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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 3,375

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Chance to Limit Citizens United Damage if SEC Chair Requires Big Money Transparency

http://truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/17962-chance-to-wound-citizens-united-if-sec-chair-mary-jo-white-approves-corporate-political-contribution-transparency-regulation

MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Mary Jo White is Obama's new chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). She was a controversial candidate, given her and her husband's financial and legal connections to financial firms that are under SEC regulation.In fact, White's fitness for regulating Wall Street was the subject of a BuzzFlash at Truthout commentary on March 13 of this year, "Mary Jo White and the Incestuous Mutually Beneficial Relationship Between Regulators and Wall Street."


But White is likely to have an early chance to prove that she is not totally part of the elite revolving door that allows the financial and corporate world to, in essence, regulate themselves through having their own become the regulators. White will soon be presented with a proposed SEC rule (the drafting of the regulation preceded her arrival at the agency) which would help to undercut – although not eliminate – the democracy-weakening Citizens United decision.

According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial:

Shareholders in publicly traded corporations have a right to know if their investment is being spent on political campaigns. And voters have a right to know what interests are trying to persuade them. But three years after the U.S. Supreme Court opened the floodgates for American corporations to pour money into campaigns, the transparency it urged in that same decision does not exist. A proposed rule before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission offers the best hope yet that publicly traded corporations will have to fully disclose donations to political organizations.

It's notable that since the 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case, few publicly held corporations have donated to super political action committees, which are regulated by the Federal Elections Commission and require disclosure of contributions. Instead, corporations have sent hundreds of millions of dollars to tax-empt groups such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Karl Rove's Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, the American Gaming Association or the National Retail Federation, all of whom engage in political activity on behalf of candidates but are not subject to the same PAC disclosure standards.

The proposed SEC rule would end that charade and require publicly traded corporations to reveal how they spend shareholder money for political purposes.


A recent UPI article sheds more light on the possible SEC regulation:

A proposed federal regulation that would undo some of the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling has been languishing at the Securities and Exchange Commission for a year and a half, but there are signs the commission may be making a decision on it relatively soon.The regulation would force tens of millions of dollars in up-to-now secret political donations from corporate general funds into the light.SEC spokesman John Nester issued a statement last week that didn't contain specifics, but indicated the proposed regulation would be up to bat in the coming weeks or months.


(more)

Obama Mocks GOP Charges Of A Benghazi ‘Cover-Up’

http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/05/13/2002301/obama-benghazi-cover-up/

President Obama in a press conference on Monday shot back at Republicans trying to create a scandal out of his administration’s handling of the Benghazi terror attacks last September.

The Benghazi issue resurfaced in recent weeks after Fox News and House Republicans tried and failed to turn up new evidence of some kind of administration “cover-up” of its response to the attacks. And an ABC News report on Friday fanned the flames, purportedly uncovering damning evidence of the White House and State Department’s role in editing talking points on the attacks.

None of these efforts have resulted in any new information and when Obama was asked about it today, he appeared agitated, saying the issue has already been investigated and Benghazi has turned in to a “political circus.” The President also noted what a terrible job his administration is doing if it was trying to cover anything up on Benghazi:


OBAMA: If this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down — that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later, we end up putting out all the information that in fact has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of Libya.

Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down, for three days? So the whole thing defies logic and the fact that this keeps on getting churned out, frankly has a lot to do with political motivations. We’ve had folks who have challenged Hillary Clinton’s integrity, Susan Rice’s integrity, Mike Mullen and Tom Pickering’s integrity. It’s a given that mine gets challenged by these same folks. they’ve used it for fundraising and frankly, you know, if anybody out there wants to actually focus on how we make sure something like this does not happen again? I am happy to get their advice and information and council.



Watch the entire response in the clip below:



Pickering, a former U.S. ambassador and co-chair of the independent review board on Benghazi, also criticized those claiming the administration is engaged in a cover-up. “I think the notion of a quote, cover up, has all the elements of Pulitzer Prize fiction attached to it,” he said last week.

