"It is a plain dictate of honesty and good government that public expenditures should be limited by public necessity, and that this should be measured by the rules of strict economy; and it is equally clear that frugality among the public servants is the best guaranty of a contented and strong support of free institutions."
The blog is a view of life, science, politics and education from an engineering perspective. As engineers, we are taught to view the world objectively. We can hope, believe and calculate a particular outcome, but natural laws are inflexible and pay no heed to who we are or what we believe. We must approach the objective dispassionately, while compensating for our own distorted perceptions. Balance is also a key element; balancing between the ideal and the pragmatic, balancing cost and functionality, balancing analysis with action, etc.
Scheduling routine critical self-analysis is the foundation to objectivity. If we do not fully understand and compensate for our own failures, tendencies, habits and skewed thought processes, we will not see the world as it is. Without a regular critical self-analysis we will see the world as we are and then fall prey to self-delusion.
Failure is a great teacher. When failure is coupled with perseverance, it produces the fruit of patience and humility. An engineer, fresh out of engineering school is typically set up for failure early and often. The failure breaks the new engineer of any ideas of self-importance, arrogance and book smarts. Only then can the new engineer be formed and molded into a productive element in the industry.
In a move that will no doubt help further the Venezuelan government’s aim of establishing a socialist utopian republic, President Nicolas Maduro announced this week that stores will soon begin the mandatory fingerprinting of customers. The peculiar initiative, which could be implemented by the end of the year, is meant to help combat the hoarding and smuggling of government-subsidized goods.
Venezuela exerts stringent currency and price controls on many products in a proclaimed attempt to keep them affordable for its poorest citizens.
The stringent price controls have forced many manufacturers out of business. They prefer not to manufacture a product rather than manufacturing the product at a loss. The few manufacturers that remain operate with governmental subsidies.
The stringent price controls have also created a robust black market.
The oil-rich nation has been experiencing a chronic shortage of food supplies and other necessities for a long time. Maduro, who succeeded the late Hugo Chavez, accused the political opposition last year of engineering the country’s shortages with the help of the CIA in order to undermine his government.
Moduro has proposed a two prong attack to stabilize the economy; fingerprinting as part of a rationing of goods and he has also proposed the selling of Citgo to pay down some of its debts.
Venezuela’s central bank periodically publishes a scarcity index that quantifies the lack of staples. The last index, published in March, estimated that more than 26 percent of basic household goods were out of stock in the country’s stores. The inability to buy essentials like rice, coffee, milk, cooking oil, and corn flour — which is used to make arepas, the national bread — reflects Venezuela’s crippled economic condition, hampered by sky-high inflation and dwindling foreign currency reserves. Toilet paper, newsprint, and even coffins are scarce; production of the latter has lately dropped off upwards of 50 percent, forcing grieving families to delay funerals and burials in one of the most violent countries in the world.
Faced with empty store shelves due to a complex combination of price controls, currency restrictions, and smuggling, Venezuelans are having a hard time finding the basics they need to live. The crisis has spurred the development of an app called Abasteceme (“Supply Me”), which allows shoppers to document and share where they have managed to find products.
Most citizens long for the days of President Rafael Caldera. Caldera pushed for private property ownership, labor law reforms, foreign investment and free enterprise, and most essentials were plentiful.
The current economic crisis Venezuela is facing has brought municipalities on the brink of bankruptcy, as reported by the 76 opposition mayors gathered in the Venezuelan Association of Mayors.
The local leaders asserted that 2014 has been a terrible year for three reasons: the Constitutional Allocation is calculated based on an oil price of USD 60 per barrel, but the real oil price is about USD 100 per barrel; the annual inflation rate hit 70%, plus, the central government rate of wage decrease has accelerated, but then it fails to transfer that money to meet those obligations.
The proposed biometric monitoring of every economic transaction is touted by Madura to solve all of its ills. But the critics decried it as an invasion of privacy, institute a rationing program and create an all-controlling bureaucracy that would be similar to a Cuban style surveillance system. The mandatory fingerprinting is intended to prevent shoppers from buying too much of any one item and then reselling inventory bought below cost on a robust black market, or smuggling it out of the country.
General Efrain Velasco Lugo, a Venezuelan military spokesman, recently told Venezuela’s El Universal newspaper that the government believes that roughly 40 percent of subsidized goods are smuggled into Colombia. One example of this resource drain is gasoline. Venezuela boasts the lowest gas prices in the world. At the unofficial exchange rate, a gallon costs less than a penny.
Prior to the announcement of the fingerprinting proposal, the government attempted to stop the siphoning of fuel and goods to black markets by enacting a nightly closure of the Colombian border.
This effort has failed to pull Venezuela out of its economic free-fall.
The proposed solution, the only solution in the liberal play-book, is complete governmental control; an infringement on personal liberties coupled with a heavy dose of electronic monitoring. No company or individual is able to buy or sell without governmental approval. The Venezuelan government will ration food, supplies and gas; just as it rations health care.
The way things work in Venezuela:
You are allotted four rolls of toilet paper for the month. You dare not ask for a fifth roll. But the chances are good that you will not get 4 rolls or even 3 rolls. After the manufacturer releases the production lot of toilet paper, the federal workers, friends and cronies get their first crack at it; taking their four or fifty rolls. The remainder is divided out to the populace. Often there is none, forcing the people to buy it on the black market at elevated prices. Often, it is the federal workers, friends and cronies who supply the black market with product. They have created a system to benefit themselves, while proclaiming to the world that the stringent price controls are designed to benefit the working class and poor. But the net effect is just the opposite.
Socialism in Venezuela is an economic system that creates a large economic gap between the politically connected and the politically un-connected. It is my contention that these effects of socialism are not limited just to Venezuela. If the march towards socialism persists, this rationing will come to a convenience store near you. It is the result of socialists believing that you are ignorant while they are the enlightened ones. Because of their superior intellect and arrogance, they are the only ones capable of deciding what is best for you. They proclaim the capitalistic system to be unfair and then proceed to create a system that is infinitely more unfair.
The drive of the liberal mind to make life ‘heaven on earth’ is which precisely what makes it hell.
ISIS appears to be a shock troop that is ever inventing new ways to raise the level of disgust, horror and brutality. Shortly after burying 500 people alive in a shallow grave and then running over it with bulldozers, they force the people of an entire city up a mountain. ISIS surrounded the mountain leaving the people to decide whether to come down from the mountain and be hacked to death or stay on the mountain and die of starvation.
This week ISIS had attacked the village of Qaraqosh. They sawed a 5 year old boy in half, while yet alive and posted the video on-line. On the video on of the terrorists can be heard saying that this is how they are going to divide America. They then beheaded hundreds of children and put the heads on poles around the village. They also took many of the women as sex slaves.
In some cases, fighters seeking to join ISIS have had to behead their own mothers to demonstrate loyalty to ISIS. And ranks of the ISIS terrorists have swelled to about 20,000 fighters.
Tom Sanderson, a terrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told CBS News that ISIS far more powerful, well-funded and influential than al Qaeda under bin Laden. What ISIS has now, he said, "is more significant and more varied than what al Qaeda had in terms of its actual combat capabilities where they are fielding artillery. They are holding much greater territory than al Qaeda had, they are governing people, they have a more diverse funding base... they have a greater localized funding base than al Qaeda."
Al Qaeda "simply did not have the technology that ISIS has now, the social networking that enables them to reach a much greater audience," Sanderson said.
ISIS has captured millions of dollars of American weaponry abandoned by Iraqi troops that fled the fight early on in the jihadist group's takeover. David Rohde, a columnist for Reuters and The Atlantic said on CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday called that a "disaster." When the US engages ISIS, it will be fighting against and enemy with US weaponry.
The two stated goals of ISIS are to establish a caliphate and to raise an ISIS flag over the Whitehouse.
With the group's full capability somewhat of a mystery, it is hard to predict when they might turn their attention to the U.S. But it is not a matter of if they will attack the US, it’s when.
I was not in favor of military intervention in Syria, Egypt, Libya or Iraq. But in this case I believe that the Kurds need to be equipped to defend themselves. The tide of the ISIS advance needs to be stopped.
There is much blame that can on be pinned on the current foreign policy for essentially creating ISIS through our intervention in Syria. Then over of the past two years we have watched this terror group take shape and gain power. ISIS has been overlooked and minimized during this time. Even Obama referred to ISIS as ‘the junior varsity’. The administration has told us not to take this group seriously. And they haven’t taken ISIS seriously, but at some point, the Obama administration will have to.
Note: In a confrontation with a local liberal, I conveyed disbelief that he still has a higher degree of hatred and anger towards the Israeli army than towards ISIS. I can’t understand the illogical hatred of Israel. The IDF is practicing a very timid self-defense to preserve the lives the Israeli residents. ISIS is engaged in full blown demonic barbarism. There couldn’t be a wider chasm between the two.
If all cultures are equal and all religions are equal then why does a tiny nation with few natural resources surrounded by enemies still thrive?
Palestinians in Judea Samaria and the Gaza Strip receive one of the highest levels of aid in the world yet they cannot achieve a civil society let alone economic success. Why is social welfare always associated with corruption, entitlement, violence and squalor?
Why do the leaders in the Gaza strip and West Bank prefer to keep the masses uninformed, uneducated, under constant duress and fear? The billions of dollars funneled through the leadership went into individual bank accounts, tunnels, rockets, weapons and propaganda. If that money was used on infrastructure, education, law enforcement, small business loans and farming, the Palestinians would be much further ahead.
All of their energies are invested in the grievance industry and in hate.
Israel has the right to self-defense but self-defense by leftist standards means there must be a proportionate amount of dead Israelis to balance out the amount of dead Palestinians. Intent means nothing to the purveyors of social Justice movement. They don't care that Israel is under rocket attack, they don't care that Hamas has turned Gaza into a labyrinth of tunnels and those tunnels are not used to shelter civilians but to hide and move terrorists.
Does any sane person believe that Israel intends to kill civilians? Does any sane person believe that Hamas is focused on military targets?
There have been six cease-fire agreements to date. All six agreements were violated by Hamas. The August 1st agreement was violated within 3 hours of its signing. Hamas evidently views the cease-fire as an opportunity to re-group and re-load.
