The National Rifle Association has disavowed its recent criticism of pro-gun demonstrations in Texas.In an interview on Tuesday with the organization’s own news site, the head of the NRA’s lobbying arm blamed a staff member’s “personal opinion” for the content of an unsigned statement published Friday on the organization’s website, and he apologized for “any confusion” the statement may have caused.
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today issued the following statement on the sickout of Muni drivers over the Transport Workers Union Local 250-A labor agreement and the disruption of San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) service to our residents and visitors:
“I join Muni riders throughout our City in their frustration at Muni drivers who irresponsibly abandoned their jobs and intentionally disrupted our City’s public transportation system. This cannot continue. I say to our drivers, ‘People count on you to do your job so they can get to theirs.’ As public servants, we are obligated to serve the residents of this City, not punish them when you disagree with the amount of your raise, or the contributions you must pay toward your pension. There is a clear and agreed upon process in place to arbitrate the agreement you are disputing, a process the union has agreed to and the voters put in place. The public should not be punished any longer. I would like to thank the drivers who did not participate in this illegal action and did their best to keep our City moving.”
Earlier this week, Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi angered more than a few of the state’s residents and media figures when she argued that removing the state’s ban on same-sex marriage (or recognizing marrages performed in other states) would “impose significant public harm,” according to David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement.
Badash reports that Bondi, a 48-year old Tea Party Republican who has been married three times, also suggested that same-sex couples don’t create stable or enduring homes.
In the court filing Bondi wrote —in response to a federal suit brought against the state last March by eight same-sex couples, South Florida’s largest LGBT advocacy organization SAVE (Safeguarding American Values for Everyone), and the American Civil Liberties Union — that “Florida’s marriage laws have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society’s legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units.”
Bondi’s inaccurate arguments raised the ire of LGBT groups, civil rights organizations including the ACLU, and a few media outlets.
“Lost in the uproar was another statement, buried deeper in the response, that sounded more potentially inflammatory,” wrote The Tampa Bay Times. “In a section on marriage’s historical definition, Bondi seemed to argue that unions between men and women produce more favorable environments for children.”
In the statement, Bondi wrote, “The promotion of family continuity and stability is a legitimate state interest. Florida’s marriage laws, then, have a close, direct, and rational relationship to society’s legitimate interest in increasing the likelihood that children will be born to and raised by the mothers and fathers who produced them in stable and enduring family units.”
Badash countered that “[t]he procreation argument is not a valid legal argument to deny marriage. But, regardless, many same-sex couples do raise their own biological children — at least of one of the members of the couple. Many gay same-sex couples raise the children one of the fathers may have had in a previous marriage, for instance. Many lesbian same-sex couples raise the children one of the mothers may have had in a previous marriage, too. And same-sex parents also adopt the children sometimes abandoned by those “mothers and fathers who produced them” in non-stable and non-enduring family units. There are, of course, other methods for couples to conceive.”
SAVE’s executive director Tony Lima fired back, telling the Miami Herald, “Attorney General Bondi should know that what truly causes public harm is discriminatory rhetoric that divides Floridians instead of uniting them. It’s our responsibility to hold the Attorney General accountable this November for her stance against equality and frankly against the voters of Florida.”
The State Solicitor General Allen Winsor backtracked Bondi’s statement saying that the “harm” she spoke of had to do with the lawsuit itself. “Florida’s voters approved a constitutional amendment, which is being challenged, and it is the Attorney General’s duty to defend Florida law,” he told Gary Fineout at Associated Press. “Florida is harmed whenever a federal court enjoins enforcement of its laws, including the laws at issue here.”
RNC chairman Reince Priebus, invoking the legacy of abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass, asked a question at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans that many prominent Republicans have asked in recent years: Why does the party of Abraham Lincoln not get more credit as the party of tolerance?“We’re the party of freedom and we’re the party of opportunity and we’re the party of equality, we’re the ones with that history,” Priebus said in his speech Thursday. “It’s the other side that has a shameful history, but you wouldn’t know it because we don’t talk about it.”
It might appear that the U-S-of-A has gone bonkers. So let me clear up any confusion that you might have: Yes, it has!
Yet, it hasn’t. More on that in a moment.
First, though — whether looking at the “tea party” congress critters who’ve swerved our nation’s political debate to the hard right, or at the peacocks of Wall Street who continue to preen and profit atop the wreckage they’ve made of our real economy — it’s plain to see that America is suffering a pestilence of nuts and narcissists in high places. These “leaders” are hell bent to enthrone themselves and their ilk as the potentates of our economic, governmental and social systems and they are aggressively trying to snuff out the light of egalitarianism that historically has been our society’s unifying force.
Bill Moyers, America’s most public-spirited journalist, summarized the state of or nation in these terms: “The delusion is no longer marginal. It has come in from the fringe to sit at the seat of power.” Symptoms of this national insanity include these examples:
– We can’t even keep the doors of our government open. In October of last year, Washington’s tea party Republican faction, unable to win the budget cuts it had demanded, threw a procedural fit to get what its acolytes wanted. Their stunt literally shut down the nation’s government for 16 days and bled $24 billion from the US economy. They won nothing except the widespread public scorn they earned for being self-aggrandizing political fools.
– Lloyd Blankfein, bankster-in-chief of Goldman Sachs, runs a financial casino that has bilked its own customers, been so reckless that it took a $10 billion taxpayer bailout to keep it afloat and lobbied furiously to kill regulatory reforms that would’ve reined in its ongoing destructiveness. So has this wrongdoer faced prosecution and jail? Ha! Blankfein continues to reign, retaining his CEOship at Goldman and hauling in $23 million last year in personal pay.
– A narrow, five-man majority of the US Supreme Court has decreed that corporations are “persons” with the right to spend unlimited sums of their shareholders’ money to elect or defeat whomever they want — and to do so secretly. This year, in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Court also overturned the campaign finance rules limiting individual’s contributions on aggregate federal campaign contributions — thus enthroning a tiny elite as America’s ruling electoral power.
– Big Money’s control of politics gives it control of public policy. Thus long-term joblessness and underemployment rage on unabated, middle-class income is plummeting, the majority is finding upward mobility roped off, labor unions are being systematically disempowered and our social safety net is being shredded.
– From retail workers to adjunct college professors, the new normal for workaday people is poverty-wage, part-time, temporary, no-benefit employment. At McDonald’s, the world’s biggest burger chain with 860,000 US workers and $5.5 billion in profits, typical pay is only $8.20 an hour and “full-time” jobs amount to only 30 hours a week. McDonald’s business plan: Shift the bulk of its labor costs to taxpayers and workers themselves. The top executives calculate that employees will subsidize their gross underpayment by finding second jobs and then get health care from emergency rooms and go to welfare offices for food and other basic needs.
All this (and more) explains the popularity in America of this bumper sticker: “Where are we going? And what am I doing in this hand basket?”
Most people know that things are screwy, that this is not the America that’s supposed to be. And therein lies the good news: The USA hasn’t gone crazy — its leaders have and they can be changed.
In opinion polls, tea party Republicans are becoming less popular than swine flu, while solid progressives are on the rise. Such undiluted populist voices as Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’ in the Senate, Alan Grayson’s in the House and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s in New York City are shifting the debate from the corporate agenda to the people’s.
The anthem by rocker Patti Smith sums up where we Americans are — and where I think we’re going: “People have the power — to dream, to rule, to wrestle the world from fools.” Ordinary folks are awakening to the realization that the fools have seized power and the folks are now making moves (and movements) to seize the fools by their short hairs and reclaim our dreams.
Last week, marriage equality hit a milestone.
When judges in Oregon and Pennsylvania declared those state’s marriage bans unconstitutional and state officials decided not to challenge the decisions, we had marriage-equality states Nos. 18 and 19. Less than a week earlier, Arkansas and Idaho had their marriage bans declared unconstitutional. More than 300 couples in Arkansas married before the state got an injunction.
In addition, judges in Utah, Oklahoma, Michigan, Texas and Virginia declared those state’s marriage bans unconstitutional and judges in
Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio ruled those states must recognize out-of-state marriages, at least in certain cases.
That makes 29 states — more than half — with marriage equality or marriage equality rulings.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg cautioned the court not to legalize same-sex marriage before states were ready. She used the example of Roe v. Wade, the Dallas case that legalized abortion nationwide.
In 1973, when the ruling was issued, only four states — New York, Washington, Hawaii and Alaska — had abortion on demand. In 16 states, abortion was legal under certain circumstances but illegal in 30 states under all circumstances, including threat to the woman’s health.
