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201  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Cardiomyopathy due to climate change on: April 05, 2014, 06:31:51 AM
Where does the liberal slant end?   Even Takotsubo syndrome is due to global climate change -  and all "natural disasters" are due to climate change.  They never existed before.  Now they are all man made angry

*****By Rachel Hochhauser April 3, 2014 5:45 AM The Daily Beast
 
Broken Hearts Can Kill You

Day-to-day heartache doesn’t hold a candle to scientifically proven heartbreak—a real thing called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Turns out, your cardiac muscle can temporarily enlarge and weaken, and what’s more, the number of diagnoses is growing, leading a team of researchers to examine the cause. They found a surprising correlation that has the power to impact each and every one of us, even if you think you’ve got heart health on lock.

First described in Japan, broken heart syndrome got its name because a diagnosed patient’s left ventricle balloons to resemble the shape of an octopus trap. In non-doctor speak, the condition is essentially an impermanent weakening of the heart, often triggered by extreme emotional or physical stress—anything from losing a job to surviving a tsunami. Some physicians postulate a similarity to the fight-or-flight response; stress hormones paralyze the heart, affecting muscle tissues and blood vessels, and impede proper contraction of the left ventricle.

Patients with the condition may experience chest pain, shortness of breath, and other false evidence, such as biomarkers and electrocardiogram changes, bearing the markers of a cardiac arrest.

Though some studies have been conducted internationally, the latest research from the University of Arkansas—which explores a synergy between natural disasters and cases of cardiomyopathy—is unlike any other stateside. Dr. Sadip Pant, an internist at the university and the lead investigator of the report, explains, “This is the first study of its kind in the country.  We have so many hurricanes and storms…but not one has described the spiking of the cases after natural disasters.”

His team used a nationwide hospital discharge database to identify a group of more than 20,000 diagnosed cases. When they mapped them out geographically, the results indicated “clusters” of broken heart syndrome patients around sites of recent tragedies. Essentially, the data illustrates a notably larger number of reported cases in areas that had seen a natural disaster.

Missouri and Vermont possessed the highest number of reported cases, and the latter, with 380 cases per million residents, had more than double most other states. The data came from the same year Hurricane Irene wreaked the worst havoc Vermont had seen in decades. Similarly, the “cluster” in Missouri occurred near the site of 2011’s massive Joplin tornado. And while there might have been a number of other factors affecting these results, the general research takeaway suggests natural disasters can strongly contribute to cardiomyopathy.

The correlation was first noticed after the 2004 earthquake in Japan, and since then plenty of other global examples have popped up on the radar. Dr. Pant says, “There have been cases reported from Australia after the great flooding. Similarly, people from France described increasing cases after a village burned down.”

Looking at the bigger picture, the study’s implications are significant when viewed in light of the increasing number of natural disasters on the whole.  According to a 2013 report from the New England Journal of Medicine, the scale of these events is expanding, with three times as many from 2000 through 2009 versus those recorded from 1980 through 1989. Climate-related events account for nearly 80% of the increase, indicating that climate change may affect our health in more ways than we anticipated. The journal also notes that since 1990, “natural disasters have affected about 217 million people every year,” which just goes to show the importance of furthering our understanding of medical heartbreak.

As if you needed another reason to worry about global warming.

Climate changes aside, there are smaller immediate shifts we can make today, namely prepping response teams for future catastrophic incidents. Dr. Pant’s most important takeaway is the need for further education amongst physicians. Emergency room staff—often the first to see patients affected by natural disasters—and cardiologists need the background knowledge required to properly diagnose the syndrome, because its symptoms usually resemble those of a heart attack. Misidentification of the problem means a delayed legitimate diagnosis—no small thing when it comes to matters of the heart. While the syndrome is largely reversible, Takotsubo also requires careful attention during its acute phase.

Dr. Pant says, “It’s really important to have widespread knowledge of this disease, not just among cardiologists, but among the other medical specialties, so they can detect in time and diagnose accurately after.”

A properly diagnosed cardiomyopathy patient usually mends—like most romantic heartbreak—within a month or two.*****
202  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: April 05, 2014, 05:54:42 AM
Is she serious?  She claims she does not understand the opposition to the ACA!   Why would anyone be so upset about all the free or cheap benefits it brings she wonders?

Totally absent from her argument is who is paying for this stuff and loss of freedom.  Not one iota mentioned of that.   She completely blocks it all out.   Most people I see have higher deductibles and copays, higher rates, more restricted formularies and other tests.  This aspect is totally ignored by the left.   

******IRRATIONAL HATRED OF OBAMACARE IS HARD TO FATHOM
Cynthia Tucker
By Cynthia Tucker 5 hours ago

My friend Isatou has just received an invoice from Kaiser Permanente, testament to her new coverage through the Affordable Care Act -- usually called "Obamacare." She's thrilled to finally have health insurance so she can get regular checkups, including dental care.

A reasonably healthy middle-aged woman, she knows she needs routine mammograms and screenings for maladies such as hypertension. But before Obamacare, she struggled to pay for those things. She once had to resort to the emergency room, which left her with a bill for nearly $20,000. (She settled the bill for far less, but it still left her deeply in debt.)

She is one of more than 7 million people who have signed up for health insurance through the ACA, stark evidence of the overwhelming market demand. Despite a badly bungled initial roll-out, a multimillion dollar conservative media campaign designed to discourage sign-ups, and a years-long Republican crusade against it (50 votes to change the law), millions got health insurance.

That hardly means Obamacare is a raging success. It's much too early to know how it will affect health outcomes for the previously uninsured. But it's abundantly clear that the ACA has already made great strides in improving access to health care. And that alone is quite an accomplishment.

Now, young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance policies until they are 26 years old -- a boon in an economy where many young folks are struggling to find decent jobs. Now, patients with previously diagnosed illnesses ("pre-existing conditions," in insurance lingo) can't be denied coverage. Now, the chronically ill don't have to worry about hitting a lifetime cap that would deny them essential procedures or pharmaceuticals. Now, working folks who don't get insurance through their employers can purchase affordable policies.

Factoring in the Medicaid expansion, the ACA has extended health care coverage to an additional 9.5 million people, according to the Los Angeles Times, which gathered data from national surveys. Needless to say, millions more would have been covered if so many Republican governors, mostly located in Southern states, had not callously refused to accept the Medicaid expansion despite the fact that it is largely paid through federal government funds.

The GOP's relentless opposition has been puzzling. Republicans have resorted to extreme measures to try to derail Obamacare, including an implicit threat to prevent the National Football League from participating in a marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up.

Oh, did I mention 50 votes to repeal or alter the law?

Even acknowledging that our politics have become bitterly polarized, I don't understand this one. Even taking into account the GOP's irrational hatred for President Obama, I don't get it. Even though I know that Republicans believe in less government, I don't understand their approach to Obamacare.

First off, the ACA adheres to market-based ideas, many of which were first suggested by conservatives. Instead of a single-payer system like, say, Medicare, the ACA relies on private insurance companies. It adopts the individual mandate that was supported by many Republicans, including Newt Gingrich, back in the 1990s and later adopted by Mitt Romney in Massachusetts.

Second, Republicans are free to offer up a health care scheme that is more in keeping with conservative principles. But the "repeal and replace" mantra is rarely heard anymore since it has become increasingly clear that the GOP has no intention of coming up with a plan to replace Obamacare. While there are various counter-proposals floating about, none has garnered the support of a majority of Republicans in Congress.

Is the ACA perfect? Absolutely not. There is much in the law that needs to be worked on, refined, improved. But the GOP doesn't seem interested in that. Instead, its members have taken to engaging in increasingly ridiculous criticisms, including the charge that the White House has made up the number of successful enrollees.

It's strange. Could it be that Republicans are simply furious that millions of Americans like Isatou finally have health insurance?

(Cynthia Tucker, winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for commentary, is a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She can be reached at cynthia@cynthiatucker.com.)
203  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / If everyone were treated 227 billion dollars on: April 03, 2014, 06:04:10 AM
I think some competing drugs are on the way:

*****Insurers Are Really Mad at Sovaldi, the $1,000-a-Day Miracle Drug

The Atlantic Wire
By Polly Mosendz 23 hours ago
 
In December 2013, the FDA approved Sovaldi a drug developed by Gilead Sciences that promises to do wonders for patients with hepatitis C. Since then, insurers and the government have grown incredibly angry and frustrated with the company.

Sovaldi is a revolutionary advance that promises to cure 90% of targeted patients. Without this treatment, patients could develop liver cancer or require liver transplants. The FDA has said "it is the first drug that has demonstrated safety and efficacy to treat certain types of HCV infection without the need for co-administration of interferon." It was granted the FDA's coveted Breakthrough Therapy Designation, becoming approved in under a year. Director of the Office of Antimicrobial Products at the FDA's Center of Drug Evaluation and Research, Edward Cox, M.D., believes Sovaldi is life changing: “[Sovaldi's] approval represents a significant shift in the treatment paradigm for some patients with chronic hepatitis C.”

Yet, insurers cannot stand this life saving, revolutionary medication. That's because it runs $1,000 a day and the average patient requires a 12-week treatment of Sovaldi. That's $84,000 for one cycle. For patients with a strain that is more difficult to treat, the regiment is 24 weeks. That comes in at $168,000. It is projected to rake it between $5 billion and $9 billion in profits in the United States this year alone. There are an estimated 4 million Americans with Hepatitis C, and 15,000 are killed each year by untreated chronic infections.

Unfortunately, there is not much insurers can do about the price. A comparable drug is not yet on the market. The most similar medication, Incivek, runs $68,000 for  12-week course, but it is much less effective. Comparatively, Sovaldi is still much cheaper than the next-best alternative: a liver transplant. Transplant surgery runs at least $175,000 per patient, not including complications and other associated costs. Additionally, the risks of surgery are far greater than the drug: the body can reject a transplant, it is major surgery, and the recovery time is much longer. There is also a wait list, and a hepatitis C patient may not be eligible for a liver in time.

Gilead Sciences believes the focus is in all the wrong places. "[Critics] have focused on the per-pill cost or per-bottle cost, but that is really not relevant here. It's how much it costs to cure your patient," said Gregg Alton, Gilead's executive vice president of corporate and medical affairs.

Regardless, insurers are battling to lower the cost of the drug. Molina Healthcare, which is set to see earnings decline by 18 percent if (though more realistically, when) the drug reaches $6 billion in sales, is trying to limit which patients have access to the treatment. Mario J. Molina, chief executive of Molina Healthcare gave this statement: “If you’ve got a patient who is advanced and has liver disease and is about to get a liver transplant, it makes sense to give treatment. [W]hat do we do about everybody else? If everyone in the U.S. with hepatitis C were treated with Sovaldi at its list price, it would cost $227 billion compared with the estimated $260 billion spent a year in the country for all drugs.”

Express Scripts is working with doctors to determine which customers can be put on a wait list until a rival, and presumably less expensive, drug is available.

Representative Henry Waxman has taken direct aim at Gilead Sciences as well. In a public letter sent March, 20th, Waxman questioned the pricing: "Our concern is that a treatment will not cure patients if they cannot afford it. [...] According to a recent Reuters report, 'many doctors are requesting a $150,000 combination of Sovaldi ... and Olysio. These costs are likely to be too high for many patients, both those with public insurance and those with private insurance." ********
204  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: April 03, 2014, 05:44:08 AM
"Bid to cut voter roles" is of course the way the NYT describes this.

It wouldn't surprise me if 1,000,000 voters nationwide are fraudulent.

It can't even be measured.

205  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: baseball on: April 02, 2014, 09:18:34 PM
The article about the called shot ;

http://www.thepostgame.com/blog/throwback/201403/babe-ruth-called-shot-home-run-myth-mystery-ed-sherman-book
206  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: baseball on: April 02, 2014, 09:13:53 PM
The myth about Ruth's famed called shot into the bleachers.  Took a life of its own.   Early on Ruth himself said he was simply pointing out it only takes "one"   He said that if did actually pointing a location in field to hit one would invited getting beaned.  And it was ridiculous to think anyone could know where the ball is going in advance.

But legends live on when there are living and loving admirers still alive who can verify what they are "sure" he did.

His living 96 yr. old daughter says her did do it.  He pointed to a bleacher and hit a colossal shot right into that same bleacher.


My take is he was ordering a hotdog from a vendor when he lifted his finger. cheesy
 
207  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: April 02, 2014, 08:11:59 PM
Denny says,

"the tyranny in Venezuela has global roots, global backers"

Besides Sean Penn who are these global roots and backs?
208  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud, SEIU/ACORN et al, corruption etc. on: April 02, 2014, 08:06:27 PM
Anyone care to guess which party these frauds voted for?

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/374882/nc-state-board-finds-more-35k-incidents-double-voting-2012-andrew-johnson
209  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Economics, the stock market , and other investment/savings strategies on: April 01, 2014, 06:52:29 AM
"he has been a FAR better market prognosticator over the last several years (and that is one of the themes for this thread) than any of us"

In retrospect - yup.
210  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Common Core on: March 30, 2014, 04:22:18 PM
I really don't know much about it - off my radar:::

*****Get to know the Common Core marketing overlords
 by Michelle Malkin

Copyright 2014

They’re everywhere. Turn on Fox News, local news, Animal Planet, HGTV, The Family Channel or talk radio. Pro-Common Core commercials have been airing ad nauseam in a desperate attempt to persuade American families to support the beleaguered federal education standards/testing/technology racket. Who’s funding these public relations pushes? D.C. lobbyists, entrenched politicians and Big Business interests.