The media reports are virulently anti-Israel. Why? The Media takes its talking points from the White House, which is virulently anti-Israel. There is an anti-Israeli virus infecting the left that is morphing into outright anti-Semitism.
Why is Hamas considered by Nancy Pelosi and mainstream Democrats to be the moral equivalent of the Knesset? Pelosi defended Hamas as a “humanitarian organization”. (That could be…but only on her planet; not this one.)
Other than Joe Lieberman, ex-senator (I, Connecticut), why are there no other liberal voices condemning Hamas and supporting Israel?
What is it about IDF men in uniform that never fails to make good-hearted (is there any other kind) progressives see red? Instead, they instinctively root for the scruffy-looking terrorist (the perceived underdog) and against the uniformed military.
The results of a recent Pew Research Center poll revealed the largest partisan gap in forty years on the issue of supporting Israel.
Conducted from July 8-14, the week Israel began its air operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip but before its ground invasion, the poll asked 1,805 respondents, “In the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, which side to you sympathize with more—Israel or the Palestinians?”
The poll found that respondents considering themselves conservative Republicans supported Israel by 77 percent, compared to 68 percent of moderate Republicans. Among Democrats, 48 percent of moderate Democrats supported Israel, compared to 39 percent of liberal Democrats.
In other words, 61 percent of liberal Democrats either sympathize with Hamas, a group of war criminals designated as a terrorist organization by, among many other countries, the United States, or are utterly apathetic to the plight of a small, faraway democracy whose millions of citizens are being forced to flee for their lives under daily, sometimes hourly, rocket fire.
Hamas is responsible for the murder of more than 1,000 Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks since 1996. Its founding charter calls not only for the destruction of the State of Israel, but the murder of all Jews.
Slaves to gut emotion, and adverse to rigorous academic research, liberals do not bother to figure out who is right or wrong in any conflict.
Israel could end this conflict if only they were allowed to fight this conflict like the US conducted its civil war. Fight until someone surrenders without conditions. In the short term, it will be more brutal, but in the long term it will produce peace. The south harbored incredible bitterness following the surrender to the north, but with every successive generation, the pain softened. Now, the transition from north to south is seamless.
Note: In one of the tunnels uncovered by the IDF, there was enough concrete in it to build 2 hospitals. The tunnel was 50 ft underground, 6 ft head clearance, electrical lighting, had tracks in it for the easy movement of people and supplies, was miles long and included ventilation shafts. The concrete was purchased from an Israeli manufacturer and the back hoe and digging tools were rented from an Israeli supplier. The electrical wiring and lighting came from Israel. The IDF marveled at the time and cost that went into this tunnel and there are dozens like it.
The Rand Corporation, one of the Defense Department’s most trusted and longest running contractors, was hired by the Pentagon to carry out a computerized and simulated war between China and the US. The results put the military in a bad light and they were deemed classified, but were leaked to the press. What the computer models showed was that in the most likely scenario for a US-China war, the United States was soundly defeated by the Chinese military.
Most Americans will immediately and arrogantly close their ears to any suggestion that the US could lose a war to anyone. So, it’s a good thing that war correspondent David Axe published the step-by-step actions each military takes to show readers exactly how and why America loses. The account, leaked to the media and published by Medium.com, shows how the blame lies squarely on one thing – the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s abysmal failure in combat.
‘In the scenario, 72 Chinese jets patrolled the Taiwan Strait,’ the report described, ‘Just 26 American warplanes - the survivors of a second missile barrage targeting their airfields - were able to intercept them, including 10 twin-engine F-22 stealth fighters that quickly fired off all their missiles. That left 16 of the smaller, single-engine F-35s to do battle with the Chinese. As they began exchanging fire with the enemy jets within the mathematical models of the mock conflict, the results were shocking.’
The lesson from the simulated encounter was that the newest and most expense American joint strike fighter - the F-35, ‘was no match for Chinese warplanes. Despite their vaunted ability to evade detection by radar, the JSFs were blown out of the sky.’ The authors reluctantly conceded, “The F-35 is double-inferior.”
The Lockheed Martin fighter was sold to the American people with the promise that its weapons systems were so advanced, it could shoot enemy planes out of the sky long before enemy radar even picked up the F-35s. And that’s still true. But what happens after the initial few seconds as both air forces are charging directly at each other at the speed of sound? The results were that as soon as the range closed and the F-35s lost their advantage of extreme distance, they were all shot down by Chinese fighters.
The secret Rand report for the Pentagon wrote, “Inferior acceleration, inferior climb, inferior sustained turn capability. Also has lower top speed. Can’t turn, can’t climb, can’t run.” The military analysts explained that the F-35 would function better as a long-range, mobile missile platform rather than a fighter. The computer models showed that once the jets had lost their element of surprise and launched all their missiles, remaining enemy fighters had no problem clearing them from the sky. The result was the loss of the battle and China’s successful invasion of Taiwan.
F-35 Joint Strike Fighter
According to the Rand war scenario developed for the Pentagon, the most expensive military weapon in the history of mankind is a complete and utter failure. The futuristic warplane is supposed to replace all other jet fighters in the US arsenal at a cost of $1 trillion and climbing. As one critic published a few weeks ago, that’s enough money to buy a $100,000 home for every homeless family in America for the next six generations.
The F-35 didn’t fail because of its recurring engine fires or the problems it’s still having with vertical landings and take-offs. It failed because it was designed to do too many things. It is now designed to be a fighter, reconnaissance, interceptor, stealth, bomber, Navy carrier landing, etc. One military analyst claims that it like asking one player to play every position on the football team; punter, QB, nose tackle, wide receiver, etc. By trying to do everything, it does nothing well…but at an enormous cost.
China, on the other hand, makes much cheaper but highly specialized air craft. Using this method they are able to get much higher quality and much higher quantity aircraft.
To make matters worse, the military has put all of its eggs in this one F-35 basket. There is no plan B.
How did it come to this? Corruption and cronyism. It is about bringing pork back to the district. It is about giving kickbacks to political donors. It is about connections, influence and political gain. It is about Lockheed Martin getting paid. The irrelevant fact is that the most expensive aircraft program in US history can barely fly.
I have seen this crime against the American people taking shape over the last few years. The Chinese military, which is much more keenly aware of military tactics than I, can spot this at a great distance.
The USA, just like the Roman Empire before it, ignorantly puts all its faith and trust in the silver bullet of technology and military prowess, while corruption and cronyism has rotted out everything but the shell.
Owen Paterson, the outgoing UK Environment Secretary, posted a comment on the UK Telegraph that has generated some discussion. He has drawn attention to the method that big government has fed big government green lobbyists 150 million Euros since 2007.
It turns out that the Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmist movement is the umbrella under which hundreds of radical Anti-Capitalist movements find some legitimacy. No one dares to question the noble intentions of the Global Warming/Climate Change Alarmist movement.
I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of – to coin a phrase – the Green Blob.
By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape. This tangled triangle of unelected busybodies claims to have the interests of the planet and the countryside at heart, but it is increasingly clear that it is focusing on the wrong issues and doing real harm while profiting handsomely.
Local conservationists on the ground do wonderful work to protect and improve wild landscapes, as do farmers, rural businesses and ordinary people. They are a world away from the highly paid globe-trotters of the Green Blob who besieged me with their self-serving demands, many of which would have harmed the natural environment.
I soon realised that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at Defra than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland. My home address was circulated worldwide with an incitement to trash it; I was burnt in effigy by Greenpeace as I was recovering from an operation to save my eyesight. But I did not set out to be popular with lobbyists and I never forgot that they were not the people I was elected to serve.
Indeed, I am proud that my departure was greeted with such gloating by spokespeople for the Green Party and Friends of the Earth.
It was not my job to do the bidding of two organizations that are little more than anti-capitalist agitprop groups most of whose leaders could not tell a snakeshead fritillary from a silver-washed fritillary.
When I arrived at Defra I found a department that had become, under successive Labour governments, a milk cow for the Green Blob.
When I set out to shatter the crippling orthodoxy that growing the rural economy and improving the environment are mutually exclusive, I was ridiculed by a public school journalist who thinks the solution to environmental problems is “an ordered and structured downsizing of the global economy”. Back to the Stone Age, in other words, but Glastonbury-style.
Yes, I’ve annoyed these people, but they don’t represent the real countryside of farmers and workers, of birds and butterflies.
Like the nationalised industries and obstructive trade unions of the 1970s, the Green Blob has become a powerful self-serving caucus; it is the job of the elected politician to stand up to them. We must have the courage to tackle it head on, as Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada have done, or the economy and the environment will both continue to suffer.
The primary goal for the Green Blob and environmental groups is sanctimoniousness. By loudly denouncing all bad things — capitalism, the US constitution, CO2, greed, unfairness, profit and second hand smoke (except from pot)— they testify to their own terrific goodness. More importantly, they promote themselves to into a membership of self-selecting elites who care deeply about such things. Doing good is not nearly as important as announcing their good intentions and then confiscating your money.
Government’s money belongs to the people, but is being syphoned off by these crazed groups whose only purpose is to agitate for more money. By syphoning money out of the public coffers, less money is available for education, poverty, food stamps, medicine and roads. But that is irrelevant because their cause is more worthy than food stamps or education.
Environmentalists have created a wonderful kind of natural aristocracy, and the wonderful thing about this aristocracy is that you don't have to do anything or even be lucky to join it; you just have to care; preferably pretend that you do. And then you need to be able to hold protest signs, shake down your local politician and threaten anyone who doesn’t think like you.
They know better what to do with your time/money/energy than the unwashed masses. Moreover, they deserve it, because they are the people that we have been waiting for.
Republicans consider Enviro-whackoism a violation of the American principle that you shouldn't stick your nose in other people's business except to make a buck. Well, the environmentalists think that they need to take that buck so that they can afford to keep their noses in other people’s business.
Point 1: Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace, the influential and once-responsible environmental group, has left Greenpeace because it has become an organ of left-wing extremism. Moore quit the organization when, he said, “Greenpeace was hijacked by social and political activists.”
“(Environmentalism today is) more about globalism and anti-capitalism than it is about science or ecology….”
Point 2: Goldman Sachs has lobbied extensively for the ‘cap and trade’ bill, and is well positioned to make billions. Goldman Sachs will be the conduit of exchange in which carbon credits will be transferred. Each transaction of carbon credits will benefit Goldman Sachs.