M$M Sunday Shows Rehash Debunked Benghazi Myths

...M$M doing their usual grovelling for the GOP... why everybody who is interested in being informed is fleeing to the internet.


http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/05/12/sunday-shows-rehash-debunked-benghazi-myths/194025

MYTH: White House And State Department Edited References To Terrorism Out Of Talking Points For Political Purposes

FACT: CIA Signed Off On Talking Points For Tactical Safety, And President Had Already Referred To Attacks As An Act Of Terror

CIA Signed Off On The Changes For Tactical, Not Political Reasons. Gen. David Petraeus, former head of the CIA, reportedly testified in November that the intelligence community signed off on the final draft of the talking points, and that references to terrorist groups in Libya were removed in order to avoid tipping off those groups. The New York Times reported that "Petraeus made it clear the change had not been done for political reasons to aid Mr. Obama," according to Democrats who observed the testimony.

President Obama Had Already Referred To The Attacks As An Act Of Terror. On September 12, President Obama referred to the attacks as an act of terror when he spoke from the White House Rose Garden. One day later, Obama again referred to acts of terror at a campaign event. These comments undermine the myth that edits to a document that were made on September 14, after Obama had already labeled the attack an act of terror, demonstrate that the administration was trying to downplay the role that terrorism played.

MYTH: President Was "Absent" During Attack

FACT: Military Leaders Testified That Obama Was Fully Engaged Throughout The Attack

Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta Testified That The President Was In Contact And "Well-Informed" During The Attack. Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta testified during a February 7 congressional hearing that he had personally spoken to President Obama following the initial attack and that the White House was in contact with military officials and keeping the president "well-informed" throughout the attacks.

Gen. Martin Dempsey: Obama's Staff "Was Engaged With The National Military Command Center Pretty Constantly" Throughout The Attack. Dempsey testified during a February 7 congressional hearing that the president's staff was engaged with the military command center constantly during the attack, "which is the way it would normally work" (emphasis added):

SEN. KELLY AYOTTE (R-NH): But just to be clear, that night he didn't ask you what assets we had available and how quickly they could respond and how quickly we could help those people there -

PANETTA: No. I think the biggest problem that night, Senator, is that nobody knew really what was going on there.

AYOTTE: And there was no follow up during the night, at least from the White House directly?

PANETTA: No. No, there wasn't.

DEMPSEY: I would, if I could just, to correct one thing. I wouldn't say there was no follow-up from the White House. There was no follow-up, to my knowledge, with the president. But his staff was engaged with the national military command center pretty constantly through the period, which is the way it would normally work.

AYOTTE: But no direct communication from him?

DEMPSEY: Not on my part, no.




(more)

Robert Gates criticizes Conservatives' "Cartoonish Impression" Of Military Support For Benghazi

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/05/12/robert-gates-criticizes-conservatives-cartoonis/194023


Robert Gates is calling out conservatives for the "cartoonish impression of the military" they promote when baselessly criticizing the Obama administration for not sending additional support during the September attack on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

But Gates, who served as Secretary of Defense during the Bush and Obama administrations, debunked these claims and explained that he would have made the same decisions, during his May 12 interview on CBS' Face the Nation.

Gates explained that he "would never have approved sending an aircraft" due to fears it would get shot down, and that he would not have approved sending Special Forces due to a lack of information about what was happening on the ground:

from Face the Nation...

video: http://mediamatters.org/embed/static/clips/2013/05/12/30143/cbs-ftn-20130512-gates

GATES: I think the one place where I might be able to say something useful has to do with some of the talk of the military response. And I listened to the testimony of both Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey, and frankly had I been in the job at the time, I think that my decisions would have been just as theirs were. We don't have a ready force standing by in the Middle East, despite all the turmoil that's going on with planes on strip alert, troops ready to deploy at a moment's notice. And so getting someone there in a timely way would have been very difficult if not impossible.

And frankly I've heard, well, why didn't you just fly a fighter jet over there to scare 'em with the noise or something. Given the number of surface to air missiles that have disappeared from Qaddafi's arsenals I would not have approved sending an aircraft, a single aircraft, over Benghazi under those circumstances.

