Friday, April 24, 2015

Scientists discover root cause of asthma, calcium sensing censor, believe it can be treated with existing drugs-BBC

.
4/23/15, "Cardiff University scientists discover asthma's root cause," BBC

"Scientists at Cardiff University have identified the potential root cause of asthma for the first time, along with a new treatment.

Researchers have proved that a receptor, known as the calcium sensing receptor or CaSR, causes asthma.

This has led them to discover that the condition could be treated using existing drugs called calcilytics.

The study was made using mouse models of asthma and human airway tissue from asthmatic and non-asthmatic people.

Asthma affects about 300 million people worldwide."

====================

Second citation for finding root cause of asthma:

4/24/15, "Cure for asthma likely in 5 years as root cause found," Irish Examiner, Evelyn Ring

"A cure for asthma could be available in five years, according to scientists who believe they have found the root cause of the condition.

The Asthma Society of Ireland said the discovery could be life-changing for the almost 500,000 people suffering from the chronic inflammatory disease of the airways.

Scientists believe drugs developed for the treatment of osteoporosis may have a key role in controlling asthma and the first clinical trial could begin within the next two years.

They found that the drugs, known as calcilytics, can reverse all symptoms associated with the condition that affects 300m people globally.

Researchers at Cardiff University, King’s College London, and the Mayo Clinic in the US, found a calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) had a role in causing the disease.

The team used mouse models of asthma and human tissue to reach their findings, which have been published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Principal investigator, Daniela Riccardi from Cardiff University School of Biosciences, described the findings as “incredibly exciting. If we can prove that calcilytics are safe when administered directly to the lung in people, then in five years we could be in a position to treat patients and potentially stop asthma from happening in the first place”.

The scientists showed that environmental triggers, such as allergens, cigarette smoke, and car fumes released CaSR in airway tissue causing asthma symptoms, like airway twitchiness, inflammation and narrowing.

Using calcilytics, nebulised directly into the lungs, we show that it is possible to deactivate CaSR and prevent all of these symptoms,said Prof Riccardi.

Calcilytics proved unsuccessful in treating osteoporosis but were clinically safe and well tolerated in people.

Chief executive of the Asthma Society of Ireland, Sharon Cosgrove, said Ireland had the fourth highest incidence of asthma per capita in the world and “if a clinical treatment emerges. it could be potentially life changing for the 470,000 asthma sufferers here”."
 



.

Rand Paul's son cited for DUI in Kentucky, third run-in with law because of alcohol use-USA Today

.
4/23/15, "Rand Paul's son cited for DUI after car crash," USA Today, William M. Welch


Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/04/22/3814370_rand-pauls-son-cited-for-dui-in.html?rh=1#storli4/23/15, "Rand Paul's son cited for DUI after car crash," USA Today, William M. Welc
AP photo, WCNC tv
"The 22-year-old son of Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul is facing a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol following a collision in Kentucky last weekend.

Authorities in Lexington, Ky., said William Hilton Paul crashed a maroon 2006 Honda Ridgeline truck into an unoccupied car at 11:24 a.m. Sunday. Police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said Paul was treated at the University of Kentucky hospital for minor injuries to his face. She said Paul was cited for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and failure to maintain insurance.

A spokesman for Rand Paul's presidential campaign said it had no comment.

The charges mark the third time that William Paul has had a run-in with the law involving alcohol, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported on its site Kentucky.com.

Paul, a senior majoring in communications at the University of Kentucky, was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor in October 2013 at the Keeneland horse racetrack.

In January of that year, he was arrested at the airport in Charlotte, N.C., and charged with simple assault of a 22-year-old flight attendant, consuming beer or wine underage, disorderly conduct and being intoxicated and disruptive on a US Airways flight.

The Charlotte charges were dismissed later under a deferred prosecution program for first time offenders, after William Paul completed alcohol education classes and 150 hours of community service, the newspaper reported.


Paul is scheduled to be arraigned on the latest charges May 12 in Fayette District Court.

According to the citation, Lexington police found Paul in the driver's seat of the truck after it collided with a parked vehicle. The report said Paul was "belligerent" and had "a strong odor of alcohol," bloodshot eyes and slurred speech, Kentucky.com reported. He failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a blood test, according to the citation."

"Contributing: Associated Press" 

"(Photo: AP/Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department via WCNC TV)" "Kentucky Senator Rand Paul's son has been cited for driving under the influence of alcohol. In January 2013, William Paul faced an assault charge against a flight attendant as well as underage drinking. Those charges were later dropped. VPC"

===================
.
4/22/15, "Rand Paul's son cited for DUI in Lexington," kentucky.com, By Justin Madden and Sam Youngman

"William Hilton Paul, the 22-year-old son of Republican presidential contender Rand Paul, was cited for driving under the influence of alcohol just before noon Sunday after he hit the back of a parked vehicle on Woodland Avenue.

This is the third time William Paul has had a run-in with the law because of alcohol use.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Rand Paul's presidential campaign said the senator "does not comment on any private matters in regards to his family."

According to the citation, Lexington police found Paul at 11:24 a.m. sitting in the driver's seat of a maroon 2006 Honda Ridgeline that had collided with a parked vehicle at 147 Woodland Avenue. The report said Paul was "belligerent" and had "a strong odor of alcohol," bloodshot eyes and slurred speech.

A witness told police that just before the collision, Paul had been "revving his engine" while sitting alone in the truck, which was perpendicular in the intersection of Old Vine and Woodland.

The witness "then heard a loud crash," according to the police citation.

Paul failed a field sobriety test and refused to take a blood test, according to the citation.

He was taken to University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital to be treated for minor facial injuries that occurred during the wreck, Lexington police spokeswoman Sherelle Roberts said.