This is the definition of cronyism in which a business has unique access into writing law that benefit themselves. They are using a perceived hobgoblin for great gain. The only requirement was to flood Washington with campaign cash.
Point 3: Michael Moore has profited handsomely over the years by generating environmentalist, anti-capitalist, anti-materialist, anti-consumer propaganda. But during recent court proceeding in his divorce, we find that Michael Moore has 9 homes valued at over $50 million. Recently he had purchased 3 adjoining condominiums in New York and combined them into one to sell for profit. I am not sure, but that sounds like capitalism to me. But it can’t be, because Mr. Moore has spent his entire life denouncing that sort of thing. And Mr. Moore certainly isn’t a big fat loudmouth hypocrite.
“The novice environmentalist sees only the lofty and noble dream of a perfect physical environment. Then, headline after headline -- acid rain, global warming, the ozone hole, oil spills -- the environmentalist begins to harden. Negativity sets in. Perceptions change. There is a distinct shift toward seeing man as the systematic destroyer of the good, the systematic doer of evil. The image of humanity changes. A profound misanthropy develops -- and the environmentalist is unaware of it."
Taken from ‘Trashing the Economy’, by Ron Arnold
There is a tremendous influx of children coming across our southern border. According the DHS secretary, Jeh Johnson, the DHS has projected 90,000 unaccompanied children for 2014, and said to include about 70,000 from Central America.
A Politico news report featured two girls, 7 years old and 8 years old, from Guatemala, who were apprehended by border agents. The girls were taken to a facility that is housing thousands of children who made the trek from Central America. These girls are not the norm. It is believed that 70% of the unaccompanied minors are 13-17 year old boys.
I can’t comprehend any of this. I wouldn’t send my 14 year old daughter through Mexico by herself to a country in which she doesn’t know the language. First, my daughter would get lost. (Recently, she got lost while walking the dog and had to call home.) Second, she can’t go two hours without food, phone, bathroom, etc., much less 2 months. Third, she is way too fearful to attempt something like this. Fourth, Mexico isn’t the most hospitable country. Fifth, I can’t imagine the gut-wrenching decision made by the parents to agree to this. Sixth, sending kids across the country can’t be cheap.
There are questions that need to be answered. What where they promised in return for this life-risking decision? What are their expectations? How did they get the money to embark on this trek?
My heart goes out to these kids. I fear what might happen to them. About 5000 of them have been sent to live with the nearest kin, but there are many without such a hope. I would love to take at least a few of the children into my home and give them a warm bed, food, love, shelter and protection. I will learn some Spanish while teaching them English. Somehow I will make it work.
Somehow I think that the administration is behind much of this for their own nefarious purposes, but I can’t get over the human element of suffering.
I have outlined a plan below;
1. The US should put the children up for adoption. Thousands of agents will be needed to insure that the children are being placed in a good environment. But I don’t think that the background checks, interview process, and investigation should take more than 6 months. I am torn about sending the kids back. It is obvious to me that these kids would rather die trying to get here than stay in their third world country with no hope and no future.
2. Stop the incentive for children to risk their lives by coming here by improving the conditions in those countries.
3. Close the border. We can build a lot of fence for the $4 billion needed to deal with the immigrant children. An open border is overwhelming the system. Our lifeboat has a gaping hole in it and yet we are pulling more people on board.
4. We need compassion for these suffering children, while maintaining a high degree of disdain and cynicism towards this administration for using these children as pawns in some political scheme.
In 2009, the Obama administration had worked with rebel factions to overthrow the governments of multiple Middle East/North African countries; most notably Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria. The guise for this operation was reportedly to overthrow dictators and pave the way for Democracy. Mubarak in Egypt, al Assad in Syria and Qaddafi in Libya were all strongmen with a firm grip on their countries. Corruption, graft and extortion were common and personal liberties were not common in these countries.
The US had partnered with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Ahmed Abu Khattala, Sufyan Bin Qumu and Khalifa Hifter in Libya and various ‘freedom fighting organizations’ in Syria.
The Libyan overthrow was intriguing. Ahmed Abu Khattala was on the CIA payroll. Sufyan Bin Qumu was a double agent, who had spent a couple of years in Guantanamo and Khalifa Hifter had defected from the Gaddafi regime and created his own militia with money from the CIA. The US had provided training, equipment, money, coordination and intelligence to accomplish the mission objective. The objective was achieved, but the administration made no plans to create a transition to a stable government. Libya is still a chaotic mess.
The Syrian affair did not go as planned. Despite pouring billions of dollars into the Syrian revolution, the freedom fighters found the objective difficult to accomplish. Syria was receiving aid from Russia and Iran to combat the US efforts. Training camps were set up by the US in Turkey, Jordan and Northern Iraq. Weapons were funneled through Libya to the training camps and the US, Germany and England had provided intel to the freedom fighters.
After years of futility in Syria, the various rebel factions united under one banner and leader. Late last year, the creation of a new group would emerge among the al-Qaida affiliates active in Syria; Jabhat al-Nusra, being the largest.
The leader or emir (prince) of Isis is a 43-year-old Sunni, known by his nom de guerre as Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, or Abu Dua. His real name is Awwad Ibrahim Ali al-Badri al-Samarrai. He was held prisoner by US forces from 2005 to 2009. US military sources have quoted him as saying when he was released from Camp Bucca in Iraq: "I'll see you guys in New York." According to some accounts he was radicalized by his experience of captivity. But others describe him as having been a firebrand preacher under Saddam Hussein's rule. He studied at the University of Baghdad, and was listed as a terrorist by the UN in 2011.
It is a measure of Baghdadi's success and charisma that ISIS has become the group of choice for thousands of foreign would-be fighters who have flocked to his banner.
ISIS has established a reputation for extreme brutality, carrying out crucifixions, beheadings and amputations. As a result, ISIS faces little resistance in the conquest of Iraq.
A pivotal decision was made by Baghdadi to change the focus of his campaign from Syria to Iraq. With the departure of US forces, Iraq was in complete disarray making it a much easier target than Syria. The Iraqi military was in shambles and the leadership was ineffective. Iraq also held the promise of wealth. When capturing Mosul and its oil fields, ISIS was able to raid the banks and oil companies to emerge with $850 million in cash and gold...and acquire a major weapons depot left by fleeing Iraqi soldiers.
ISIS is well financed, brutal, well equipped, led by a charismatic leader and gaining control of more ground daily. It has nearly devoured Iraq and is setting its sight on Jordan, Somalia and Nigeria. It is determined to set up a Caliphate in the Middle East and Northern Africa…and the world quakes.
"This is not like a hurricane or an earthquake; this didn't have to happen," John McCain, R-Nev, referring to the meteoric climb of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) extremist group. "This is a failure of the United States policy. And by the way, there still is none that I can discern - either a policy or strategy - to handle this situation."
“ISIS now presents itself as an ideologically superior alternative to al-Qaida within the jihadi community," says Charles Lister, of the Brookings Doha Center. "As such, it has increasingly become a transnational movement with immediate objectives far beyond Iraq and Syria."
The crisis in Iraq must not be dismissed as "nothing to do with us" as the same Islamic jihadists are also planning to attack the UK, David Cameron has warned. "I'd disagree with those people who think this is nothing to do with us and if they want to have some sort of extreme Islamist regime in the middle of Iraq that won't affect us – it will," he said.
David Cameron and the UK had supplied hundreds of Toyota pick-up trucks to the Syrian rebels just four years ago. Now, these trucks were seen on video during the attack on Mosul.
The Western nations have created a monster that they are now afraid of.
There are very few instances in which the US has produced good results when meddling in foreign affairs, but this is the poster child for disastrous foreign policy blunders.
The purpose of of the IRS has become clear. It is the hammer used to intimidate opponents, silence any alternative voices and demonstrate a mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical force as an example to anyone else who might want to wander off of the reservation. Yes, they also do a little moonlighting as a tax collection agency.
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse raised the idea of criminal charges for conservatives who are not sufficiently quiet and charged that they falsely completed an IRS tax exemption form.
“Too much speech is bad. Groups who talk about things leftists find uncomfortable are necessarily political and thus should never have 501(c) tax exempt status. Criminally charge any group that said on their IRS tax exempt form that they were not political if they say things the left finds uncomfortable. Get Eric Holder’s Justice Department on the case.”
The email was obtained by Judicial Watch.
On August 31, 2011, after 6 years with Sonasoft, on a non-compete contract with a San Diego based firm, the IRS just cut off the contract; for no stated reason. The only reason given was "Reason For Modification" was "Change Order". http://www.fedspending.org/fpd...
Sonasoft claimed that it had offered email backup services to the IRS from 2005 to 2011, but the services were terminated without explanation.
Did they hire a different company after 8/31/11? And if they did, would they have required Sonasoft to transfer the data to the new company for continuity of services?
The contract termination came 10 days after Ms. Lerner’s computer crashed and just prior to the crashes of 6 of Ms. Lerner’s senior IRS fellow employees.
Following the coincidental computer failures; the hard drives were destroyed (recycled) as were the servers and back-up tapes.
IRS official Lois Lerner planted a question from an audience member at an American Bar Association meeting. She used her answer to apologize for -- and favorably spin -- the agency's actions, and then later claimed that the apology came as an unprompted response to a question.
On April 16, the White House counsel's office first learns of the findings of the IRS inspector general's report from the Treasury Department. Senior officials, including Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, learn about the inspector general's investigation the week of April 22, but they don't inform President Obama.
President Obama appears in a press conference claiming that he was outraged when he read about the abuses by the IRS in the paper. He said that he will not tolerate abuses by any Federal agency. He will get to the bottom of it and hold the responsible parties accountable for any wrong doing.
“I promise you this,” he said in a press conference, “The minute I found out about [the IRS scandal], then my main focus is making sure that we get the thing fixed.” The President has said he is confident that multiple investigations under way into tax officials who inappropriately targeted conservative groups would “figure out exactly what happened” and “who was involved”.
Obama demands and receives Miller's resignation on May 15 and appoints a new acting IRS commissioner, Daniel Werfel.
Congress holds its first official hearing looking into IRS scandal on May 17, in which Steven T. Miller, the acting IRS commissioner who resigned two days earlier, says the agency was guilty of “horrible customer service” but that its motives were not political.