The foundational myth of Common Core is that it’s a “state-led” initiative with grassroots support that was crafted by local educators for the good of all of our children. But the cash and power behind the new ad campaign tell you all you need to know. For parents in the know, this will be a refresher course. But repeated lies must be countered with redoubled truths.

The Bipartisan Policy Center is one of the leading Common Core ad sponsors. It’s a self-described nonprofit “think tank” founded by a pantheon of Beltway barnacles: former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and George Mitchell.

“Lobbying tank” would be more accurate. The BPC’s “senior fellows” include K Street influence peddlers such as liberal Republican Robert Bennett, the big-spending Utah senator-turned-lobbyist booted from office by tea party conservatives; former Democratic Agriculture Secretary and House member-turned-lobbyist Dan Glickman; and liberal Democrat Byron Dorgan, the former North Dakota senator who crusaded as an anti-D.C. lobbying populist before retiring from office to work as, you guessed it, a D.C. lobbyist.

Jeb Bush’s “Foundation for Excellence in Education” is also saturating the airwaves with ads trying to salvage Common Core in the face of truly bipartisan, truly grassroots opposition in his own home state of Florida. As I’ve reported previously, the former GOP governor’s foundation is tied at the hip to the federally funded testing consortium called PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers), which pulled in $186 million through the Obama administration’s Race to the Top program to develop Common Core tests.

One of the Bush foundation’s top corporate sponsors is Pearson, the multibillion-dollar educational publishing and testing conglomerate. Pearson snagged $23 million in contracts to design the first wave of PARCC test items and $1 billion for overpriced, insecure Common Core iPads purchased by the Los Angeles Unified School District, and is leading the $13.4 billion edutech cash-in catalyzed by Common Core’s technology mandates.

In December, you should know, the state of New York determined that Pearson’s nonprofit foundation had abused the law by siphoning charitable assets to benefit its for-profit arm in order to curry favor with the Common Core-peddling Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Pearson paid a $7.7 million settlement after the attorney general concluded that the company’s charitable arm was marketing Common Core course material it believed could be sold by the for-profit side for “tens of millions of dollars.” After being smoked out, the Pearson Foundation sold the courses to its corporate sibling for $15.1 million.

Then there’s the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has joined the Clintonite-stocked Center for American Progress to promote Common Core and has earmarked more than $52 million on D.C. lobbying efforts.

Two D.C. trade associations, the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, continue to rubber-stamp Common Core propaganda. They are both recipients of tens of millions of dollars in Gates Foundation money. NGA employed Democratic education wonk Dane Linn to help shepherd through the standards; Linn now flacks for Common Core at the D.C.-based Business Roundtable lobbying shop, another leading sponsor of the ads now bombarding your TVs and radios.

Despite its misleading name, the NGA does not represent all of the nation’s governors, holds only nonbinding resolution votes, and serves primarily as an “unelected, unrepresentative networking forum,” as Heartland Institute scholar Joy Pullmann put it, with funding from both taxpayers and private corporations. NGA’s Common Core standards writing meetings were convened in secret and are protected by confidentiality agreements.

Direct public input was nil. Of the 25 people in the NGA and CCSSO’s two Common Core standards-writing “working groups,” EdWeek blogger Anthony Cody reported in 2009, six were associated with the test-makers from the College Board, five were with fellow test-publishers ACT, and four were with Achieve Inc. Several had zero experience in standards writing.

Achieve Inc., you may recall from my previous work, is a Washington, D.C., nonprofit stocked with education lobbyists who’ve been working on federal standards schemes since the Clinton years. In fact, Achieve’s president, Michael Cohen, is a veteran Clinton-era educrat who also used to direct education policy for the NGA. In addition to staffing the standards writing committee and acting as lead Common Core coordinating mouthpiece, Achieve Inc. is the “project management partner” of the Common Core-aligned, tax-subsidized PARCC testing conglomerate.

Who’s behind Achieve? Reminder: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dumped $37 million into the group since 1999 to promote Common Core. According to a new analysis by former Georgia State University professor Jack Hassard, the Gates Foundation has now doled out an estimated total of $2.3 billion on Common Core-related grants to thousands of recipients in addition to NGA, CCSSO, the Foundation for Excellence in Education and Achieve.

As they prop up astroturfed front groups and agitprop, D.C.’s Common Core p.r. blitzers scoff at their critics as “black helicopter” theorists. Don’t read their lips. Just follow the money. This bipartisan power grab is Washington-led and Washington-fed. It’s not a conspiracy. It’s elementary: All Common Core roads lead to K Street.*****

                 
211  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Demographics on: March 29, 2014, 04:15:34 PM
"Voting against their own interests will not last"

Wait till they have to pay the nation's bills.  The government should do more and more.   Until they realize they are the ones who will have to help foot the bill.

Yep.   The world is one big happy family.  Keep giving it all away.  Open the borders wide.   See how well that goes.

----------

Did you see the street survey of American University students who were asked how many Senators from each state are there?  Or name one Senator?

One girl even stated, " I am not into the America 'thing'".

We can thank liberal education for this.

212  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Corruption on: March 28, 2014, 07:15:58 AM
Rush was trying to explain how the FBI was coming up with all these stings against Democrats, especially Mayors now.

A year ahead of an election.  Dems cleaning house now?   He wondered how Obama would permit this.

Not clear.  It is just as hard to believe the FBI is independently non political during this Administration.  We know the DOJ is not.  I would like to think the FBI is but it is so hard not to be cynical these days.

 undecided
213  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why Thomas Sowell never won a Pulitzer? on: March 26, 2014, 07:38:31 PM
Well, of course we know why......

Doug's point that Thomas Freidman won the Pulitzer three times made me wonder how many who hail from the right have won.   Bret Stephens was the first one in a decade according to this piece.  Gotta love this though:

"A January 2012 column on the latter topic helped contribute to his win. Entitled “The GOP Deserves to Lose,” Stephens eviscerated the GOP presidential candidates then..."

****************************

Conservative Columnist Bret Stephens Wins Pulitzer

By Matthew Sheffield | April 16, 2013 | 12:25
 
In a comparatively rare feat, a conservative writer has won a Pulitzer Prize, the most prestigious award in journalism. Bret Stephens, who writes a column for the Wall Street Journal primarily about world affairs is the first conservative to win the award in more than a decade.

Congratulations are certainly in order to Stephens for pulling off the win, especially since the very liberal Columbia University is in charge of the award.

While Stephens’s views on some social issues like gay marriage have not won him fans among devout conservatives, he certainly deserves the award. I’ve long been a fan of his prose, his independence, and his willingness to take on the conventional wisdom on topics like global warming and the complete disaster otherwise known as the Republican presidential nominating process.

A January 2012 column on the latter topic helped contribute to his win. Entitled “The GOP Deserves to Lose,” Stephens eviscerated the GOP presidential candidates then in the race and then condemned Republicans like Mitch Daniels, Chris Christie, and Haley Barbour for refusing to run.

“This was the GOP A-Team, the guys who should have showed up to the first debate but didn’t because running for president is hard and the spouses were reluctant. Nothing commends them for it. If this election is as important as they all say it is, they had a duty to step up. Abraham Lincoln did not shy from the contest of 1860 because of Mary Todd. If Mr. Obama wins in November — or, rather, when he does — the failure will lie as heavily on their shoulders as it will with the nominee.”

Stephens is the first conservative to win the commentary award since his Journal colleague Dorothy Rabinowitz won it in 2001*. That year was a rare one in Pulitzer history as it marked the second consecutive year that a conservative had won the award, something which had not happened since the 1970s. In 2000, Paul Gigot, also with the Journal, won the prize.

In recent decades, the Journal has been the home to all of the few conservative writers who have been awarded a Pulitzer. Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer was the last non-Journal conservative to win the award in 1987.

For a full list of Pulitzer commentary winners going back to 1970, click here. You can find samples of Stephens's work here.

In less laudible Pulitzer news, the committee continued its tradition of ignoring conservative editorial cartoonists by honoring Steve Sack of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

* Note: I am not counting Washington Post columnist Kathleen Parker, the 2010 award winner, as a conservative. She is a right-leaning moderate.

Read more: http://newsbusters.org/blogs/matthew-sheffield/2013/04/16/conservative-columnist-bret-stephens-wins-pulitzer#ixzz2x7QJPh9m
214  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Tea Party, Glen Beck and related matters on: March 26, 2014, 07:20:23 PM
I heard this on Michael Savage.  Interesting how political operatives from both sides of the political spectrum use the same "agents":

******Glenn Beck’s Agent is Liberal Operative Matt Hiltzik

Posted on Oct 28, 2009 in Glenn Beck

Glenn Beck and his agent, Matthew Hiltzik, seem put ideological differences aside for the money…

Hiltzik is a Democratic PR operative that works for Beck, but also worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, Eliot Spitzer’s 1998 attorney general campaign, and for studio head Harvey Weinstein. He also represents Katie Couric, Alec Baldwin, Annie Leibovitz and Don Imus. Matthew’s father, George Hiltzik, brokered the radio gigs of blogger Matt Drudge and Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

The close friendship and lucrative business relationship that has developed between the 45-year-old conservative firebrand and the 37-year-old former Democratic operative shows how partisan media personalities get discovered, promoted and catapulted into the political stratosphere, even when the talent and the talent broker have opposing ideologies. But for Hiltzik’s former Democratic allies, the alliance is still mostly shocking.

It was also interesting that Matt Hiltzik considers “Democratic activist and public relations powerbroker” Ken Sunshine a mentor. Sunshine advises Color of Change and Green for All, two groups founded by Van Jones, who was repeatedly attacked by Beck.

And it’s not just Sunshine’s clients who are subject to Beck’s drubbings, it’s also his onetime mentor. The current secretary of state, for example, did not respond to calls about Hiltzik and his top client’s tirades against the Obama administration. Asked if he thought Hillary Clinton approved of his current promotion of Beck, who has called her, among other things, “the antichrist,” Hiltzik said, “She has a lot more important things to worry about.”

“Matt Hiltzik is a top professional who can’t save Glenn Beck from his vulgar, hateful ignorance,” said Robert Zimmerman, a public relations executive in New York, Democratic National Committee member and close friend of Hiltzik’s. “But he can get him extensive publicity while he goes down in flames.”*********
215  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Combating bad science on: March 26, 2014, 07:41:34 AM
THis maybe deserves new thread.  Remember I noted that most medical research publications are not much more than worthless.  So is research in many fields.   This address that.  Yet research is taking off.  Everything is data.  Everything is being measured for tiny small percentage of percentage gains.  There is no end to this.  Problem is "science" is used by whomever for whatever.  Sorting out the invalid from the truly informative or new discovery is not always easy:

Combating bad science

Metaphysicians

Sloppy researchers beware. A new institute has you in its sights
 Mar 15th 2014  | From the print edition

“WHY most published research findings are false” is not, as the title of an academic paper, likely to win friends in the ivory tower. But it has certainly influenced people (including journalists at The Economist). The paper it introduced was published in 2005 by John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist who was then at the University of Ioannina, in Greece, and is now at Stanford. It exposed the ways, most notably the overinterpreting of statistical significance in studies with small sample sizes, that scientific findings can end up being irreproducible—or, as a layman might put it, wrong.

Dr Ioannidis has been waging war on sloppy science ever since, helping to develop a discipline called meta-research (ie, research about research). Later this month that battle will be institutionalised, with the launch of the Meta-Research Innovation Centre at Stanford.


METRICS, as the new laboratory is to be known for short, will connect enthusiasts of the nascent field in such corners of academia as medicine, statistics and epidemiology, with the aim of solidifying the young discipline. Dr Ioannidis and the lab’s co-founder, Steven Goodman, will (for this is, after all, science) organise conferences at which acolytes can meet in the world of atoms, rather than just online. They will create a “journal watch” to monitor scientific publishers’ work and to shame laggards into better behaviour. And they will spread the message to policymakers, governments and other interested parties, in an effort to stop them making decisions on the basis of flaky studies. All this in the name of the centre’s nerdishly valiant mission statement: “Identifying and minimising persistent threats to medical-research quality.”

The METRICS system

Irreproducibility is one such threat—so much so that there is an (admittedly tongue-in-cheek) publication called the Journal of Irreproducible Results. Some fields are making progress, though. In psychology, the Many Labs Replication Project, supported by the Centre for Open Science, an institute of the University of Virginia, has re-run 13 experiments about widely accepted theories. Only ten were validated. The centre has also launched what it calls the Cancer Biology Reproducibility Project, to look at 50 recent oncology studies.

Until now, however, according to Dr Ioannidis, no one has tried to find out whether such attempts at revalidation have actually had any impact on the credibility of research. METRICS will try to do this, and will make recommendations about how future work might be improved and better co-ordinated—for the study of reproducibility should, like any branch of science, be based on evidence of what works and what does not.