Ginsburg believes had the court ruled incrementally, opposition to legalized abortion wouldn’t have been as strident as it’s been.
Ruling too soon backfired in the case of sodomy.
The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of Georgia’s sodomy law in Hardwick v. Bowers in 1986. Just 17 years later, the court decision was overturned in Lawrence v. Texas.
States were moving in the direction of loosening restrictions on sodomy, but the court wasn’t ready to side with the LGBT community in Bowers. In 1960, every state had sodomy laws on the books. Five years later, the U.S. Supreme Court took a contraception case that recognized a married couple’s right to privacy. By 1986, fewer than half the states had repealed their sodomy laws, but by 2003, only 10 states still had sodomy laws on the books. Of those, four applied only to gay men.
Everyone in the LGBT community is anxious for the Supreme Court to give the Defense of Marriage Act and marriage discrimination a final blow. Appeals court rulings are expected soon in the Utah and Oklahoma cases, so the court could decide to take one or both of those cases.
Since the Windsor decision that invalidated parts of DOMA last June, marriage equality has won in every court where it’s been heard. A number of additional cases have upcoming dates. In June, Colorado and Louisiana cases will be in court. In July, a Florida hearing begins.
Wisconsin’s trial begins in August and, in September, Idaho and Alabama are set for hearings.
Rulings are expected at any time in a number of cases including the Texas divorce case pending before the Texas Supreme Court.
Several cases may be ready for the U.S. Supreme Court by next session. The Utah and Oklahoma decisions are expected from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals any time, and Virginia is expected as early as this summer.
During the 2014-15 session, the Supreme Court could decide to hear any one of the cases decided by an appeals court, or it may choose to sit it out another term to see how all of the cases play out in lower courts.
As of this week, every state except North Dakota has at least one case filed. The cases are diverse, covering more than just the right to marry. In some states, the cases involve the right to stay married. If a couple is married in one state and then travels to another, do they have the right to expect their marriage to continue to be considered valid?
Several cases involve divorce, including a Texas case. While a couple may marry anywhere, residency is required to file divorce. If a couple is married in one state, but lives in another, must the state recognize the marriage for the purposes of divorce?
And in another Texas case, two straight men filed for the right to marry. They’re claiming simple sex discrimination is keeping them from tying the knot. Should marriage be about more than sexual attraction and allow two people who simply want to take care of each other to marry?
The Supreme Court may just let the lower courts sift through all of these questions for another year before tackling the issue again.
Business organizations, Facebook execs come out in support of measure to preserve and enhance access to the region’s natural areas
A bond measure to preserve open land and increase public access to thousands of acres of nature preserves in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties is being touted by local businesses as an inexpensive way to insure their professional and personal investments while maintaining a high quality of life on the Peninsula.
“The Peninsula is not only a center of innovation, it is also an incredibly beautiful place to live and work. Measure AA will help keep it that way,” said Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, Vice President of Advertising and Pages at Facebook and the grandson of Vince Garrod, a well-known advocate of open space protection in the South Bay.
The $300 million bond championed by the “Yes for Open Space” campaign would improve and enhance 25 open space areas throughout the Midpen district, which covers 550 square miles stretching from Los Gatos and Redwood City to north of Half Moon Bay. If voters approve the measure on June 3, it would result in the restoration of thousands of acres of regional open spaces, forests, watersheds and farmland. Bond money would also be used to add 200 miles of public trails, increasing recreational opportunities for families and residents of all ages. In fact, all funds would be reserved for capital expenses and would not fund administrative overhead or compensation.
“This is a one-of-a-kind place, people want to live here because of the natural setting that surrounds us,” said Bosworth. “The fact that people from around the world want to live here is why businesses love to invest here, and it also explains why the Peninsula was able to fend off the impacts of the Great Recession better than almost anywhere else in the country.”
The quality-of-life benefit of Measure AA is one of the primary reasons it has received overwhelming support from the Peninsula business community, including such organizations as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Half Moon Bay Coastside Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau, Los Altos Chamber of Commerce, Mountain View Chamber of Commerce, and Palo Alto Chamber of Commerce.
The natural beauty of the region has helped lead to an influx of new workers, many of whom already take advantage of Midpen’s conservation efforts. Midpen now sees more than 1.5 million visitors per year and parking lots overflow at recreation staging areas on the weekends. Measure AA would work to change that, improving infrastructure and opening access to thousands of acres of preserved land.
Measure AA would also support and enhance San Francisco Bay wetlands restoration with local, state and federal partners. Projects in the baylands would help ensure the slow release of storm water into local creeks, and reduce the risks from bay rise and potential flooding. The measure would also protect regional wildlife and ecosystems threatened by sea-level rise and other global environmental concerns.
And the bond carries a modest cost – from $1 to a maximum of $3.18 per $100,000 of a property’s assessed value, or a maximum of $21 a year in property taxes for the owner of a $700,000 home.
“Measure AA is a common-sense commitment to the environment and will help the region attract and maintain a high-quality workforce,” Bosworth said. “That kind of foresight and commitment is one of the reasons businesses invest here and are proud to call the Peninsula home.”
The Crowded Fire Theater (CFT) 2014 season leaps forward with the West Coast Premiere of “BRAHMAN/I: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show” by Aditi Brennan Kapil. “BRAHMAN/I… ” opens with a press night on Monday June 9 (Previews June 5-7) running through June 28 at the Thick House in San Francisco’s Potrero Hill. Directed by Erin Merritt, “BRAHMAN/I… ” is an outrageous play masquerading as a stand-up comedy routine that hilariously takes on history, mythology, and high school through the lens of an intersex boy/girl tethered by neither gender nor culture. The production is a celebration by/about/for people who never fit in, and who no longer care…and the power that comes with that moment of self-creation. Featuring actor Imran Sheikh, “ Brahman/i…” is funny, cynical, inventive and intensely charismatic. With more than a dozen unforgettable characters woven amidst a fascinating life story, BRAHMAN/I is a courageous affirmation of a life to be lived.
“In counterpoint to traditional theatre…” remarks CFT Artistic Director Marissa Wolf, “Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Brahman/i: A One-Hijra Stand-Up Comedy Show offers an incredible night of stand-up comedy that keeps you laughing and gasping, as she explores questions around sexuality and gender in utterly surprising ways, exploring gender-fluidity through a South Asian lens.”
1695 18th St, San Francisco
U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Annette Bosworth warned that nobody less than 18-years-old would be admitted to her latest press conference.The Republican candidate has held numerous press conferences throughout the month leading up to the South Dakota Primary Election. Now, she’s using a tactic that proves to be for mature audiences only.Those who attended the press conference expressed shock upon walking into the venue, as they saw the graphic words used as a backdrop for the event.
Bosworth’s campaign has been mired in turmoil. A medical doctor, Bosworth has been accused of underpaying a former nurse. She’s also been accused by the state attorney general of being out of the country on a missionary trip at a time when her nominating petitions indicate that she was gathering signatures.After she was asked about the “so-called scandals,” Bosworth brought the discussion to the “surrounding of this room” and urged reporters to accept “the pretense that I’m not evil.”
Pacific Gas & Electric Co. continues to operate unsafe gas transmission pipelines in California and is playing “Russian roulette with the lives of Californians,” said civic leaders in San Bruno, where PG&E’s gross negligence led to the death of eight residents, significant injuries and the destruction of a residential neighborhood.
San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane and the City of San Bruno made the announcement to coincide with a scheduled announcement by Pacific Gas & Electric Company President Christopher Johns today where PG&E will publicize that it allegedly received “two international certifications for best in class operational standards for its gas operations.”
“PG&E must stop deceiving itself, the public, the press and the communities and cities it operates in,” Ruane said. “The gross negligence that led to the tragic and unnecessary death and destruction in San Bruno is as big a threat today as it was Sept. 9, 2010” when PG&E’s line 132 exploded, creating a shock wave with the magnitude of a 1.1 earthquake and walls of flames that reached 1,000 feet in the air.
Ruane pointed to newly released audits last month by the California Public Utilities Commission, which showed that more than 50 percent of the quality assurance and quality control records by PG&E were wrong.
The State report showed among the 20 sets of PG&E pipeline records that auditors picked at random, documentation on 11 of them was either missing, erroneous or rife with inconsistencies.
PG&E is currently facing federal criminal charges and as much as $2.5 billion in CPUC regulatory fines and penalties stemming from the San Bruno explosion and fire.
