It was a phenomenon called the "Norway Spiral." Some reports labeled it a Star Gate or a wormhole.
It was a phenomenon called the "Norway Spiral." Some reports labeled it a Star Gate or a wormhole.
The Supreme Court just gave corporate America the go ahead to fund campaign ads for the candidate of their choice with no limit on spending. While the Supreme Court believes their decision was fair, they neglected to consider the fact that personal donations to campaigns are still limited.
“Yesterday's Supreme Court ruling on campaign finance law will give a huge boost to the special interests that already exercise a stranglehold on our political system, allowing them to tighten their grip and further prevent any meaningful change. Dismissing the practice of the last century and overturning two major precedents, the Court ruled 5-4 that corporations have the same First Amendment rights as persons, and that those rights include spending corporate funds to influence elections.”
[Author Jim Wallis ]
Keith Olberman bought up some interesting points as to how this new
law can affect our entire political system and our democracy as a whole.
Watch the video and consider his report.
" What may be most noteworthy about the march, however, is its date
— April 19...
That is the date of the first shots fired at Lexington in the Revolutionary War. And it is also the anniversary of the fiery end of the government siege in Waco and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing."
“We are in the midst of one of the most significant right-wing populist
rebellions in United States history,” Chip Berlet, a veteran analyst of the American radical
right, wrote earlier this year.
"We see around us a series of overlapping social and political movements populated by people [who are] angry, resentful, and full of anxiety. They are raging against the machinery of the federal bureaucracy and liberal government programs and policies including health care, reform of immigration and labor laws, abortion, and gay marriage."
Sixty-one percent of Americans believe the country is in decline, according to a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Just a quarter think the government can be trusted. And the anti-tax tea party movement is viewed in much more positive terms than either the Democratic or Republican parties, the poll found.
The signs of growing radicalization
are everywhere. Armed men have come to Obama speeches bearing signs suggesting
that the "tree of liberty" needs to be "watered" with
"the blood of tyrants."
The Conservative Political Action Conference held this February was co-sponsored by groups like the John Birch Society, which believes President Eisenhower was a Communist agent, and Oath Keepers, a Patriot outfit formed last year that suggests, in thinly veiled language, that the government has secret plans to declare martial law and intern patriotic Americans in concentration camps.
Politicians pandering to the antigovernment right in 37 states have introduced "Tenth Amendment Resolutions," based on the constitutional provision keeping all powers not explicitly given to the federal government with the states.
And, at the "A Well Regulated Militia" website, a recent discussion of how to build "clandestine safe houses" to stay clear of the federal government included a conversation about how mass murderers like Timothy McVeigh and Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph were supposedly betrayed at such houses.
The number of hate groups in America has been going up for years, rising 54% between 2000 and 2008 and driven largely by an angry backlash against non-white immigration and, starting in the last year of that period, the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president.
According to the latest annual count by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), these groups rose again slightly in 2009 — from 926 in 2008 to 932 last year — despite the demise of a key neo-Nazi group. The American National Socialist Workers Party, which had 35 chapters in 28 states, imploded shortly after the October 2008 arrest of founder Bill White for making threats against his enemies.
At the same time, the number of what the SPLC designates as "nativist extremist" groups —
organizations that go beyond mere advocacy of restrictive immigration policy to actually confront or harass suspected immigrants — jumped from 173 groups in 2008 to 309 last year. Virtually all of these vigilante groups have appeared since the spring of 2005.
The militias and the larger Patriot movement first came to Americans’ attention in the mid-1990s, when they appeared as an angry reaction to what was seen as a tyrannical government bent on crushing all dissent. Sparked most dramatically by the death of 76 Branch Davidians during a 1993 law enforcement siege in Waco, Texas, those who joined the militias also railed against the Democratic Clinton Administration and initiatives like gun control and environmental regulation. Although the Patriot movement included people formerly associated with racially based hate groups, it was above all animated by a view of the federal government as the primary enemy, along with a fondness for antigovernment conspiracy theories. By early this decade, the groups had largely disappeared from public view.