Paul was charged at the hospital with DUI and failure to maintain required auto insurance, Roberts said. Paul was not taken to jail because he was being treated for his injuries, she said.
No one was inside the parked car.

Paul, a senior at UK majoring in communications, is scheduled to be arraigned in Fayette District Court on May 12.

In October 2013, Paul was cited for possession of alcohol by a minor by the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, which was conducting a "targeted enforcement detail" at Keeneland racetrack.

In January 2013, Paul was arrested at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina. He was charged with simple assault of a 22-year-old female flight attendant, consuming beer/wine underage, disorderly conduct, and being intoxicated and disruptive when his US Airways flight arrived at the airport.

Those charges were dismissed in August 2013 as part of a deferred prosecution program, according to Meghan Cooke, a spokeswoman for the Mecklenburg County district attorney's office. Before the charges were dismissed, William Paul completed alcohol education classes in Kentucky and 150 hours of community service, Cooke said.

"Mr. Paul had no prior criminal record, and the manner in which his case was handled is consistent with how the D.A.'s office handles first-time offender cases involving alcohol abuse," she said in a written statement."

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2015/04/22/3814370_rand-pauls-son-cited-for-dui-in.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy




.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Pamela Geller gave a talk on Free Speech at Brooklyn College. Her audience was 80% Muslim and also the sad victims of poor parentlng

.
4/22/15, "The Brooklyn Zoo," Pamela Geller












"Above photo: tweet from Muslim students at my talk....





[click above paragraph to enlarge] 
.
It speaks volumes that a talk on “Free Speech” on an American college campus requires scores of police and plainclothes cops

This video is on one of Muslim’s students twitter feeds crowing about attacking one of the attendees who support our work. 

I spoke tonight at Brooklyn College, if you can still call it that. Every seat was filled — 80% by Muslim students. If this is the future, it is murder. The sneers, the jeers, the laughter — my discussion of the most savage acts was met with huge peals of laughter. It wasn’t a talk, it was a vicious circus: lawless and shameful.

Muslim fascist students are now boasting and thumping their chests on Twitter, claiming that they shut down the event. This is, of course, a lie. I gave my entire talk and took questions. They shut down nothing. 

And Lord knows I tried to have a genuine discussion with them. I was patient, I was indulgent — but to no avail. If you watch any of it, watch the Q and A. That will show you everything. A couple of fights almost broke out. Muslim students were reading questions off their phones, sent from their puppetmasters, about inane irrelevant things such what did I think of some Muslim basketball player and such. 

There were many Muslim girls in the audience. I asked them where they were for Rifqa Bary, and Aqsa Parvez, and Noor Almaleki, and the other victims of honor killing and oppression? Of course, in response there were just more jeers, more catcalls."...via Free Republic


==========================

Ed. note: Speaking of Free Speech, the powers that be don't allow copy and paste (to any of my computers) from many important websites, one of which is Pamela Geller's. 

P.S. Thanks again to the Republican Establishment, especially the Bush family and Fox News for destroying this country. Of course the Bush family couldn't have destroyed the country if Reagan hadn't named George Bush #1 his VP. 





.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

African dust degrades Florida Everglades and Florida ecosystem, hundreds of millions of tons of Saharan dust and chemicals flow yearly to southern US, Caribbean, and other areas-USGS

.
12/6/2004, "Atmospheric Deposition of African Dust in the Everglades and Florida Bay Ecosystem," E. A. Shinn, USGS, St. Petersburg, FL

USGS map
 
"Significant degradation in the Everglades and Florida Bay ecosystem usually associated with human factors also coincides with the long-term African drought and a four-fold influx of dust that began impacting Florida in the early 1970s. African soil dust delivers arsenic, phosphorous, sulfates, pesticides, microbes, pollen, and probably seeds and insects to all south Florida environments. Dust-borne elements can also benefit flora and have been shown to deliver essential nutrients to the Amazon rain forest. Atmospheric dust likely is both a benefit and detriment to Florida’s environment. The USGS Global Dust project is attempting to characterize and determine the effects of dust borne nutrients, toxics, and exotics on south Florida. Previous studies show that about half the atmospheric particles that settle in south Florida during summer months originate in North Africa."... 


USGS Map caption: "Transport of African dust to the Americas: map from Perry, K.D., Cahill, T.A., Eldred, R.A., and Dutcher, D.D., 1997, Long-range transport of North African dust to the eastern United States: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 102, no. D10, p. 11225-11238."

March 2002, "Caribbean Coral-Reef Ecologist Studies Dust from the African Sahel," soundwaves.usgs.gov, Ginger Garrison

"Every year, hundreds of millions of tons of African dust are carried from the Sahara and Sahel across the Atlantic to the Caribbean and the southeastern United States. In the Caribbean, the sky becomes hazy, visibility decreases to a few kilometers, a fine red dust settles on surfaces, and residents complain of sinus problems, coughs, and other ailments said to be caused by the dust. Although the dust has been carried to the Caribbean for thousands of years, the amount transported varies from year to year and has increased drastically since the early 1970s with the beginning of the drought in the Sahel.

Composed primarily of soil particles so small (less than 2.5 ┬Ám) that our lungs cannot expel them, the dust may transport various microorganisms and chemicals that hitchhike on the small particles. Charles Darwin, on his 1845 voyage aboard the surveying ship H.M.S. Beagle, collected African dust in the Atlantic and, using a microscope, saw live microorganisms on the soil particles. Even larger organisms, African desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria, as much as 3 inches long or longer), arrived alive in Antigua, Barbados, and Trinidad during a large dust event in 1988."...

