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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bush's bad ideas shot down again.

In 2003 Bush introduced his "clear skies act" which would increase the amount of pollution that power plants and industry could release into the air, sometimes by millions of tone more than the "clean air act" of 1963. His bill requested that polluters (his contributor base) volunteer to cut emissions but didn't have any means with with to make them comply. It called for more rapid deforestation of our forests as well. in other words, it was bush's usual "opposite world" where he names something for the exact opposite of what it does. like the "patriot act" which one would assume would make you a patriot if you wanted to give up your right to a speedy trial and to hear the evidence against you. it would make you a patriot if you agreed that spying on americnas without a warrant is just fine. or you'd be a patriot if you thought that "sneak and peak" (entering your home and searching without you ever finding out)was constitutional and no infringement on your right to privacy. These are all in the patriot act. and good "patriotic" idiots all over america waved the flag in support of this fascist legislation without even knowing what was in it. thinking, oh it's can't happen to me. yet news paper reporters all over america have been spied on and the CIA has "apologized". gee thanks. anti-war protesters have also been targeted like common criminals. The quakers were infiltrated by a government spy! it's unbelievable! This fascist administration doesn't take dissent well and would round up everyone who disagreed with it if it could. and it's been working on it. with full support of John McCain. the only republican speaking out against this power grab has been Arlen Spector, who if you listen to you will know is quite a constitutional scholar, and still he votes party line almost every time. big words, no guts. So now we have a DC federal appeals court (because bush wouldn't take no for an answer when it came to letting polluters pollute) has once against knocked Bush down. If you don't think pollution is a problem, just look at what China just went through to get the air breathable enough for the athletes. remember Los Angeles in the 60's and 70's before the effects of the Clean Air Act started to make a difference. I lived there then. we didn't have "storm warnings" and "blizzard warnings" to keep us home from school. we had "bad air" warnings and we missed school because it was unsafe to leave the house. Anyone else from here live down there then? This may seem like a trivial matter but what is more basic than being able to breath? drinking water and eating is all i can think of and those things are getting sickening in some places too.

"A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out an Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting the ability of states to require monitoring of industrial emissions. The 2-to-1 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is the most recent in a series of judicial setbacks to the Bush administration's efforts to reshape federal policies under the Clean Air Act. Under 1990 amendments to the original Clean Air Act, states were allowed to issue permits limiting pollution emissions from industrial facilities, like refineries or utilities. To ensure compliance, Congress required states to set more stringent monitoring requirements if they deemed federal requirements inadequate."

The Electoral College (Wayne Parker )

Electoral College Myths

Every presidential election cycle we hear the same uninformed opinions about the Electoral College.

Some say that it was intended to ensure “Proportional representation.” Others, that it was intended to “limit the influence of the more populous states.” Still others insist that the popular vote is pointless, since “a small group of electors actually chooses the president.”

From reading James Madison’s notes on the original Constitutional Convention, it is clear that there was great disagreement about how to choose the nation’s “chief executive.” Some distrusted the masses, and wanted either the state governments or the federal legislature to make the selection.

Others DID trust the people, but believed that it would not be possible for presidential candidates to reach so many people on any kind of meaningful level.

This latter group won the day (and no, it wasn’t a “compromise.” A compromise means that each side gives up some of what it wants, but the agreement that was made was satisfactory to all parties concerned.)

What was decided on was that each state would choose its own group of electors. And, IN ORDER TO ENSURE THAT EACH STATE HAD AN INFLUENCE EQUAL TO ITS PROPORTION OF THE OVERALL POPULATION OF THE COUNTRY, that is to say “democracy,” the number of electors assigned to each was based upon its total number of congressional delegates. For instance, Mississippi has four congressional districts and two senators. Consequently, it is assigned six electors. Since the Constitution allows for a maximum of 1 congressional representative for every 30,000 people, it can be seen that as each state’s population grew, its congressional delegation was expected to grow also, thus ensuring that each state’s representation was proportional to its population in relation to the rest of the country. Although this was, in fact, “proportional representation,” this was a RESULT of the means of determining the number of electors for each state. It was NOT the primary purpose of the Electoral College.