Wasted effort is another scourge of science that the lab will look into. A recent series of articles in the Lancet noted that, in 2010, about $200 billion (an astonishing 85% of the world’s spending on medical research) was squandered on studies that were flawed in their design, redundant, never published or poorly reported. METRICS will support efforts to tackle this extraordinary inefficiency, and will itself update research about the extent to which randomised-controlled trials acknowledge the existence of previous investigations of the same subject. If the situation has not improved, METRICS and its collaborators will try to design new publishing practices that discourage bad behaviour among scientists.

There is also Dr Ioannidis’s pet offender: publication bias. Not all studies that are conducted get published, and the ones which do tend to be those that have significant results. That leaves a skewed impression of the evidence.

Researchers have been studying publication bias for years, using various statistical tests. Again, though, there has been little reflection on these methods and their comparative effectiveness. They may, according to Dr Ioannidis, be giving both false negatives and false positives about whether or not publication bias exists in a particular body of studies.

Dr Ioannidis plans to run tests on the methods of meta-research itself, to make sure he and his colleagues do not fall foul of the very criticisms they make of others. “I don’t want”, he says, “to take for granted any type of meta-research is ideal and efficient and nice. I don’t want to promise that we can change the world, although this is probably what everybody has to promise to get funded nowadays.”

From the print edition: Science and technology
216  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Fed, Banking, Monetary Policy, Dollar & other currencies, Gold/Silver on: March 26, 2014, 07:32:35 AM
Doug,

So how long can we go on with this charade?
217  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sessions calls out immigration enforcement on: March 26, 2014, 07:31:17 AM
Again the news media does nothing.  Just turns their head.

I think the Feds should have a website that lists the jobs of every American and offers them to anyone else in the world who is capable to bid on doing that job for less.  Why not?   As long as they promise to vote Democrat:


*****by Matthew Boyle  25 Mar 2014

Fully 98 percent of individuals deported from the United States in 2013 were either criminals, apprehended while illegally crossing the border, or had been previously deported, according to a new analysis from Senate Budget Committee ranking member Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The three-page document, labeled a “Critical Alert” by the senator’s office, found three executive actions by President Barack Obama providing amnesty to groups of illegal aliens meant that virtually no one who did not meet other criteria beyond simply being in the country illegal was deported.

“The evidence reveals that the Administration has carried out a dramatic nullification of federal law,” Sessions said in a statement to Breitbart News. “Under the guise of setting ‘priorities’, the Administration has determined that almost anyone in the world who can enter the United States is free to illegally live, work and claim benefits here as long as they are not caught committing a felony or other serious crime.

Obama's well-known executive action granted virtual amnesty to so-called DREAMers – individuals who claim to have entered the country as minors under their parents' guidance.

Two are lesser known executive actions include an Aug. 23, 2013, DHS directive “expanding that [summer 2012 executive DREAM Act] amnesty to illegal immigrant relatives of DREAM Act beneficiaries” and a Dec. 21, 2012, DHS directive “reinforcing that almost all immigration offenses were unenforceable absent a separate criminal conviction.”

In 2013, Sessions’ staff found, 98 percent of ICE’s removals of illegal aliens fit the agency’s “enforcement criteria.” There are four such criteria for illegal aliens to be considered deportation-worthy by ICE: a conviction of committing a serious criminal offense, an apprehension made while an individual is crossing the border, the resurfacing of someone previously deported, or someone having been a fugitive from the law. “Remarkably, the first two categories—border apprehensions (which are not deportations as commonly understood) and convicted criminals—account for 94% of the 368,000 removals (235,000 and 110,000, respectively),” Sessions’ staff wrote in the memo.

Only 0.2 percent of an estimated 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S. who were actually placed into removal proceedings in 2013 in 2013 did not have a violent or otherwise serious criminal conviction on their record. Only .08 percent of the total number of illegal aliens placed into removal proceedings were neither repeat or serial immigration law violators nor convicted of a serious crime. Even with that .08 percent of removals who were not caught crossing the border or being a serial immigration law violator or being convicted of serious crimes, Sessions’ staff notes that ICE officers who communicate with his office say that there is likely some other serious security risk for allowing them to stay in the country that is cause for their removal.

The findings stand in stark contrast to liberal calls on Obama to reduce deportations. Top Hispanic Democrats recently met with Obama at the White House recently about the issue, prompting an announcement about a review at the Department of Homeland Security about how to deport illegal aliens in a more “humane” fashion.

The report was enough to prompt a chorus of outrage from Sessions' like-minded colleagues in the House, who slammed the Obama administration for enacting amnesty by fiat.

“This is another clear warning to anyone who thinks immigration reform is possible under President Obama,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-LA). “He has repeatedly shown a willingness to enforce the law selectively, while looking the other way when it doesn't fit his agenda.”

“We can add immigration enforcement to the long list of areas where President Obama is selectively enforcing the law,” Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) told Breitbart News in response to Sessions’ new report. “This is part of a repeated pattern of overreach on the part of the Administration and shows their unwillingness to follow the law as it is written—not the law as they want it to be. It’s impossible for Congress to have an open and honest debate on border security when we can’t trust the President to do his job.”

“At least 99.92% of illegal immigrants and visa overstays without known crimes on their records did not face removal,” Sessions’ staff wrote. “Those who do not facially meet the Administration’s select ‘priorities’ are free to illegally work in the United States and to receive taxpayer benefits, regardless of whether or not they come into contact with immigration enforcement.”

Sessions’ staff cites August 2013 reports from an ICE raid at Danny’s Car Wash in Phoenix, Arizona, where many workers suspected of being in the country illegally were taken into custody but released shortly thereafter. “Workers suspected of being in the country illegally were taken into custody, but [ICE spokeswoman Amber] Cargile said they would be released within a matter of hours as long as they had no outstanding criminal records,” the Associated Press wrote then.

In another incident in Brownsville, Texas, a dozen illegal aliens were set free at a bus station after being taken into ICE custody because the federal immigration law agency said it “doesn’t consider the group a major threat to our safety.”

Sessions’ staff also cites a 2011 instance where authorities at ICE warned one of their officers he would be subject to disciplinary action if he followed through with his intent to enforce the law  by issuing a Notice to Appear in court to an illegal alien “driving the vehicle of a known fugitive without a license.”

“The suspect, who had multiple misdemeanor offenses on his record, was released while the ICE officer was threatened with suspension,” Sessions’ staff wrote.

“The Obama administration’s subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law make enforcement of our immigration laws virtually impossible,” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) said in an email. “The law-abiding and taxpaying Americans who oppose this executive amnesty policy are paying the price with lower wages and fewer job opportunities.”

“At the same time President Obama hypocritically tells people he is for income equality, he violates federal immigration law, floods the labor market with wage-suppressing illegal aliens, and destroys the chance millions of hard-working Americans have of attaining self-sufficiency and the American dream,” Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) said. “It is clear that President Obama believes it is more important to pander to voters based on race than it is to enforce immigration laws that protect American workers’ ability to earn a living wage.”

Brooks and Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar said the findings raise grave questions of constitutional law.

”Perhaps the most important role of the President is defined in Article II, Section 3 of the United States Constitution, which states that the President ‘shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,’” Gosar said in reaction to Sessions’ new report. “From President Obama’s capricious ObamaCare delays to his arbitrary refusal to enforce current immigration laws, his transgressions against the Constitution are egregious and must stop. The first step in restoring the rule of law is holding Attorney General Eric Holder – our nation’s chief law enforcement officer – accountable for allowing and participating in the Administration’s blatant disregard for the Constitution.”

“The President should be ashamed of himself for violating his oath of office, violating his Constitutional duty to enforce America’s laws, and making illegal aliens a higher priority than the livelihoods of hard-working Americans,” Brooks said.

218  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: March 25, 2014, 07:28:36 PM
One can add a prominent individual to the list of anti-Semites:

Barack Hussain Obama

If it isn't obvious by now.....
219  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: March 20, 2014, 10:11:22 AM
Agreed.

They just don't get it.  They really don't.  It is about the money.  Women vote Democrat for government benefits.  Some may be do for abortion etc but for most it is the money.

Latinos vote Democrat for the government benefits.  I really doubt that it is about immigration for most.

How do we challenge this?

With ceaseless compromise?  With compassionate conservatism?  What a joke is right.
220  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Cognitive Dissonance of the left on: March 20, 2014, 05:24:43 AM
Typical Bloomberg News item.  Don't worry Democrats ; Bush approval rating even lower than Brock's.   

Barack Obama
Obama Beats Bush

Jonathan Bernstein
Mar 19, 2014 9:31 AM ET
By Jonathan Bernstein


In February, I asked whether Barack Obama's approval ratings had pulled ahead of those of George W. Bush at a similar juncture in his presidency, ending a long period where they were basically tied. We now have evidence they have.

Today, Gallup has Obama at 41 percent approval, which is probably a bit lower than his true Gallup score from the last few weeks. HuffPollster’s polling average estimates the president's approval at 43.7 percent and slowly rising. A month ago, the trend was less clear, and results varied depending on whether one looked at regular polls or those that were more sensitive to recent changes. Now the two methods are showing essentially the same thing: Obama bottomed out in November or December and has been improving gradually since.

(Yes, that means the New York Times was wrong to refer to Obama’s “sinking approval ratings.” I wouldn’t quibble with low and stable ratings. But sinking? Not in the last several months).
At a similar point in Bush's second term, in 2006, a March 13-16 Gallup reading gave him a 37 percent approval rating. He remained at that level or below until a late-summer rally, which pushed him above 40 percent for the final time of his presidency. So Obama’s lead over Bush, which I estimated at around 3 points last month, is up to around 5 points now, and the two men are headed in opposite directions.

This is not to say Obama is doing well. Unless his recent improvement gathers steam, he’s going to be a drag on Democrats in November, though he won't be as big a drag as Bush was for his party in the 2006 midterms. And even if Obama rebounds, it probably wouldn't be enough to help the Democrats hang on to some tough Senate seats. Ronald Reagan was very popular until the 1986 election, when Democrats took a number of Senate races, in large part by unseating Republican incumbents who had benefited from having Reagan at the top of the ticket in 1980.

But at least for now, Obama isn't as unpopular as Bush was in 2006. This suggests a good year for Republicans (especially in the Senate), but not a landslide.
221  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / museum for women for the mall. on: March 20, 2014, 05:15:57 AM
Next one for gays, one for illegals, one for Latinos, one for Indians, one for Asians.......

Hey what war on women?  Why we voted for a museum for you gals.....
Across from the street with all the brothels.....

******House to vote on museum for women

By Mike Lillis - 03/19/14 06:00 AM EDT


House Republicans plan to vote this year on legislation promoting construction of a National Women’s History Museum, Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) office told The Hill.

The move lends enormous momentum to the years-long push to establish a memorial to women’s history near the National Mall — a proposal that’s lingered in Congress for nearly two decades without ever reaching the president’s desk.

Congressional supporters from both parties have been working behind the scenes to rally backing and pressure leaders to stage a vote on the bill this year, even as Congress’s shift into campaign mode has left little appetite for most non-essential legislation ahead of November’s midterms.
Cantor spokeswoman Megan Whittemore said the congressman supports the bill and intends to bring it to the floor.

Museum supporters wasted no time praising the announcement, with Rep. Carolyn Maloney — a New York Democrat who’s been working on the proposal since 1998 — saying she’s “thrilled” by Cantor’s move. With top House Democrats already behind the proposal, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.), Maloney predicted it will sail through the lower chamber.

“This is a huge boost to our efforts,” said Maloney, the bill’s lead sponsor. “Leadership from both parties in the House has now come out in favor of this bill, and I’m hopeful we can secure a large, bipartisan vote in favor of its passage.”

On Tuesday, the House Natural Resources Committee’s subpanel on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation will examine the bill.

The push to create a national women’s history museum comes as the role of women in politics has risen to historic heights, highlighted both by record numbers of women in Congress and the ascension of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as a front-runner in the 2016 presidential race — if she chooses to run.

Maloney’s bill would establish a commission charged with examining the best way to bring a women’s history museum “on or near” the National Mall. The eight-member panel, appointed by bipartisan leaders in both the House and Senate, would have a year to report recommendations to Congress and the White House for building and maintaining the project.

A Senate companion bill, introduced last year by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), has 20 co-sponsors, including 17 of the Senate’s 20 female lawmakers.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), the House bill’s lead GOP sponsor, said she’s confident the bill will win approval in both chambers this year.

“I do think that it’s the year that it can move on the House floor and the Senate floor,” she said Tuesday by phone. “We’re hopeful that as we move to the spring that we’ll see action on this and make a women’s history museum a reality for the country.”

Using past museum commissions as a guide, the bill’s sponsors estimate the cost of the proposal to be between $1 million and $3 million. They are quick to emphasize that both the commission’s costs and those associated with constructing and maintaining the museum would be funded entirely by private contributions. Actress Meryl Streep has already donated $1 million, Maloney said.

“We know that money’s tight, and that’s why private monies will pay for this memorial, not taxpayer dollars,” Maloney said.