=============================
===========================

Nov. 2000 Scientific American article notes GRL published study finding coral killing spores from Africa dust over US Virgin Islands:

11/6/2000,  "Coral-Killing Dust," Scientific American, Sarah Simpson

"Caribbean coral reefs are dying, and reddish dust blowing in from Africa may be partly to blame."

"Peer into the skies of Miami or San Juan on a late summer day, and you'll see that threat lurking as a reddish haze that virtually blots out the sun. Researchers have long known that strong winds periodically sweep clay-rich red soil off the dry surface of the Sahel--the region just south of the Saharan desert in North Africa--and send it across the Atlantic Ocean in giant plumes easily visible from space. The airborne dirt then rains down in south Florida and the Caribbean Sea as it has done every summer for hundreds of thousands of years. (In fact, the topsoil of Barbados is almost entirely African dust.) Only recently have researchers realized that the dust is loaded with potential coral killers--including disease spores, radioactive elements and overabundant nutrients.

Marine geologist Eugene A. Shinn of the U.S. Geological Survey in St. Petersburg, Fla., became suspicious of the African dust after nearly 30 years of studying the Caribbean's reef-building corals and their perplexing demise. When Shinn began his work--and for at least 6,000 years before that time--branching elkhorn and staghorn corals (Acropora palmata and Acropora cervicornis) dominated Caribbean reefs. 

To Shinn's dismay a type of tissue-killing bacterial slime called black band disease appeared at some of his research locations in the early 1970s and has proliferated ever since. In the summer of 1983 a common species of plant-eating spiny sea urchin (Diadema antillarum) began dying mysteriously. Within a year 90 percent of them were gone. Without these urchins to graze on them, the algae quickly overran the stony corals, many of which were already sick. In a mere two decades, most Caribbean reefs went from coral- to algae-dominated.

For many years Shinn explored how water pollution might be damaging reefs in the Florida Keys. But nothing he found could explain why the same diseases were killing corals in areas far from human activity. Then in the late 1990s he noticed that the proliferation of coral disease happened to coincide with the onset of severe drought in North Africa and more dust traveling across the Atlantic, a phenomenon studied in depth by Joseph M. Prospero of the University of Miami. What's more, Shinn and Prospero realized, the greatest African dust fallout on record was 1983 the same year as the Diadema die-out. 
 
"It was the simple correlation between the death of these corals and sea urchins and the increase in dust had no evidence until recently. 

In 1996 Garriet W. Smith and other researchers at the University of South Carolina identified a soil fungus (Aspergillus sydowii) that has been killing soft corals called sea fans (specifically, Gorgonia ventalina and Gorgonia flabellum), which were at one time widespread in the Caribbean. The mysterious fact is that Aspergillus cannot reproduce in seawater, and yet the sea fans have been locked in an ongoing battle against the disease for a decade. Something must be providing the Caribbean waters with a continuous supply of ammunition for the disease. African dust, perhaps? 

Smith and his colleagues recently isolated Aspergillus spores from African dust samples collected in the skies over the U.S. Virgin Islands, and they reported their findings in the October 1 (2000) issue of Geophysical Research Letters....

In African dust collected from the bottom of water cisterns in the Caribbean, Shinn and his colleagues discovered alarmingly high concentrations of poisonous mercury and radioactive beryllium-7. These findings were reinforced last February when scientists at the University of the Azores captured dust samples from an exceptionally large African dust plume as it drifted over their Atlantic island community some 1,500 kilometers west of Lisbon. The dust emitted gamma radiation up to 45,000 dpm per gram, roughly three times the radiation allowed in the workplace, Shinn says. 

As for mercury, two particles of the dangerous metal turned up per million particles of dust. That may not sound like much, but mercury usually occurs in the atmosphere in concentrations of a few particles per billion particles of dust. Open-pit mercury mines in Algeria could be the source, Shinn speculates....
 
The dust itself could pose a threat. The dust is made up of small grains of iron, aluminum, phosphorus and other elements--all important nutrients known to support microscopic life, but an excess of nutrients can have negative consequences. Marshall L. Hayes of Duke University is investigating whether iron in the dust might encourage the growth of coral-killing bacteria. "You don't have to bring exotic pathogens into an area," Hayes says. "You can have an organism that is potentially pathogenic and give it more nutrients and enhance its ability to be virulent."

Molecules, proteins and other components of cells need iron to function, so in ocean realms where iron is limited, such as some coral reefs, the volume of bacteria and other microscopic life is held in check. A large dose of iron from an African dust plume, for instance could ignite rampant growth."...


.
 

Lives of the world's poorest and sickest are made worse by misinformed Global Warming Evangelists advancing harmful policies in Africa in the name of Christianity

.
From June 2013, via Paul Homewood:

6/7/2013, "Is Fighting Global Warming the Solution to Water Shortages in Malawi (or Elsewhere)?" WUWT, Guest essay by E. Calvin Beisner

"In late May (2013) two evangelical environmentalists, recently returned from visiting Malawi, published articles in which they said poor Malawians are suffering from reduced rainfall caused by manmade global warming..
Jonathan Merritt wrote for Religion News Service, “In America, climate change is a matter of debate, but in places like Malawi, it’s a matter of life and death.” Judd Birdsall wrote for Huffington Post, “In Fombe village, Malawi, climate change is not a matter of political or scientific debate. It’s a matter of survival.”

The implication was clear: To help the poor in Malawi (and other developing nations), we must fight global warming.

If either author had dug deeper, he might have concluded differently....

Are poor Malawians suffering from water shortages? Yes. Is that because of global warming—manmade or natural? No. Is fighting global warming the solution? No.