Since each state’s electors would be acting on behalf of their state’s populace, like that populace, they were expected to vote their own consciences for the candidates they felt were the most qualified. That is to say, rather then staging popular elections, each state’s electors would vote in place of the state’s populace.

The reason so many people (including Dr. Walter Williams, a syndicated columnist and libertarian supporter) believe that the Electoral College was intended to limit the power of the more populous states is the result of the arbitrary limitation on the number of members allowed in the House of Representatives. This limit was established by law in 1911, presumably to prevent that body from becoming unmanageably large.

Since the total number of congressional representatives was to be limited, and the number of electors assigned to each state was still the same as the number of its congressional delegates, the larger, faster growing states’ congressional delegation could not increase by the same proportion as its populace, since to do so might require depriving smaller states of any representation at all. Consequently, the number of electors assigned to the faster-growing states likewise failed to keep up with their growth.

Basically, the fact that the Electoral College now DOES limit the influence of larger states is the result of a law passed 120 years or so after ratification of the Constitution, and so could not have been the Founders’ intent.

The last myth that needs exploding is the notion that “a small group of electors nullifies the popular vote.” This demonstrates ignorance not only of how things work today, but how they were supposed to work originally.

Recall that I stated earlier that each elector was EXPECTED to vote his conscience. The very fact that he’d been chosen as an elector meant that his judgment and wisdom were trusted and so he was expected to use his abilities in making his choice. Once all electors’ votes were cast, these votes would be collected and sent to the House of Representatives to be counted.

The way it works now is that each party that has candidates for president and vice-president on the ballot in a state would pick its OWN electors, and whichever pair of candidates won the popular vote would send all of its electors’ votes, for THEIR candidates of course, to be counted.

Thus, the popular vote, in each state at least, DOES select the president and vice-president.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

t r u t h o u t | Adult Stem Cell Treatment Ready for Human Testing?

    Doctors might soon be able to regrow injured muscles, tendons and bones without invasive surgery, simply by injecting a person's own stem cells into the site of an injury. Veterinarians are already doing it with injured horses, and research into human applications is well under way.

    The National Institutes for Health seem to think regenerating human muscle and bone using a person's own adult stem cells is nearly ready for prime time. Last week, the NIH announced to its staff that it's creating a bone marrow-stem cell transplant center within the National Institute for Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

    Researchers at the NIH labs in Bethesda, Maryland, are already growing human muscle, cartilage and spinal disks in vitro. The tissue isn't mechanically sound yet, says lead researcher Rocky Tuan, but that will come with further work.

    "I have a piece of tissue that looks like a spinal disc, a sand bag, tough as nails on the outside and like sand on the inside," says Tuan, a Ph.D. and the senior investigator in the Cartilage and Orthopedics branch of the NIAMS. "The mechanical properties are lousy, but it's a beginning."

    While the use of stem cells harvested from human embryos has been getting the most media attention, scientists and doctors have also been working with adult stem cells that also have the ability to become one with their environment and to replicate as cells of their adopted tissue. Using adult stem cells - grown inside the body or in the lab - has become accepted in the veterinary community, and horses have benefited greatly. Researchers are working to bring those same benefits to humans, but there are still hurdles left to clear.

    The NIH project comes in part from what veterinarians have learned from injecting adult stem cells into valuable horses who've suffered injuries. In many cases, those horses' careers were saved when the stem cells regrew damaged tendons and ligaments.

    Rodrigo Vazquez, a Southern California veterinarian, has been using adult stem cells to regrow damaged muscles in horses for several years. It's a fairly common procedure in the veterinary arena, and the results are impressive: One of Vazquez's patients is participating in this year's Olympics Dressage events; another is a prize-winning jumper.

    The procedure is simple and straightforward. Inside a surgical suite at his equine hospital, Vazquez removes blood full of adult stem cells from the sternum of the anesthetized horse.

    Then he rolls his stool to the other end of the horse, where ultrasound data has helped guide needles into the exact areas on the rear leg where the beautiful horse's ligaments are torn. He injects the stem cells into those spots.

    "A few years ago, these injuries were career-ending," Vazquez says. Not any more. "In a month, the torn tissue will be completely regrown and healed."

the full story at truthout:

t r u t h o u t | Adult Stem Cell Treatment Ready for Human Testing?