But last year, as noted in the SPLC’s August report, "The Second Wave: Return of the Militias," a dramatic resurgence in the Patriot movement and its paramilitary wing, the militias, began. Now, the latest SPLC count finds that an astonishing 363 new Patriot groups appeared in 2009, with the totals going from 149 groups (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) — a 244% jump.
That is cause for grave concern. Individuals associated with the Patriot movement during its 1990s heyday produced an enormous amount of violence, most dramatically the Oklahoma City bombing that left 168 people dead.
Already there are signs of similar violence emanating from the radical right. Since the installation of Barack Obama, right-wing extremists have murdered six law enforcement officers.
skinheads and others have been arrested in alleged plots to assassinate the
nation’s first black president. One man from Brockton, Mass. — who told police
he had learned on white supremacist websites that a genocide was under way
against whites —
is charged with murdering two black people and planning to kill as many Jews as possible on the day after Obama’s inauguration. Most recently, a rash of individuals with antigovernment, survivalist or racist views have been arrested in a series of bomb cases.
As the movement has exploded, so has
the reach of its ideas, aided and abetted by commentators and politicians in
the ostensible mainstream. While in the 1990s, the movement got good reviews
from a few lawmakers and talk-radio hosts, some of its central ideas today are
being plugged by people with far larger audiences like FOX News’ Glenn Beck and
U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn).
Last year also experienced levels of
cross-pollination between different sectors of the radical right not seen in
years. Nativist activists increasingly adopted the ideas of the Patriots;
racist rants against Obama and others coursed through the Patriot movement; and
conspiracy theories involving the government appeared in all kinds of
right-wing venues. A good example is the upcoming Second Amendment March in
The website promoting the march is topped by a picture of a colonial militiaman, and key supporters include Larry Pratt, a long-time militia enthusiast with connections to white supremacists, and Richard Mack, a conspiracy-mongering former sheriff associated with the Patriot group Oath Keepers.
By Mark Potok
Stewart on Sarah Palin’s “Reload” comment: “She’s an inspiring leader! Sarah Palin has a dream!”
“…and in that dream you have a gun.”
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Health Care Slime Machine|
EARL NASH, WTFG "high time" Correspondent
>>>>> “It’s news to YOU...” <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
"A single joint smoked by Amir Varick Amma cost him an additional 5 years in prison, and taxpayers roughly $250,000."
What are the medical benefits of TOBACCO?
Here are the FIVE reasons that it's high time to legalize marijuana:
1. It has medical benefits for cancer patients and others in severe pain.
2. It is essentially a victimless crime and, once legalized, no crimes will be even tangentially related to the cultivation, production, sale and use of marijuana.
3. The costs of incarcerating a person for smoking marijuana are huge and going from State budgets into the pockets of corporations who make large profits.
4. Taxing marijuana, as we now do for tobacco and alcohol, will close the budget gaps in the states. (Watch how many states declare they are fiscally "underwater" in July!)
5. It redirects the money that goes to organized crime and puts it into Federal and State budgets for positive use.
Let's take the laws that are already on the books for ALCOHOL, substitute the word "MARIJUANA" for "ALCOHOL and, with a few more minor tweaks, get the legal issues settled.
Many, many friends have told me that people smoking
marijuana become "mellow," laugh more, and get hungry, maybe, bake brownies...
people are fine with a few beers or a few glasses of wine, but, once they get
into high alcohol content beverages--whiskey, vodka, gin, etc--it's "Katy
bar the door!"
If you are worried about your children, the same laws that apply to alcohol (age limits, driving while under the influence, etc.) will apply to marijuana.
Oh, BTW, have you checked your medicine cabinet, or where ever you keep your prescription drugs lately?
Once upon a time ALCOHOL was the Big Social Evil; society tried to prohibit it and that spawned organized crime, increases in law enforcement expenses, and put the profits into the coffers of Al Capone and his cohorts.
Then, ALCOHOL was legalized and all the money collected from taxes, the money spent on law enforcement, and the money spent on incarceration reversed flow from taxpayers LOSING huge sums to taxpayers GAINING funds to put to positive social purposes.