Malawi is actually a water-rich nation. Not only does its annual rainfall average approximately 40 inches (about the same as Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, and New Jersey), but also it includes much of Lake Malawi—"the third largest and the second deepest lake in Africa" and the ninth largest in the world

About 80 percent of Malawi is within 75 miles of Lake Malawi, and most of what isn’t is within 50 miles of the Shire River, which flows south from the lake and eventually joins the might Zambezi River. Fifty miles is a distance easily covered by aqueducts. Fombe—where Merritt and Birdsall visited and heard the anecdotes about declining stream flow—is at least potentially a water-rich village. It is a mere 10 miles from the Shire.

For comparison, the Roman aqueducts, built two millennia ago, carried water 260 miles, and the system of aqueducts constituting the California State Water Project (SWP) provides drinking water for over 23 million people (over 1/3 third more than the entire population of Malawi) by transporting water hundreds of miles from the Colorado River, the Sierra Nevada, and central and northern California. The shortest, the Colorado River Aqueduct, is over 240 miles long.

Of course, California is wealthy (though it wasn’t nearly so wealthy when much of the SWP was built), and Malawi is poor. How can Malawi afford to build such aqueducts—even if they would cover far less distance and serve only a small fraction of the people?

The real solution to Malawi’s water needs is economic growth that will enable Malawians to bear the costs of improved water transportation, storage, purification, and conservation through efficient use.

Sad to say, however, if climate change activists succeed in enacting policies to fight global warming, Malawi’s economic growth will be curtailed. Why? Because abundant, reliable, affordable energy is an essential condition of economic growth, and activists seek to fight global warming by shunning the use of the most reliable and affordable energy sources for the developing world—coal and natural gas—and putting far more expensive “Green” energy sources like wind and solar in their place. As it happens, Malawi has abundant coal reserves and already mines them (PDF download), though it could benefit from mining far more to generate electricity and deliver its people from the smoke that comes from burning wood and dried dung as primary cooking and heating fuels—smoke that causes high rates of illness and premature death, especially among women and children, from respiratory diseases.

Ironically, and sadly, the climate policy Merritt and Birdsall want will only bring further harm to the very people they long to help, by prolonging their poverty—the real threat to Malawians’ health and life."
.
"E. Calvin Beisner, Ph.D., is Founder and National Spokesman of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation and author of several books on environmental stewardship."

================

4/21/15, Footnote on Malawi temperatures, from Paul Homewood:

"For the record, according to GISS/GHCN, there are no currently operational stations in Malawi. The only place with anything remotely recent is the international airport of Chileka.












http://data.giss.nasa.gov/tmp/gistemp/STATIONS/tmp_126676930000_1_0/station.txt

There are so many missing readings since 1986 that any trends since are meaningless. (For instance, the final plot on the graph, for 2010, has six missing months.).

Prior to 2010, what records are available suggest no trend at all, despite undoubted UHI effects."

====================

"Over 1 million Malawians are infected with HIV, and AIDS is the leading cause of death for young people. These deaths have an extremely negative impact on future generations, leaving the country with over 500,000 orphans." Map from Malawi Project

 

















===================================

Especially cruel is to preach methods to a Southern Hemisphere country that peer reviewed science says don't work. Northern and Southern Hemispheres aren't comparable:

8/4/14, "Climate change not so global," University of Queensland, Australia

"Scientists are calling for a better understanding of regional climates, after research into New Zealand's glaciers has revealed climate change in the Northern Hemisphere does not directly affect the climate in the Southern Hemisphere.


The University of Queensland study showed that future climate changes may impact differently in the two hemispheres, meaning a generalised global approach isn’t the solution to climate issues.

UQ School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management Head Professor Jamie Shulmeister said the study provided evidence for the late survival of significant glaciers in the mountains of New Zealand at the end of the last ice age – a time when other ice areas were retreating..

This study reverses previous findings which suggested that New Zealand's glaciers disappeared at the same time as ice in the Northern Hemisphere,” he said."...


===================

Peer reviewed study cited above:

7/28/2014, "The early rise and late demise of New Zealand’s last glacial maximum," PNAS.org


"This article contains supporting information online at www.pnas.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.1073/pnas.1401547111/-/DCSupplemental." 

====================

NASA confirms, unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is isolated from major population centers and emissions they produce, in particular it's not exposed to wind driven black carbon from Asia:

4/8/2009, "Aerosols May Drive a Significant Portion of Arctic Warming," nasa.gov/topics

"The Arctic region has seen its surface air temperatures increase by 1.5 C (2.7 F) since the mid-1970s. In the Antarctic, where aerosols play less of a role, the surface air temperature has increased about 0.35 C (0.6 F)....
.
Since decreasing amounts of sulfates and increasing amounts of black carbon both encourage warming, temperature increases can be especially rapid. The build-up of aerosols also triggers positive feedback cycles that further accelerate warming as snow and ice cover retreat.

In the Antarctic, in contrast, the impact of sulfates and black carbon is minimized because of the continent’s isolation from major population centers and the emissions they produce....


A new study, led by climate scientist Drew Shindell of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, used a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to investigate how sensitive different regional climates are to changes in levels of carbon dioxide, ozone, and aerosols.

The researchers found that the mid and high latitudes are especially responsive to changes in the level of aerosols. Indeed, the model suggests aerosols likely account for 45 percent or more of the warming that has occurred in the Arctic during the last three decades. The results were published in the April issue of Nature Geoscience....


Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.

At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon -- small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels -- absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere."...