Ruane reiterated San Bruno’s call for:
1. An independent monitor to assess and provide honest evaluation in overseeing the CPUC and PG&E’s alleged pipeline safety improvements to ensure progress is actually being made, public safety is being improved, and PG&E funds earmarked for pipeline safety are not again being diverted to executive compensation.
2. Fully automated Gas Shut-Off Safety Valves to ensure the public’s safety in the event of future PG&E catastrophes
3. The strongest fine possible by the CPUC of $2.5 billion against PG&E for its gross negligence in San Bruno to ensure the utility takes gas transmission safety seriously.
The president of an unaccredited fundamentalist Christian college is held on $250000 bond on charges of exploiting international students and using them for slave labor. Reginald Wayne Miller, the president and founder of Cathedral Bible College, brought in international students under the guise of training them to be pastors and missionaries. According to prosecutors for the Homeland Security and several of those students, he used them to do under- and unpaid work around the campus and his house, sometimes up to 50 hours a week with pay ranging from 0 to 50$ for the week. If they complained, he threatened to revoke their student visas and have them deported.
Federal law limits those on student visas to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and that work must be an integral part of the student’s educational program. …
One student told investigators he had been promised $100 per week as part of a work-study program with the college. That student said he only makes $50 per week and regularly works between 46 hour and 56 hours each week. The student also said he worked for two weeks without any pay.
One student told investigators… that he was paid $50 per week for about 32 hours of work. Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service,” the affidavit states.- [via Friendly Atheist]
This pattern of fear and control is a tragically familiar one at fundamentalist Christian colleges.
According to the school’s website, “CBC is approved by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for VA students.” Which is another way of saying that the school, like many fundamentalist Christian Colleges, is unaccredited. But that seems to be a pattern. “Dr.” Miller received his doctorate from Indiana Christian University, which also lacks accreditation. His next higher degrees were “given” by, well, Cathedral Bible College. Additionally, all of Indian Christian “University’s” faculty also received their degrees from ICU – and one only has an Associates. The only teacher who has a Master’s (at least when the site was made) went to fellow unaccredited fundamentalist school Bob Jones University. BJU is infamous for its racism and segregation. It did not allow black students until the 70′s and has disallowed mixed-race dating up until the 21st century. The school is now also infamous for trying to cover up sexual abuse and covering up for those cover-ups.
What’s the connection? Besides some really harmful theology (that is extremely patriarchal and tends to trade in racism as well), there is an intentional lack of oversight. This is common in Christian fundamentalism and particularly Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches and colleges like BJU, Pensacola Christian University, and Hyles-Anderson College. Students and parishioners are fed an unhealthy, steady diet of messages subtle and not-so-subtle skeptical and defensive against outside authorities: Don’t trust scientists; our version of creationism is superior. Don’t trust public schools and accreditation; they are worldly. Don’t trust psychology; the bible has everything you need. Don’t trust police with sexual assault allegations; come to us – we’ll take care of it. Don’t complain about working conditions; you’ll be deported.
If this all sounds like a cult in plain sight, well, it is. It’s much more difficult to investigate an institution that is purposefully cloistered. And so it’s easier to declare themselves protectors even while they’re perpetuating exploitation. At the least, these schools need some proper oversight for their students’ protection.
And if you’re asking what these patterns of worker exploitation, racism, and sexual abuse have in common, consider that most of these fundamentalist Christian colleges were blatantly racist until recently. Consider the connections between Slavery Apologism and Christian fundamentalism (like with the Douglas Wilson, for instance). Consider also the fact that most of the exploited international students at CBC are not-white. Consider the deep, connected roots between Slavery Apologism and Rape Apologism (how one person can “own” another). And then consider this interesting little snippet from “Dr.” Miller’s recent history:
In 2006, the Horry County Police Department charged Miller with lewdness and prostitution after Miller exposed himself to an undercover police officer in a bath house at Myrtle Beach State Park, according to a police report.
This may mean something or it may mean nothing, but I wouldn’t be surprised to hear many other testimonials against Miller of both worker exploitation and sexual abuse. In the meantime, I’m thinking we’re gonna need to change the laws to properly inform and warn people about unaccredited schools. And place some type of oversight for them.
Dr. Robi Ludwig, facing a firestorm, late this morning took to Facebook and claimed that her provocative homophobic comments about Santa Barbara killer Elliot Rodger had been “misunderstood.” Ludwig this weekend had gone on Fox News and told millions of viewers that Elliot Rodger, the 22-year old who allegedly killed six people near the University of California Santa Barbara Friday night might have been fighting “against his homosexual impulses,” and implied they could be responsible for his rage that resulted in the deaths of three of his roommates, three others, and himself.
Rodger had left a 141-page manifesto and several YouTube videos angrily lamenting that he had consistently been rejected by women and promising he would “slaughter every single one of” them. He also belonged to several misogynistic “men’s rights” groups and had posted racist remarks in an online forum.
But nowhere and at no time did Rodger suggest he was gay, or unsure of his sexuality. There is not one clue, one suggestion — not one iota of proof that Rodger might have been gay. There is also not one study that finds men who are fighting “homosexual impulses” would turn violent and go on a killing spree.
Yet Dr. Ludwig, a licensed psychologist, trained psychotherapist, and TV reality show host who markets herself as a relationship and domestic violence expert, told Fox New host Judge Jeanine Pirro that Rodger was “angry at the men for not choosing him.”
“When I was first listening to him, I was like, ‘Oh, he’s angry with women for rejecting him,’” Ludwig told the millions of Fox News viewers. “And then I started to have a different idea: Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses?’”
“Was he angry with women because they were taking away men from him?” Dr. Ludwig,Ludwig, co-author of ‘Till Death Do Us Part: Love, Marriage, and the Mind of the Killer Spouse, posited. “But this is a kid who couldn’t connect, and felt enraged, and wanted to obliterate anyone that made him feel like a nothing.”
“This was just a kid that was angry in general. He probably felt rejected, he couldn’t connect, he couldn’t feel loved, he couldn’t feel successful. Maybe he couldn’t even feel like a real man.”
Today on Facebook, Ludwig wrote, “I was misunderstood on @FoxNews this weekend, when I was asked to hypothesize several factors which could have triggered #ElliotRoger’s spree killing.”
“I in NO way meant to indicate being a homosexual or having homosexual impulses is a cause for spree killing. My job on @judgejeanine was to asses several possible triggers for #ElliotRoger and his behavior #peace #forequalrights However, I apologize to all those who felt offended. That was never my intention.”
Note that Ludwig claims she was “misunderstood.” No, she was not. She chose to introduce into a discussion and news report that gay people can be overcome with rage and cannot control their unwanted impulses — when homosexuality had nothing to do with the story because Rodger was not gay.
Note also she chooses to use the word “homosexual,” not “gay” — a common choice by those who are homophobic or anti-gay.
“I apologize to all those who felt offended,” Dr. Ludwig writes. That apology should be made to all, regardless of whether or not they were offended, and on Fox News, not on her Facebook page.
Dr. Ludwig might have violated the rules of the American Psychological Association, which prohibits members from diagnosing patients or public figures they have not personally examined.
Official top of the U.S. Naval Intelligence ( ONI – Office of Naval Intelligence ) administrative division that is part of the Corporation of the United States Intelligence Lt. Col. Milton W. Cooper, reveals that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus ( HIV / AIDS ) was developed in installations biological military base Fort Detrick in 1972 by the Department of Defense (DOD -US Department of Defense) and the Pentagon, as part of the MK- NAOMI project , following a direct executive order and giving implement a global agenda established by the State Department .
TESTIMONY OF INTELLIGENCE ANALYST AND HIGH MILITARY OFFICIAL :
During the conference I held in Las Vegas Nevada U.S., I announced a few things about HIV disease , which have kept close to me in my chest. I revealed that HIV / AIDS was created in laboratories by the U.S. military to remove unnecessary elements society and the vast population of the Third World , while enrolled in Naval Security and Intelligence (ONI ) . I mentioned this in my article ” The Secret Government . ” Now allow me to post the rest of the confidential information and clarified that the government and its intelligence agencies developed the disease and the cure or antidote , they kept in the strictest confidence , under oath of confidentiality.
The first study by scientists meeting in Huntsville , Alabama was made in 1957. This study resulted in the project ” Alternative 3 ” . Another study was conducted by the most powerful business group multibillion : The Club of Rome in 1968 with the aim of determining the Limits to Growth . The result of the study was that civilization as we know it would collapse shortly after the year 2000 , and natural resources become scarce for the hegemonic powers , including the capitalist system itself would be in danger unless the population was seriously reduced, for some medium. Several Top Secret Agencies made recommendations to the ruling elite by Dr. Aurelio Peccei Director of Club of Rome at the time.