Voting Machines Can Never Be Trusted, Says GOP Computer Security Expert | Democracy and Elections | AlterNet

In an interview from October, 2006, that has only now seen the light of day, Stephen Spoonamore, one of the world's leading experts in cyber crime and a self-described "life-long Republican" destroys Diebold's already non-existent credibility.

Spoonamore lays it out for anyone to see and understand. If you care about America and it's survival as a democratic republic, you'll watch this interview.

Segment 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAyEfovA404
Segment 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vTBLfgos5b8
Segment 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzKbigGoMoo
Segment 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vNvweInGFs
Segment 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rX8fRwsTpoQ
Segment 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9Kq4dxPwY8
Segment 7: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsgY4_BB2lo
Segment 8: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jy1sz-xBxf8

Voting Machines Can Never Be Trusted, Says GOP Computer Security Expert | Democracy and Elections | AlterNet

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bush new Saddam wasn't a threat and went to war anyway.

In October of 2002, 5 months before Bush sent our troops into Iraq, he received from his 16 top intelligence agencies a report. In that report he was told that Saddam didn't have any nuclear capabilities at that time and that the only way he would use chemical or biological weapons against americans is if he were first attacked. But 7 days later, after Bush got this report, he said "we don't want the smoking gun to come in the form of a mushroom cloud". he knew it wasn't true when he said it. he said that "saddam has the capability to hit america in 45 minutes". this was another lie to convince the American people into war with Iraq. A country that the intelligence agencies were telling him were no threat against America whatsoever unless we attacked him first. the report "judged" that saddam had wmd but that he wouldn't use them unless he was attacked. the evidence they received this information from was from a source called "curveball" whom the german and english intelligence agencies told us was unstable and a known fabricator. no other source gave evidence of wmd. yet this administration, knowing the reputation of this source, used this information to scare people into going to war with Iraq. As we've found out since, and as we knew before from a report from Hanz Blix, there were no wmd and no reconstitution of any wmd programs. Bush knew this and still we went to war. This man sent our soldiers off to die for a war that he claimed was self defense because saddam was a threat to america, and it wasn't true. here is the part of the report dealing with saddam and the likelihoods he would attack america.

Public Record Oct, 2002 National Intelligence estimate.
(The claim Bush made in one of his speeches that Saddam had unmanned areal vehicles that could strike within the U.S.)
* Baghdad's UAVs could threaten Iraq's neighbors, U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf, and if brought close to, or into, the United States, the U.S. Homeland.

o An Iraqi UAV procurement network attempted to procure commercially available route planning software and an associated topographic database that would be able to support targeting of the United States, according to analysis of special intelligence.

o The Director, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, U.S. Air Force, does not agree that Iraq is developing UAVs primarily intended to be delivery platforms for chemical and biological warfare (CBW) agents. The small size of Iraq's new UAV strongly suggests a primary role of reconnaissance, although CBW delivery is an inherent capability.

(remember now, Bush knew this before his January 2003 state of the union speech when he repeated this.)

* Iraq is developing medium-range ballistic missile capabilities, largely through foreign assistance in building specialized facilities, including a test stand for engines more powerful than those in its current missile force.

We have low confidence in our ability to assess when Saddam would use WMD.

* Saddam could decide to use chemical and biological warfare (CBW) preemptively against U.S. forces, friends, and allies in the region in an attempt to disrupt U.S. war preparations and undermine the political will of the Coalition.

* Saddam might use CBW after an initial advance into Iraqi territory, but early use of WMD could foreclose diplomatic options for stalling the US advance.

* He probably would use CBW when be perceived he irretrievably had lost control of the military and security situation, but we are unlikely to know when Saddam reaches that point.

* We judge that Saddam would be more likely to use chemical weapons than biological weapons on the battlefield.

* Saddam historically has maintained tight control over the use of WMD; however, he probably has provided contingency instructions to his commanders to use CBW in specific circumstances.

Baghdad for now appears to be drawing a line short of conducting terrorist attacks with conventional or CBW against the United States, fearing that exposure of Iraqi involvement would provide Washington a stronger cause for making war.

Iraq probably would attempt clandestine attacks against the U.S. Homeland if Baghdad feared an attack that threatened the survival of the regime were imminent or unavoidable, or possibly for revenge. Such attacks--more likely with biological than chemical agents--probably would be carried out by special forces or intelligence operatives.