In an interview with Bill O’Reilly, Obama proclaimed there was not even a "smidgen" of corruption at the IRS, despite the fact his administration's own investigations are still underway. Obama's assurance seemed good enough for most of the media.
After stonewalling the investigation for over a year, the IRS claims that the requested E-mails were lost in a bizarre, coincidental yet explainable set of circumstances. Rep. Paul Ryan (R, WI) finds the entire scenario to be ‘unbelievable’.
1. In the past 6 years the Heritage Foundation was subjected to more than 15 instances of audit or inquiry by federal agencies. In the 8 years prior to that there were no instances of audit or inquiry. Coincidence? I think not.
2. What is the Democratic solution for the IRS? More money for better computer systems. Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) concluded by saying the government needs to “invest” more in the IRS to improve its information management system. “Lost data under the Bush administration (Mr. Levin, the Bush administration was no longer in power in 2011), coupled with the number of computer crashes at the IRS, clearly demonstrate the need for government agencies to have adequate budgets to invest, upgrade and maintain information technology,” he said.
3. Levin’s comments were echoed by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who accused Republicans of purposefully underfunding the IRS in order to undermine the progressive taxation system. (talk about conspiracy theories)
4. The Democrats are circling the wagons like they always do to protect their party. The mantra is “Party first, nothing else matters.”
5. Nothing that has been presented by the IRS in the congressional hearings is even within the realm of possibility, yet the mainstream media believes it to be gospel. Whatever happened to investigative reporting?
6. Scott Walker did not lose a single E-mail in two separate investigations in an agency with far less computing capabilities and back-up systems than the IRS. But if he had destroyed all of the computers, servers and back-up tapes in his office, the media would be less willing to believe that it was coincidental.
7. The loss of the files is a calculation by the Obama administration. They believe that it will be easier to peddle the theory of lost E-mails than to explain the contents of the E-mails.
8. When looking up ‘mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical’ in the new Webster’s Unabridged dictionary, a picture of Obama and Democratic Party will pop up. This scandal is the definition of ‘mean-spirited, vindictive, petty and tyrannical’. Why did the IRS do this? Because it could.
In a statement by FDA’s Branch Chief Monica Metz, the chief official responsible for food safety issues involving cheese, the manufacturing process of aging cheese using porous wood is banned.
“The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.”
What prompted this regulation? Were the cheese manufacturers experiencing a rash of food-borne illnesses? FDA spokesperson, Lauren Sucher, claimed that the agency is merely attempting to engage the industry in its manufacturing practices, while being proactive. Engage? It’s a bit more like destroy. In a comparable analogy, Boko Haram is merely attempting to engage the people of Nigeria.
The process of aging cheese on wooden boards is a practice that has been used for hundreds of years. With hundreds of millions of pounds of aged cheese produced every year, the health and safety record has been spotless.
The Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research compiled research on the subject (there's been a lot of it from France), and it suggests that proper cleaning and sanitization methods can sufficiently wipe out bacteria from various kinds of wooden boards. A 1992 study showed those using wooden cutting boards at home were less than half as likely as average to contract salmonellosis, while those using synthetic (plastic or glass) cutting boards were about twice as likely to do so.
In Wisconsin there are about 33 million pounds of cheese being aged on wooden boards. This aged cheese is a little more costly than your average velveeta. One of my favorites is a mild apple smoked cheddar cheese by Carr Valley Cheese; aged 4 to 6 months. It costs about $20/lb. http://www.schoolhousecreamerystore.net/apple-smoked-cheddar.html
If you like a good sharp cheddar. Renards, from Door County, has a fantastic 14 year cheddar, but it will cost about $45/lb. http://www.renardscheese.com/14-year-cheddar/
The impact on Wisconsin would be enormous. The cost to Wisconsin revenue with the loss of the multi-billion dollar cheese industry is difficult to comprehend. This regulation would also kill jobs and cause massive bankruptcies. Many of the cheese manufacturers have built large underground facilities to age the cheese in tightly controlled environments. Cheese manufacturers take great pride in the cleanliness and quality of their products.
In light of a fabulous track record, why did the FDA issue this regulation? Certainly not to improve the manufacturing practices. Is the FDA trying to protect the consumer? Depriving the consumer of good cheese isn’t protection.
From CNN, NPR to the Wall Street Journal, the articles about this FDA regulation reflect a head scratching exercise. But when actions and activities don’t make sense, politics is normally a culprit. Politics is the likely driving force behind this regulation as well. Could it be that the cheese industry hasn’t contributed sufficiently to the Obama campaign? Or perhaps the cheese industry hasn’t enrolled enough of its employees in ObamaCare. Does the Obama administration want to punish Wisconsin for passing Act 10? An even more likely scenario involves the FDA director, Monica Metz, who was the CEO of Monsanto, the parent holding company to Kraft and holds Kraft stocks in a blind trust. Kraft stock prices would jump if the competition was eliminated.
From the outside this appears to be extortion; Chicago-style politics. It's akin to the Mafia drumming up money for its protection racket. Unfortunately, no reporter is cynical enough to dig into the politics behind the regulation.
Fortunately, the cheese industry fought back. Wisconsin regulators will not enforce this FDA regulation without a proper investigation.
On June 10th, the FDA issued a statement that they would not enforce the regulation regarding the wooden aging boards. But they left the door open for future enforcement.
“The FDA has not taken any enforcement action based solely on the use of wooden shelves.
In the interest of public health, the FDA’s current regulations state that utensils and other surfaces that contact food must be “adequately cleanable” and properly maintained. Historically, the FDA has expressed concern about whether wood meets this requirement and has noted these concerns in inspectional findings. FDA is always open to evidence that shows that wood can be safely used for specific purposes, such as aging cheese.
The FDA will engage with the artisanal cheese-making community to determine whether certain types of cheeses can safely be made by aging them on wooden shelving.”
I can answer that last concern. Yes, cheeses can be safely made by aging them on wooden shelving. There, now you can go on to other matters.
The statement only brings a temporary relief. It is not a repudiation of the regulation that cheese makers were hoping for. The regulation still stands, just lacking enforcement. But for now, it’s business as usual.
This is a loud and clear proclamation to cheese makers not to expand their businesses; limit the exposure to aged cheese. This is also a lesson for people in other regulated industries. When government officials make pronouncements that don’t seem grounded in reason or common sense, and threaten your livelihood with an enforcement action, you must organize and fight back.
The EPA has mandated a reduction in power plant emissions. It sets the average CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour to 1,000 lbs. The average coil-fired power plant produces 1,734 lbs of CO2 emissions per megawatt-hour. This, in effect, is the end of the coal powered plant. Unfortunately, 38% of US generation of electricity comes from coal.
How is the US going to replace 38% of its electrical generation?
The remaining electricity in the US is produced by natural gas; 30%, nuclear power; 20% and hydro-electric; 10%. Nuclear power plants are coming off line with 7 plants closing last year. There has been no ground-breaking on new nuclear plants in the United States since 1974. Up until 2013, there had also been no ground-breaking on new nuclear reactors at existing power plants since 1977. Regulations and fears have effectively killed nuclear generation.
The only logical alternative to coal is natural gas. But the electricity producers will need to go on a massive building program to double the output of the natural gas plants. Natural gas still produces CO and CO2, but is cleaner than coal. On average, a natural gas plant will emit 800-850 lbs of CO2 per megawatt-hour. Natural gas has made a resurgence in the age of fracking. There are fears that the EPA may regulate fracking and thereby drive up the cost of natural gas. It is vital that the EPA provide a long term encouragement and endorsement of the fracking industry. As it sits, several states, including Pennsylvania, have bans on fracking and more states threatening to ban the practice.
Without fracking, natural gas is no longer an option to electrical generation; coal is dead and nuclear also dying. How then do we get electricity? Solar and wind are boutique types of electricity. On paper, they look fine and really serve no functional purpose. They will not replace fossil fuel powered plants.
The Oak Creek coal fired power plant is relatively new. Generating station 1 went on-line in 2010 and generating station 2 went on-line in 2011. The plant produces 1,135 megawatts of power and had a project cost of $2.38 billion. It was designed with the latest technology in clean power with scrubbers, but it does not meet the latest EPA requirements released on Monday. This power plant will need to be shut down despite the fact that it hasn’t been paid for, yet. WE Energy customers will get socked four times in the rate hikes; 1) retire the debt of the existing coal powered plants, 2) decommission the existing coal powered plants, 3) build new natural gas powered plants, 4) pay increased natural gas prices caused by the increase in demand. (66% of Wisconsin homes are heated by natural gas. When the major utilities consume massive quantities of natural gas, the cost will skyrocket)
Southeast Wisconsin is a microcosm of the rest of the US. There are 983 coal fired plants in the US that need to be replaced. Some estimates put the infrastructure price tag for the US at over $3.3 Trillion for baseline compliance.
We were told in 2008 that “Energy costs must necessarily skyrocket”, and now the skyrocketing is coming into fruition. EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, claims that the new regulations should only cost the average family an extra 7% in electricity. (not sure how this number was derived)
But the EPA claims that this will save money. For every $1 invested, Americans would reap $7 in health benefits. Claiming that with a cleaner environment, Americans should see a reduction in asthma and other bronchial ailments.
As a resident of South East Wisconsin, I think that the air quality is fine. I also think that the Oak Creek power plant is a thing of beauty; an engineering marvel. Further, by observing the US electricity production, it is obvious that we need more electricity, not less. Thus, it is my belief that the new EPA regulations are an attempt to fix something that isn’t broken. And then keep fixing, until it is broken.
How do I know that the EPA will break things? Consider this quote by Gina McCarthy, the EPA administrator, “But I will tell you that I didn’t go to Washington to sit around and wait for Congressional action. Never done that before, and don’t plan to in the future.” Quoted on May 1, 2010, in the keynote address for the Green Education Celebration at University of Massachusetts in Boston
An 18-year-old Milwaukee man, Sylvester Lewis, was charged on May 28th with three felony counts in the playground shooting that gravely wounded 10-year-old Sierra Guyton.
Sylvester Lewis was no stranger to the court system. He has 15 prior arrests.