The main recommendation was the development of an almost invisible undetectable microbe which would attack the auto immune system and thus make the development of a vaccine immediately impossible. Orders were given to develop the microbe and to develop a cure and prophylactic . The microbe could be used against the general population and placed in complicity vaccines administered by WHO World Health Organization and health agencies inland , in Africa , South America and Asia. The use of prophylactic antidote and was to be used by the ruling elite. The cure will be administered to the survivors when they decide that enough people have died and see fit . Then will be announced as that was recently developed . This plan was called Global 2000 .
The cure and prophylaxis were repressed . Funding was obtained from the U.S. Congress under HB 15090 where initially more than $ 10 million was allocated to the Department of Defense to produce the weapon ” A synthetic unseen biological agent that does not exist naturally and for which no natural immunity could be acquired, later funds increased millonariamente with black backgrounds belonging to the Black Ops (BK -Black Operations ) . “
SPREAD OF THE PATHOGEN. -
Since much of the population would be decimated the ruling elite decided to also direct the agent to “undesirable elements of society ” for extermination. The specific objectives were Hispanic , black populations of Africa, with limited resources , large population continents like Asia and basically the large population of the Third World , this elite call City Garbage or waste .
The military development project name that HIV / AIDS is MK- NAOMI . The African continent was initially purposely infected with the pathogen through the smallpox vaccine in 1977 , the manufacturer of the company MERCK .
The poor in the U.S. 1978 was infected with the hepatitis B vaccine through the Centers for Disease Control and the Blood Center of New York , Los Angeles and San Francisco , also the manufacturer of the company MERCK . Now you have the whole story, which was hidden from the media.
EXECUTIVE ORDER DIRECT AND PLANNING . -
The order was given by the Committee on Foreign Policy BILDERBERG GROUP based in Switzerland . They were also ordered other measures that can more easily substantiate the policy of depopulation of Haig and Henry Kissinger which is managed and administered by the State Department and the Pentagon in all countries.
The need for the creation and deployment of a deadly virus like HIV / AIDS , is fully described in policy decisions control U.S. population as a cheap option and is included in a study called Memorandum of Studio 200 Security Nacional ( national Security Studio Memoradum NSSM -200) , 1974, written and presented by Henry Kissinger in the mega – conference on population control , held in Bucharest, Romania.
REFERENCE : THE CITIZENS AGENCY FOR JOINT INTELLIGENCE , SYSOP – WILLIAM COOPER , (602) 567-6725
The name of the report is confidential ” Limits to Growth ” A REPORT FOR THE CLUB OF ROME, the PROJECT ON DIFFICULT SITUATION OF HUMANITY . In April 1968 , the study began in the Accademia dei Lincei in Rome , Italy. They met in the research of Dr. Aurelio Peccei . Secret recommendations of the results of the study were made by Dr. Aurelio Peccei , who pledged not even use the prophylactic and not to take the cure if the microbe was established in him and if he contracted the disease by accident.
Dr. Peccei was hailed as a great hero to make the decision to take the same risk as the general population . Public results of the study were published in 1972.
A team of scientists at MIT , Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT by the initials of its name in English, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) located in Cambridge , Massachusetts (USA) , was involved in the project with the Whitaker College of Health Sciences and Technology, to study and report to the Club of Rome:
The team of people from the MIT project, participated in the study are:
◾ Dr. Dennis L. Meadows , Chief Manager , United States
◾ Dr. Alison A. Anderson , United States ( pollution expert )
◾ Dr. Jay M. Anderson , United States ( pollution expert )
◾ Ilyas Bayar , Turkey ( agriculture expert )
◾ William W. Behrens III , United States ( expert resources)
◾ Farhad Hakimzadeh , Iran ( population expert )
◾ Dr. Steffen Harbordt , Germany (expert in political and socio-cultural trends)
◾ Judith Machen , United States ( management expert )
◾ Dr. Donella H. Meadows , United States ( population expert )
◾ Peter Milling, Germany (capital)
◾ Nirmala S. Murthy , India ( population expert )
◾ Roger F. Naill , United States ( expert resources)
◾Norway ( population expert )
◾ Stephen Shantzis , United States ( agricultural expert )
◾ John A. Seeger , United States ( management expert )
◾ Marilyn Williams , United States ( expert documentation)
◾ Dr. Erich KO Zahn , Germany ( agriculture expert )
When the study was completed in 1969, the Secretary- General U Thant made this statement:
” Not to sound overdramatic , but I can only conclude from the information that is available to me as Secretary- General , that the Members of the United Nations have perhaps ten years in which to subordinate their ancient quarrels and launch a global partnership for stop the arms race, in order to alleviate the population explosion, and to provide the necessary impetus to development efforts .
If such a global partnership is not built within the next decade, then I very much fear that the problems I have mentioned will reach such gigantic proportions that are beyond our ability to control . “
U Thant , 1969.
It was based on these recommendations to the decision to develop this pathogen and release especially on Third World societies , which lie in a special way the wealth and natural resources and so useful to the first world and current industry took .
GROUPS AND LEADERS IN POWER THAT PROJECT FUNDED . -
Bilderberg , Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission ( TC ) and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR ) , all institutions Masonic Group are in complete control of most of the world have declared war against the people in general all free nations , who do not think like them and use the resources they require. We have to stop them at all costs, and if they see that their plans are not fulfilled as they wish , are able to run other even more serious plans against our sovereignty , freedom and democracy in our countries. They are not our gods to decide who lives or who dies.
PLACE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT MKNAOMI . -
The secret project was carried out in the military base at Fort Detrick in Maryland USA, Laboratory P4 ( P4 Laboratory) , where it was developed and perfected . Fort Detrick has been the focus of biological weapons program of the United States from 1943 to the present, while inheriting all the database of biological weapons of Nazi Germany , creating an office for this purpose the Institute of Infectious Diseases army ( USAMRIID ) .
SCIENTIFIC DEVELOPMENT AND IMPLEMENTATION OF VIRUSES OR PATHOGEN . -
MK- NAOMI was developed by the Special Operations Division (SOD -Special Operation Division) scientists at Ft Detrick , Maryland under the supervision of the CIA Central Intelligence Agency MI6 U.S. and England. A reference to MK- NAOMI project can be found in ” Intelligence Community ” by Fain et al, Bowker, 1977.
According to confidential data on the development of HIV / AIDS advanced biotechnology was used , it was based on the science of the German biotechnology research ethno- specific virus and developed by Nazi Germany in 1940 , this study was continued in 1960 , programs within the U.S. military , a federal program for this ultra biological secret of the Department of Defense ( DOD -US Department of Defense) , called Special Virus (SV Special Virus ), based on the Logic Diagram Research initiative began a Special virus ( VSRLF Special virus Research Logic Flow) in 1970 , aimed at developing selective and mutational virus resistant character within the Special virus Cancer Program ( RCDS – U.S. Special virus Cancer program) from the National Institute of (NCI -National cancer Institute) , a secret program of the DOD and the Pentagon on cancer Research ( 1962-1978 ), where in this laboratory initially tried to design a kind of contagious cancer that can selectively remove and kill the enemy.
Culling would be based on genetic ethnic markers of the host. The SV Program USA, published 15 several of them top secret annual reports to the Department of Defense (DOD ) detailing the progress of manipulating animal viruses and their ability to infect human hosts . Each progress report detailing the progress of scientific special virus while working toward his stated goal to create the new virus. Some of the reports are still in the archives of the NCI .
In 2001, Dr. Robert Gallo geneticist and cell biologist DOD acknowledged his role as Biology Project Officer or Project Officer for Development Program Virus of the Federal Government within the Project SV RCDS.
Among geneticists , virologists, scientists and experts in cell biology Pentagon Project leaders were referred to doctors and responsible for the new virus :
- Dr. Robert Gallo.
- Dr. Duesberg .
Dr. Robert Charles Gallo was born in Waterbury , Connecticut, on March 23, 1937 , American , member of the NCI in Bethesda , Maryland , won fame by identifying the mysterious Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV ) as the agent responsible for the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . Gallo is the Director of the Institute of Human Virology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Maryland in Baltimore ( USA). . With two partners , Robert R. Redfield and William A. Blattner , founded the institute in 1996. He also owns the company Profectus BioSciences, Inc., Biotechnology .
