in a mad dash to oligarchy -- IS IT TOO LATE TO STOP IT?

Once again, Moyers has it right.  Some right wingers seem to think people on the left are envious of the wealthy, which is entirely missing the point of the liberal view.  We on the left are not envious, but are concerned with the political influence the wealthy are purchasing (both right and left, but mostly right) for themselves since the Roberts Supreme Court, to its everlasting infamy, allowed the "Citizens United" travesty into our political realm, nailing the last nail in the coffin of our democratic republic.   I don't understand why the right wingers cannot see the extreme danger that the terrible right wing Supreme Court has foisted on us.

Bill Moyers criticized both political parties on Friday for furthering the “protection racket” built to protect the mega-rich from paying their fair share of taxes while extending their influence over politics.

“Sad that it’s come to this,” Moyers said. “The drift toward oligarchy that Thomas Pinckeney described in his formidable book has become a mad dash, and it will overrun us and overwhelm us unless we stop it.”

Moyers pointed out that many members of the “one percent” pay less taxes than the average worker across the board, thanks to tax laws that were drawn up not by nature or divine providence, but by legislators.

“It’s one way they have, as Chief Justice [John] Roberts put it, of ‘expressing gratitude toward their chief donors,’” Moyers said, before launching into a mocking impersonation of Republican lawmakers doing so for billionaire donor Sheldon Adelson. “‘Oh, Mister Adelson, we so appreciate your generosity that we cut your estate taxes so that you can give $8 billion as a tax repayment to your heirs, even though, down the road, the public will have to put up $2.8 billion just to compensate for the loss in tax revenue.”

He also previewed the upcoming study by professors at Northwestern and Harvard which found that individual citizens and mass-based interest groups have “little or no independent influence” on U.S. politics compared to corporate interests, another demonstrator that, in Moyers’ view, made the argument by “courtiers of the rich” that inequality does not matter especially “repugnant.”

“Of course it matters,” Moyers scoffed. “Inequality is what has turned Washington into a protection racket for the one percent. It buys all those goodies from government: tax breaks, tax havens, allowing corporations and the rich to park their money in a no-tax zone. Loopholes, favors like carried interest, on and on and on and on.”

Watch Moyers’ commentary, as aired on Moyers & Company on Friday,


Study shows ordinary people have little influence in politics

We didn't really need a study to tell us this -- it's very apparent to most of us out here in middle-class land.

EXCERPT: ...more wealth has been concentrated at the top in the past decade as unions have grown weaker, even as the Supreme Court has ruled money is free speech and loosened campaign finance laws.

Study: Popular movements strangled by influence of the wealthy elite in Congress

By Travis Gettys

A forthcoming study found that ordinary citizens exert little influence on the political process, even when they form coalitions to compete against corporate interests.

A co-author of the study, which will be published later this year, said he was particularly surprised to quantify the limits of “majoritarian pluralism.”

“The basic idea is that maybe ordinary citizens don’t have a whole lot of influence on their own, but they’re represented by groups,” said co-author Benjamin Page, a Northwestern University political science professor.

He said, in theory, everyone ought to be represented “pretty well” in the U.S. political system, but “it turns out that’s just not true.”

“Mass-based interest groups have much less influence than corporations and business-oriented groups,” Page said. “If you like the idea of democracy, it’s got to be a little disturbing.”

Page and his co-author, Princeton University politics professor Marten Gilens, attempted to measure the disparity between the influence of affluent and average voters on U.S. government policy by analyzing roughly 1,800 government policies between 1981 and 2002 against public policy polls.

The pair found policy changes were influenced far more by economic elites and business interest groups than the average voter.

“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence,” the pair found.

Gilens said business regulations had generally decreased over the two decades in a long-term trend embraced by both the Democratic and Republican parties.

“That is a policy that is much more popular with business-world and affluent Americans than it is with the middle class,” he said.

Their findings matched those from a study published last year, which found that members of the U.S. Senate represent their wealthiest constituents while ignoring those on the bottom rung of the economic ladder.

“The fact that lower income groups seem to be ignored by elected officials, although not a new finding, remains a troubling observation in American politics,” said that study’s co-author, Thomas J. Hayes, of Trinity University.

But Gilens and Page said there had been almost no previous research that analyzed the policy preferences of average, affluent, and business-oriented groups.

Gilens had been working on the study for about a decade, and Page contributed the idea to examine the influence of interest groups and connect their research to popular political theories.

The study will be published in September in the journal Perspectives on Politics.

The pair analyzed data through 2002, the year the McCain-Feingold Act placed new limits on campaign spending that were largely undone by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases.

“There are reasons to believe that the power of business groups and affluent probably has increased for several reasons,” Page said.

He said more wealth has been concentrated at the top in the past decade as unions have grown weaker, even as the Supreme Court has ruled money is free speech and loosened campaign finance laws.

“I find this very troubling,” Page said. “The court’s view that political donations constitute ‘speech’ protected by the First Amendment opens the door to money-driven politics and a distortion of democracy.”

Idealists have believed since the nation’s founding that organized interest groups could represent diverse groups, even if individual citizens had little direct influence.

“This study dashes hopes for this democratic kind of interest-group influence,” Gilens said. “We found that corporations and business-oriented interest groups, which often seek policies that the public opposes, have much more impact on policy making than mass-based groups.”