At his last sentencing hearing on Jan. 30, 2013, for armed robbery, prosecutors recommended that he serve 18 months in custody followed by two years of extended supervision, according to a transcript. Under the law, the prosecutors could have recommended up to 5 and a half years of prison.
During the sentencing hearing, Lewis' attorney, Matt Ricci, downplayed Lewis' juvenile record. He told the court that Lewis had been abandoned by his mother and lived with his father, who was disabled by cancer. Lewis planned to go to Milwaukee Area Technical College, Ricci said, and study underwater welding.
"He's not a dumb kid at all," Ricci told Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Jean DiMotto. "He's got a future."
DiMotto said she found dignity in cleaning hospital bathrooms when she was Lewis' age and that her two favorite days of the month were paydays.
"You'll really feel good about yourself when you begin earning money in a legal way," she said.
DiMotto gave Lewis a chance to avoid a year of jail time if he successfully completed three years of probation and told him she didn't want to see him in criminal court again.
Under the terms of probation and because of his numerous felony convictions, Lewis was not to be in possession of a firearm. Lewis was also commanded not to be seen in a criminal court again. Sylvester, after seeing the destructive nature of his actions and then arrested, convicted and commanded to adapt to the rules of civil society, was bound change his ways and fly right.
Well…despite all of the good intentions, encouragement, leniency and 15 chances, things did not end as planned.
Jean DiMotto and Matt Ricci are the problem. Sylvester Lewis has committed crimes in the past and will commit crimes in the future. How do I know this? He is a criminal. I expect an elephant to act like an elephant. If an elephant appeared before me in court on the charges of acting like an elephant, I have two options; 1) I could deny that it is an elephant and tell it to act like a bird and place it in an aviary or 2) acknowledge that it, indeed, is an elephant and place it on a nature reserve intended for elephants.
People like Jean DiMotto and Matt Ricci are insulting us by trying to convince us that we have a bird in front of us. We should not pay attention to the fact that the subject looks like an elephant, acts like an elephant and does things consistent of things that an elephant would do.
Now, we are shocked that an elephant is not adapting well to the aviary.
Likewise Sylvester Lewis is not adapting well to a civil society. He was commanded not to be in possession of a firearm. The court documents clearly state that it is unlawful for a felon to be in possession of a firearm, but yet somehow he had one. Perhaps with 15 more laws on the books, he may be persuaded not to possess a firearm.
I hold Jean DiMotto and Matt Ricci responsible for the shooting of Sierra Guyton. They can’t recognize people for who they are despite a mountain of evidence. The criminal incompetence of Jean DiMotto and Matt Ricci has not only destroyed a girl and her family, but has effectively destroyed the community. But a gun buy-back program at a local church should solve everything.
The 15th annual White Privilege Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, was attended by 2,500 public-school teachers, administrators and students from across the nation.
The conference had a few running rules; 1) most restrooms are gender neutral, 2) Conference participants are encouraged to model the use of preferred gender pronouns by stating their preferred gender pronouns when they introduce themselves, 3) the struggle for justice is a spiritual matter. The deep learning, challenge, and listening demanded by WPC can also demand of us reflection, understanding, reckoning, and also a gentleness toward the Self, and 4) To improve our sustainability, there will be no bottled water this year. Pitchers of water will be available throughout the conference center.
In one of the workshops, “Examining White Privilege and Building Foundations for Social Justice Thinking in the Elementary Classroom,” educators Rosemary Colt and Diana Reeves told how teachers can “insert social justice, anti-racist information” into their lessons that “even little kids” can understand.
Kim Radersma, a former high-school English teacher, hosted a session titled, “Stories from the front lines of education: Confessions of a white, high school English teacher.” She said teaching is a purely political act and that neutral people should “get the f— out of education.”
She also explained: “Being a white person who does anti-racist work is like being an alcoholic. I will never be recovered by my alcoholism, to use the metaphor. I have to every day wake up and acknowledge that I am so deeply embedded with racist thoughts and notions and actions in my body that I have to choose every day to do anti-racist work and think in an anti-racist way.”
Jacqueline Battalora, professor of sociology and criminal justice at Saint Xavier University, informed conference participants that “white people did not exist before 1681. Again, white people did not exist on planet earth until 1681.”
If professor Battalora is correct, how are we to identify William Shakespeare (1564), Sir Isaac Newton (1642), John Locke (1632), Leonardo da Vinci (1452) and especially dear Plato (428 B.C.)? Were these men people of color, or did they not exist?
John A. Powell, a University of California, Berkeley, law professor, told his audience, “And right now, I’m going to suggest to you that race is driving almost everything that’s happening in the country.” He explained the Hurricane Katrina disaster in New Orleans by saying, “They took money away from protecting the levees because the levees were protecting black people.”
Stephanie Baran’s message to conference participants was that capitalism is the cause of racism in the world today. This adjunct professor at Kankakee Community College, who calls herself a vulgar Marxist, added that racism was invented in Colonial America by white capitalists as a tool to divide labor and keep the working class in their place.
Educator Paul Kivel explained what he sees as Christian hegemony, saying, “Very simply, I define it as the everyday pervasive, deep-seated and institutionalized dominance of Christian values, Christian institutions, leaders and Christians as a group, primarily for the benefit of Christian ruling elites. Christian hegemony punishes the poor, destroys the environment, and contributes to our seemingly endless “war on terror”.”
Speaker Leonard Zeskind – explained that “the longer you are in the tea party, the more racist you become. The Tea Parties are a dire and immediate threat. ” He added, “Parents put their kids in private schools because they’re racist.”
Ilana Morris fielded as seminar on ‘Deconstructing Democracies’. The understanding is that Robert’s Rules, are consensus-based – these structures determine whose voices are heard, what participation styles are rewarded, and ultimately, how relationships rooted in oppression directly influence inequitable resource distribution. Democracy is commandeered by those with power and privilege. A new political structure is needed that caters to anti-racist outcomes, equity and social justice.
University of Iowa professor Adrien Wing gave some of her observations about white privilege, asking, “Does having a black president change that? Has it changed that? Unfortunately, it hasn’t. … (President Obama) ends up being the front man for the system. … He works for the master of the system of white privilege.”
The US constitution is painted in a very negative light in this conference. It claims that the constitution was create by white privileged slave holders and is an Anglo-centric, capitalistic, unjust document that leads to social and economic inequity.
"When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already... What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new ‘Veltanschuung’ [world view].'"
Adolf Hitler, Speech November 1933
This conference was sponsored by many of the usual suspects:
- UW Madison
- UW La Crosse
- UW Eau Claire
- Edgewood College
- University of Northern Iowa
- Gustavus Adolphus College
- Madison Area Technical College
There were also a number of religious organizations involved:
- Wisconsin council of church
- United Methodist churches of Wisconsin
- First Congregational United churches of Wisconsin
- MUM (Madison Area urban Ministry)
Miami VA Whistleblower Exposes Drug Dealing, Theft, Abuse
Numerous whistleblowers from within the VA from states like Arizona, Texas, Virginia and Florida have exposed the truly scandalous conditions inside the VA. There appears to be common themes in all of the reports regarding the VA.
- No accountability. Every level of employee from the director, to the doctors to the maintenance crew habitually commits fraud and abuse with impunity. They know that there will be no consequences for bad behavior.
- Decisions are made based solely on politics.
- Cronies are hired for positions that aren’t needed. In some cases dozens of people working at a VA center do nothing that contributes to the operation of the facility.
- The patients are treated as a nuisance.
- When cost cutting is needed, they don’t touch the mountains of bloat, waste, fraud and abuse; they go after the meager patient care.
- Fraud and deception is the rule, not the exception.
- Bureaucratic dysfunction.
- Transparency is only a guise. They show one set of books to the public while keeping another.
- When Obama read about this scandal in the newspaper he was just as upset as when he found out that people couldn’t keep their doctor even if they liked their doctor under Obamacare.
- Use fear and intimidation to keep any reports of impropriety under wraps.
- We have Obama’s word that he will get to the bottom of this and bring the perpetrators to justice (I think I remember hearing that phrase before somewhere…)
- The Democrats still manage to blame Bush for issues at the VA. Note to Democrats: George Bush has been firmly planted at his ranch in Crawford Texas for many years now; somehow you will need to find a new scape goat.
I don't blame Obama for this. This corruption is a natural result of people getting power with no accountability. This corruption is the natural state of government. This is the poster child for why government should never run anything.
And if you like VA care, you will love Obamacare.
The following is taken from CBS in Miami.
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – When asked why he would risk his job and speak publicly, Detective Thomas Fiore considered the question carefully before answering.
“People are dying,” he finally said, “and there are so many things that are going on there that people need to know about.”
Fiore, a criminal investigator for the VA police department in South Florida, contacted CBS4 News hoping to shed light on what he considers a culture of cover-ups and bureaucratic neglect. Among his charges: Drug dealing on the hospital grounds is a daily occurrence.
“Anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin, I’ve come across them all,” he explained.
Even inside the hospital, he says he was stopped from doing his job – investigating reports of missing drugs from the VA pharmacy. When the amount of a particular drug inside the pharmacy doesn’t match the amount that the pharmacy is supposed to have, a report, known as a “discrepancy report” is generated. Normally it was his job to investigate the reports to determine if they were the result of harmless mistakes or criminal activity. But all that changed, he said, about two years ago.
“I was instructed that I was to stop conducting investigations pertaining to controlled substance discrepancies,” he recalled.
He said he was personally told to stop investigating them by the hospital’s chief of staff, Dr. Vincent DeGennaro.
“I have no idea why,” he said. “He’s the chief of staff he doesn’t have to tell me why.”
DeGennaro declined our request for an interview. A spokesman for the VA wrote CBS4 News: “The Miami VA is required to monitor all controlled substances and resolve inventory discrepancies within 72 hours. Any unresolved discrepancies are reported to the Miami VA Healthcare System Director and Controlled Substance Coordinator, VA OIG, DEA and VA Police for independent investigation.”
Fiore said he decided to contact CBS4 News following our report last month on the death of Nicholas Cutter, a 27-year-old Iraq War veteran with PTSD who died from a cocaine overdose inside the Miami VA’s drug rehab center.
Fiore said it was well-known that Cutter was someone who not only abused cocaine but also smuggled it into the hospital. He said he reported it to his superiors in the weeks before Cutter’s death last year but no action was taken. Fiore said he was amazed the staff continued to give him passes to leave the building.