* The Iraqi Intelligence Service (IIS) probably has been directed to conduct clandestine attacks against US and Allied interests in the Middle East in the event the United States takes action against Iraq. The US probably would be the primary means by which Iraq would attempt to conduct any CBW attacks on the US Homeland, although we have no specific intelligence information that Saddam's regime has directed attacks against US territory.

remember when bush said this in his 2003 state of the union address?
"Our intelligence sources tell us that he has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear weapons production."

Here is what the NIE told him before he made that statement:

"Although we assess that Saddam does not yet have nuclear weapons or sufficient material to make any, he remains intent on acquiring them. Most agencies assess that Baghdad started reconstituting its nuclear program about the time that UNSCOM inspectors departed--December 1998."

Bush claimed that Saddam was not disarming. That his intelligence agencies were telling him that.
"The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary; he is deceiving. From intelligence sources we know, for instance, that thousands of Iraqi security personnel are at work hiding documents and materials from the U.N. inspectors, sanitizing inspection sites and monitoring the inspectors themselves. Iraqi officials accompany the inspectors in order to intimidate witnesses."

Unfortunately for Bush, Hans Blix was that intelligence source and he told Bush that he hadn't found ANY wmd of any kind. And that to achieve certainty he wouldn't need years or days, but months. Bush immediately shut down the inspectors in Iraq when he got this news. Why would a man who doesn't want war shut down inspections that are proving that the man he's so afraid of can't hurt him? Here is what Hanz Blix told the UN security counsel on March 7th before Bush invaded Iraq on March 19th:(this is one reason the UN did not authorize war with Iraq):
Inspections in Iraq resumed on 27 November 2002. In matters relating to process, notably prompt access to sites, we have faced relatively few difficulties and certainly much less than those that were faced by UNSCOM in the period 1991 to 1998. This may well be due to the strong outside pressure.
Some practical matters, which were not settled by the talks, Dr. ElBaradei and I had with the Iraqi side in Vienna prior to inspections or in resolution 1441 (2002), have been resolved at meetings, which we have had in Baghdad. Initial difficulties raised by the Iraqi side about helicopters and aerial surveillance planes operating in the no-fly zones were overcome. This is not to say that the operation of inspections is free from frictions, but at this juncture we are able to perform professional no-notice inspections all over Iraq and to increase aerial surveillance."
"There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction," said Hans Blix, the Swedish diplomat called out of retirement to serve as the United Nations' chief weapons inspector from 2000 to 2003"

so why did bush say that saddam was not cooperating with the inspectors and he was deceiving them? If you really didn't want to go to war, wouldn't this be the exact kind of news you'd want to hear? Yeay! we don't have to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of human beings! there are no signs of weapons! But that's not what Bush did, when he found out that Blix and his inspectors weren't finding anything, he shut them down and took "disarmament" into his own hands. Why would he do that?

Bush claimed that intelligence told him that there were mobile bio and chemical weapons (bcw) in his speech.
Bush sotu speech:
From three Iraqi defectors we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs. These are designed to produce germ warfare agents, and can be moved from place to a place to evade inspectors. Saddam Hussein has not disclosed these facilities. He's given no evidence that he has destroyed them.

But Blix, 12 days before had said:
"As I noted on 14 February, intelligence authorities (from that one source, curveball) have claimed that weapons of mass destruction are moved around Iraq by trucks and, in particular, that there are mobile production units for biological weapons...
...Food testing mobile laboratories and mobile workshops have been seen, as well as large containers with seed processing equipment. No evidence of proscribed activities have so far been found. Iraq is expected to assist in the development of credible ways to conduct random checks of ground transportation."

more to come... i want any of you to explain this away with out right wing talking points. i want to see the evidence. These excerpts are from official UN, NIE and White house documentation. They cannot be disputed honestly. only through spin or cherry picking without giving the whole picture including this evidence. you can find a line that says "saddam has wmd" but if the next line is "he wouldn't use it unless he were attacked" you're leaving out the most important part of the assessment. let's be honest now and assess this and come up with reasons that bush would overlook what was really said in the nie and totally ignore what hans blix was saying before he invaded iraq with the lives of potentially millions at stake.