Dr. Peter H. Duesberg , was born on December 2, 1936 , virologist, studied chemistry at the universities of Würzburg , Basel and Munich doctorate in Frankfurt in 1963. Virus expert at the Max Planck Institute in Tübingen since 1973 and teaches in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California at Berkeley. It was awarded by the MERCK corporation. Also a member of the NCI team in Bethesda , Maryland.
Within this initiative implementation project MK- NAOMI finally stood , for it was to be completed the first phase of production in laboratory Visna virus that was first detected in Icelandic sheep that were infected on purpose as experimentation. It is clear that the Visna virus was initially created by Nazi Germany and then enhanced by the NCI RCDS . Following Phase 2, which was precisely manufacturing the virus as a bi- product, hybridization of two virus, and manufactured sheep Visna lymphotropic virus ( HTLV I) human , thus the resulting virus would proceed HIV -1, 90 % would Visna RNA and the remaining 10 % of HTLV I.
Documents produced in 1971 and signed within the Dr.Gallo RCDS is an unavoidable event and reveals that the United States was seeking a ” lethal virus particle for war” that could adversely affect the defense mechanisms of the immune system be human, the program modify the genome of the virus particle in which spliced into a debilitating disease called new animal Visna virus.
Within the next 5 to 10 years , you could probably make a new infective microorganism which could differ in certain important aspects from any known pathogenic disease.
The most important thing is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious diseases.
The fatal error of Dr. Gallo in 1984 , it was included as the alleged discoverer of HIV virus in a scientific publication copying the same documentation 1971 then apparently secret , an act that could be seen as a self-incrimination.
INCRIMINATING DECLARED BY THE INVENTION PATENT OF HIV.-
Other error and observation was in April 1984 , Dr. Robert Gallo filed a patent application in the United States for his invention , the HIV virus , it is specified that the virus was genetically engineered for a DOD program American Government . The patent number of the invention is 4647773 , details can be found on the website of U.S. Patent Office .
DEMAND AND INTERNATIONAL CLAIM.-
Now this information is released to the world with the hope that some nation or organization has the courage and resources to end this global project of planetary mass depopulation, whose perpetrators could be accused mass murder and crimes against humanity .
Given this confirmation and U.S. authorities now have a duty , not only moral ethics but all mankind to compensate all nations and their sick , for the immense amount of millions of human beings killed and even infected with the deadly pathogen , and nations the legal right to bring the law assists those responsible for such a tremendous run global genocide and that they be tried in international law for crimes against humanity and demand the immediate release of the antidote or inoculant . There is currently a lawsuit against the U.S. government and an appeal in the Supreme Court of the U.S. Case No. 00-9587 , for bioterrorism and mass murder ( mass Bioterrorism ) .
AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF MILTON WILLIAM COOPER .-
Milton William Cooper was born on May 6, 1943 . Military and senior officer of the United States Air Force USAF . He graduated in 1961 at the Institute of Yamato in Japan, working on classified projects piloting fighter planes and test , was in the Navy and the Pentagon DOD in 1965. Well as official Worked senior at the Naval Intelligence United States, the U.S. Naval Intelligence ( ONI Office of Naval Intelligence ) administrative division that is part of the Corporation of the United States Intelligence , army Lieutenant Colonel and respected , was a ( Briefing Team Member) of the U.S. intelligence . He had access to classified information from the CIA and the NSA. He was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Navy Commendation Medal Naval Combat V recognized as a war hero . He retired in 1974. Later, his family was terribly threatened and was murdered cowardly as a martyr for the NSA and CIA agents , on November 5, 2001 , to disclose this information and other highly confidential military intelligence U.S.
Photographer Thomas Alleman moved to San Francisco from Michigan in 1985. A year later, he began working for the San Francisco Sentinel . During the early days of the AIDS epidemic, Alleman worked for multiple gay publications that decidedly focused their coverage on the community’s response to AIDS and aimed to paint a more full and realistic picture of what life in SF was like.
These photos originally debuted at the Jewett Gallery in San Francisco in December, 2012, under the title, “Dancing in the Dragon’s Jaws,” and Alleman has this to say about the collection: “I hope these photographs, from San Francisco’s gay community in the mid-eighties, remind viewers of that moment in our social history – so long ago, and so very recent – when the first wave of the AIDS epidemic crashed onto one of our country’s most vibrant neighborhoods. And, while that tribe convulsed with well-earned fear, heartbreak, and anger, some still found the courage and the will to celebrate the dream of life they’d come to San Francisco for, and they danced in the dragon’s jaws.”
Three of the four GOP candidates for Colorado governor took part in a debate Tuesday that was meant to reassure women that Republicans have their best interests in mind. [...]At the start of the “Women and Colorado’s Future” debate, the moderator explained that it would be like a dating game, where a panel of four women could interview the three “bachelors” — former Congressman Bob Beauprez, former state Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp, and Secretary of State Scott Gessler. The fourth candidate, ex-congressman Tom Tancredo, did not attend.
The moderator invited the women to join the stage, saying, “It’s so much more ornamental if the four of you would be on the stage with the four of us.” Theme music from The Dating Game TV show played as the panelists took their seats.
Republican efforts to appeal to women are no longer distinguishable from a Saturday Night Live sketch. Or night terrors.
From Daily Kos
You’d better get a promotion (or six) if you ever want to afford even a moderately-priced home in San Francisco.
You need make at least $137,129 a year (before taxes) to afford a home in the Fog City, which according to a new report is the most expensive city in the country for home buyers.
Coming in a distant second place is San Diego, where you need to bring home $98,534 a year to afford the principal, interest, taxes and insurance of a median-priced home, the measure used to make the calculations by HSH Associates, the mortgage-tracker that published the report.
HSH Associates, which is based in New Jersey, says it used its own mortgage information along with home price data from the National Association of Realtors to come up with the figures.
The widening gap between rich and poor in San Francisco just keeps getting worse. A recent report ranked income inequality in the city on par with developing countries including Rwanda.
The changes are fomenting outrage in some circles — with a lot of anger directed toward workers from the big tech companies. There have been several protests targeting the private corporate shuttle busses that ferry young tech workers to their offices in Silicon Valley.
Protesters blame the shuttles, operated by large companies like Google and Facebook, for rising rents in the city. A study by Berkeley researchers recently found that 40 percent of San Francisco tech workers would move closer to their Silicon Valley jobs if the commuter buses didn’t exist.\
From Huffington Post
Republican lawmakers in North Carolina have introduced a bill that would make it a felony to disclose the chemicals used in fracking operations outside of emergency situations, Energywire reported. The “Energy Modernization Act,” (PDF) as the bill is called, would punish revealing fracking mix information with prison terms of “a few months,” in addition to civil penalties. While it would allow officials with the state emergency management office to gather that information for planning purposes and provide it for medical and firefighting personnel as necessary, first responders might also be forced to sign confidentiality agreements to protect that information.
It’s hardly news that “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak is an ardent conservative. He wrote, for instance, several articles with headlines like “Opposed to Obamacare? Then You Must Be a Racist” for the website Human Events between 2007 and 2013. But his latest rhetorical flourish is the most bizarre yet.
Sajak’s unhinged denialism — throwing wild allegations of racism against the overwhelming majority of scientists, for instance — exists only within the context of his own Twitter feed and writing online, where he’s perpetually making purposefully incendiary remarks wildly at odds with his sunny on-air personality.
But Sajak’s hardly alone as a prominent conservative who saves his vitriol for the off-air hours. Alex Trebek, of “Jeopardy!.” made allusions, in a recent New Republic profile, to beliefs including, of the Tea Party, that “There are a lot of people out there who are not happy with the way things are going, and they’ve banded together,” though he described himself as apolitical even despite having hosted a 2010 Republican fundraiser.
Drew Carey, of “The Price is Right,” has been an outspoken libertarian since his sitcom-actor days, telling Reason magazine: “As far as your personal goals are and what you actually want to do with your life, it should never have to do with the government. You should never depend on the government for your retirement, your financial security, for anything.” Bob Barker is better-known for his animal advocacy than for his endorsement of conservative lobbyist David Jolly in last year’s House special election in Florida. Chuck Woolery, the original host of “Wheel of Fortune,” is as active as his successor on Twitter and has written for the Washington Times.
South Carolina’s state beverage is milk. Its insect is the praying mantis. There’s a designated dance—the shag—as well a sanctioned tartan, game bird, dog, flower, gem and snack food (boiled peanuts). But what Olivia McConnell noticed was missing from among her home’s 50 official symbols was a fossil. So last year, the eight-year-old science enthusiast wrote to the governor and her representatives to nominate the Columbian mammoth. Teeth from the woolly proboscidean, dug up by slaves on a local plantation in 1725, were among the first remains of an ancient species ever discovered in North America. Forty-three other states had already laid claim to various dinosaurs, trilobites, primitive whales and even petrified wood. It seemed like a no-brainer. “Fossils tell us about our past,” the Grade 2 student wrote.