Some Democrats suggested GOP leaders are simply playing election-year politics with the museum bill. One leadership aide said the Republicans would embrace the proposal as a political effort to defuse the Democratic argument that their policy agenda is harmful to women.

“They’re trying to reach out to people other than white males,” the aide said. “They may try to latch onto it to show that they’re not complete Neanderthals.”

It’s unclear what level of opposition the proposal will face on Capitol Hill. The absence of offsets takes away a potential complaint from fiscal hawks, and the GOP’s aggressive effort to be more sensitive to female and minority constituents will likely discourage any significant wave of dissent, even from the most conservative ranks.

Still, Blackburn acknowledged there might be some push-back from those wondering why women should have their own spot on the Mall.

“You’re always going to hear some [say], ‘Well, if we have that, [why don’t] we have a men’s history museum?’ ” she said. “But I think what we have to do is realize that what has been highly recognized in the country is the contribution of men.

“And in part, as they were the elected leaders … that is appropriate,” she added. “But also, there are women who worked alongside them and women who have led great movements in this country, and that should be recognized.”
222  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Rape of German women as Russians moved in through Blood Battle Fire and Death on: March 19, 2014, 08:38:49 PM
Raped all women 8 to 80.  Then became more discriminant. With torches searching at night while frenzied with vodka looking for the prettiest.. In gangs in packs.   After much vodka. Vodka the Wermackt did not destroy in hopes the Russians would be stuporous to fight.  Instead the fire water guzzling made them fight even harder with no stops with great desire and rage sexual appetite.   Rape the girls ifn front of mothers fathers sons daughters husbands they when they would then often shoot afterwards.  Some women would offer herself to a single Russian hoping he would protect her from to protect her from gangs.   When the women would begin starving the "rape" would morph into more like prostitution to "pay for food, or cigarettes.  
Thinking they could save themselves old women would throw the younger girls to the "wolves" thinking they would be spared.  Any Russian women were in the area and watched events unfold just laughed.  German "whores" must have deserved it. 

 Maybe ten percent killed themselves out of shame.   When German soldiers came home they were shamed and left.   Women who did survive were to suffer this the rest of their lives.  They wouldn't speak of it.  The shame.  The pain that is relived when one remembers and recounts.  Watching loved ones being violated.  Watching the few loved ones who bravely tried to fight back get shot dead.  

The criminals many would not care one iota.  Some would boast.  Some would get smashed drunk and go on hunts in wolve packs pulling prey right off the streets in front of crowds.  Pull them from their hiding places in the ruble, in the alley way , in the lofts.  After all, Russians who suffered even worse deserved revenge on what was done to them and their people.  To desecrate your enemy is to enjoy the spoils of war.  

We all have mothers.  Most have sisters, aunts, daughters, women we admire, our teachers, our caretakers, our nurses, children of our friends wives our friends, other mothers.   The horror .  The horror .

It should never happen again.  But we all know it will.  Civilization is only one step away from coming apart at the seems and it is again every man and woman for themselves.

*****Various waves and situations of rapes in Germany at end of WW2:

Suppressed History, Buried Crimes »

German Woman Breaks Silence about Red Army Rapes

March 10, 2010 by Ironlight

An 80-year-old German woman has broken an old taboo of silence over the rapes she endured at the hands of Soviet soldiers in the second world war with a searing book about the crimes of the Red Army as it marched towards Berlin.

By Allan Hall in Berlin
 Published: 2:05PM GMT 28 Feb 2010

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

“Why Did I Have To Be A Girl” by Gabriele Koepp is the first book published about the rapes under a victim’s real name. Mrs Koepp was one of an estimated two million German girls and women raped by Soviet soldiers, encouraged by their leader Josef Stalin to regard the crime as a spoil of war after Hitler’s invasion had left 26 million Russians dead.

“Frau. Komm,” was a phrase that women dreaded hearing from Red Army soldiers. In the weeks after the city fell the rape epidemic was so bad that even the Catholic church countenanced abortion for some victims.

Even today, Mrs Koepp has trouble sleeping. “I was hardly more than a child. Writing this has not been easy, but I had no choice: who else would do it?”

Mrs Koepp told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine at the weekend that it was on the evening of January 25 1945, when she was 15, that her mother told her to pack quickly as she had to flee.

They lived in Schneidemuehl, in the former German region of Pomerania which is now a Polish town called Pila. She and her sister left the next day aboard a cattle train that was supposed to head towards Berlin. But it went in a different direction and the engine was soon blown up by Russian artillery. “The freight car door was locked,” she said. “I managed to climb up and crawl out of a high window. My sister was left behind: I have never seen her again.”

Her ordeal of multiple rape in a nearby village went on for two weeks until she was taken in at a farm and hid from the Soviets.

She was reunited with her mother 15 months later in Hamburg but says her mother was cold to her when she tried to talk of her pain and shame. British historian Antony Beevor chronicled the mass rapes in his 2002 book about the Soviet onslaught on Germany. Mrs Koepp’s book will be translated into English at the end of the summer.
————————————————
AT THE MERCY OF MONSTERS
 Tuesday March 2,2010
 By Paul Callan

http://www.express.co.uk

GABRIELE Koepp was just 15 with blue eyes and blonde hair woven into plaits – a pretty schoolgirl whose face shone with innocence. But on the morning of January 26, 1945, she crouched trembling with terror under a table in a farmhouse.

Outside she could hear the Russian soldiers, their voices slurred with drink, shouting for women. “Frau komm, frau komm,” (“come here woman, come here woman”) they bellowed in heavily Russian-accented German. It was a cry that thousands of women would learn to dread.

Suddenly some of the soldiers stumbled into the kitchen and a handful of old women refugees, fearful they would be attacked, dragged Gabriele out, thrusting her towards the Russians. She was immediately raped by every soldier. It was not the first time. The day before she had been caught by two Russians, hurled to the ground and violated.

So it went on for two weeks until she was taken to another farm and hidden from the sex-crazed soldiers. Now aged 80 Gabriele still remembers those terrible days and in particular how she was betrayed by the old women. “I despised those women, I still do,” she said. “I have no tears but I feel hatred rising up inside me.”

It is a boiling hatred that has lasted 65 years since the Allies, including fierce Soviet forces, smashed their way across Europe… But as they advanced the Russians unleashed an orgy of sickening self-gratification as soldiers of the Red Army embarked on a lengthy campaign of rape, looting, murder and depravity.

Now Gabriele Koepp has written a book of searing honesty called Why Did I Have To Be A Girl, about the rapes carried out by the Red Army as it advanced towards Berlin. The book is unprecedented, being the first time a German woman has broken the lengthy taboo by writing about being one of the estimated two million victims of rampaging Soviet soldiers.

What sickened many at the time was that the soldiers were actively encouraged to rape German women by Russian dictator Josef Stalin. When one of his commanders protested Stalin exploded: “Can’t you understand it if a soldier, who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death, has fun with some woman or takes a trifle?” To Stalin German women were merely the “spoils of war”.

Gabriele was such a “spoil” for those 14 days when she was relentlessly and repeatedly raped by Russian soldiers, so much so that she cannot even to this day, say the very word. “My life has been some 29,200 days,” she said. “But really it was destroyed in those 14 days of the … I cannot say the word. I was innocent when it happened.

“There is a debate going on in Germany at the moment about the so-called expellees from land that once belonged to Germany, the loss of the homeland, etc, but that is [comparatively] nothing to me. I live with what happened to me all the time. There are days I cannot eat because of it, even now all these years later.

“Writing of what happened hasn’t made anything easier for me but I had to do it. Who else would?” Gabriele studiously avoids detail and writes in the book of “the place of the terror”, the “gates of hell” and calls the rapists “brutes and scoundrels”. She avoids the word “rape” and adds with some fear in her eyes: “I cannot even say that word.”

The book is a searing scrutiny of the agony that to this very day the Russian establishment continues to deny. Gabriele was one of an estimated two million German girls and women, some as young as six and as old as 80, who were raped by Soviet soldiers… Their justification was that Hitler’s invasion of Russia had left 26 million dead and revenge would be sweet. Much of the rape and murder by the Russians took place as they approached Berlin.

Berliners had prayed that the Western Allies would reach their city before the Russians, but General Eisenhower, the overall commander- in-chief, had decided the Russians should reach Berlin first on account of their own huge losses.

But as early as 1944 terrible reports were seeping through to Berlin from the moment the thrusting Red Army entered East Prussia and Silesia.

By the time the Soviet troops entered Berlin there was terror on the streets. The rapes usually started in the evenings after the soldiers had drunk large amounts of vodka. That familiar cry of “frau komm” soon echoed around the rubble-strewn streets.

Any woman found, whatever her age, was savagely thrown to the ground and brutally attacked. Filthy drunken soldiers hunted in packs, some women were raped by as many as 20 men.

One of the worst mistakes of the defeated German authorities had been their failure to destroy Berlin’s considerable stocks of alcohol as the Red Army drew nearer. Erroneously, they thought a drunken enemy could not fight. But the Russians fought even harder, as well as having their desires inflamed.

Nor did the Soviet women soldiers do anything to stop their male comrades. One Berlin woman was being raped in succession by three men when three others arrived, one of them a woman. When the German woman appealed to her to intervene she merely laughed out loud. There were tragic attempts to resist the soldiers. A 13-year-old boy started flailing at a soldier who was raping his mother in front of him. When the Russian finished he turned to the boy and shot him…

AS night closed in the screams of women being attacked could be heard all over the city. It is estimated that up to 10,000 of the women who were raped died, mostly from suicide. Some could never talk about it and for the young such as Gabriele, it would prove a lifelong horror.

For many men returning home learning that their wives had been raped was traumatic… Many marriages broke up…

Eventually communist leaders became deeply embarrassed by the reports of Soviet behaviour and made complaints to the Kremlin which admitted nothing and even claimed it was all Western propaganda designed to “damage the high reputation of the Red Army”.

The Red Army war memorial in Berlin is dominated by a huge figure of a Russian soldier. There is an expression of heroic triumph on his sculptured face. In one hand he holds a child, while the other wields a sword that smashes a swastika.

But to German women of the wartime generation, including Gabriele Koepp, there is another name for that memorial: “The tomb of the unknown rapist.”
 ——————————————————
History Of “The Victors” Which You Will Never Hear
 They raped every German female from eight to 80′

Antony Beevor, author of the acclaimed new book about the fall of Berlin, on a massive war crime committed by the victorious Red Army.

Wednesday May 1, 2002
 The Guardian

“Red Army soldiers don’t believe in ‘individual liaisons’ with German women,” wrote the playwright Zakhar Agranenko in his diary when serving as an officer of marine infantry in East Prussia. “Nine, ten, twelve men at a time – they rape the women on a collective basis.”

The Soviet armies advancing into East Prussia in January 1945, in huge, long columns, were an extraordinary mixture of modern and medieval: tank troops in padded black helmets, Cossack cavalrymen on shaggy mounts with loot strapped to the saddle, lend-lease Studebakers and Dodges towing light field guns, and then a second echelon in horse-drawn carts. The variety of character among the soldiers was almost as great as that of their military equipment. There were freebooters who drank and raped quite shamelessly, and there were idealistic, austere communists and members of the intelligentsia appalled by such behaviour.

Beria and Stalin, back in Moscow, knew perfectly well what was going on from a number of detailed reports. One stated that “many Germans declare that all German women in East Prussia who stayed behind were raped by Red Army soldiers”. Numerous examples of gang rape were given – “girls under 18 and old women included”.

Marshal Rokossovsky issued order No 006 in an attempt to direct “the feelings of hatred at fighting the enemy on the battlefield.” It appears to have had little effect. There were also a few arbitrary attempts to exert authority. The commander of one rifle division is said to have “personally shot a lieutenant who was lining up a group of his men before a German woman spreadeagled on the ground”. But either officers were involved themselves, or the lack of discipline made it too dangerous to restore order over drunken soldiers armed with submachine guns.

Calls to avenge the Motherland, violated by the Wehrmacht’s invasion, had given the idea that any cruelty would be allowed. Even many young women soldiers and medical staff in the Red Army did not appear to disapprove. “Our soldiers’ behaviour towards Germans, particularly German women, is absolutely correct!” said a 21-year-old from Agranenko’s reconnaissance detachment. A number seemed to find it amusing. Several German women recorded how Soviet servicewomen watched and laughed when they were raped. But some women were deeply shaken by what they witnessed in Germany. Natalya Gesse, a close friend of the scientist Andrei Sakharov, had observed the Red Army in action in 1945 as a Soviet war correspondent. “The Russian soldiers were raping every German female from eight to eighty,” she recounted later. “It was an army of rapists.”

Drink of every variety, including dangerous chemicals seized from laboratories and workshops, was a major factor in the violence. It seems as if Soviet soldiers needed alcoholic courage to attack a woman. But then, all too often, they drank too much and, unable to complete the act, used the bottle instead with appalling effect. A number of victims were mutilated obscenely.

The subject of the Red Army’s mass rapes in Germany has been so repressed in Russia that even today veterans refuse to acknowledge what really happened. The handful prepared to speak openly, however, are totally unrepentant. “They all lifted their skirts for us and lay on the bed,” said the leader of one tank company. He even went on to boast that “two million of our children were born” in Germany.