“He would have been number one on my list of people I would want to stay at the facility, not just for his safety but for the safety of all the other veterans that are in the medical center,” he said.
When Cutter’s body was found on June 1st, Fiore said the staff inside the rehab center failed to immediately call him. Cutter’s room should have been considered a crime scene. Instead, the staff bagged up the body and cleaned the room. He said he only learned about the death two days later.
“I was very shocked to be honest with you that I wasn’t called,” he said.
Fiore claims the way the hospital handled Cutter’s death was typical of the way they try to handle most problems. He said they prefer to keep things as quiet as possible rather than fix the problem.
Referring to drug dealing on the hospital grounds, Fiore said, “It’s been a problem for a while, for a very long while.” But administrators refuse to address it.
Fiore said the dealing usually takes place near the front entrance to the hospital, where patients and other gather to smoke. Patients will sometimes sell portions of the prescriptions they just filled. Other individuals will bring illegal drugs onto the grounds to sell. He said he has seen individuals in the drug treatment program time their smoke breaks so they can do downstairs and meet their dealers.
The VA police, who are all sworn federal law enforcement officers, can do little to stop it. The handful of VA police officers who patrol the hospital grounds are easy to spot since they are always in uniform and are well-known to patients.
“The patients know us, they see us every day,” Fiore said. “So I had brought up a plan to bring in somebody from a different facility where these patients don’t know them and basically go undercover into this [drug rehab] program or into this area at least and try to give us some good leads, so we can try to eliminate or reduce the amount of drugs that are coming in there.”
He said it wasn’t simply a matter of trying to make arrests. He said his goal was “to protect the patients.”
Fiore said he even found someone with undercover experience who was ready to do it. He said he presented his plans to his superiors, but never heard back from them.
“I’m still waiting,” he said. “And it’s been a couple of years now.”
A spokesman for the VA said he is not aware of any “significant findings concerning illegal drugs at the Miami VA Healthcare System.”
Fiore said another reason drug dealing became a problem was the lack of working surveillance cameras inside and around the hospital. The lack of security cameras was an issue the Inspector General raised in its report earlier this year into Cutter’s death. They said the cameras had not been working for at least six months prior to Cutter’s overdose.
In fact, Fiore said, the cameras have not worked for at least four years. In 2010 he was assigned the responsibility of conducting a “vulnerability assessment” of the VA facilities in South Florida. He noted the problem with the cameras back then. As a result of his report, he said the Miami VA was allocated money to improve security. He said he believes the amount was somewhere between $2.5 million and $3.5 million.
But he doesn’t know what happened to the money.
“I can tell you it wasn’t spent on cameras or any of the other recommendations that were made in that assessment,” he said, “because they still have yet to be corrected.”
Fiore said in addition to ignoring the drug problem at the hospital, he also believes the hospital fails to address allegations of patient abuse.
“I know that I’ve seen patient abuse in the nursing home,” he said. “I’ve seen patients with just full black and blues, I’ve seen patients with hand marks on their chest; the hand mark doesn’t match theirs. It’s obvious that it is somebody else’s hand mark.”
He said rather than deal with these issues as criminal matters, the hospital handles them administratively. “A lot of times to make the problem go away they just take that individual staff member, they pick them up and they relocate them to a whole different area” of the hospital, Fiore said.
Asked if he agreed with the idea of handling patient abuse cases administratively, Fiore said: “I think any time somebody gets hit, especially an older person who can’t defend themselves, there should be a law enforcement investigation.”
A spokesman for the VA wrote to CBS4 News saying that all cases of patient abuse are taken seriously and staff members are often moved to other parts of the hospital while the investigation is conducted.
A final area of concern for Fiore is theft.
“Theft is rampant,” he said.
He estimates there are millions of dollars in theft every year from the Miami VA, everything from computers to medical equipment.
“We’re talking government property, we’re talking about things the taxpayers are buying,” he said.
Fiore, who served four years in the Marines before joining the VA police department, knows he may be fired for speaking publicly. He said he thought about maybe being an anonymous source, but believed people would be more apt to believe him if they saw he was willing to talk openly.
“Am I scared, absolutely,” he said. “I can’t begin to explain to you how retaliation works within just the Miami VA. They don’t like people who air their dirty laundry.”
He said he hopes his comments will encourage more congressional oversight.
“As a veteran myself,” Fiore said, “I’ll be honest with you I’m just sickened that they would allow this type of stuff to happen to people that have fought for this country.”
If you would like to contact CBS4′s Jim DeFede, his email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hawaii in the news
“Two University of Hawaii at Hilo students say the school violated their right to free speech by stopping them from distributing copies of the U.S. constitution outside a designated free-speech zone.
A federal lawsuit filed Thursday alleges the school excessively restricts the rights of student organizations and limits student speech in open areas of campus.
It says Hilo undergraduate Merritt Burch expressed concerns the free-speech zone was in an area with minimal pedestrian traffic.
The lawsuit says a university staff member replied, "'This isn't really the '60s anymore'" and "'people can't really protest like that anymore.'"
At first I thought that this news story was a joke.
- There is no real free speech allowed on the campus of a public university in the US.
- The designated ‘Free speech zone’ is in a far-off corner of the campus in a swampy area. In other words, the university officials are not interested in a free debate of ideas; they are only interested in indoctrination and propaganda. Students are not allowed to have an independent thought. Their only reason for even having a forsaken postage-stamp area of land designated as a free speech zone is to create the illusion that they allow free speech on campus.
- Free speech and protest is considered to be a relic of the ‘60s. It was fine and good to protest when conservatives ran the university. But now that the progressives are in charge, the diversity of thought is no longer tolerated. Everyone must march in lockstep with dear leader. He knows what is best and is so much smarter than everyone else.
- Handing out a copy of the constitution IS NOT A PROTEST. How could the school officials think that this is anything remotely close to be a protest? The protests in the 60’s included a bomb being set off in a UW Madison building and killing people. The protests in the 60’s left a trail of burning cars and smashed store windows. But yet, the 60’s protest was fine, handing out a copy of the constitution isn’t fine.
- The US constitution is considered to be just too offensive to allow its public consumption; it’s a threat to life as we know it. You can be arrested for having a copy of the constitution by those who have sworn to uphold the constitution.
Sometimes when I get up in the morning and read the news, I wonder how I ended up in North Korea. No, it’s not far-fetched. We are more similar to North Korea than we were 10 years ago.
How is the University of Hawaii similar to the University of Pyongyang?
- No free speech
- Arrest is the consequence for having a thought contrary to the will of university officials
- Independent thought is a threat and must be forcefully stamped out
- Operates a sham organization
- Uses fear and intimidation to maintain power and control
- Image is carefully crafted with the help of the media
- More than happy to tell you what to think, how to think and when to think it
- Information is controlled. The educators and students can not say a word that might express information/thoughts contrary to ‘conventional’ wisdom.
- Both love Dennis Rodman and view him as the virtue of goodness
- Promotes 60's style protest as long as it results in the destruction of capitalism
- Upholds communism and authoritarian control as political ideals
How is the University of Hawaii different from the University of Pyongyang?
- Climate (Hawaii doesn't have much competition)
- Pictures of dear leader not posted in every room
- All students don’t have the state mandated ‘dear leader’ haircut
- I am guessing that Hawaii has a better cafeteria
- There might be more beer, pot and pornography on the Hawaii campus
- Condoms are free on the Hawaii campus. Students are forced to pay for them in North Korea.
- The student in Pyongyang wouldn’t vote for their corrupt leadership if they had a choice
Is the University of Hawaii unique among public US universities? Hardly. The only reason this type of news article did not come out of Madison is that there may be no one brave enough to hand out a copy of the US constitution on the UW Madison campus.
It's not just our deteriorating morals.
A recent research by Cambridge University was completed that reveals just how far humanity has fallen in just a couple of millennia.
The research describes how modern humans have become WEAKLINGS compared with our ancient ancestors who could outrun and outlift today's top athletes and outthink our top students in academia.
- Human leg bones have grown weaker since farming was invented
- Scientists found bone structure declined after agriculture emerged
- Male farmers 7,300 years ago had legs of cross-country runners
- But just 3,000 years later, they had legs comparable to 'sedentary' students
- Brains are 10% smaller in comparison to our ancestors
Even our most highly trained athletes pale in comparison to these ancestors of ours,’ Dr. Colin Shaw told Outside Magazine. ‘We’re certainly weaker than we used to be.’
The study looked at skeletons dating back to around 5,300 BC with the most recent to 850 AD - a time span of 6,150 years.
It then compared the bones to that of Cambridge University students, and found the leg bones of male farmers 5,300 BC were just as good as those of highly-trained cross-country runners.
But just 3,000 years later, the study found our ancestors had leg bone structures closer to that of the Netflix-watching generation.
When our ancestors made the transition from hunter-gatherer societies to agricultural ones, their lower limb strength and overall mobility decreased.
This study confirms an earlier study by Cambridge University which found that mankind is shrinking in size significantly.
Experts say humans are past their peak and that modern-day people are 10 per cent smaller and shorter than their hunter-gatherer ancestors.
And if that’s not depressing enough, our brains are also smaller.
The findings reverse perceived wisdom that humans have grown taller and larger, a belief which has grown from data on more recent physical development.
The decline, said scientists, has happened over the past 10,000 years. They blame agriculture, with restricted diets and urbanisation compromising health and leading to the spread of disease.
The theory has emerged from studies of fossilised human remains found in Africa, Europe and Asia.
‘My results suggest that, following the transition to agriculture in central Europe, males were more affected than females by cultural and technological changes that reduced the need for long-distance travel or heavy physical work,’ said lead researcher Alison Macintosh, from the department of archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University.
‘This also means that, as people began to specialise in tasks other than just farming and food production, such as metalworking, fewer people were regularly doing tasks that were very strenuous on their legs.’
Macintosh used a portable 3D laser surface scanner to study the femurs, or thigh bones, and tibiae, or shin bones, of skeletons from Germany, Hungary, Austria, the Czech Republic and Serbia.
She found that male tibiae became less rigid and the bones of both men and women became less strengthened to loads in one direction more than another.
‘Both sexes exhibited a decline in anteroposterior, or front-to-back, strengthening of the femur and tibia through time, while the ability of male tibiae to resist bending, twisting, and compression declined as well,’ said Macintosh.