And, as it turns out, the present, too. The bill that Olivia inspired has become the subject of considerable angst at the legislature in the state capital of Columbia. First, an objecting state senator attached three verses from Genesis to the act, outlining God’s creation of all living creatures. Then, after other lawmakers spiked the amendment as out of order for its introduction of the divinity, he took another crack, specifying that the Columbian mammoth “was created on the sixth day with the other beasts of the field.” That version passed in the senate in early April. But now the bill is back in committee as the lower house squabbles over the new language, and it’s seemingly destined for the same fate as its honouree—extinction.
What has doomed Olivia’s dream is a raging battle in South Carolina over the teaching of evolution in schools. Last week, the state’s education oversight committee approved a new set of science standards that, if adopted, would see students learn both the case for, and against, natural selection.
Charles Darwin’s signature discovery—first published 155 years ago and validated a million different ways since—long ago ceased to be a matter for serious debate in most of the world. But in the United States, reconciling science and religious belief remains oddly difficult. A national poll, conducted in March for the Associated Press, found that 42 per cent of Americans are “not too” or “not at all” confident that all life on Earth is the product of evolution. Similarly, 51 per cent of people expressed skepticism that the universe started with a “big bang” 13.8 billion years ago, and 36 per cent doubted the Earth has been around for 4.5 billion years.
The American public’s bias against established science doesn’t stop where the Bible leaves off, however. The same poll found that just 53 per cent of respondents were “extremely” or “very confident” that childhood vaccines are safe and effective. (Worldwide, the measles killed 120,000 people in 2012. In the United States, where a vaccine has been available since 1963, the last recorded measles death was in 2003.) When it comes to global warming, only 33 per cent expressed a high degree of confidence that it is “man made,” something the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has declared is all but certain. (The good news, such as it was in the AP poll, was that 69 per cent actually believe in DNA, and 82 per cent now agree that smoking causes cancer.)
If the rise in uninformed opinion was limited to impenetrable subjects that would be one thing, but the scourge seems to be spreading. Everywhere you look these days, America is in a rush to embrace the stupid. Hell-bent on a path that’s not just irrational, but often self-destructive. Common-sense solutions to pressing problems are eschewed in favour of bumper-sticker simplicities and blind faith.
In a country bedevilled by mass shootings—Aurora, Colo.; Fort Hood, Texas; Virginia Tech—efforts at gun control have given way to ever-laxer standards. Georgia recently passed a law allowing people to pack weapons in state and local buildings, airports, churches and bars. Florida is debating legislation that will waive all firearm restrictions during state emergencies like riots or hurricanes. (One opponent has moved to rename it “an Act Relating to the Zombie Apocalypse.”) And since the December 2012 massacre of 20 children and six staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Conn., 12 states have passed laws allowing guns to be carried in schools, and 20 more are considering such measures.
The cost of a simple appendectomy in the United States averages $33,000 and it’s not uncommon for such bills to top six figures. More than 15 per cent of the population has no health insurance whatsoever. Yet efforts to fill that gaping hole via the Affordable Health Care Act—a.k.a. Obamacare—remain distinctly unpopular. Nonsensical myths about the government’s “real” intentions have found so much traction that 30 per cent still believe that there will be official “death panels” to make decisions on end-of-life care.
Since 2001, the U.S. government has been engaged in an ever-widening program of spying on its own—and foreign—citizens, tapping phones, intercepting emails and texts, and monitoring social media to track the movements, activities and connections of millions. Still, many Americans seem less concerned with the massive violations of their privacy in the name of the War on Terror, than imposing Taliban-like standards on the lives of others. Last month, the school board in Meridian, Idaho voted to remove The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie from its Grade 10 supplemental reading list following parental complaints about its uncouth language and depictions of sex and drug use. When 17-year-old student Brady Kissel teamed up with staff from a local store to give away copies at a park as a protest, a concerned citizen called police. It was the evening of April 23, which was also World Book Night, an event dedicated to “spreading the love of reading.”
If ignorance is contagious, it’s high time to put the United States in quarantine.
Americans have long worried that their education system is leaving their children behind. With good reason: national exams consistently reveal how little the kids actually know. In the last set, administered in 2010 (more are scheduled for this spring), most fourth graders were unable to explain why Abraham Lincoln was an important figure, and only half were able to order North America, the U.S., California and Los Angeles by size. Results in civics were similarly dismal. While math and reading scores have improved over the years, economics remains the “best” subject, with 42 per cent of high school seniors deemed “proficient.”
They don’t appear to be getting much smarter as they age. A 2013 survey of 166,000 adults across 20 countries that tested math, reading and technological problem-solving found Americans to be below the international average in every category. (Japan, Finland, Canada, South Korea and Slovakia were among the 11 nations that scored significantly higher.)
The trends are not encouraging. In 1978, 42 per cent of Americans reported that they had read 11 or more books in the past year. In 2014, just 28 per cent can say the same, while 23 per cent proudly admit to not having read even one, up from eight per cent in 1978. Newspaper and magazine circulation continues to decline sharply, as does viewership for cable news. The three big network supper-hour shows drew a combined average audience of 22.6 million in 2013, down from 52 million in 1980. While 82 per cent of Americans now say they seek out news digitally, the quality of the information they’re getting is suspect. Among current affairs websites, Buzzfeed logs almost as many monthly hits as the Washington Post.
The advance of ignorance and irrationalism in the U.S. has hardly gone unnoticed. The late Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter won the Pulitzer prize back in 1964 for his book Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, which cast the nation’s tendency to embrace stupidity as a periodic by-product of its founding urge to democratize everything. By 2008, journalist Susan Jacoby was warning that the denseness—“a virulent mixture of anti-rationalism and low expectations”—was more of a permanent state. In her book, The Age of American Unreason, she posited that it trickled down from the top, fuelled by faux-populist politicians striving to make themselves sound approachable rather than smart. Their creeping tendency to refer to everyone—voters, experts, government officials—as “folks” is “symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards,” she wrote. “Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated: talking about folks going off to war is the equivalent of describing rape victims as girls.”
That inarticulate legacy didn’t end with George W. Bush and Sarah Palin. Barack Obama, the most cerebral and eloquent American leader in a generation, regularly plays the same card, droppin’ his Gs and dialling down his vocabulary to Hee Haw standards. His ability to convincingly play a hayseed was instrumental in his 2012 campaign against the patrician Mitt Romney; in one of their televised debates the President referenced “folks” 17 times.
An aversion to complexity—at least when communicating with the public—can also be seen in the types of answers politicians now provide the media. The average length of a sound bite by a presidential candidate in 1968 was 42.3 seconds. Two decades later, it was 9.8 seconds. Today, it’s just a touch over seven seconds and well on its way to being supplanted by 140-character Twitter bursts.
Little wonder then that distrust—of leaders, institutions, experts, and those who report on them—is rampant. A YouGov poll conducted last December found that three-quarters of Americans agreed that science is a force for good in the world. Yet when asked if they truly believe what scientists tell them, only 36 per cent of respondents said yes. Just 12 per cent expressed strong confidence in the press to accurately report scientific findings. (Although according to a 2012 paper by Gordon Gauchat, a University of North Carolina sociologist, the erosion of trust in science over the past 40 years has been almost exclusively confined to two groups: conservatives and regular churchgoers. Counterintuitively, it is the most highly educated among them—with post-secondary education—who harbour the strongest doubts.)
The term “elitist” has become one of the most used, and feared, insults in American life. Even in the country’s halls of higher learning, there is now an ingrained bias that favours the accessible over the exacting.
“There’s a pervasive suspicion of rights, privileges, knowledge and specialization,” says Catherine Liu, the author of American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique and a film and media studies professor at University of California at Irvine. Both ends of the political spectrum have come to reject the conspicuously clever, she says, if for very different reasons; the left because of worries about inclusiveness, the right because they equate objections with obstruction. As a result, the very mission of universities has changed, argues Liu. “We don’t educate people anymore. We train them to get jobs.” (Boomers, she says, deserve most of the blame. “They were so triumphalist in promoting pop culture and demoting the canon.”)