The capacity of Soviet officers to convince themselves that most of the victims were either happy with their fate, or at least accepted that it was their turn to suffer after the Wehrmacht had invaded Russia, is striking. “Our fellows were so sex-starved,” a Soviet major told a British journalist at the time, “that they often raped old women of sixty, seventy or even eighty – much to these grandmothers’ surprise, if not downright delight.”

One can only scratch at the surface of the psychological contradictions. When gang-raped women in Königsberg begged their attackers afterwards to put them out of their misery, the Red Army men appear to have felt insulted. “Russian soldiers do not shoot women,” they replied. “Only German soldiers do that.” The Red Army had managed to convince itself that because it had assumed the moral mission to liberate [what is your definition of liberation?!] Europe from fascism it could behave entirely as it liked, both personally and politically.

Domination and humiliation permeated most soldiers’ treatment of women in East Prussia. The victims not only bore the brunt of revenge for Wehrmacht crimes, they also represented an atavistic target as old as war itself. Rape is the act of a conqueror, the feminist historian Susan Brownmiller observed, aimed at the “bodies of the defeated enemy’s women” to emphasise his victory. Yet after the initial fury of January 1945 dissipated, the sadism became less marked. By the time the Red Army reached Berlin three months later, its soldiers tended to regard German women more as a casual right of conquest. The sense of domination certainly continued, but this was perhaps partly an indirect product of the humiliations which they themselves had suffered at the hands of their commanders and the Soviet authorities as a whole.

A number of other forces or influences were at work. Sexual freedom had been a subject for lively debate within Communist party circles during the 1920s, but during the following decade, Stalin ensured that Soviet society depicted itself as virtually asexual. This had nothing to do with genuine puritanism: it was because love and sex did not fit in with dogma designed to “deindividualise” the individual. Human urges and emotions had to be suppressed. Freud’s work was banned, divorce and adultery were matters for strong party disapproval. Criminal sanctions against homosexuality were reintroduced. The new doctrine extended even to the complete suppression of sex education. In graphic art, the clothed outline of a woman’s breasts was regarded as dangerously erotic. They had to be disguised under boiler suits. The regime clearly wanted any form of desire to be converted into love for the party and above all for Comrade Stalin.

Most ill-educated Red Army soldiers suffered from sexual ignorance and utterly unenlightened attitudes towards women. So the Soviet state’s attempts to suppress the libido of its people created what one Russian writer described as a sort of “barracks eroticism” which was far more primitive and violent than “the most sordid foreign pornography”. All this was combined with the dehumanising influence of modern propaganda and the atavistic, warring impulses of men marked by fear and suffering.

The novelist Vasily Grossman, a war correspondent attached to the invading Red Army, soon discovered that rape victims were not just Germans. Polish women also suffered. So did young Russian, Belorussian and Ukrainian women who had been sent back to Germany by the Wehrmacht for labour. “Liberated Soviet girls quite often complain that our soldiers rape them,” he noted. “One girl said to me in tears: ‘He was an old man, older than my father’.”

The rape of Soviet women and girls seriously undermines Russian attempts to justify Red Army behaviour on the grounds of revenge for German brutality in the Soviet Union. On March 29, 1945 the central committee of the Komsomol (the youth organisation of the Soviet Union) informed Stalin’s associate Malenkov of a report from the 1st Ukrainian Front. “On the night of 24 February,” General Tsygankov recorded in the first of many examples, “a group of 35 provisional lieutenants on a course and their battalion commander entered the women’s dormitory in the village of Grutenberg and raped them.”

In Berlin, many women were simply not prepared for the shock of Russian revenge, despite the warnings they had heard from Goebbels. Many reassured themselves that, although the danger must be great out in the countryside, mass rapes could hardly take place in the city in front of everybody.

In Dahlem, Soviet officers visited Sister Kunigunde, the mother superior of Haus Dahlem, a maternity clinic and orphanage. The officers and their men behaved impeccably. In fact, the officers even warned Sister Kunigunde about the second-line troops following on behind. Their prediction proved entirely accurate. Nuns, young girls, old women, pregnant women and mothers who had just given birth were all raped without pity.

Yet within a couple of days, a pattern emerged of soldiers flashing torches in the faces of women huddled in the bunkers to choose their victims. This process of selection, as opposed to the indiscriminate violence shown earlier, indicates a definite change. By this stage Soviet soldiers started to treat German women more as sexual spoils of war than as substitutes for the Wehrmacht on which to vent their rage.

Rape has often been defined by writers on the subject as an act of violence which has little to do with sex. But that is a definition from the victim’s perspective. To understand the crime, one needs to see things from the perpetrator’s point of view, especially in the later stages when unaggravated rape had succeeded the extreme onslaught of January and February.

Many women found themselves forced to “concede” to one soldier in the hope that he would protect them from others. Magda Wieland, a 24-year-old actress, was dragged from a cupboard in her apartment just off the Kurfürstendamm. A very young soldier from central Asia hauled her out. He was so excited at the prospect of a beautiful young blonde that he ejaculated prematurely. By sign language, she offered herself to him as a girlfriend if he would protect her from other Russian soldiers, but he went off to boast to his comrades and another soldier raped her. Ellen Goetz, a Jewish friend of Magda’s, was also raped. When other Germans tried to explain to the Russians that she was Jewish and had been persecuted, they received the retort: “Frau ist Frau” (or, “a woman is a woman”).

Women soon learned to disappear during the “hunting hours” of the evening. Young daughters were hidden in storage lofts for days on end. Mothers emerged into the street to fetch water only in the early morning when Soviet soldiers were sleeping off the alcohol from the night before. Sometimes the greatest danger came from one mother giving away the hiding place of other girls in a desperate bid to save her own daughter. Older Berliners still remember the screams every night. It was impossible not to hear them because all the windows had been blown in.

Estimates of rape victims from the city’s two main hospitals ranged from 95,000 to 130,000. One doctor deduced that out of approximately 100,000 women raped in the city, some 10,000 died as a result, mostly from suicide. The death rate was thought to have been much higher among the 1.4 million estimated victims in East Prussia, Pomerania and Silesia. Altogether at least two million German women are thought to have been raped, and a substantial minority, if not a majority, appear to have suffered multiple rape.

If anyone attempted to defend a woman against a Soviet attacker it was either a father trying to defend a daughter or a young son trying to protect his mother. “The 13-year old Dieter Sahl,” neighbours wrote in a letter shortly after the event, “threw himself with flailing fists at a Russian who was raping his mother in front of him. He did not succeed in anything except getting himself shot.”

After the second stage of women offering themselves to one soldier to save themselves from others, came the post-battle need to survive starvation. Susan Brownmiller noted “the murky line that divides wartime rape from wartime prostitution”. Soon after the surrender in Berlin, Ursula von Kardorff found all sorts of women prostituting themselves for food or the alternative currency of cigarettes. Helke Sander, a German film-maker who researched the subject in great detail, wrote of “the grey area of direct force, blackmail, calculation and real affection”.

The fourth stage was a strange form of cohabitation in which Red Army officers settled in with German “occupation wives”. The Soviet authorities were appalled and enraged when a number of Red Army officers, intent on staying with their German lovers, deserted when it was time to return to the Motherland.

Even if the feminist definition of rape purely as an act of violence proves to be simplistic, there is no justification for male complacency. If anything, the events of 1945 reveal how thin the veneer of civilisation can be when there is little fear of retribution. It also suggests a much darker side to male sexuality than we might care to admit
223  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Voter fraud in Florida. Not a peep of this in MSM. Nada. on: March 19, 2014, 07:24:39 PM
I don't know if anyone would recall I asked how can we find voter fraud if we don't ID people who are voting?  How would anyone really know if they are who they claim or even if they are entitled to vote?   This is what I mean:

http://www.westernjournalism.com/illegal-aliens-non-citizens-caught-voting-florida-vast-numbers/

Like Peter King asking for any evidence of unethical use of data acquired by the NSA.   "Not one shred of evidence" he  loves to shout.
So  I'll ask again.  How would any of us know?  How could we know?  How could anyone prove such a thing?  Good luck.

Crimes are committed all day long.   Smart criminals just do it in ways no one can see.   Especially true when no one is looking.  Or no one really cares.  Or those few who do an easily be persuaded to keep their mouths shut.
224  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Fascism, liberal fascism, progressivism, socialism: on: March 19, 2014, 07:32:04 AM
"The Economist’s crony-capitalism index also isolates business sectors like casinos, oil and gas, and real estate as crony sectors while ignoring things like high-tech, healthcare, and entertainment."

Wow.  What a huge and preposterous "oversight".   High tech, and entertainment are the biggest backers of the liberals.  Health care seems to be a monster unto itself.

Overall the Economist is to some degree calling out the Bamster some, and recently have started to actually say something good about the right, but overall they are still progressives at heart.   I would still label them maybe just a tad to the right of MSM - but only a tad.
225  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The benevolent billionaire on: March 18, 2014, 09:39:43 AM
Great idea - but why stop there.  Reduce taxes to zero on employers, expand entitlements, and increase all taxes on those in the middle.   Additionally simply open up the borders so all US jobs can be auctioned off to the world's lowest bidder:

****Gates: Tax consumption to fix unemployment caused by technology [VIDEO]

7:08 PM 03/17/2014

Billionaire software mogul Bill Gates has joined the growing chorus of tech experts who predict that low-skill Americans will face greater unemployment because more jobs are being done by software and robots.

The Microsoft founder, whose net worth is $76 billion, suggested the problem could be fixed by reducing taxes on employers and raising taxes on employees, via the reduction of payroll taxes and the addition of new federal consumption taxes.

The widening recognition of greater low-skill unemployment is also creating a problem for the many executives — including Gates — and lobbyists and legislators pushing for increased immigration. They back the Senate’s immigration bill, which would dramatically increase the supply of foreign labor, despite Americans’ high unemployment rates.

“Software substitution, you know, whether it’s for drivers or waiters or nurses or even, you know, whatever it is you do … is progressing,” Gates told university-trained Washington professionals gathered at a March 13 talk hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

The growing role of technology “will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set. … These things are coming fast,” he said.

“Twenty years from now, labor demand for lots of skill sets will be substantially lower, and I don’t think people have that in their mental model,” he added, echoing other predictions of low-skill unemployment.

A 2013 “study by Oxford University researchers Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne … [predicted] that nearly half of American jobs are at ‘high risk’ of being taken over by robots in the next decade or two,” National Journal reported in March.

The automation is also impacting higher-skilled professionals. This reporter used the Internet, a cellphone and a laptop to write this and three other diverse stories in one day. More dramatically, a reporter at the Los Angeles Times has developed a software-robot that autonomously reports breaking news about earthquakes.


 
“Democrats concerned by poverty and inequality — and Republicans who resist the social welfare measures necessitated by poverty and inequality — need to think harder about this [immigration and technology trade-off] question,” said a February article in The Daily Beast.

“I think it’s [a] tough” task to protect the middle class from the impact of automation, billionaire investor and immigration-advocate Steve Case said in December.

“I do think tax structures will have to move away from taxing [companies'] payroll because society has a desire to have employment,” Gates said.

“That’s going to force us to rethink how these tax structures work in order to maximize employment,” he said. One alternative, he said, would be to create consumption taxes — such as a federal sales tax — to hit higher-income people, while also reducing taxes paid by employers for each employee.

“The idea that consumption should be progressively taxed, I think that makes a lot of sense,” he said.

That shift would allow companies to profit by importing low-skill immigrants, even though the immigrants would also have to be supported by taxpayers. For example, the Senate’s June 2013 immigration bill offers conditional amnesty to at least 11.7 million illegal immigrants, who would cost taxpayers roughly $6.3 trillion over the next several decades, according to the Heritage Foundation.

Despite accelerating automation, President Barack Obama and many Democrats are promoting the Senate’s immigration rewrite that would double legal immigration to 46 million over the next 20 years. The bill would also double the inflow of guest workers, to at least 20 million.

The 66 million immigrants and guest workers would compete for jobs against the four million Americans who turn 18 each year, and the 800,000 Americans who graduate with skilled degrees each year.

Currently, the nation accepts one million immigrants and 650,000 non-agriculture immigrants each year, to join the working population of 150 million.

So far, GOP leaders in the House have blocked the Senate’s immigration expansion.****

226  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Google wants email scanning info blocked on: March 17, 2014, 07:45:17 AM
  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-14/google-wants-e-mail-scanning-information-blocked.html
227  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Democrats are potential Republicans - not the enemy on: March 17, 2014, 07:30:45 AM
I really don't know how we can defeat the dependency crowd when there are so many of them and growing by leaps and bounds unless there is a big shock wave that finally makes at least some of them wake up to reality.   We will see. 

*****Republicans roar for Tea Party candidate at California convention

Reuters
By Sharon Bernstein 13 hours ago
 
BURLINGAME, California (Reuters) - California Republicans wrapped up their annual state convention on Sunday with a roar of approval for a charismatic Tea Party-backed candidate seeking to unseat popular Democratic Governor Jerry Brown as he vies for an unprecedented fourth term.