Do the math:
VOTE NO: Spend a trillion dollars = - 1 trillion dollars
VOTE YES: Collect a trillion dollars = + 2 trillion dollars
In 1992 Anthony Williams, now known as Amir Varick Amma, was sentenced to 25
years to life for a non-violent drug offense under the Rockefeller Drug Laws.
Amir was convicted of two felonies, the worst of which was the sale of 2 ounces
of cocaine in Albany County. Amir was badly assaulted by the police when he
refused to give up his accomplices. His refusal to cooperate guided Judge Keegan
to sentence him to 12 and a half years to life on each charge, meaning he had to
serve 25 years. Most judges would have incorporated the two charges together,
resulting in a 12-and-a-half-year sentence. But Keegan was a "hang 'em high"
judge, part of a tightly knit crew of upstate judges that dished out
extraordinary sentences for drug offenders.
Amir challenged his conviction, but lost every legal challenge he pursued. On the outside, Amir's greatest supporter was his mother Queen Nazimova Varick. Over the years she fought tooth and nail to get her son out of prison. She joined the Mothers of the NY Disappeared, a leading activist group that fought the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws for many years. She was suffering from several ailments, including cancer, but she never gave up hope that her son would return home to her, although his continued incarceration made her healing process all the more difficult.
In 2004, the legislature passed some incremental Rockefeller reforms that would help individuals like Amir who were sentenced to extraordinary amounts of time. Amir filed an application only to be denied. The judge could not even address his motion because he had been busted for smoking a joint while in prison. For this they gave Amir 60 days in solitary confinement and took away his merit time, rendering him ineligible for judicial relief under the new reforms of 2004.
Activists quickly rallied together to seek justice for Amir, but to no avail. Amir then filed for executive clemency, but his application was denied by Gov. Paterson. Amir did not give up hope. In 2009, under the new Rockefeller reforms that were championed by Gov. Paterson, Amir was finally granted his freedom.
On March 23, 2010, after 19 years in prison, Amir was released. He came by my office and I hugged him. I shared a laugh with him when he showed me a check he had received, issued by the prison from their parole release funds in the amount of 83 cents. What the hell was he suppose to do with that check, I asked. When I telephoned Albany County District attorney David Soares and asked him his opinion of Amir's case, he described it as a travesty of justice.
In this time of economic crisis in New York State, when politicians are looking for solutions to reduce the budget deficit, they need look no further than the state's correctional system. That single joint Amir smoked cost him an additional 5 years in prison, and taxpayers roughly $250,000. Was it worth keeping him in prison and punishing him for an additional 5 years after serving 14 years for a first time non-violent crime? How many other Amirs are wasting away in our gulags?
To reduce the budget deficit, law makers need to take a good look at our criminal justice system and how punitive methods of incarceration waste not only billions of dollars, but also human lives.
Conservative commentators were atwitter last week following news that Ann Coulter's speech at the University of Ottawa was canceled in the face of protests. Of course, Coulter has the right to speak her mind on campuses.
But in announcing the cancellation, her conservative Canadian sponsor, pundit Ezra Levant, put the blame on out-of-control liberals who had allegedly made it unsafe for Coulter to speak, breathlessly telling reporters that "the police and the security have advised that it would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event and for others to come in" and stressing the presence of an "unruly mob" outside.
Consider the audacity of such an idea. An 80-year undeclared war would entangle 20 future presidential terms stretching far into the future of voters not yet born. The American death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan now approaches 5,000, with the number of wounded a multiple many times greater. Including the American dead from 9/11, that's 8,000 dead so far in the first decade of the Long War. And if the American armed forces are stretched thin today, try to conceive of seven more decades of combat.
The costs are unimaginable too. According to economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, Iraq alone will be a $3-trillion war. Those costs, and the other deficit spending of recent years, yield "virtually no room for new domestic initiatives for Mr. Obama or his successors," according to a New York Times budget analysis in February. Continued deficit financing for the Long War will rob today's younger generation of resources for their future.
The term "Long War" was first applied to America's post-9/11 conflicts in 2004 by Gen. John P. Abizaid, then head of U.S. Central Command, and by the retiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of State, Gen. Richard B. Myers, in 2005.