====================


Peer reviewed study cited in above NASA article:

3/22/2009, "Climate response to regional radiative forcing during the twentieth century," Nature Geoscience, Drew Shindell1 and Greg Faluvegi1
| doi:10.1038/ngeo473
 


 ====================











 Lake Malawi



.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Quite the opposite of myth propagated by media, Democrat and Republican Establishments fully agree on most major fed. gov. policies. Jeb Bush latest example-Glenn Greenwald

.
4/21/15, "Jeb Bush Praises Obama’s Expansion of NSA Surveillance," Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, firstlook.org

"One of the most glaring myths propagated by Washington — especially the two parties’ media loyalists — is that bipartisanship is basically impossible, that the two parties agree on so little,
that they are constantly at each other’s throats over everything. As is so often the case for Washington partisan propaganda, the reality is exactly the opposite: from trade deals to Wall Street bailouts to a massive National Security and Penal State, the two parties are in full agreement on the bulk of the most significant D.C. policies (which is why the leading candidates of the two parties (from America’s two ruling royal families) will have the same funding base). But because policies that command the agreement of the two parties’ establishments are largely ignored by the D.C. press in favor of the issues where they have some disagreements, the illusion is created that they agree on nothing.

To illustrate how true this all is, consider the comments today of leading GOP presidential candidate Jeb Bush. He appeared on Michael Medved’s conservative talk radio program, and was asked by the host what his favorite part of the Obama administration has been. His answer? As McClatchy’s Lesley Clark noted on Twitter, Bush hailed “Obama’s enhancement of NSA.” The audio was first posted by Ian Hanchett and is embedded below; here is the full transcript of the exchange:
Medved: If you were to look back at the last seven years, almost, what has been the best part of the Obama administration?
Jeb Bush: I would say the best part of the Obama administration would be his continuance of the protections of the homeland using the big metadata programs, the NSA being enhanced. Advancing this — even though he never defends it, even though he never openly admits it, there has been a continuation of a very important service, which is the first obligation, I think of our national government is to keep us safe. And the technologies that now can be applied to make that so, while protecting civil liberties are there. And he’s not abandoned them, even though there was some indication that he might.
It’s hardly unusual for even the most extremist right-wing Republicans to praise Obama’s foreign policy. GOP Congressman Peter King has repeatedly done just that, hailing Obama’s use of drones, assassination of a U.S. citizen with no due process, his upholding of indefinite detention powers, and the truncating of Miranda rights in terrorism cases. Just this week, GOP Senator Lindsey Graham — who has advocated bombing almost more Muslim countries in the last decade than he has fingers — said that he prefers Obama’s foreign policy over Rand Paul’s. A bipartisan coalition of Congressional outsiders tried in late 2013 to defund the NSA domestic spying program and almost succeeded, but the union of the parties’ establishments — the Obama White House, John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi whipped just enough votes to protect the program.

The cause of NSA mass surveillance has been particularly embraced by many Democrats because it was Obama doing it (as I’ve said before, if Edward Snowden had leaked this information when a Republican was in the Oval Office, there would be a massive statue erected of him outside of the MSNBC studios, where he is now often vilified). And now, Jeb Bush (in contrast to Rand Paul, who vowed to end NSA spying “on Day One”) has declared himself fully in support of that cause, hailing Obama for expanding these capabilities." via Free Rep.


====================================

Added: The US without an opposition party to the Democrats:

12/12/13: "If RINOs are not replaced, and if a genuine opposition party is not established, nothing can save the Constitution-or the representative democracy and freedoms that are the heritage of this country." (end of article)

12/12/2013, "The Nuclear Option: Misplaced Conservative Outrage," American Thinker, by Lester Jackson
..
"Harry Reid's recent embrace of the Senate "nuclear option" left many conservatives in high dudgeon over "tyranny of the majority." But the concept of majority tyranny is largely a fantasy-contradicted, for example, by Angelo Codevilla's cogent showing, widely accepted by conservatives, that America is dominated by a corrupt bipartisan ruling class....

Today's daunting tyranny is twofold: (a) authoritarian reign by largely leftist oligarchic bureaucratic, judicial, and media elite minorities over what President Nixon was once ridiculed for calling the "silent majority"; and (b) illegitimate domination by powerful over powerless minorities....

But when it comes to perversity, nothing can top...

ObamaCare. After being publicly threatened by President Obama and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Leahy, Chief Justice Roberts had the effrontery to blame the voters in justifying his thoroughly disingenuous cave-in upholding this law, now inflicting hardships on growing millions of Americans. Nevertheless, there can be no better illustration of tyranny of a corrupt willful minority than this "act of government mayhem." Neither Senator Obama nor a muzzled Speaker Pelosi campaigned for this in 2008; Mitt Romney largely ignored it in 2012. Once unleashed, Pelosi famously declared that the 2,400-page legislation had to be enacted to find out what was in it (bureaucratic license to excrete 11,000 pages of authoritarian regulations, many unfathomable). Is there anyone so deluded by ideology or partisanship as to believe that anywhere near a majority of the people ever sought or approved this monstrosity? Indeed, when ObamaCare was a major issue, in 2010, Republicans decisively captured the House.

The only reason for continuation of this unpopular disaster is tyranny. And this is tyranny not of the majority, but of the ruling class -- executive, legislative, judicial and media.  According to Dick Armey, when leftist ideologue George Miller was told most people did not want a prior ObamaCare version, the latter replied that they were going to get it "whether they want it or not." Rep. Miller claims to not remember, but this is exactly what happened!

 
*** 

 
Let's not delude ourselves. The filibuster has prevented a few bad Senate actions (and many good ones). However, it has not protected the people against ever-increasing federal power -- power abused with reckless abandon well before abuse on steroids by Obama.

Thus, it would be highly ill-advised to so exalt the filibuster that purportedly outraged Republicans attempt to restore it. An ominous reaction to the nuclear option came from Republican Senator Flake: "That's what I fear. I fear that once Republicans get the majority, it's very tough to tell the base that you're going to diminish your own authority." (Flake is an ObamaCare enabler.)  Can anything better show what's wrong with RINOs? This man not only cowers at exercising his existing power, but he fears that he might not be able to reduce it!