Tim Donnelly, a Southern California state assemblyman who made his name as a leader for the anti-illegal immigration Minutemen Project, brought the crowd of several hundred party activists to its feet in a speech that slammed Brown, warned of government tyranny and criticized recent efforts in the state to allow transgender children to use school restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

"I want my state back," said Donnelly, a businessman who represents the conservative desert area east of Los Angeles. He blamed government regulation for driving customers away from a plastics business that he founded. "I want my freedom back."

About 1,000 delegates and guests attended the weekend convention in Burlingame, about 15 miles south of San Francisco. Speakers included former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus who urged members to strike a more inclusive tone as the party struggles to rebuild in a state where it once dominated.

"We have a responsibility to those who do not yet have the liberties and the rights that we enjoy," Rice told the group on Saturday as part of a speech urging the party to become more inclusive on issues like immigration. "We cannot abandon them ... We were once them."

The convention took place after months of strategizing and fundraising led by former Republican state senate leader Jim Brulte. In a state where Democrats control both legislative houses and every statewide elected office, Brulte is charged with helping to revive the party's moribund operation.

Just 29 percent of voters were registered Republicans in California in 2013, down from about 35 percent in 2005, part of a long decline in the party of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan in the increasingly diverse and socially liberal state.

Brown, who served as the state's top executive from 1975 to 1983 before winning the spot again in 2010, is seeking a fourth term as governor. By steering Democrats in the legislature sharply toward the center and stubbornly demanding fiscal restraint, his focus on paying down debt while restoring funding in key areas such as education has won him high approval ratings in a state where voters can be fickle.

CONSERVATIVE CROWD

But it was clear from the differing reactions to Donnelly and a more moderate candidate, former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari, that this was a conservative crowd.

Kashkari, who is seeking support from business interests in the state and is more moderate than Donnelly on many social issues, has made jobs and education the cornerstone of his campaign. He cited support from college Republicans and said he planned to meet with party activists in their hometowns after the convention ended.

"I'm running for governor because California is failing millions of our families," Kashkari said, referring to low-performing schools and a weak rate of job creation. His speech was met with polite applause, but not with the thunderous reaction that delegates gave to Donnelly.

At the convention and behind the scenes, Republican leaders have been urging candidates to be more inclusive and to refrain from inflammatory rhetoric. In his speech, Donnelly avoided talking about immigration and religion.

Democrats, he told the delegates, were not the enemy - they were potential Republicans.

Donnelly, 47, has an impassioned, populist style of speaking that tends to include a lot of zingers. His Burlingame speech was not without swipes at liberal causes, including environmentalists who want a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from underground rock deposits.

"We ought to frack our way to prosperity and drill our way to prosperity, rather than sitting on an ocean of oil and importing it from our enemies," he said to wild applause.

On his first day in office, Donnelly said, he would declare a moratorium on all laws that would restrict freedom, businesses or the constitutional rights of Californians.

He also railed against politicians who want to allow boys to use the girls' restroom at school, a jab at a recent state law allowing transgender youth to play sports or use bathrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

Assemblyman Brian Jones, a San Diego-area Republican who has thrown his support behind Donnelly, said that the sometimes provocative candidate has taken to heart pleas from senior party leaders and the business community to make his message more inclusive.

"He's saying the same things, but in a more welcoming manner," Jones said. "He's grown and is paying attention and being responsive to feedback."

(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Matthew
228  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: March 16, 2014, 07:21:10 PM
I think Clint Eastwood would look good in another Dirty Harry movie with this tiny gun:

http://www.vincelewis.net/60magnum.html
229  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Dolly photo on: March 16, 2014, 08:59:30 AM
An 1848 Matthew Brady photo of Dolly Madison 1768-1849.  James died in 1836 a decade too soon to be a subject for photography.    I think Zach Taylor may have been first President who was photographed.

One thing I notice is how small their upper body frames seem to be in those days.  Of course she was 80 here but even photos of  younger people seem to reveal this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:DMadison.jpg
230  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 15, 2014, 06:55:00 PM
"your posts are greatly appreciated"

Agreed.

231  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Russian Leaders (Putin, Medvedev, Oligarchs, etc) on: March 15, 2014, 01:01:38 PM
Works now.  I was going to note 50 of the 150 K is tax money.  It is amazing.  Guy gets 150 K and the government moves in and says 50 of them is "mine".

To think these guys fight like this for a measly 6K.

If any athletes deserve a big payday for a days work it is these people.

For certain many will wind up like Jerry Quarry.

It is amazing how much these guys can take.  The only way to stop them is to knock or strangle them unconscious or break or nearly break an arm or leg.
232  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Huge appeasement on: March 15, 2014, 12:55:46 PM
In typical Obama and the Progressive movement fashion we give up more and more to the "world community".   As Newt asks?  *Who are the stakeholders?*
We all are if you ask me.   I guess we are going to have an international tax now?  So Americans can continue funding for the rest of the new world order?

*****U.S. to relinquish remaining control over the Internet

 Joe Raedle/Getty Images -  Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade.

By Craig Timberg,   
 
U.S. officials announced plans Friday to relinquish federal government control over the administration of the Internet, a move that pleased international critics but alarmed some business leaders and others who rely on the smooth functioning of the Web.

Pressure to let go of the final vestiges of U.S. authority over the system of Web addresses and domain names that organize the Internet has been building for more than a decade and was supercharged by the backlash last year to revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

Move comes after revelations about National Security Agency surveillance.

The change would end the long-running contract between the Commerce Department and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a California-based nonprofit group. That contract is set to expire next year but could be extended if the transition plan is not complete.

“We look forward to ICANN convening stakeholders across the global Internet community to craft an appropriate transition plan,” Lawrence E. Strickling, assistant secretary of commerce for communications and information, said in a statement.

The announcement received a passionate response, with some groups quickly embracing the change and others blasting it.

In a statement, Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.) called the move “consistent with other efforts the U.S. and our allies are making to promote a free and open Internet, and to preserve and advance the current multi-stakeholder model of global Internet governance.”

But former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) tweeted: “What is the global internet community that Obama wants to turn the internet over to? This risks foreign dictatorships defining the internet.”

The practical consequences of the decision were harder to immediately discern, especially with the details of the transition not yet clear. Politically, the move could alleviate rising global concerns that the United States essentially controls the Web and takes advantage of its oversight position to help spy on the rest of the world.

U.S. officials set several conditions and an indeterminate timeline for the transition from federal government authority, saying a new oversight system must be developed and win the trust of crucial stakeholders around the world. An international meeting to discuss the future of Internet is scheduled to start on March 23 in Singapore.

The move’s critics called the decision hasty and politically tinged, and voiced significant doubts about the fitness of ICANN to operate without U.S. oversight and beyond the bounds of U.S. law.



“This is a purely political bone that the U.S. is throwing,” said Garth Bruen, a security fellow at the Digital Citizens Alliance, a Washington-based advocacy group that combats online crime. “ICANN has made a lot of mistakes, and ICANN has not really been a good steward.”

Business groups and some others have long complained that ICANN’s decision-making was dominated by the interests of the industry that sells domain names and whose fees provide the vast majority of ICANN’s revenue. The U.S. government contract was a modest check against such abuses, critics said.

“It’s inconceivable that ICANN can be accountable to the whole world. That’s the equivalent of being accountable to no one,” said Steve DelBianco, executive director of NetChoice, a trade group representing major Internet commerce businesses.

U.S. officials said their decision had nothing to do with the NSA spying revelations and the worldwide controversy they sparked, saying there had been plans since ICANN’s creation in 1998 to eventually migrate it to international control.

“The timing is now right to start this transition both because ICANN as an organization has matured, and international support continues to grow for the multistakeholder model of Internet governance,” Strickling said in a statement.

Although ICANN is based in Southern California, governments worldwide have a say in the group’s decisions through an oversight body. ICANN in 2009 made an “Affirmation of Commitments” to the Commerce Department that covers several key issues.

Fadi Chehade, president of ICANN, disputed many of the complaints about the transition plan and promised an open, inclusive process to find a new international oversight structure for the group.

“Nothing will be done in any way to jeopardize the security and stability of the Internet,” he said.

The United States has long maintained authority over elements of the Internet, which grew from a Defense Department program that started in the 1960s. The relationship between the United States and ICANN has drawn wider international criticism in recent years, in part because big American companies such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft play such a central role in the Internet’s worldwide functioning. The NSA revelations exacerbated those concerns.

“This is a step in the right direction to resolve important international disputes about how the Internet is governed,” said Gene Kimmelman, president of Public Knowledge, a group that promotes open access to the Internet.

Verizon, one of the world’s biggest Internet providers, issued a statement saying, “A successful transition in the stewardship of these important functions to the global multi-stakeholder community would be a timely and positive step in the evolution of Internet governance.”

ICANN’s most important function is to oversee the assigning of Internet domains — such as dot-com, dot-edu and dot-gov — and ensure that the various companies and universities involved in directing digital traffic do so safely.

Concern about ICANN’s stewardship has spiked in recent years amid a massive and controversial expansion that is adding hundreds of new domains, such as dot-book, dot-gay and dot-sucks, to the Internet’s infrastructure. More than 1,000 new domains are slated to be made available, pumping far more fee revenue into ICANN.




Major corporations have complained, however, that con artists already swarm the Internet with phony Web sites designed to look like the authentic offerings of respected brands.

“To set ICANN so-called free is a very major step that should done with careful oversight,” said Dan Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We would be very concerned about that step.”

 





Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where
233  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 15, 2014, 12:43:38 PM
Still only get "notify"
234  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Sounds good. on: March 15, 2014, 12:42:34 PM
Just don't let the Clintons steal your ideas and pretend they've been saying it all along:

http://news.yahoo.com/in-the-age-of-reality-politics--rubio-finds-his-voice-102128536.html
235  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why is big tech so liberally biased? on: March 15, 2014, 12:01:38 PM
Typical "editorial" piece that comes up on Yahoo "news".   Not will MSNBC cost the liberals elections.  Or is Huffington Post costing Democrats votes?
Or is Obama hurting the Democrat party?  No.  Only mocks of the Tea Party or anything conservative:

http://theweek.com/article/index/258089/speedreads-will-fox-news-cost-the-republican-party-the-2016-election
236  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant on: March 15, 2014, 11:44:22 AM
I cannot reply to the Putin thread.  No "reply" link comes up. 
237  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: March 15, 2014, 11:33:45 AM
Denny,

Didn't you used to post on the infamous Gilder Tech Board yrs ago?

Do you ever feel in danger in Venezuela?

238  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / "Why I Hire Undocumented Workers" on: March 13, 2014, 10:32:10 AM
We know why.  I guess if we make them legal they will be able to start their OWN businesses and drive this American employer out of business.  Sorry but this twisted logic doesn't sit well with me.

****Immigration
Why I Hire Undocumented Workers
12, 2014 12:23 PM ET
By Francis Wilkinson


Using data from the U.S. Census, the Pew Hispanic Center estimated that there were eight million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. labor force in 2010. The Migration Policy Institute estimated the number a bit lower -- 6.4 million -- in 2011, with retail trade employing 920,000, construction 910,000, agriculture 540,000 and manufacturing 520,000. Even using the lower Institute number, that means there is more than one undocumented worker for every one of the six million employers in the U.S.

Who is employing them all?

Well, a guy I've known for years is one. He owns an east-coast landscaping and plant business with around 100 employees, at least half of whom are undocumented Mexican immigrants.

About a dozen years ago, one of his biggest competitors started using undocumented Mexican laborers. At the time, the landscaper’s firm suffered high turnover and low productivity, and finding employees to do the actual landscaping -- his company's bread and butter -- was difficult.

“We’ve never had anyone come in here looking for work,” he told me, on condition that I withhold his name. He found many of the Americans he has hired over the years to be unreliable and unwilling to work hard. Sometimes they quit; other times he has fired them.

Gradually, he started hiring Mexican laborers. All of them were able to provide Social Security numbers, though he understood they were bogus. “We have to have paperwork on these guys,” he said. “We just don’t have to have it be legitimate.”

The Mexican laborers live together in a poor neighborhood in a small city, drive to work together and take as many hours as the boss offers – seven days a week when possible. He pays them the same wages he pays Americans -- one top earner makes $25 per hour, well above the median U.S. wage. Because they're undocumented and most don't have their families with them, the men don't make much of a dent in the U.S. consumer economy. Instead, they send their savings home to their families in Mexico.

There are, of course, complications. The landscaper said he has paid thousands of dollars to coyotes and illegal services to secure passage back to the U.S. for workers who returned to Mexico to visit family. If his employees are stopped at the U.S. border and don't make it back to work, which is happening more frequently, he isn't charged. “I lost a key man," he said, "a skilled stone mason who couldn’t get back in the country.” If his employees do make it back to work, he said, they inevitably reimburse him for the coyote fees.

As the business grew, the landscaper's Mexican workforce also became his recruiting service. “The Mexicans are self-policing,” he said. “If a guy is not working hard, they get rid of him. I don’t even have to say anything. The only people I have to fire are Americans.”

(Francis Wilkinson is a member of the Bloomberg View editorial board. Follow him on Twitter.)*****
239  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Politics of Health Care on: March 13, 2014, 09:30:47 AM
"Can Obama repeal and postpone his way to keeping a Senate majority in the fall?"