The digital revolution, which has brought boundless access to information and entertainment choices, has somehow only enhanced the lowest common denominators—LOL cat videos and the Kardashians. Instead of educating themselves via the Internet, most people simply use it to validate what they already suspect, wish or believe to be true. It creates an online environment where Jenny McCarthy, a former Playboy model with a high school education, can become a worldwide leader of the anti-vaccination movement, naysaying the advice of medical professionals.
Most perplexing, however, is where the stupid is flowing from. As conservative pundit David Frum recently noted, where it was once the least informed who were most vulnerable to inaccuracies, it now seems to be the exact opposite. “More sophisticated news consumers turn out to use this sophistication to do a better job of filtering out what they don’t want to hear,” he blogged.
But are things actually getting worse? There’s a long and not-so-proud history of American electors lashing out irrationally, or voting against their own interests. Political scientists have been tracking, since the early 1950s, just how poorly those who cast ballots seem to comprehend the policies of the parties and people they are endorsing. A wealth of research now suggests that at the most optimistic, only 70 per cent actually select the party that accurately represents their views—and there are only two choices.
Larry Bartels, the co-director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions at Vanderbilt University, says he doubts that the spreading ignorance is a uniquely American phenomenon. Facing complex choices, uncertain about the consequences of the alternatives, and tasked with balancing the demands of jobs, family and the things that truly interest them with boring policy debates, people either cast their ballots reflexively, or not at all. The larger question might be whether engagement really matters. “If your vision of democracy is one in which elections provide solemn opportunities for voters to set the course of public policy and hold leaders accountable, yes,” Bartels wrote in an email to Maclean’s. “If you take the less ambitious view that elections provide a convenient, non-violent way for a society to agree on who is in charge at any given time, perhaps not.”
A study by two Princeton University researchers, Martin Gilens and Benjamin Page, released last month, tracked 1,800 U.S. policy changes between 1981 and 2002, and compared the outcome with the expressed preferences of median-income Americans, the affluent, business interests and powerful lobbies. They concluded that average citizens “have little or no independent influence” on policy in the U.S., while the rich and their hired mouthpieces routinely get their way. “The majority does not rule,” they wrote.
Smart money versus dumb voters is hardly a fair fight. But it does offer compelling evidence that the survival of the fittest remains an unshakable truth even in American life. A sad sort of proof of evolution.
Music Director Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) and the San Francisco Symphony (SFS) will release a new live recording of the first-ever concert performances of Leonard Bernstein’s complete score for the musical West Side Story featuring a stellar Broadway cast including Cheyenne Jackson and Alexandra Silber, and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, on June 10, 2014. This collector’s edition two-disc set available from the SFS Media label includes a 100-page booklet featuring a new interview with MTT, notes from Rita Moreno and Jamie Bernstein, as well as a West Side Story historical timeline, archival photographs, complete lyrics, and rehearsal and performance photos. Beginning May 20, West Side Story will be available for an exclusive early download from iTunes.com/SFSymphony where it is now available for pre-order. The iTunes release is Mastered for iTunes and offered as an interactive iTunes LP with bonus visuals and content provided when viewed in iTunes. The recording can also be pre-ordered on disc from the San Francisco Symphony’s online store for delivery by the release date of June 10. This audiophile SACD recording, playable on both standard CD and SACD devices.
The performances were recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall in late June and early July 2013 after Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony became the first orchestra to receive permission from all four West Side Story rights-holders to perform and record the musical score in its entirety in a concert setting. Of the new recording, Michael Tilson Thomas said, “This is a new and rare opportunity to hear Bernstein’s complete score sung by a sensational young cast and a knock-your-socks-off orchestra. The San Francisco Symphony totally understands and feels this music. We show the Broadway roots of the piece and how its universal qualities translate into the way we think about it today.”
Making his San Francisco Symphony debut in West Side Story is Cheyenne Jackson (TV’s Glee, 30 Rock) singing the role of Tony. Of performing the role with MTT and the SFS Jackson says, “I think this is the best musical of all time. Period. I’m a Broadway Baby, and I’ve done many, many shows. And there are a couple that come close, but when it comes to book, music, lyrics, West Side Story is absolutely timeless. Everybody knows every word. This isn’t a polarizing musical or something people have lukewarm feelings about, you just love West Side Story. Even after knowing the score all these years, I’m still uncovering things about the score I never heard before. So, to have the opportunity to perform it, under the great Michael Tilson Thomas, and also with this Symphony, how could I not?! ” The cast includes a host of exciting Broadway voices all making their San Francisco Symphony debuts including Alexandra Silber in the role of Maria, Jessica Vosk as Anita, Kevin Vortmann as Riff and Julia Bullock as A Girl. The recording also features members of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus as Jets and Sharks.
Of the performances, Jamie Bernstein said, “Michael really understands my father’s music – how to conduct it and how to bring it to life. It was such a treat to hear the entire score of West Side Story performed by the San Francisco Symphony on a stage. It is the greatest way to hear this music.”
Tilson Thomas first met Leonard Bernstein several years after the West Side Story premiere in 1957 and has championed the iconic composer/conductor’s music throughout his career. Highlights with the SFS include semi-staged performances of On the Town in 1996 and, in 2008, Carnegie Hall’s opening night all-Bernstein gala concert which was recorded and is available on DVD from SFS Media.
New Contact, Assess, Recover & Ensure Success (CARES) Initiative Provides Comprehensive, Citywide Approach to Strengthen Current Behavioral Health System with Community Independence Placement Project Expansion, New Psychiatric Respite Center, New Peer and Family Support & Additional Case Managers to Care for Residents with Mental Health & Substance Abuse Issues
Mayor Edwin M. Lee today unveiled the CARES (Contact, Assess, Recover & Ensure Success) initiative that provides a new comprehensive, citywide approach to helping residents suffering from severe mental health and substance abuse issues.
The CARES initiative will expand the Community Independence Placement Project, add a new psychiatric respite center at San Francisco General Hospital that includes peer counselors; provide new support for family members and Transitional Aged Youth; and additional case managers to care for residents with severe mental health and substance use issues. This initiative will also support a longer-term effort to advance Citywide data-sharing and coordination practices.
“We have the strongest social safety net in the nation, spending $2.7 billion every year, yet we still have far too many people unable to make the choices they need to save their own lives because of severe mental health and substance abuse issues,” said Mayor Lee. “These hard-to-reach individuals oftentimes do not access the vital treatment they need and the new CARES initiative will help by strengthening our current behavioral health system of care for those that need it most.”
“The collaborative and engaging meetings of the CARES task force helped to refocus the City’s much needed attention on those suffering from mental health issues in our community who are currently falling through the cracks in the City’s mental health services system,” stated Supervisor Mark Farrell. “I fully support the policy and programmatic recommendations that came out of the CARES task force and look forward to working with the Mayor, my colleagues, and the community to better provide care for those who are most vulnerable.”
In an effort to ensure recovery and success for this population of residents, Mayor Lee directed Health Director Barbara Garcia to form the CARES Task Force, a 21-member advisory body charged with developing a range of policy and programmatic recommendations designed to serve those residents with the most challenging symptoms—those with a severe mental health diagnosis and/or a history of substance use, a chronic medical condition, unstable housing, underemployment, and limited family connections. Oftentimes the same person is simultaneously engaged with police, service providers, probation officers and clinicians, without getting the real consistency in services that they need. The prevailing conclusion from the CARES Task Force is that San Francisco has a robust service mix that can prevent increased engagement with the criminal justice system, but current coordination efforts do not embrace the full reach of the system. The CARES Task Force recommendations developed the CARES initiative.
In the past year alone, San Francisco jails have served almost 800 inmates diagnosed with a psychotic, bipolar or major depressive order. This number excludes individuals on probation or Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS), or the roughly 2,300 individuals served at any given time through our Behavioral Health Court, Drug Court, or the Community Justice Center combined. San Francisco also has regularly 750 people conserved because their disease has progressed to that of a grave disability—which means that a person is unable to utilize the means available to provide for basic necessities, such as food, clothing or shelter.
To address this, Mayor Lee is making permanent and expanding the Community Independence Placement Project, which relies on the court system to compel treatment but takes the additional step of requiring medication compliance. Expansion may include incorporating patients from other hospitals (program is currently limited to San Francisco General Hospital) and those participating in probation-related and re-entry programs. Health experts estimate that there are hundreds of people who could immediately benefit from a stronger public conservatorship program encompassing mental health and substance abuse like this one.