According to David Kilcullen, a top counterinsurgency advisor to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and a proponent of the Long War doctrine, the concept was polished in "a series of windowless offices deep inside the Pentagon" by a small team that successfully lobbied to incorporate the term into the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, the nation's long-term military blueprint. President George W. Bush declared in his 2006 State of the Union message that "our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy."
The concept has quietly gained credence. Washington Post reporter-turned-author Thomas E. Ricks used "The Long War" as the title for the epilogue of his 2009 book on Iraq, in which he predicted that the U.S. was only halfway through the combat phase there.
It has crept into legal language. Federal Appeals Court Judge Janice Rogers Brown, a darling of the American right, recently ruled in favor of holding detainees permanently because otherwise, "each successful campaign of a long war would trigger an obligation to release Taliban fighters captured in earlier clashes."
Among defense analysts, Andrew J. Bacevich, a Vietnam veteran who teaches at Boston University, is the leading critic of the Long War doctrine, criticizing its origins among a "small, self-perpetuating, self-anointed group of specialists" who view public opinion "as something to manipulate" if they take it into consideration at all.
The Long War has momentum, though the term is absent from the 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review unveiled by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February. One commentator has noted the review's apparent preference for finishing "our current wars before thinking about the next."
Still we fight wars that bleed into each other without clear end points. Political divisions in Iraq threaten to derail the complete withdrawal of U.S. troops scheduled for 2012.
As troop levels decline in Iraq, they grow to 100,000 in Afghanistan, where envoy Richard C. Holbrooke famously says we'll know success "when we see it." The Afghan war has driven Al Qaeda into Pakistan, where U.S. intelligence officers covertly collaborate with the Pakastani military. Lately our special forces have stepped up covert operations in Yemen.
It never ends. British security expert Peter Neumann at King's College has said that Europe is a "nerve center" of global jihad because of underground terrorists in havens protected by civil liberties laws. Could that mean NATO will have to occupy Europe?
It's time the Long War strategy was put under a microscope and made the focus of congressional hearings and media scrutiny. The American people deserve a voice in the strategizing that will affect their future and that of their grandchildren. There are at least three important questions to address in public forums:
* What is the role of the Long War idea in United States' policy now? Can the Pentagon or president impose such war-making decisions without debate and congressional ratification?
* Who exactly is the enemy in a Long War? Is Al Qaeda (or "Islamic fundamentalism") considered to be a unitary enemy like the "international communist conspiracy" was supposed to be? Can a Long War be waged with only a blanket authorization against every decentralized group lodged in countries from Europe to South Asia?
* Above all, what will a Long War cost in terms of American tax dollars, American lives and American respect in the world? Is it sustainable? If not, what are the alternatives?
President Obama has implied his own disagreement with the Long War doctrine without openly repudiating the term. He has pledged to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by 2012, differing with those like Ricks who predict continuing combat, resulting in a Korean-style occupation. Obama also pledges to "begin" American troop withdrawals from Afghanistan by summer 2011, in contrast to those who demand we remain until an undefined victory. Obama told West Point cadets that "our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended, because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own."
Those are naive expectations to neoconservatives and to some in the Pentagon for whom the Long War fills a vacuum left by the end of the Cold War. They will try to trap Obama in a Long War by demanding permanent bases in Iraq, slowing American withdrawals from Afghanistan to a trickle and defending secret operations in Pakistan. Where violence flares, he will be blamed for disengaging prematurely. Where situations stabilize, he will be counseled it's because we keep boots on the ground. We will keep spending dollars we don't have on wars without end.
The underlying issues should be debated now, before the future itself has been drafted for war.
"Our findings suggest that toads are able to detect pre-seismic cues such as the release of gases and charged particles, and use these as a form of earthquake early warning system." [Grant, whose research is published in the Journal of Zoology, said:]
The BBC explains that the males' behaviour was "highly unusual", since "once they have bred, they normally remain active in large numbers at breeding sites until spawning has finished". In this case, "spawning had barely begun at the San Ruffino Lake site before the earthquake struck".