And can he lie and distort and conceal along with willing MSM accomplices till then?

My guess is no.   How convenient that he is safely re elected some Dems will speak out against him only to set the stage for their next front person.

Morris said Brock is now doing the same thing Clinton did during Lewinsky by announcing policy programs and changing the subject every day.

Remember when we seem to have had thrust in our faces every single day an adorable announcement by Clinton?  Now we see the Brock doing the same thing to constantly change the subject and announce liberal crap every day.  Raise the min wage.  Raise overtime pay and so on.
240  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science and Military Issues on: March 13, 2014, 09:24:33 AM
A long time ago I had a patient who had a daughter who was raped by a Navy-man.   He threatened her not to "mess with the Navy".  She was not military.   He stated he sent letters all over demanding justice.   He said he was taken seriously.  The last time I spoke to him he said his daughter decided she couldn't go through with all the continuing psychological trauma to pursue justice and decided it was simply less stressful to just move on.  He was very disappointed and felt like he failed to protect his daughter.  I couldn't convince him otherwise.

Apparently there were at least some in the Navy who were willing to cover for this guy.  But I don't know details beyond this.

I don't know if rape is more frequent among military personnel than the general population or if it is harder to obtain justice when it occurs.

I don't think it wrong for the civilian justice system to at least review what is going on though I would prefer they fix any problems within the military system then let the politicians make political fodder for this.

241  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 11, 2014, 07:28:04 PM
This was discussed today on Dick Morris radio (actually a really good show - he is really interesting).   But I thought Libya took responsibility for Lockerbee and admitted it?

 undecided

******Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack   

Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack

March. 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM   |   1 Comment

EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 11 (UPI) -- The 1988 Lockerbie jetliner bombing was payback for the U.S. Navy's downing of an Iranian airliner six months earlier, an ex-Iranian intelligence officer says.
Abolghassem Mesbahi says Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 290 people died, to avenge the accidental shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes and left 270 people dead, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The London newspaper said previously unreleased evidence that was to have been used in an appeal hearing for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing, supports Mesbahi's contention. The Lockerbie bombing was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, the newspaper said the evidence suggests.

The Telegraph said documents obtained by the Arab television network al-Jazeera for a documentary called "Lockerbie: What Really Happened?" names key individuals allegedly involved in the attack.

The Telegraph said the new evidence puts the conviction of al-Megrahi in question and supports allegations the truth about Lockerbie was covered up by Britain and the United States to avoid angering Syria, a key player in the Middle East

Al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the Lockerbie attack, dropped his appeal after being released from prison in 2009 because he was suffering from cancer, though he maintained his innocence until his death in 2012.

Al-Megrahi's conviction was based on the prosecution's theory that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie attack in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which Gadhafi's daughter was killed.

But Mesbahi contends it was Iran, not Libya, that sought revenge.

"Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible," Mesbahi, who had reported directly to Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and now lives under a witness protection program in Germany, told al-Jazeera. "The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini.

"The target of the Iranian decision-makers was to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead."

The newspaper reported the U.S. State Department said it wanted all those responsible for the Lockerbie attack brought to justice, while Britain's Foreign Office said the case remains open because investigators believe al-Megrahi didn't act alone.

The Iranian government had no comment on the documentary's findings, but has previously denied any involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/11/Ex-Iranian-intel-officer-says-Iran-not-Libya-behind-Lockerbie-attack/UPI-51221394569068/#ixzz2vheOEkoK*******
 
 
242  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / I will post on Iran thread on: March 11, 2014, 07:20:54 PM
This was discussed today on Dick Morris radio (actually a really good show - he is really interesting).   But I thought Libya took responsibility for Lockerbee and admitted it?

 undecided

******Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack   

Ex-Iranian intel officer says Iran, not Libya, behind Lockerbie attack

March. 11, 2014 at 4:17 PM   |   1 Comment

EDINBURGH, Scotland, March 11 (UPI) -- The 1988 Lockerbie jetliner bombing was payback for the U.S. Navy's downing of an Iranian airliner six months earlier, an ex-Iranian intelligence officer says.
Abolghassem Mesbahi says Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini ordered the attack on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which 290 people died, to avenge the accidental shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 over the Persian Gulf by the USS Vincennes and left 270 people dead, the Daily Telegraph reported Monday.

The London newspaper said previously unreleased evidence that was to have been used in an appeal hearing for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of the bombing, supports Mesbahi's contention. The Lockerbie bombing was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine -- General Command, the newspaper said the evidence suggests.

The Telegraph said documents obtained by the Arab television network al-Jazeera for a documentary called "Lockerbie: What Really Happened?" names key individuals allegedly involved in the attack.

The Telegraph said the new evidence puts the conviction of al-Megrahi in question and supports allegations the truth about Lockerbie was covered up by Britain and the United States to avoid angering Syria, a key player in the Middle East

Al-Megrahi, the only man convicted in the Lockerbie attack, dropped his appeal after being released from prison in 2009 because he was suffering from cancer, though he maintained his innocence until his death in 2012.

Al-Megrahi's conviction was based on the prosecution's theory that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie attack in retaliation for the U.S. bombing of Tripoli and Benghazi in 1986, in which Gadhafi's daughter was killed.

But Mesbahi contends it was Iran, not Libya, that sought revenge.

"Iran decided to retaliate as soon as possible," Mesbahi, who had reported directly to Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and now lives under a witness protection program in Germany, told al-Jazeera. "The decision was made by the whole system in Iran and confirmed by Ayatollah Khomeini.

"The target of the Iranian decision-makers was to copy exactly what happened to the Iranian Airbus. Everything exactly the same, minimum 290 people dead."

The newspaper reported the U.S. State Department said it wanted all those responsible for the Lockerbie attack brought to justice, while Britain's Foreign Office said the case remains open because investigators believe al-Megrahi didn't act alone.

The Iranian government had no comment on the documentary's findings, but has previously denied any involvement in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.


Read more: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2014/03/11/Ex-Iranian-intel-officer-says-Iran-not-Libya-behind-Lockerbie-attack/UPI-51221394569068/#ixzz2vheOEkoK*******
243  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Palin phenomenon on: March 11, 2014, 07:04:08 PM
Palin might be an excellent hosts of a show that is the answer to Bill Maher. 

Her calling is political humor with a conservative twist and a liberal bite.
244  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / 300 sequel not so liked on: March 10, 2014, 07:40:10 AM
But at least it has the politically correct warrior-broad in it:

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/300_rise_of_an_empire/
245  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People (Gun rights stuff ) on: March 10, 2014, 07:30:00 AM
I've been seeing some of this in the medical journals.

Doctors trying to make the case gun laws has anything to do with medicine.

There is something self aggrandizing and narcissistic about these types.
246  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Shale/fracking boom is not the panacea some suggest on: March 07, 2014, 06:32:52 PM
Arthur Berman continues to maintain:

Wells do not have long drilling life and drilling companies have to keep searching and drilling more just to maintain.   Capital expenditures are so enormous for these hard to get liquids that companies are spending more than they make to get the stuff.  Prices have to be high to make it profitable and most supplies estimates are exaggerations and not realistic.   Similar issues with oil in sands:

*****Shale, the Last Oil and Gas Train: Interview With Arthur Berman

By Oilprice.com 
March 6, 2014   

This article was written by Oilprice.com -- the leading provider of energy news in the world. Also see our previous interview with Arthur Berman.

How much faith can we put in our ability to decipher all the numbers out there telling us the US is closing in on its cornering of the global oil market? There's another side to the story of the relentless US shale boom, one that says that some of the numbers are misunderstood, while others are simply preposterous. The truth of the matter is that the industry has to make such a big deal out of shale because it's all that's left. There are some good things happening behind the fairy tale numbers, though—it's just a matter of deciphering them from a sober perspective.   

In a second exclusive interview with James Stafford of Oilprice.com, energy expert Arthur Berman discusses:

•    Why US gas supply growth rests solely on Marcellus
•    When Bakken and Eagle Ford will peak
•    The eyebrow-raising predictions for the Permian Basin
•    Why outrageous claims should have oil lawyers running for cover
•    Why everyone's making such a big deal about shale
•    The only way to make the shale gas boom sustainable
•    Why some analysts need their math examined
•    Why it's not just about how much gas we produce
•    Why investors are starting to ask questions
•    Why new industries, not technologies will make the next boom
•    Why we'll never hit the oil and gas 'wall'
•    Why companies could use a little supply and-demand discipline
•    Why 'fire ice' makes sense (in Japan)
•    Why the US crude export debate will be 'silly'

Arthur is a geological consultant with thirty-four years of experience in petroleum exploration and production. He is currently consulting for several E&P companies and capital groups in the energy sector. He frequently gives keynote addresses for investment conferences and is interviewed about energy topics on television, radio, and national print and web publications including CNBC, CNN, Platt's Energy Week, BNN, Bloomberg, Platt's, Financial Times, and New York Times. You can find out more about Arthur by visiting his website: http://petroleumtruthreport.blogspot.com

Oilprice.com: Almost on a daily basis we have figures thrown at us to demonstrate how the shale boom is only getting started. Mostly recently, there are statements to the effect that Texas shale formations will produce up to one-third of the global oil supply over the next 10 years. Is there another story behind these figures?

Arthur Berman: First, we have to distinguish between shale gas and liquids plays. On the gas side, all shale gas plays except the Marcellus are in decline or flat. The growth of US supply rests solely on the Marcellus and it is unlikely that its growth can continue at present rates. On the oil side, the Bakken has a considerable commercial area that is perhaps only one-third developed so we see Bakken production continuing for several years before peaking. The Eagle Ford also has significant commercial area but is showing signs that production may be flattening. Nevertheless, we see 5 or so more years of continuing Eagle Ford production activity before peaking. The EIA has is about right for the liquids plays--slower increases until later in the decade, and then decline.

The idea that Texas shales will produce one-third of global oil supply is preposterous. The Eagle Ford and the Bakken comprise 80% of all the US liquids growth. The Permian basin has notable oil reserves left but mostly from very small accumulations and low-rate wells. EOG (NYSE: EOG  ) CEO Bill Thomas said the same thing about 10 days ago on EOG's earnings call. There have been some truly outrageous claims made by some executives about the Permian basin in recent months that I suspect have their general counsels looking for a defibrillator.

Recently, the CEO of a major oil company told The Houston Chronicle that the shale revolution is only in the "first inning of a nine-inning game". I guess he must have lost track of the score while waiting in line for hot dogs because production growth in U.S. shale gas plays excluding the Marcellus is approaching zero; growth in the Bakken and Eagle Ford has fallen from 33% in mid-2011 to 7% in late 2013.

Oil companies have to make a big deal about shale plays because that is all that is left in the world. Let's face it: these are truly awful reservoir rocks and that is why we waited until all more attractive opportunities were exhausted before developing them. It is completely unreasonable to expect better performance from bad reservoirs than from better reservoirs.

The majors have shown that they cannot replace reserves. They talk about return on capital employed (ROCE) these days instead of reserve replacement and production growth because there is nothing to talk about there. Shale plays are part of the ROCE story--shale wells can be drilled and brought on production fairly quickly and this masks or smoothes out the non-productive capital languishing in big projects around the world like Kashagan and Gorgon, which are going sideways while eating up billions of dollars.

None of this is meant to be negative. I'm all for shale plays but let's be honest about things, after all!  Production from shale is not a revolution; it's a retirement party.

OP: Is the shale "boom" sustainable?

Arthur Berman: The shale gas boom is not sustainable except at higher gas prices in the US. There is lots of gas--just not that much that is commercial at current prices. Analysts that say there are trillions of cubic feet of commercial gas at $4 need their cost assumptions audited. If they are not counting overhead (G&A) and many operating costs, then of course things look good. If Walmart were evaluated solely on the difference between wholesale and retail prices, they would look fantastic. But they need stores, employees, gas and electricity, advertising and distribution. So do gas producers. I don't know where these guys get their reserves either, but that needs to be audited as well.

There was a report recently that said large areas of the Barnett Shale are commercial at $4 gas prices and that the play will continue to produce lots of gas for decades. Some people get so intrigued with how much gas has been produced and could be in the future, that they don't seem to understand that this is a business. A business must be commercial to be successful over the long term, although many public companies in the US seem to challenge that concept.

Investors have tolerated a lot of cheerleading about shale gas over the years, but I don't think this is going to last. Investors are starting to ask questions, such as: Where are the earnings and the free cash flow. Shale companies are spending a lot more than they are earning, and that has not changed. They are claiming all sorts of efficiency gains on the drilling side that has distracted inquiring investors for awhile. I was looking through some investor presentations from 2007 and 2008 and the same companies were making the same efficiency claims then as they are now. The problem is that these impressive gains never show up in the balance sheets, so I guess they must not be very important after all.

The reason that the shale gas boom is not sustainable at current prices is that shale gas is not the whole story. Conventional gas accounts for almost 60% of US gas and it is declining at about 20% per year and no one is drilling more wells in these plays. The unconventional gas plays decline at more than 30% each year. Taken together, the US needs to replace 19 billion cubic feet per day each year to maintain production at flat levels. That's almost four Barnett shale plays at full production each year! So you can see how hard it will be to sustain gas production. Then there are all the efforts to use it up faster--natural gas vehicles, exports to Mexico, LNG exports, closing coal and nuclear plants--so it only gets harder.