To engage individuals before they reach an acute crisis point, Mayor Lee is creating a new psychiatric respite center at San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center, which will provide a secure and safe environment within the community for those that need support in staving off a crisis. DPH will employ a scaled launch starting in Fall 2014, and will staff the facility primarily with peer counselors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At its eventual maximum capacity the program will accommodate up to 12 individuals for over-night stays and up to 25 individuals during the day.
“We are world renowned for our trauma and crisis care response and the CARES advisory council has provided recommendations to improve the use of these services by recommending new program ideas that can improve our care to those impacted by addiction and mental illness earlier and more effectively,” said Barbara Garcia, Public Health Director.”
Not all of these individuals show-up in the City’s data systems, and therefore pose a unique challenge to outreach workers trying to make meaningful initial and ongoing contact. To address this, Mayor Lee has asked the health department to explore advanced data-sharing and coordination practices. The Mayor will also adopt a peer-based approach at the psychiatric respite center, as well as fund a family specialist to support families impacted by a loved one’s disease and a new caseworker to engage Transitional Aged Youth specifically. DPH will also add two Intensive Case Managers to absorb this increased and coordinated service reach.
Save for a freak May snowstorm, the other day started off normally. I woke up, made a giant mug of coffee and walked to work. But May 12 was no ordinary Monday. “Today,” said Eric Rignot, a glaciologist at the University of California, Irvine, “we present observational evidence that a large sector of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet has gone into irreversible retreat. It has passed the point of no return.”
Language that strong isn’t often tossed about at NASA news conferences, and the world took notice. Climate change advocate Protect Our Winters called it “the day that all climate scientists feared.” Mother Jones coined it a “holy shit moment for global warming.” The well-known Canadian environmental writer Chris Turner tweeted that it’s “the most important news story you’ll see this week, by a wide margin.”
So what’s all the fuss about – and why should you care? In the most basic terms, two separate scientific studies, using two different models and released by two reputable scientific journals, both came to the same conclusion: Glaciers on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet are melting more rapidly than expected and have begun a domino effect that’s virtually unstoppable, even if we cut off greenhouse gas emissions today. Over the course of hundreds of years, the melting glaciers will boost ocean levels by 4 to 16 feet, changing the geography of the world as we know it.
Previous models, of course, have also predicted sea level rise, and West Coast cities have begun preparing by relocating threatened structures, moving drinking water supplies and modifying construction permits. But no previous study has been this conclusive or concrete in its modeling, nor taken into account the degree of Antarctic melt now considered inevitable. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned earlier this year that global sea level could rise between four inches and three feet by 2100, but the new findings make such predictions seem almost quaint. Penn State University geoscientist Sridhar Anandakrishnan told NBC News that future IPCC estimates “will almost certainly be revised” upwards as a result of the new studies.
What could rising seas actually look like for the West Coast? Andrew David Thaler, a deep-sea ecologist, posed that question to his Twitter followers last fall, and the response was tremendous: Requests poured in from around the world asking Thaler to virtually inundate their hometowns under the hashtag #DrownYourTown. #DrownYourTown has now been tweeted millions of times, and Thaler has perfected a real-time, interactive GIS modeling technique that allows him – or anyone with basic technology skills – to visualize what coastal cities might look like with varying amounts of sea level rise.
Thaler warns that the images aren’t exact and shouldn’t be used to make real estate decisions. But with once-theoretical sea level rises now a looming reality, these images make the future of the West Coast graspable. Here are a few we found particularly unsettling. (Click images to enlarge.)
If the West Antarctic Ice Sheet completely melted into the Amundsen Sea – as the new studies from NASA, UC Irvine and the University of Washington predict will eventually happen – the resulting 16 feet of sea level rise would look like this:
Here’s downtown San Francisco with 22 feet, the rise that would occur if the entire Greenland Ice Sheet melted (a scenario not part of the new studies):
And, just for kicks, a couple of cities with 32 feet sea rise
- Vancouver, British Columbia
- San Diego, California
Yeah, yeah, you’re saying. My great-grandkids won’t even be alive for that. How about something more immediate?
The new studies don’t make predictions for specific years, so the best we can do for the end of this century – the year 2100 – is the IPCC’s latest estimate of about 4 feet sea level rise. Keep in mind that figure may be conservative, as scientists now say the IPCC estimates will likely increase in light of to this new information. Either way, here are a couple non-Western spots with about 3 feet sea level rise:
- Key West, Florida
In a move which he said will teach companies a lesson for “trampling on Christian values”, Jack Burkman has also aimed his protest against financial giant Visa, who gave Mr Sam his first advertising contract.
A coalition of evangelical Christian leaders from across the US, as well as influential grassroots organisations in 27 of the 50 states, have now been mobilised against the firms, according to Mr Burkman
As part of the protest, Rams fans will be told to stop buying the team’s merchandise and not to attend games, while members of the public will be asked stop using their Visa cards, and to sell any of the company’s stocks they may own.
“Visa and the Rams will learn that when you trample the Christian community and Christian values, there will be a terrible financial price to pay,” said Burkman, head of the Washington DC lobbying firm JM Burkman & Assoc.
“Openly gay football players send a terrible message to our youth about morality. Somebody needs to step up because the moral fiber of the nation is eroding.”
As well as the boycott, Mr Burkman’s firm is attempting to push a draft bill through Washington, which will ban all openly gay players from the NFL and other professional sports in the country.
Mr Burkman’s attack comes after the 24-year-old football player was praised for celebrating his acceptance call from Rams coach Jeff Fisher on Sunday evening by kissing his boyfriend live on sports channel ESPN.
Chat show host Ellen Degeneres tweeted: “So proud of the @STLouisRams for showing there’s nothing to be afraid of. Congratulations, @MikeSamFootball”.
Speaking at a news conference held by the Rams after being drafted, Sam said: “I’ve been getting in shape and preparing for this moment for a very long time. I’m so determined to be great.”
When asked about potential detractors, Sam said: “It’s about football. Can I play football? Yes I can.”
May Madness, the longest running car show and parade in Northern California will showcase hundreds of cool vehicles at the 27th annual event May 31! Spectators will get to view up close the finest Rods, Customs, Classics, Utility Vehicles & more. This year, the Ford Mustang will ride shotgun as the iconic car celebrates the 50th anniversary. Mustangs will be showcased on “A” Street north side of 4th.
Enjoy rocking bands and a street dance starting at noon with the winning band of the “Heads Up” Battle of the Bands followed by Fenix House Band and headlined by Reckless In Vegas a power trio comprised of Michael Shapiro on vocals & guitar, Mario Cipollina (formerly of Huey Lewis And The News), on bass & vocals, and Ryan “Dr Fu” Low on drums & vocals. Reckless In Vegas has blended the imagery, banter and classic music from the 1960’s Glory Days of Vegas with a contemporary rock band aesthetic. They’ve created an exciting show with modern versions of songs by artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, Sonny & Cher, Frankie Valli, Neil Diamond and more. Think The Rat Pack meets Green Day.
The car parade starts at 5pm. San Rafael’s Davidson Middle School Cougar Marching Band returns this year to cover the parade route and keep all the cars in time.
Attendees will enjoy great food and beverages and children’s activities. In conjunction with May Madness, the West End of 4th Street will host huge sidewalk sale sponsored by the San Rafael BID.
May Madness is presented by the San Rafael Business Improvement District and produced by Team Pro Event. Pre-registration deadline is May 16th.
Music Line up schedule:
Noon: Winner of the “Heads Up” Battle of the Bands
1:45 Fenix House Band– Blues, Rock n Funk from the Fenix Night Club
3:30 Reckless In Vegas “Modern Rock meets classic ‘60’s Lounge Music”
Luxe apartment complex NEMA, whose ridiculous and vaguely offensive marketing efforts have already inspired plenty of blog ire as well as a satirical Twitter account, published a map of San Francisco on their website that seems to want to pretend that gays and Chinese Americans don’t exist here anymore.
The map, which you can see above as it was three days ago, turns the Castro into “Eureka Valley/Dolores Heights” and washes over Chinatown altogether. It appears to be a co-opting of the neighborhood designations made by the San Francisco Association of Realtors and MLS a few years ago on this map, because realtors also like to pretend there’s no such thing as The Castro, for all the man-sex and dildo shops that that name connotes. But it’s another fine example of how NEMA’s marketing team is clueless.
After Twitterer EC and Vanishing SF called out the map, and after the satirical Rent Enemamocked it, the NEMA folks quickly published a new map which you can see below. Now there is no Eureka Valley, only The Castro in big letters, and they managed to squeeze Chinatown in there after all.
Nice work, everyone. Can’t wait for the next gaff.