Many of today's worst problems are due not just to aggressive leftist Democrats who will stop at nothing, but also to timid RINOs who stand for nothing. Although Senator Flake fears that a Republican majority will not restore the filibuster, what the rest of us should fear is the fear of the likes of Senator Flake.

It is galling that John Boehner became speaker in 2011, because Tea Party Republicans campaigned on a promise to avert the current ObamaCare disasterIn January 2011, Obama had not yet been re-elected, and the House Republican mandate was at its pinnacle.  All Republicans had to do was not vote for money to implement ObamaCare. It is absolutely absurd to say that this required approval of the president or the Senate. The Constitution is crystal-clear: if the House refuses to vote for appropriations, there is nothing anybody else can do about it except scream to high heaven, much as Republicans have done over the nuclear option. (Democrats do not care who screams and how loud; RINOs quake at the very prospect.)
.
Future historians will have ample reason to conclude that the great tragedy of the Obama dictatorship was not the demise of the filibuster, but that, at a critical moment, House leaders blocked fulfillment of the very promise that made them leaders. 

As for filibustering to block judges who would legitimize further unconstitutional abuse of power, never forget Chief Justice Roberts. Those who revere the Constitution and were shocked by ObamaCare's intimidated savior should remember this: reliance on judges is gambling. Heed Judge Learned Hand's warning that we "rest our hopes too much upon constitutions, upon laws and upon courts. These are false hopes." .

Above all, remember that President Obama is able to abuse power only because the RINO-led House timidly refuses to constitutionally block money for such abuse. If RINOs are not replaced, and if a genuine opposition party is not established, nothing can save the Constitution -- or the representative democracy and freedoms that are the heritage of this country."
.


Lester Jackson, Ph.D., a former college political science teacher, views mainstream media truth suppression as essential to harmful judicial activism.  His recent articles are collected here."
 





.

Obama admin. and Establishment GOP allow fish caught by slaves to be sold in US, even gave Thailand $18.5 million free US taxpayer dollars in 2014. Slaves have begged for US help to no avail, some kept in cages. US law has loophole allowing goods from forced labor-AP

.
"Experts also point to two gaping loopholes in the law. Goods made with forced labor must be allowed into the U.S. if consumer demand cannot be met without them."
 
4/21/15, "US lets in Thai fish caught by slaves despite law," AP,

In its first report on trafficking around the world, the U.S. criticized Thailand as a hub for labor abuse. Yet 14 years later, seafood caught by slaves on Thai boats is still slipping into the supply chains of major American stores and supermarkets.

March 2015, ap

The U.S. has not enforced a law banning the import of goods made with forced labor since 2000 because of significant loopholes, The Associated Press has found. It has also spared Thailand from sanctions slapped on other countries with weak records in human trafficking because of a complex political relationship that includes cooperation against terrorism.

The question of how to deal with Thailand and labor abuse will come up at a congressional hearing Wednesday, in light of an AP investigation that found hundreds of men beaten, starved, forced to work with little or no pay and even held in a cage on the remote island village of Benjina. While officials at federal agencies would not directly answer why the law and sanctions are not applied, they pointed out that the U.S. State Department last year blacklisted Thailand as among the worst offenders in its report on trafficking in people worldwide.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, said the plight of about 4,000 forced laborers in Thailand's seafood industry can no longer go unheeded. "There have been problems with systematic and pervasive human trafficking in Thailand's fishing fleets for more than a decade, but Washington has evidently considered it too hard to find out exactly what was happening and is not taking action to stop it," he said. "No one can claim ignorance anymore. This is a test case for Washington as much as Bangkok."
.
March 2015, ap

Hlaing Min, a 32-year-old migrant fisherman from Myanmar who worked around the clock for more than two years before he ran away, also begged the U.S. for help.

"Basically, we are slaves - and slavery is the only word that I can find - but our condition is worse than slavery," he said. "On behalf of all the fishermen here, I request to the Congressmen that the U.S. stop buying all fish from Thailand. ... This fish, we caught it with our blood and sweat, but we don't get a single benefit from it."

The AP investigation tracked fish caught by slaves to the supply chains of large food sellers such as Wal-Mart, Sysco and Kroger, as well as popular brands of canned pet food such as Fancy Feast, Meow Mix and Iams. The companies all said they strongly condemn labor abuse and are taking steps to prevent it. While some human rights advocates say boycotts are effective, many U.S. seafood companies say cutting off all imports from an entire country means they no longer have any power to bring about change.
.
During a recent visit to Jakarta, State Department Undersecretary Catherine A. Novelli was asked what the U.S. would now do. "I'm sure that your public would be concerned that the fish that they ate came from a slave," said an Indonesian reporter. Novelli's response was quick.

"In the United States we actually have a law that it is illegal to import any product that is made with forced labor or slave labor, and that includes fish," she said. "To the extent that we can trace ... where the fish are coming from, we won't allow fish to come into the United States that has been produced with forced labor or slavery."

However, the Tariff Act of 1930, which gives Customs and Border Protection the authority to seize shipments where forced labor is suspected and block further imports, has been used only 39 times in 85 years. In 11 cases, the orders detaining shipments were later revoked..