This winter, things have begun to unravel. Comparative gas storage inventories are near their 2003 low. Sure, weather is the main factor but that's always the case. The simple truth is that supply has not been able to adequately meet winter demand this year, period. Say what you will about why but it's a fact that is inconsistent with the fairy tales we continue to hear about cheap, abundant gas forever.

I sat across the table from industry experts just a year ago or so who were adamant that natural gas prices would never get above $4 again. Prices have been above $4 for almost three months. Maybe "never" has a different meaning for those people that doesn't include when they are wrong.

OP: Do you foresee any new technology on the shelf in the next 10-20 years that would shape another boom, whether it be fossil fuels or renewables?

Arthur Berman: I get asked about new technology that could make things different all the time. I'm a technology enthusiast but I see the big breakthroughs in new industries, not old extractive businesses like oil and gas. Technology has made many things possible in my lifetime including shale and deep-water production, but it hasn't made these things cheaper.

That's my whole point about shale plays--they're expensive and need high oil and gas prices to work. We've got the high prices for oil and the oil plays are fine; we don't have high prices for the gas plays and they aren't working. There are some areas of the Marcellus that actually work at $4 gas price and that's great, but it really takes $6 gas prices before things open up even there.

OP: In Europe, where do you see the most potential for shale gas exploitation, with Ukraine engulfed in political chaos, companies withdrawing from Poland, and a flurry of shale activity in the UK?

Arthur Berman: Shale plays will eventually spread to Europe but it will take a longer time than it did in North America. The biggest reason is the lack of private mineral ownership in most of Europe so there is no incentive for local people to get on board. In fact, there are only the negative factors of industrial development for them to look forward to with no pay check. It's also a lot more expensive to drill and produce gas in Europe.

There are a few promising shale plays on the international horizon: the Bazherov in Russia, the Vaca Muerte in Argentina and the Duvernay in Canada look best to me because they are liquid-prone and in countries where acceptable fiscal terms and necessary infrastructure are feasible.  At the same time, we have learned that not all plays work even though they look good on paper, and that the potentially commercial areas are always quite small compared to the total resource.  Also, we know that these plays do not last forever and that once the drilling treadmill starts, it never ends. Because of high decline rates, new wells must constantly be drilled to maintain production.  Shale plays will last years, not decades.

Recent developments in Poland demonstrate some of the problems with international shale plays. Everyone got excited a few years ago because resource estimates were enormous.  Later, these estimates were cut but many companies moved forward and wells have been drilled. Most international companies have abandoned the project including ExxonMobil, ENI, Marathon and Talisman.  Some players exited because they don't think that the geology is right but the government has created many regulatory obstacles that have caused a lack of confidence in the fiscal environment in Poland.

The UK could really use the gas from the Bowland Shale and, while it's not a huge play, there is enough there to make a difference. I expect there will be plenty of opposition because people in the UK are very sensitive about the environment and there is just no way to hide the fact that shale development has a big footprint despite pad drilling and industry efforts to make it less invasive.

Let me say a few things about resource estimates while we are on the subject.  The public and politicians do not understand the difference between resources and reserves.  The only think that they have in common is that they both begin with "res."  Reserves are a tiny subset of resources that can be produced commercially.  Both are always wrong but resource estimates can be hugely misleading because they are guesses and have nothing to do with economics. 

Someone recently sent me a new report by the CSIS that said U.S. shale gas resource estimates are too conservative and are much larger than previously believed.  I wrote him back that I think that resource estimates for U.S. shale gas plays are irrelevant because now we have robust production data to work with.  Most of those enormous resources are in plays that we already know are not going to be economic.  Resource estimates have become part of the shale gas cheerleading squad's standard tricks to drum up enthusiasm for plays that clearly don't work except at higher gas prices.  It's really unfortunate when supposedly objective policy organizations and research groups get in on the hype in order to attract funding for their work.

OP: The ban on most US crude exports in place since the Arab oil embargo of 1973 is now being challenged by lobbyists, with media opining that this could be the biggest energy debate of the year in the US. How do you foresee this debate shaping up by the end of this year?

Arthur Berman: The debate over oil and gas exports will be silly.

I do not favor regulation of either oil or gas exports from the US. On the other hand, I think that a little discipline by the E&P companies might be in order so they don't have to beg the American people to bail them out of the over-production mess that they have created knowingly for themselves. Any business that over-produces whatever it makes has to live with lower prices. Why should oil and gas producers get a pass from the free-market laws of supply and demand?

I expect that by the time all the construction is completed to allow gas export, the domestic price will be high enough not to bother. It amazes me that the geniuses behind gas export assume that the business conditions that resulted in a price benefit overseas will remain static until they finish building export facilities, and that the competition will simply stand by when the awesome Americans bring gas to their markets. Just last week, Ken Medlock described how some schemes to send gas to Asia may find that there will be a lot of price competition in the future because a lot of gas has been discovered elsewhere in the world.

The US acts like we are some kind of natural gas superstar because of shale gas. Has anyone looked at how the US stacks up next to Russia, Iran and Qatar for natural gas reserves?

Whatever outcome results from the debate over petroleum exports, it will result in higher prices for American consumers. There are experts who argue that it won't increase prices much and that the economic benefits will outweigh higher costs. That may be but I doubt that anyone knows for sure. Everyone agrees that oil and gas will cost more if we allow exports.

OP: Is the US indeed close to hitting the "crude wall"—the point at which production could slow due to infrastructure and regulatory restraints?

Arthur Berman: No matter how much or little regulation there is, people will always argue that it is still either too much or too little. We have one of the most unfriendly administrations toward oil and gas ever and yet production has boomed. I already said that I oppose most regulation so you know where I stand. That said, once a bureaucracy is started, it seldom gets smaller or weaker. I don't see any walls out there, just uncomfortable price increases because of unnecessary regulations.

We use and need too much oil and gas to hit a wall. I see most of the focus on health care regulation for now. If there is no success at modifying the most objectionable parts of the Affordable Care Act, I don't suppose there is much hope for fewer oil and gas regulations. The petroleum business isn't exactly the darling of the people.

OP: What is the realistic future of methane hydrates, or "fire ice", particularly with regard to Japanese efforts at extraction?

Arthur Berman: Japan is desperate for energy especially since they cut back their nuclear program so maybe hydrates make some sense at least as a science project for them. Their pilot is in thousands of feet of water about 30 miles offshore so it's going to be very expensive no matter how successful it is.

OP: Globally, where should we look for the next potential "shale boom" from a geological perspective as well as a commercial viability perspective?

Arthur Berman: Not all shale is equal or appropriate for oil and gas development. Once we remove all the shale that is not at or somewhat above peak oil generation today, most of it goes away. Some shale plays that meet these and other criteria didn't work so we have a lot to learn. But shale development is both inevitable and necessary. It will take a longer time than many believe outside of North America.

OP: We've spoken about Japan's nuclear energy crossroads before, and now we see that issue climaxing, with the country's nuclear future taking center-stage in an election period. Do you still believe it is too early for Japan to pull the plug on nuclear energy entirely?

Arthur Berman: Japan and Germany have made certain decisions about nuclear energy that I find remarkable but I don't live there and, obviously, don't think like them.

More generally, environmental enthusiasts simply don't see the obstacles to short-term conversion of a fossil fuel economy to one based on renewable energy. I don't see that there is a rational basis for dialogue in this arena. I'm all in favor of renewable energy but I don't see going from a few percent of our primary energy consumption to even 20% in less than a few decades no matter how much we may want to.

OP: What have we learned over the past year about Japan's alternatives to nuclear energy?

Arthur Berman: We have learned that it takes a lot of coal to replace nuclear energy when countries like Japan and Germany made bold decisions to close nuclear capacity. We also learned that energy got very expensive in a hurry. I say that we learned. I mean that the past year confirmed what many of us anticipated.

OP: Back in the US, we have closely followed the blowback from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed new carbon emissions standards for power plants, which would make it impossible for new coal-fired plants to be built without the implementation of carbon capture and sequestration technology, or "clean-coal" tech. Is this a feasible strategy in your opinion?

Arthur Berman: I'm not an expert on clean coal technology either but I am confident that almost anything is possible if cost doesn't matter. This is as true about carbon capture from coal as it is about shale gas production. Energy is an incredibly complex topic and decisions are being made by bureaucrats and politicians with little background in energy or the energy business. I don't see any possibility of a good outcome under these circumstances.

OP: Is CCS far enough along to serve as a sound basis for a national climate change policy?

Arthur Berman: Climate-change activism is a train that has left the station. If you've missed it, too bad. If you're on board, good luck.

The good news is that the US does not have an energy policy and is equally unlikely to get a climate change policy for all of the same reasons. I fear putting climate change policy in the hands of bureaucrats and politicians more than I fear climate change (which I fear).*****
247  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: R.I.P. on: March 07, 2014, 06:10:30 PM
Doug,

My condolences as well. 

Judging from your kindness on the board all these years.  She must have been a great mother.   I was lucky like that too.




248  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gov. Chris Christie on: March 06, 2014, 12:52:28 PM
I don't know how I could in good conscious support support this guy.  He did to an extant stand up to teachers unions which is a first in the "union thug" state of NJ.  It is unbelievable how powerful they are here.

But  I don't see another single thing that he did that was helpful.   He certainly is no conservative. 

I don't believe he did not know about the GW bridge.  People who know him and his minions know the underlings wouldn't even "go to the bathroom" without his knowledge and permission.  So for him not to have known about the bridge is not believable to me.  He may have been lied to about there being a electronic paper trail (emails) and that was what he was so able to be furious about.   So he could come out and claim he was "lied to".


To me it is all the scandal is the same as Lois Lerner/IRS and her taking the 5th.  These people are caught red handed and their choice is either to be honest and rat out their superiors and thus live the life of being crucified for eternity by the thugs in the party or let the lawyers get them the minimum they can and get a payoff later on when no one is looking or can do anything about it.   What does one choose?   The smaller stick with the carrot or the big stick and suffer forever far more aggresiously (sp?).

Is this the best the Republicans can do?   Way too early, but I hope not.
249  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / She must have went offscript when she made her Hitler Putin remarks on: March 06, 2014, 10:30:26 AM
 "all parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time."

Right after she makes criticisms that take her another week to try to explain and re-assemble.

"I am not making a comparison, certainly."

This she says right after she just made a comparison.  Now she looks like a fool walking backwards. 

Of course the MSM makes it look like she is tough.

*****Clinton again blasts Putin after her Hitler remark
Associated Press
By MICHAEL R. BLOOD 14 hours ago

Clinton Again Blasts Putin After Hitler Remark
     
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin is a tough but thin-skinned leader who is squandering his country's potential, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday, a day after she likened his actions on the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine to those of Adolf Hitler in the 1930s.

Clinton, a potential 2016 presidential contender, warned during her a speech at the University of California, Los Angeles, that "all parties should avoid steps that could be misinterpreted or lead to miscalculation at this delicate time."

Putin has said he was protecting ethnic Russians by moving troops into Crimea.

Clinton said Tuesday at a closed fundraising luncheon in Long Beach that Putin's actions are similar what happened in the Nazi era in Czechoslovakia and Romania.

"Now if this sounds familiar, it's what Hitler did back in the '30s," Clinton said, according to the Press-Telegram of Long Beach. "Hitler kept saying, 'They're not being treated right. I must go and protect my people.' And that's what's gotten everybody so nervous."

Responding to a question submitted at the UCLA talk, Clinton said she was not making a comparison although Russia's actions were "reminiscent" of claims Germany made in the 1930s, when the Nazis said they needed to protect German minorities in Poland and elsewhere in Europe.

"The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into eastern Ukraine because they had to protect the Russian minorities, that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland and Czechoslovakia and elsewhere throughout Europe," she said.

"I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I am not making a comparison, certainly. But I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before," she said.

Clinton said Putin is trying to "re-Sovietize" the periphery of Russia but is actually squandering the potential of his nation and "threatening instability and even the peace of Europe."

In recent days, some Republicans, including Sen. John McCain have criticized the Obama administration's policy in Ukraine. Clinton echoed President Barack Obama's assessment that Russia's intervention was a violation of international law, and she said she supported the administration's call for Russia "to refrain from the threat or use of force."

Kathryn Stoner, a Russia expert at Stanford University's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, said she considered Clinton's comparison between Putin and the tactics of Nazi-era Germany "a bit of a stretch," in part because Putin "doesn't look like he is intent on spreading across the Ukraine and permanently occupying this area."

In a delicate diplomatic situation "I don't think it's helpful on either side to say things like this, but in these crises it happens," Stoner added****

 cheesy But she is a very nice person if you get to know her.
250  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Legal issues on: March 06, 2014, 09:08:07 AM
***Nevada law bars casinos from allowing obviously drunk patrons to gamble and from serving them comped drinks.***

I have little sympathy for this guy yet the casino employees seemed to have no problem doing what is according to this illegal.

Or so he claims.
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