Cows, however, don't appear to share the same talent. Back in 2008, Swedish scientists discovered that local ruminants were unmoved by a quake which shook southern Sweden, leading one disappointed boffin to conclude that "as a species, cows are not the world’s most earthquake-sensitive animals"
Dr Rachel Grant of the Open University was routinely monitoring a Bufo bufo population at San Ruffino Lake, some 74km from the epicentre of the event. Five days before the 6.3-magnitude quake, "the number of male common toads in the breeding colony fell by 96 per cent", while "most breeding pairs and males fled" three days before the earth moved.
Grant also noted that spawning at the site ceased "from the first main shock to the last aftershock".
She believes the toads escaped to higher ground "possibly where they would be at less risk from rock falls, landslides and flooding", and their exodus coincided with "disruptions in the ionosphere, the uppermost electromagnetic layer of the earth's atmosphere", which scientists detected around 6 April using very low frequency (VLF) radio sounding.
The Beeb explains: "Such changes to the atmosphere have in turn been linked by some scientists to the release of radon gas, or gravity waves, prior to an earthquake."
Posted in Biology, 31st March 2010 10:55 GMT
Daylight UFO footage from China amazes experts, video
Michael Cohen firstname.lastname@example.org
An incredible UFO sighting was allegedly filmed (see video clip below) earlier this month in China during daylight hours. It is claimed that the UFO was seen by many witnesses.
the event took place above the grounds of Wan Li University in the port city of Ningbo, which is located in the province of Zhejiang.
Students were shocked to discover a classically shaped metallic, spinning UFO or flying saucer hovering above the campus ground. One excited witness managed to film the event. The UFO is seen zooming off at a super-fast speed towards at the end of the footage.
Now the debate is on amongst China's UFO experts as to whether this is a hoax involving computer graphics or a genuine encounter with a craft of extraterrestrial origin.
UFOs are commonly seen in China and the last few days has seen a massive spike in such sightings.
A slow-down of the Gulf Stream, as dramatized in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, is projected by some models of climate change.
The stream is a key process in the climate of western Europe, bringing heat northwards from the tropics and keeping countries such as the UK 4-6C warmer than they would otherwise be.
It forms part of a larger movement of water, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is itself one component of the global thermohaline system of currents.
The Atlantic overturning circulation is still an important player in today's climate
Josh Willis, Nasa
The first observations suggesting the circulation was slowing down emerged in 2005, in research from the UK's National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
Using an array of detectors across the Atlantic and comparing its readings against historical records, scientists suggested the volume of cold water returning southwards could have fallen by as much as 30% in half a century - a significant decline.
The surface water sinks in the Arctic and flows back southwards at the bottom of the ocean, driving the circulation.
However, later observations by the same team showed that the strength of the flow varied hugely on short timescales - from one season to the next, or even shorter.
But they have not found any clear trend since 2004.
The NOC team now has a chain of instruments in place across the Atlantic, making measurements continuously.
"In four-and-a-half years of measurement, we have found there is a lot of variability, and we're working to explain it," said NOC's Harry Bryden.
The quantities of water involved are huge, varying between four million and 35 million tonnes of water per second.
The array is part of the UK-funded Rapid project, which aims to refine understanding of potentially large climate change impacts that could happen in short periods.
Professor Bryden's team calculates that their system is good enough to detect a long-term change in flow of about 20% - but it has not happened yet.
He believes the JPL approach - using satellite altimeters, instruments that can measure sea height precisely, and the Argo array of autonomous floating probes - could potentially add useful data to that coming from long-term on-site monitoring arrays.
But, he points out: "The method concentrates only on the upper [northward] flow - it doesn't give you much information on the returning flow southward."
Fantasy and reality
Driven by Hollywood, a popular image of a Gulf Stream slowdown shows a sudden catastrophic event driving snowstorms across the temperate lands of western Europe and eastern North America.
That has always been fantasy - as, said Josh Willis, is the idea that a slow-down would trigger another ice age.
"But the Atlantic overturning circulation is still an important player in today's climate," he added.
"Some have suggested cyclic changes in the overturning may be warming and cooling the whole North Atlantic over the course of several decades and affecting rainfall patterns across the US and Africa, and even the number of hurricanes in the Atlantic."