She presented her findings at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Calgary, Canada.
These results defy Darwin’s theory that living organisms are evolving, not devolving. His theory maintains that the organisms that are not improving or evolving will die out in favor of the organisms that are evolving. Since the ‘survival of the fittest’ theory isn’t holding water, perhaps a new theory could be put forth called the ‘survival of the unfit’.
The results of this study from Cambridge appear to affirm the theory that humanity is on a long slide downwards. We are deteriorating physically and mentally. The deterioration can be seen in the bone structure, size of the brain and in our DNA. Fortunately, we have technology to aid us in our infirmities.
But this research also begs the question of how much longer does humanity have before even the best technology can’t compensate for the rapid deterioration of humanity.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2614780/How-FARMERS-fitter-athletes-Human-strength-speed-peaked-7-300-years-ago-declining-rapidly.html#ixzz30Hupk3Nx
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
The Kettle Moraine School district will be asking tax payers to approve a $49.6 million referendum on April 1st. Is this reasonable?
- New Richmond opened a new high school in 2013 at a total cost of $17.9 million. It is a state of the art facility with 2 floors and 130,000 sq ft. It is wired with Wi-Fi, security camera at all doors and windows with control of doors remotely.
- The remodeling of the Rice Lake middle school, planning to open in 2015 will cost $20.3 million. It is essentially a re-build of the school with new gymnasium, library, science wing, bus drop-off area, high tech security system, etc.
- The construction costs of the Rivercrest Elementary School totaled $15.4 million in 2008; including the 42 acre parcel of land. It will accommodate 600 students. The Rivercrest Elementary school was considered by some residents to be a monument to the school board because it’s extravagance.
Kettle Moraine could almost do all three of those projects with the funds raised through the referendum.
Are the facilities at KM a little dated? Yes, but functional.
Do the schools at KM feature the latest in high tech security? No, but even the best security measures will not keep students 100% safe. I only expect the school to do a reasonable job of security with the resources that it already has.
Is space cramped at KM? Perhaps, but perhaps the expectations of programs and services are too high.
The passage of the referendum depends on the voters’ view of the role of government. The traditional role of government is frugality; see Grover Cleveland’s second inaugural address. The local school district should provide no more than 80% of the students’ needs at not one dollar more than absolutely necessary to achieve 80%. The parents are the experts in their child’s education, not the school. If the school offers every bell and whistle known to man, the parent is likely to defer to the school and neglect their parenting responsibility; that is simply human nature.
Typically, if the taxpayer knows about the referendum, they vote against it. The referendum in the town of Delafield was voted down three times, before they passed it. The small caveat in this referendum is that it was passed in the dead of night with no visibility. Only a few hundred people voted on the issue. Even then the vote was close. Did the town of Delafield lose any services following the three prior rejections of the referendum? No. The town had provided a reasonable level of services even without a Taj Mahal being built.
A more recent development in US local government is the promotion of extravagance of tax payers’ expense. Local mayors and city council members are building monuments to their own greatness; they might be nice to look at but serve no purpose beyond what a facility at half the cost could provide. This careless approach to governments' largess has resulted in a $18 trillion national debt.
Government, at every level, is a necessary evil. Constant vigilance is needed to insure that the scope of the governmental entity remains small, that its impact is small and its drain on tax payers is small. Tax payers should look to themselves and their neighbors to solve its problems; not to government. This includes education.
KM is providing far more than 80% of the students’ needs. I think that it is time to start cutting, not expanding.
The below is quote from Democratic President Grover Cleveland’s Second Inaugural Address dated Sunday, March 4, 1893.
Laurence Allen "Larry" Elder is a lawyer, columnist, author, actor, political commentator and a radio and television personality who calls himself the "Sage of South Central" and the "Prince of Pico Yoon" , both districts of Los Angeles, California. His radio program ‘The Larry Elder Show’ airs on talk radio 790 KABC in Los Angeles. He spent some time acting in Hollywood; playing himself on the sitcoms Spin City and The Hughleys.
He generally leans libertarian, with a strong belief in limited government, de-centralized power, self-reliance and self-discipline. He supports free trade, school choice, same-sex marriage, legalized drugs and abortion rights. He opposes the income tax and supports the Second amendment.
Generally, he attacks politicians on both sides of the isle.
Recently he had an exchange on Facebook with a liberal former classmate; member of the NAACP. Elder produced a response that was firm, thought provoking, non defensive and gracious.
Ex-Classmate: “Uncle Tom in its purest form, that’s Larry Elder, you hate your own people, need your a– kicked. … I remember you from Crenshaw High. Your politics are so predictable. Man, you’re such a phony. White folks don’t accept you like you assume. When I lived in Orange County, you were kind of a joke.”
Elder: “Generally, I don’t respond to insults, but since you are a fellow Crenshaw Cougar, I’m giving you a little time.
“Funny, I don’t remember you. What that says about the impression you made, I’ll leave up to you.
“What do I care if ‘white folks don’t accept me’ – whatever that means? I’m not running for president of ‘white folks.’ I have friends, relatives and co-workers who manage to tolerate me.
“I’m sure you’ve done well in life, well enough to take time to tell me how I’ve mismanaged mine.
“Nor does it hurt my feelings to hear what you’ve said about me. I look at people like you the way I look at an otherwise friendly dog, taught viciousness by its owner. You’ve been trained to see disagreement over the kind of issues I discuss as somehow threatening to your well-being.
“That I see the world differently from you warrants the kind of silly put-downs in your post? Really? You say, ‘When I lived in OC, you were kind of a joke.’ Meaning, exactly what? That when you said my name out loud people fell down in laughter? Meaning, a scientific poll was conducted by field researchers showing that OC residents considered Larry Elder a ‘joke’? (For the record, my highest program ratings are in OC.)
“The formula for life – to me and my parents – is simple, if hard to implement. Work hard. Don’t make excuses. When things go wrong, ask whether I could have done something different, something better.
“Now, you’ll write back. Everybody does. And when I don’t respond – because of how I choose to invest my valuable time – you’ll call me another series of juvenile names and tell your friends and relatives that Elder’s not responding because you ‘won the argument.’ Hey, if it makes you feel better, go for it.
“You can always call in to my show, and we can do this for real – if you have the cashews. Call from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Tell my screener that we’ve chatted on Facebook.
“Take care, Bro. Too bad they indoctrinated you and turned you into a sad, simple, sputtering name-caller. Winners don’t see a need to put others down to elevate themselves.
“That’s a job for victicrats – those who blame others for their ‘plight.’ To find the real source of your plight, report to the nearest mirror.”
This provoked interesting Facebook comments.
TG: “Larry, I’m white and live in Orange County. And to be honest I read your posts all the time and always watch when you’re on TV. I truly didn’t realize or even give it a second thought that you were black. Does it matter? I like your views and think you’re an intelligent man. Would truly like to see you in politics. Keep up the good work, we need more people like you. Regardless of color.”
KV: “Is that why we have ‘Larry Elder for President’ bumper-stickers on our cars? I would give five years of my life to have Larry even one term as president. May God bless Larry and all who try to make sense to a twisted liberal world.”
ML: “That reply rocked, Larry. And surprise, surprise, to your former racist classmate, there are many white people who could care less that you are black. I care that you recognize the Democratic Party is the party of social enslavement and social injustice all hidden underneath their plastic self-righteous smiles and slanderous anti-Republican rants. You, sir, speak for Americans – not just a race – and your values are the same as mine. … You are like a drink of clear, fresh, cool water in this age of media lies and censorship! Thanks for keeping it real!”
LP: “So sick of the black and white thing. Tired of blacks who see what is really happening and speaking out, being reduced to ‘Uncle Toms’ because they think for themselves. I admire the man or woman who can discern the depth of the crushing politics that is being played out here in America no matter their origin, race or religion.”
Several hundred comments later, he still hadn’t heard back from my former classmate. He wrote again.
This time his Ex-classmate replied, but the tone of his voice had changed.
Ex-Classmate: “I apologize, for the name calling, Mr. Elder. I’ve had cancer. It’s left me somewhat bitter. Man, I’m sorry for coming at you like that.”
Elder: “Apology accepted. Be well.”
Revised, based on old information that was new to me.
I haven't posted anything in a while and I thought of launching my 2014 blogs with commentary on an old story.
American Atheists’ Pennsylvania State Director Ernest Perce was assaulted for wearing a “zombie Muhammad” costume and proclaimed that he was the Prophet Muhammad risen from the dead at the Oct, 11, 2011, Zombie event in Mechanicsburg, Pa. A “zombie pope” was also featured in the parade that night.
The Scranton Atheism Examiner reports that Perce participated in the event when Talaag Elbayomy, a Muslim, stormed out of the crowd and assaulted Perce, grabbing a sign around his neck and pulling until the strings choked him.
Talaag Elbayomy was pulled off of Perce and arrested by nearby officers. Elbayomy – who said he believed it was illegal to mock Muhammad – was charged with harassment. He denied touching Perce at trial, but Officer Bryan Curtis said Elbayomy admitted grabbing Perce’s sign and beard the night of the incident. Witnesses also claim seeing Elbayomy attack Perce.
Mechanicsburg Police Officer Bryan Curtis told Pennsylvania’s WHTM-TV, “Mr. Perce has the right to do what he did that evening, and the defendant in this case was wrong in what he did in confronting him.”
The case of Perce vs Elbayomy was brought before District Judge Mark Martin. Following a short trial, Judge Martin dismissed the case against Elbayomy.
The lawyer for Perce was shocked by the verdict. He said, “I believe that I brought a case that showed proof beyond a reasonable doubt, and the case was dismissed, and I was disappointed.”
At the reading of the final verdict, the judge took the opportunity to lecture Perce, Officer Bryan Curtis and the prosecuting attorney.
"Well, having had the benefit of having spent over two-and-a-half years in predominantly Muslim countries, I think I know a little bit about the faith of Islam. In fact, I have a copy of the Quran here, and I would challenge you, Sir, to show me where it says in the Quran that Muhammad arose and walked among the dead. I think you misinterpreted a couple of things. So before you start mocking somebody else’s religion, you might want to find out a little more about it. It kind of makes you look like a doofus. …
In many other Muslim-speaking countries, err, excuse me, many Arabic-speaking countries, predominantly Muslim, something like this is definitely against the law there, in their society. In fact, it could be punished by death, and frequently is, in their society.