The most recent case dates back to 2000, when Customs stopped clothing from Mongolian firm Dong Fang Guo Ji based on evidence that factory managers forced employees, including children, to work 14-hour days for low wages. The order was revoked in 2001, after further review found labor abuse was no longer a problem at the company.
Detention orders that remain in place can have mixed results. In 1999, Customs blocked hand-rolled unfiltered cigarettes from the Mangalore Ganesh Beedie Works in India, suspecting child labor. However, the AP found that Mangalore Ganesh has sent 11 large shipments of the cigarettes to Beedies LLC of Kissimee, Florida, over the past four years through the ports of New York, Miami and Savannah, Georgia. Beedies LLC said the cigarettes go straight from the U.S. ports to a bonded warehouse, and are then exported outside the country.
.
To start an investigation, Customs needs to receive a petition from anyone - a business, an agency, even a non-citizen - showing "reasonably but not conclusively" that imports were made at least in part with forced labor. But spokesman Michael Friel said that in the last four years, Customs has received "only a handful of petitions," and none has pointed to seafood from Thailand. The most recent petition was filed two years ago by a non-profit against cotton in Uzbekistan. "These cases often involve numerous allegations that require extensive agency investigation and fact-finding," he said.
 .
Experts also point to two gaping loopholes in the law. Goods made with forced labor must be allowed into the U.S. if consumer demand cannot be met without them. And it's hard, if not impossible, to prove fish in a particular container is tainted, because different batches generally mix together at processing plants.
Former Justice Department attorney Jim Rubin said Customs can't stop trafficked goods without the help of other federal agencies to investigate overseas. "You can't expect a Customs guy at the border to know that a can of salmon caught on the high seas was brought in by a slave," he said.
.
The U.S. response to Thailand is also shaped by political considerations. For years, the State Department has put Thailand on the watchlist in its annual trafficking report, saying the Thai government has made efforts to stop labor abuse. But last year, after several waivers, it dropped Thailand for the first time to the lowest rank, mentioning forced labor in the seafood industry. Countries with the same ranking, such as Cuba, Iran and North Korea, faced full sanctions, and foreign aid was withheld. Others, like Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe, faced partial sanctions. Thailand did not: U.S. taxpayers provided $18.5 million in foreign aid to the country last year.
.
"If Thailand was North Korea or Iran, they'd be treated differently," said Josh Kurlantzick, a fellow for Southeast Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. "They're a key ally and we have a long relationship with them."

In the 1960s and `70s, when the U.S. needed Thailand's help in the Vietnam War, the country "got a pass on everything," Kurlantzick said. Then Thailand's record on human rights gradually improved, along with its economy. That changed dramatically in 2006, when the military first ousted the prime minister. It declared martial law and then overtook the government again last year.

In response, the U.S. condemned the current regime and has suspended $4.7 million in military funding to the Southeast Asian nation.

However, the U.S. still includes Thailand in military exercises, and the country is considered a critical ally against terrorism. A U.S. Senate report in December detailed how top al-Qaida suspect Abu Zubaydah was water-boarded, slammed into a wall and isolated at a secret safe house in Thailand as part of CIA interrogations in 2002. And in 2003, a senior al-Qaida operative was arrested outside Bangkok after more than 200 people died in a Bali nightclub bombing.

The U.S. also wants strong relations with Thailand as a counterweight to China, whose influence is growing in the region. Along with the State Department, the Labor Department has also flagged seafood from Thailand year after year as produced by forced labor in violation of international standards. Department of Homeland Security senior policy adviser Kenneth Kennedy referred to discussions for an action plan on labor abuse in Thailand that began in the fall.

"I think the U.S. government recently has realized that we need to pay attention to this area," he said. "We need to address conditions that have been reported for years and that are in the public minds and in the public eye very much."

Thailand itself says it is tackling labor abuse. In 2003, the country launched a national campaign against criminal organizations, including traffickers. In 2008, it adopted a new anti-human trafficking law. And last month, the new junta government cited the fight against trafficking as a national priority. "This government is determined and committed to solving the human trafficking issues, not by words but by actions," Deputy Government Spokesman Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd said. "We are serious in prosecuting every individual involved in the network, from the boats' captains to government officials."

However, a Thai police general on a fact-finding mission earlier this month to Benjina declared conditions were good and workers "happy." A day later, Indonesian authorities rescued more than 320 abused fishermen from the island village, and the number of workers waiting to be sent home has since risen to more than 560.

Under United Nations principles adopted in 2011, governments must protect against human rights abuses by third parties. However, some local authorities in Thailand are themselves deeply implicated in such practices, said Harvard University professor John Ruggie, who wrote the principles, known as the "Ruggie Framework," as a U.N. special representative. Also, Thailand's seafood industry, with annual exports of about $7 billion, is 
.
big business for the country and 

depends on migrant labor.
..
Migrant fishermen rescued from Benjina were bewildered to learn that their abuse has been an open secret for years. Maung Htwe, a 26-year-old migrant worker from Myanmar, did backbreaking work for Thai captains in Indonesian waters over seven years, earning less than $5 a day, if he was lucky.

"Sometimes I'm really angry. It's so painful. Why was I sold and taken to Indonesia?" asked Htwe, who was among the workers rescued from Benjina. "If people already knew the story, then they should have helped us and taken action."" via Free Rep.

======================

Top image of slaves in cage from 3/25/15 ap article.

Second image caption: "A security guard talks to detainees. The slaves said they were kicked, beaten or whipped with toxic stingray tails if they complained or tried to rest, and that many died at sea." ap photo  


======================

3/25/15, "Your seafood might come from slaves," AP, Benjina, Indonesia, via NY Post 

=====================

2014 Time report on child fishermen slaves:

3/5/2014, "Child Slaves May Have Caught the Fish in Your Freezer," Time, Charlie Campbell

"Thailand is the third largest seafood exporter in the world, but much of the tuna, sardines, shrimp and squid it exports has been caught by victims of human trafficking."...