And with respect to sending in Special Forces or a small group of people to try and provide help, based on everything I've read people really didn't know what was going on in Benghazi contemporaneously, and to send some small number of Special Forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, without having any intelligence in terms of what is actually going on on the ground, I think would have been very dangerous and personally I would not have approved that because we just don't -- it's sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces. The one thing our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way, and there just wasn't time.


Startup born in Princeton lab turns carbon dioxide into fuels (e.g. methanol)

http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/95/96G16/index.xml?section=featured

Ask Andrew Bocarsly about the innovation behind Liquid Light, a New Jersey startup company that turns carbon dioxide into fuels and industrial chemicals, and the Princeton University chemistry professor smiles ruefully. "The project goes back to the early '90s," he said. "But nobody cared about carbon dioxide at that time."

Today, carbon dioxide (CO2) is a hot topic. Scientists around the globe are searching for ways to store, dispose of, or prevent the formation of the greenhouse gas, which is a major driver of global climate change. Liquid Light hopes to take this concept one step further and harness waste CO2 as a source of carbon to make industrial chemicals and fuels.

Liquid Light lab

~~

The technology behind the process is simple: Take CO2 and mix it in a water-filled chamber with an electrode and a catalyst. The ensuing chemical reaction converts CO2 into a new molecule, methanol, which can be used as a fuel, an industrial solvent or a starting material for the manufacture of other chemicals.
~~
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In Cole's setup, photons hit a gallium phosphide semiconductor and excite its electrons to travel to the semiconductor's surface and into the surrounding water. The catalyst then shuttles the electrons to the CO2. Those electrons attract hydrogen from the surrounding water to turn CO2 (one carbon and two oxygens) into methanol (one carbon, one oxygen and four hydrogens) with the release of oxygen.

(more)

Nobel Physicist: Society Should Convert To Natural Gas (methanol from CO2 for light surface trans)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2013/04/22/nobel-physicist-society-should-convert-to-natural-gas/

Of all the energy sources in play, natural gas offers the most immediate promise as a clean, abundant fuel that can meet society’s needs, including the need to mitigate global warming, Nobel prize winning physicist Carlo Rubbia said in Chicago Friday.

Society should pursue two goals, now within reach, to fulfill the promise of natural gas, Rubbia told about 250 people at Northwestern University:

•a technology to burn natural gas without CO2 emissions, and

•a conversion of the transportation sector from gasoline to methanol.

~~
~~

For transportation, he suggests producing methanol liquid by recombining hydrogen with CO2 that has been removed from the atmosphere. Cars burning methanol would still produce CO2 emissions, but as long as the fuel is made with captured CO2 they would not increase existing CO2 levels.

Because methanol can be handled like ethanol or gasoline is now, society could avoid several of the obstacles it would face if it tried to convert transportation to hydrogen, including the need for new storage and transportation infrastructure and the need to switch from internal combustion engines to electricity-producing fuel cells.
(more)



also: Carbon Dioxide Hydrogenation to Methanol at Low Pressure and Temperature http://infoscience.epfl.ch/record/32203/files/EPFL_TH1726.pdf

The Katie Piper story: a cautionary tale on internet dating

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1221077/Katie-Piper-Acid-attack-victim-bravely-shows-face-disfigured-boyfriend-Daniel-Lynch.html

I was savagely disfigured by my deranged boyfriend: Acid attack victim bravely shows her face


With painful honesty, Katie Piper, the former TV presenter tells why she has finally waived her right to anonymity – and reveals the awful events that changed her life for ever

However much she would like to forget them, the details of how she lost her dreams, her identity and very nearly her life will stay with Katie Piper for ever.




They are burned into both her memory and her face. Katie, 26, has remained fearful and anonymous in the 18 months since the man she met on the internet attempted to destroy her, so few will recognise her name.

Katie before the attack:

Katie after attack with the mask she wears to help heal the wounds from the acid burns


Moving on: Katie Piper is learning to live with her rebuilt features and is exhausted by more than 30 operations following the acid attack by her former boyfriend

But the facts of the case – the rape, the vengeful boyfriend Daniel Lynch, the cup of industrial-strength sulphuric acid – are all too familiar, a cause of anger and revulsion when they were revealed in court earlier this year.