Here in our society, we have a Constitution that gives us many rights, specifically First Amendment rights. It’s unfortunate that some people use the First Amendment to deliberately provoke others. I don’t think that’s what our forefathers intended. I think our forefathers intended to use the First Amendment so we can speak with our mind, not to p— off other people and cultures – which is what you did.
I don’t think you’re aware, Sir, there’s a big difference between how Americans practice Christianity – I understand you’re an atheist – but see Islam is not just a religion. It’s their culture, their culture, their very essence, their very being. They pray five times a day toward Mecca. To be a good Muslim before you die, you have to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, unless you’re otherwise told you cannot because you’re too ill, too elderly, whatever, but you must make the attempt. Their greeting is ‘Salam alaikum, wa-laikum as-Salam,’ uh, ‘May God be with you.’
Whenever it is very common, their language, when they’re speaking to each other, it’s very common for them to say, uh, Allah willing, this will happen. It’s, they’re so immersed in it. And what you’ve done is, you’ve completely trashed their essence, their being. They find it very, very, very offensive. I’m 'NOT' a Muslim. I find it offensive. I find what’s on the other side of this [sign] very offensive. (Editor’s note: Reverse of sign said, “Only Muhammad can rape America!) But you have that right, but you are way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights. …
I’ve spent about seven years living in other countries. When we go to other countries, it’s not uncommon for people to refer to us as ‘ugly Americans.’ This is why we hear it referred to as ‘ugly Americans,’ because we’re so concerned about our own rights, we don’t care about other people’s rights. As long as we get our say, but we don’t care about the other people’s say."
The judge later added, “Because there was not, it is not proven to me beyond a reasonable doubt that this defendant is guilty of harassment, therefore, I am going to dismiss the charge.”
Carl Silverman of the Parading Atheists of Central Pennsylvania told WHTM-TV, “We understand that Muslims are extremely sensitive. But this is America, and you need to get over the sensitivity and take out your opposition in peaceful ways – not by attacking people physically.
Officer Curtis is Catholic and claims he didn’t even consider attacking the person wearing the ‘Zombie Pope’ costume. “But if I did assault that person, I would not have received the preferential treatment that Mr. Elbayomy had received… even if the Judge was Catholic.”
This judge did Muslims no favor by removing any standard of basic human conduct. By allowing objectivity to be trampled and excusing conduct that is below expectations of human decency and civility, he is encouraging more of that behavior.
Life lesson: The greatest gift that you can give your fellow man is to hold them to high standards of behavior, thought and conduct.
Some of the comments on YouTube were insightful. To paraphrase: Tthe judge would have been compelled to do the same as the defendant did in this case. His closing statement celebrates the assault and justifies violence in the name of Islam. It belittles the victim and praises all those who are terminally incapable of critical judgment and self-restraint. Why didn't the Judge ask the Muslim, “why did you, a devout Muslim, go to a pagan parade and not expect to end up religiously insulted?” It’s like hanging out at a bar and then claiming to be offended by alcohol and attacking the bartender.
Nelson Mandela passed away with great fanfare earlier this month. Since then the media and pundits have combed through his beliefs, statements and actions that have set him apart from others.
One of the sources of great anguish for Mandela was dealing with a Johannesburg media that was sympathetic to apartheid and politically attached to the Botha and De Klerk governments. The abuses by the government were not covered by the media and anyone who protested against the apartheid government was demonized by the media.
Mandela did not receive fair treatment by the South African media. As a result of his experiences, he made a statement that should be hung in the office of every TV, radio or newspaper.
“A critical, independent and investigative press is the lifeblood of any democracy. The press must be free from state interference. It must have the economic strength to stand up to the blandishments of government officials. It must have sufficient independence from vested interests to be bold and inquiring without fear or favor. It must enjoy the protection of the constitution, so that it can protect our rights as citizens.”
If you had the misfortune of watching ‘Hardball with Chris Matthews’ doing the interview of president Obama you will come to inescapable conclusion that this news program represents political pandering at its very worst. It is not critical, independent or investigative. The sole purpose of the broadcast is to gain favor with this administration.
Yes, that Obama thrill is still running up Chris' leg.
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) technique, developed by Edwards and his colleague Dr Patrick Steptoe, resulted in the birth of the first "test-tube baby" in 1978. The technique has since become commonplace and is now used in the conception of some one to two per cent of babies in the Western world. IVF was once considered to be controversial.
Britain plans to lead the world again in embryo development and is set to become the first country in the world to allow a controversial IVF technique that produces embryos with DNA from three people in an attempt to rid some affected families of serious genetic disorders. If Parliament gives the go-ahead, it would mean that Britain would also be the first nation to allow a form of “germ-line gene therapy”, where the DNA of all subsequent generations within a family is changed in order to eradicate inherited diseases.
The rate of rise in genetics defects is alarming. Changes in embryo development are needed; the changes to existing law are paramount to clear a path to promote healthy mitochondrial DNA. With a larger group of people contributing to the gene pool, the chances of reproducing faulty (mutated) DNA is small. All participants in the gene pool may have faulty DNA, but the faults are not all in the same areas. The Government’s Chief Medical Officer, Dame Sally Davies, said that legislation to allow the use of mitochondrial replacement could be passed by Parliament at the end of next year with the first IVF babies resulting from the technique being born within two years.
Alison Murdoch, professor of reproductive medicine at Newcastle University, which is pioneering mitochondrial replacement in IVF procedures, welcomed the decision to introduce legislation to allow it.
“This is great news for UK science and gives hope to women who just want a healthy baby. The UK government has made a moral decision,” Professor Murdoch said.
“What we are starting to do now is to develop the regulations, consult on these regulations and then to take them into Parliament… I hope then to go forward and we’ll be the first country if we do,” Dame Sally said.
Inherited defects within the mitochondria – the tiny “power packs” of the cells – affect about one in 6,500 people. “Mitochondrial diseases can have a devastating impact on the people who inherit it,” she said.
However, a more mild form of defective mtDNA affects 1 in 15 people. These defects include bi-Polar disorders, OCD, autism, mental health, gastro-intestinal defects, asthma, allergies and other quality of life issues.
“People who have it live with debilitating illness, and women who are affected face passing it on to their children. Scientists have developed ground-breaking new procedures which could stop these diseases being passed on,” she added.
The technique involves transferring the nuclear material of an affected mother’s egg cell into the donor egg of an unaffected woman, whose healthy mitochondria will then be passed on to the IVF baby.
This means that the baby will inherit DNA from three biological “parents” – the mother, the father and the donor woman – but scientists emphasized that less than 0.1 per cent of the baby’s genes will come from the donor in the form of mitochondrial DNA.
Children born from the technique will not be given the right to know the identity of the individuals who had donated to the DNA and they will not be officially recognized as a parent, Dame Sally said.
The technique will also mean that all subsequent generations of children born to girls resulting from the procedure would also carry the mitochondrial changes. In Britain, such germ-line gene therapy has been banned and Dame Sally emphasized that there are no plans to lift this ban in the case of nuclear DNA.
“It is the germ-line of your mitochondria that goes down [the generations] but that is quite separate from the DNA of the nucleus which is what makes us what we are… There is no intention of doing anything with the nuclear DNA,” Dame Sally said.
“I am comfortable with this. I think we will save the babies born with ghastly diseases and [to an] early death without changing how they look or behave, and it will allow mothers to have their own babies, which at the moment they cannot.”
She added that all children born from the technique will be closely monitored by doctors during their lives for signs of any ill-effects resulting from the IVF procedure, although she emphasized that there is no evidence from animal studies that it can cause medical problems.
“I have to rely on the advice of scientists and what I hear from scientists whom I can trust is that this looks pretty safe. We have no evidence that it is unsafe,” she said. More importantly, science must find a way to stem the avalanche of mtDNA mutations to preserve a quality of life for our children and grandchildren.
DNA, the string of nucleic acids found in and essential to all living cells, contains more than just the information necessary to code for various metabolic proteins. DNA holds information capable of delineating its own history. Not only can DNA show relationship between two individuals or species, it can provide the information necessary to estimate how long ago the two individuals or species in question shared a common ancestor. The method by which DNA is duplicated and passed on to daughter cells makes it ideal for tracing this history.
Ideally, after a cell has replicated its DNA, each chromosome will have produced another identical chromosome. For the most part, this is true; the machinery used to replicate DNA strands is exceedingly accurate. However, the machinery occasionally makes a mistake. The likelihood that a mistake will be made in the same spot the next time replication occurs is incredibly small. Thus, the error will be passed along to subsequent generations of daughter cells. Over time, DNA will accumulate more and more errors, which have two uses for genetic researchers. The first is that they can be used to establish relatedness between individuals or species. The second is that assuming a constant rate of error, or mutation, the amount of time required for a certain number of mutations to accumulate can be calculated, and therefore, the time since the two species diverged can also be calculated.
mtDNA can be used to count the generation by the markers that remain in the inherited mtDNA. The proposed method of embryo fertilization will alter the markers typically used to determine ancestries and family line.
The preferred method of determining the generations between common ancestors to all humans lies in the mutation rate of mtDNA. The DNA found in mitochondria has several advantages over nuclear DNA. First, mtDNA is inherited maternally. A direct maternal inheritance easily allows relationships to be established. Also, mitochondrial genes do not undergo a shuffle with each generation as nuclear chromosomes do (Zimmer 2001:32). This means that the differences between the mtDNA of a mother and her offspring can only be due to random mutation, which, as stated above, can be used to establish relatedness when the rate is taken to be constant.
There is debate over the ethics of this new therapy. A common protest, "This is messing with mother nature." But I am of the opinion that if we can use technology to improve the lives of people, then it would be immoral not to use technology.
- Venezuela: the liberal utopia (0)
- ISIS (0)
- The problem that Israel poses for Democrats (0)
- War with China (0)
- Owen Paterson and the big green blob (0)
- The immigration issue (0)
- The rise of ISIS (0)
- IRS; the multipurpose vindictive tool (0)
- The FDA and cheese (0)
- New EPA regulations (0)
- More The Engineering Perspective posts