Monday, April 20, 2015

Millions of tons of Sahara dust are damaging coral reefs in Eastern US, Caribbean, and elsewhere, while delivering carcinogenic inhalants to humans-USGS scientists. African dust has always traveled but its composition has worsened since 1970s

.
April-May 2011, "Coral Reef Health and Environmental Changes in the Florida Keys and the Caribbean Sea—Video Podcasts Highlight USGS Research," soundwaves.usgs.gov, Matthew Cimitile

""Diseases were first reported on coral reefs in the Caribbean in the late 1970s, and today disease is considered the primary factor causing mortality in corals," said Ginger Garrison, a USGS ecologist in St. Petersburg. "Caribbean coral reefs were the first ones that were hit and were hit hardest, but the problem today is global and is very serious."

One source of the deterioration of Caribbean reef health by diseases and other factors may be found halfway around the world (the subject of another USGS video podcast. Hundreds of millions of tons of dust are carried each year from the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa to the Caribbean, the eastern United States, and beyond. At times, these dust air masses cover the tropical Atlantic and the entire Caribbean Sea. Although African dust has been carried out of the Saharan Desert and Sahel region and into the Caribbean and the Americas for hundreds of thousands of years, there have been significant changes in the past 40 years: the quantity of dust has increased and the composition has changed.
 
Sahara dust, NASA, 2004


"Larger amounts of dust began to be carried out of the Sahara in the early 1970s due to a number of factors, including global climate, changes in regional meteorology, and local human activities," said Garrison. "During this same period, the composition of the dust changed. Toxic chemicals produced by the combustion of biomass, fossil fuels, and the burning of garbage and plastics in the source region have been carried along with the dust particles from Africa into the Caribbean. In addition, the source region is using more pesticides on crops as well as to fight mosquitoes (which transmit malaria and other diseases to humans) and crop-eating desert locusts. The pesticides appear to be coming across with the dust as well."

Changes in the quantity and composition of dust correlate with increased mortality from Caribbean coral diseases; however, causation has not been shown. To test the hypothesis that African dust is a factor in the deterioration of Caribbean coral reefs, scientists analyzed air samples from a dust-source area in Mali, West Africa; from a site off the west coast of Africa in Cape Verde; and at downwind sites in Trinidad and Tobago in the southeastern Caribbean and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the northeastern Caribbean. 

It has been discovered that viable bacterial and fungal spores are transported long distances across the ocean in African dust events. Scientists have also found very fine particles that can be easily inhaled into the lungs of humans. According to USGS geologist and public-health specialist Suzette Morman, fine particulate matter has been correlated with increased rates of heart attack and stroke and exacerbations of asthma and other respiratory diseases. (For example, see "Cardiovascular mortality and long-term exposure to particulate air pollution…" in Circulation, 2004, v. 109, p. 71-77, http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/01.CIR.0000108927.80044.7F.)

So far, carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, and suppressors of immune systems have been identified in African dust air masses. (See article by Garrison and others in the International Journal of Tropical Biology and Conservation, 2006, v. 54, suppl. 3, p. 9-21, http://www.ots.ac.cr/tropiweb/intpages/suppl/sup54-3.html.) Some of these chemicals may have long-term effects on ecosystems because they persist in the environment for years, accumulate in organisms, are toxic and (or) carcinogenic, and interfere with physiological processes in low concentrations. Plumes of pollutants originate in industrialized as well as developing areas throughout the world and can have global impacts when transported long distances through the atmosphere.

Scientists are now beginning to test the toxicity of African dust and associated chemical contaminants on the life stages of many kinds of marine organisms, including corals, to see if they harm marine life and, if so, how they do so. And Shinn continues to monitor the health of coral ecosystems in the Keys, while moving into a sixth decade of documenting changing environmental conditions."

Image caption: "Above: Two satellite images acquired in March 2004 by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard NASA's Terra satellite show large Saharan dust storms leaving Africa and moving over the Atlantic Ocean to cover downwind islands. A, Dust moving off the West African coast. Note Cape Verde Islands in lower left corner. Image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. B, Saharan dust storm moving over the Cape Verde Islands. Image courtesy Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Rapid Response Team, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. [larger version]"

=========================

NPR: Africa is probably single largest source of dust transported over long distances followed by China and the Middle East:
  
7/28/2005, "Sahara Dust Cloud Heads to Florida," NPR, M. Brand

"Southern Florida is about to be hit by a major dust cloud, blown across the Atlantic Ocean from storms scouring sand from the Sahara Desert. Madeleine Brand speaks with dust cloud expert Dr. Joseph Prospero, a professor of marine and atmospheric science at the University of Miami."  


"Transcript"...

"BRAND: And is this only a eastern United States-Caribbean phenomenon, or do dust storms happen all over?

Dr. PROSPERO: Well, there are a lot of dusty places on our Earth. After all, about 30 percent of the Earth's surface is arid, desert. Africa is probably the single largest source in terms of the amount of material generated and transported over great distances, but there--China puts out a lot of dust every year and, of course, the Middle East. We often see that in the news clips on television in the evening when they show scenes from Iraq. And you'll often notice that it is quite hazy. It's because there's a lot of dust generated in that region.

.
BRAND: Joseph Prospero is a professor at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science in Florida."



=================================  

7/18/2012, "Dense Saharan Dust Travels About 5,000 Miles to Florida," Accuweather.com, Meghan Evans, Meteorologist, via livescience 
  

"A very concentrated area of Saharan Dust has traveled all the way from Africa and is now heading toward Florida. The northern Caribbean islands have already been dealing with Saharan dust with very hazy skies. 



Image caption: "A webcam image from the south shore of St. John in the Virgin Islands at 9:15 a.m. on Tuesday, July 17, 2012, (to the left) shows hazy, dusty skies. At this time, they were located on the eastern edge of the dust. The image to the right was the same webcam around 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday. The dust had moved on to the west. Webcam images are from Great Expectations."