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Koch Brothers now worth over $100 BILLION

Just think of how many yes-men Presidents and Congressional servants they can buy now!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Want to know the Koch Brothers' Goals? Here they are

I would love to see Bernie Sanders as President! He's one of the very few politicians in Washington (Elizabeth Warren is another) who is honest and clear-seeing.  Oh, how we need someone like that at the helm of the ship right now!!!!  Although most on my e-mail list will be horrified to read the following, there are a few who will smile in agreement with all the Koch brothers' proposals.  As you read the proposals, it will become immediately apparent which type you are. The Readers' Comments at the end are starting to pour in--you can see more of them at the link for the article at:

by Karoli

There is a lot of talk about the Kochs and how much they spend to influence elections. But what do they expect for their investment?

I write a lot about all the connections the Kochs have to today's dysfunctional elections and politics, but their goals are always more amorphous, it seems. At least, until now.

Senator Bernie Sanders went back in time to 1980, when David Koch ran as the Vice Presidential candidate on the Libertarian ticket. He found their platform for that year, and published it again. It is a manifesto of what David and Charles Koch expect to receive in return for their large investment in American politics.

Here is the list (my emphasis added):

  • We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws, and the immediate abolition of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”
  • “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”
  • “We oppose any compulsory insurance or tax-supported plan to provide health services, including those which finance abortion services.”
  • “We also favor the deregulation of the medical insurance industry.”
  • “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system. Pending that repeal, participation in Social Security should be made voluntary.”
  • “We propose the abolition of the governmental Postal Service. The present system, in addition to being inefficient, encourages governmental surveillance of private correspondence. Pending abolition, we call for an end to the monopoly system and for allowing free competition in all aspects of postal service.”
  • We oppose all personal and corporate income taxation, including capital gains taxes.”
  • “We support the eventual repeal of all taxation.”
  • “As an interim measure, all criminal and civil sanctions against tax evasion should be terminated immediately.”
  • “We support repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”
  • “We advocate the complete separation of education and State. Government schools lead to the indoctrination of children and interfere with the free choice of individuals. Government ownership, operation, regulation, and subsidy of schools and colleges should be ended.”
  • We condemn compulsory education laws … and we call for the immediate repeal of such laws.”
  • “We support the repeal of all taxes on the income or property of private schools, whether profit or non-profit.”
  • “We support the abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency.”
  • “We support abolition of the Department of Energy.”
  • “We call for the dissolution of all government agencies concerned with transportation, including the Department of Transportation.”
  • “We demand the return of America's railroad system to private ownership. We call for the privatization of the public roads and national highway system.”
  • “We specifically oppose laws requiring an individual to buy or use so-called "self-protection" equipment such as safety belts, air bags, or crash helmets.”
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Federal Aviation Administration.”
  • “We advocate the abolition of the Food and Drug Administration.”
  • “We support an end to all subsidies for child-bearing built into our present laws, including all welfare plans and the provision of tax-supported services for children.”
  • “We oppose all government welfare, relief projects, and ‘aid to the poor’ programs. All these government programs are privacy-invading, paternalistic, demeaning, and inefficient. The proper source of help for such persons is the voluntary efforts of private groups and individuals.”
  • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”
  • “We call for the repeal of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.”
  • “We call for the abolition of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.”
  • “We support the repeal of all state usury laws.
  • “We call for the privatization of the inland waterways, and [we call for the privatization] of the distribution system that brings water to industry, agriculture and households.”

    Just thought I'd clarify the second part of that sentence. The Kochs want your public water to be owned by a private corporation, so they can charge you exorbitant fees for drinking water, or simply deny you water if you piss off the corporation.

    The Kochs want everything to be owned by corporations, so that every American is owned by corporations. One big, nasty united state of Koch.

  • They are interested in privatizing the entire nation so they and their friends can own it all and drive the rest of the nation into abject poverty. These two men are evil incarnate.

  • "repeal of all laws which impede the ability of any person to find employment, such as minimum wage laws.”

    Slavery. Unpaid workers. Most of those stances will end up with a slave class that is thrown away because they are taken from a pool of individuals that must care for themselves. Each worker will die by age 35 and be replaced because they'll be reproducing young enough to have their replacements ready before they die.

    Fred likely left because he didn't like how the Birchers operated, not what they wanted to ultimately do.

  • They are the definition of fascist, pure and simple. They are of the same ilk that American soldiers fought against 65 years ago. We were there to help Europe. There is no one who will help us.

    high-five to bernie sanders

  • Holy Crap!!! Can you imagine what the country would look like in a decade? Frightening to say the very least.

    • Never mind a decade. Repealing all taxes, but in the interim no civil or criminal penalties for non-compliance would ruin us starting today. No money, no anything else.

    • We really don't have to imagine all we need is to review our early industrial age history, its all there in its inglorious shamefulness.

    • And we have five assholes in the Supreme Court that are trying to hand them everything on their evil wish list. It started with getting rid of all campaign finance laws, so the Kochs and their evil buddies can buy our political system.

  • all i can say right now is, watch your back, Bernie. these guys do not play nice.

    Imagine what the world would be like if these depraved monsters got all they wanted.

  • ...