It was an added cruelty that Katie’s world had revolved around her beauty. She modelled for catalogues and magazines, presented television programmes and had dreamed of a full-time career in the media.
(more)

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1221077/Katie-Piper-Acid-attack-victim-bravely-shows-face-disfigured-boyfriend-Daniel-Lynch.html#ixzz2T10RnbUP

Automakers criticize EPA E30 proposal which puts responsiblity for E30 availability on them

http://www.governorsbiofuelscoalition.org/?p=5827

EPA’s “Tier III” fuel and vehicle emissions rule opens the door to raising gasoline’s octane level — a rating of a fuel’s performance — to promote better-performing cleaner fuels and engines, but automakers and biofuel advocates are criticizing the agency for proposing that the onus be on automakers to ensure the fuels are available given refiner resistance.

Automakers have long sought higher octane levels in regular fuel, which currently averages an 87 rating, because they do not want to mandate that consumers purchase higher octane mid-grade at 89 or premium at 92 that are far more expensive. But they say they need even higher octane levels to ensure that technologies, such as direct fuel injection and turbocharge operate properly, boosting efficiency and reducing emissions, making it easier for automakers to comply with EPA’s greenhouse gas (GHG) tailpipe rule that requires fleets to average 54.5 miles per gallon in 2025.

~~
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If ethanol is used as an octane booster, then a 30 percent ethanol blend (E30) should cost less than a gallon of regular gasoline today and have an average octane rating of about 97, biofuels advocates say.

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...the agency says that if it were to approve a test fuel for vehicles designed to run on this fuel, then manufacturers must ensure its availability. EPA in the Tier III rule says, “Under this proposal, if manufacturers were to design vehicles that required operation on a higher octane, higher ethanol content gasoline (e.g. dedicated E30 vehicles or optimized to run on E30 or higher ethanol blends), . . . they could petition the administrator for approval of a higher octane, higher ethanol test fuel if they could demonstrate that such a fuel would be used by the operator and would be readily available nationwide.”
(more)



Looks like the EPA is afraid to take on the Big Oil.



Whistleblower’s yarn fails to tie Benghazi lapses to politics - Dana Milbank, WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-whistleblowers-yarn-fails-to-tie-benghazi-lapses-to-politics/2013/05/08/fb436cd4-b82e-11e2-b94c-b684dda07add_story.html

They summoned a whistleblower to Capitol Hill, but instead they got a virtuoso storyteller.

Gregory Hicks, the No. 2 U.S. diplomat in Libya the night Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, was to be the star witness for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the man leading the probe of the Obama administration’s handling of the attack on the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

But despite Issa’s incautious promise that the hearing’s revelations would be “damaging” to Hillary Rodham Clinton, Hicks didn’t lay a glove on the former secretary of state Wednesday. Rather, he held lawmakers from both parties rapt as he recounted the events of that terrifying night — revealing a made-for-Hollywood plot with a slow, theatrical delivery and genuine emotion.

He spoke of watching TV at his residence in Tripoli when a security officer “ran into my villa yelling, ‘Greg! Greg! The consulate’s under attack.’ ” He described his brief final phone conversation with Stevens, 600 miles away: “He said, ‘Greg, we’re under attack. . . . And I said, ‘Okay,’ and the line cut.”
(more)

Republicans lead a witch hunt party on Benghazi - Eugene Robinson, WaPo

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-republicans-lead-a-witch-hunt-on-benghazi/2013/05/09/ca565d10-b8de-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_story.html?hpid=z2

Those who are trying to make the Benghazi tragedy into a scandal for the Obama administration really ought to decide what story line they want to sell.

Actually, by “those” I mean Republicans, and by “the Obama administration” I mean Hillary Clinton. The only coherent purpose I can discern in all of this is to sully Clinton’s record as secretary of state in case she runs for president in 2016.

That’s not a particularly noble way to use the deaths of four American public servants, but at least it’s understandable. Attempts to concoct some kind of sinister Whitewater-style conspiracy, however, don’t even begin to make sense.

The hearing convened Wednesday by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), produced a riveting narrative of the chaotic events in Libya last September. But what was the supposedly unforgivable crime?
(more)
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