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kristopher

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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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The Koch intelligence agency

The Koch intelligence agency
As the billionaires’ network works to reshape U.S. politics, it keeps a close eye on the left.

By KENNETH P. VOGEL 11/18/15 05:14 AM EST


AP Photo

The political network helmed by Charles and David Koch has quietly built a secretive operation that conducts surveillance and intelligence gathering on its liberal opponents, viewing it as a key strategic tool in its efforts to reshape American public life.

The operation, which is little-known even within the Koch network, gathers what Koch insiders refer to as “competitive intelligence” that is used to try to thwart liberal groups and activists, and to identify potential threats to the expansive network.

The competitive intelligence team has a staff of 25, including one former CIA analyst, and operates from one of the non-descript Koch network offices clustered near the Courthouse metro stop in suburban Arlington, Va. It has provided network officials with documents detailing confidential voter-mobilization plans by major Democrat-aligned groups. It also sends regular “intelligence briefing” emails tracking the canvassing, phone-banking and voter-registration efforts of labor unions, environmental groups and their allies, according to documents reviewed by POLITICO and interviews with a half-dozen sources with knowledge of the group.

The competitive intelligence team has gathered on-the-ground intelligence from liberal groups’ canvassing events in an effort to assess the technology and techniques of field efforts to boost Democrats, according to the sources. And they say the team utilizes high-tech tactics to track the movements of liberal organizers, including culling geo-data embedded in their social media posts.

Such stealth activities are the kind that campaigns and party operatives often fantasize about but mostly shy away from ― both because of cost and potential political backlash if exposed.



Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/the-koch-brothers-intelligence-agency-215943#ixzz3s1c6tvXj

Nominating ______ will make this more _______.

Where 3rd Way triangulation has currently positioned the United States.




As of 2013: 10 of the Worst Terror Attacks by Extreme Christians and Far-Right White Men

10 of the Worst Terror Attacks by Extreme Christians and Far-Right White Men
Most of the terrorist activity in the U.S. in recent years has come not from Muslims, but from radical Christianists, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.

By Alex Henderson / AlterNet July 24, 2013


From Fox News to the Weekly Standard, neoconservatives have tried to paint terrorism as a largely or exclusively Islamic phenomenon. Their message of Islamophobia has been repeated many times since the George W. Bush era: Islam is inherently violent, Christianity is inherently peaceful, and there is no such thing as a Christian terrorist or a white male terrorist. But the facts don’t bear that out. Far-right white male radicals and extreme Christianists are every bit as capable of acts of terrorism as radical Islamists, and to pretend that such terrorists don’t exist does the public a huge disservice. Dzhokhar Anzorovich Tsarnaev and the late Tamerlan Anzorovich Tsarnaev (the Chechen brothers suspected in the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013) are both considered white and appear to have been motivated in part by radical Islam. And many terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who were neither Muslims nor dark-skinned.

When white males of the far right carry out violent attacks, neocons and Republicans typically describe them as lone-wolf extremists rather than people who are part of terrorist networks or well-organized terrorist movements. Yet many of the terrorist attacks in the United States have been carried out by people who had long histories of networking with other terrorists. In fact, most of the terrorist activity occurring in the United States in recent years has not come from Muslims, but from a combination of radical Christianists, white supremacists and far-right militia groups.

Below are 10 of the worst examples of non-Islamic terrorism that have occurred in the United States in the last 30 years.

1. Wisconsin Sikh Temple massacre, Aug. 5, 2012. The virulent, neocon-fueled Islamophobia that has plagued post-9/11 America has not only posed a threat to Muslims, it has had deadly consequences for people of other faiths, including Sikhs. Sikhs are not Muslims; the traditional Sikh attire, including their turbans, is different from traditional Sunni, Shiite or Sufi attire. But to a racist, a bearded Sikh looks like a Muslim. Only four days after 9/11, Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh immigrant from India who owned a gas station in Mesa, Arizona, was murdered by Frank Silva Roque, a racist who obviously mistook him for a Muslim.

But Sodhi’s murder was not the last example of anti-Sikh violence in post-9/11 America. On Aug. 5, 2012, white supremacist Wade Michael Page used a semiautomatic weapon to murder six people during an attack on a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Page’s connection to the white supremacist movement was well-documented: he had been a member of the neo-Nazi rock bands End Empathy and Definite Hate. Attorney General Eric Holder described the attack as “an act of terrorism, an act of hatred.” It was good to see the nation’s top cop acknowledge that terrorist acts can, in fact, involve white males murdering people of color.

2. The murder of Dr. George Tiller, May 31, 2009...

http://www.alternet.org/tea-party-and-right/10-worst-terror-attacks-extreme-christians-and-far-right-white-men



See also: http://www.occupydemocrats.com/the-top-five-attacks-on-america-committed-by-christian-terrorists-not-muslims/


Multiple cups of coffee a day linked to lower risk of premature death

Multiple cups of coffee a day linked to lower risk of premature death
The health benefits were seen whether people drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee.

By Stephen Feller Updated Nov. 17, 2015 at 3:07 PM



Drinking between one and five cups of coffee per day was linked to an overall lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, type 2 diabetes, and suicide. Photo by Dima Sobko/Shutterstock


BOSTON, Nov. 17 (UPI) -- For years, studies have cautiously shown that moderate amounts of coffee can be beneficial for brain and liver health, as well as reduce the risk for several types of cancer.

Researchers have now linked three to five cups of coffee per day to an overall lower risk of premature death, according to a new review of data on more than 200,000 health professionals.

The lowered risk was associated with a moderate amount of coffee, as opposed to those who drink only a cup or two, or no coffee at all, who did not see the health benefits. When researchers adjusted for those who smoke cigarettes, the benefits of all that coffee were even greater.

The idea that coffee can prevent the development of adverse health conditions, as studies just this year have shown it is good for brain health in older people, cancels out liver damage from over-consumption of alcohol, and may improve colon cancer survival.

"Bioactive compounds in coffee reduce insulin resistance and systematic inflammation,...
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2015/11/17/Multiple-cups-of-coffee-a-day-linked-to-lower-risk-of-premature-death/1021447765068/

(India) 'The Rising Sun - Disruption on the horizon'

Solar power could be 10% cheaper than coal-based power by 2020: KPMG
By ET Bureau | 16 Nov, 2015, 01.01PM IST

NEW DELHI: Solar will be a significant energy source by 2025, with the market penetration of solar power expected to be 5.7% (54 Giga Watt-GW) by 2020 and 12.5% (166 GW) by 2025, states KPMG India, a consultancy firm in a report, titled 'The Rising Sun - Disruption on the horizon'.

The report was released by Piyush Goyal minister of state for power, coal, and new and renewable energy and Dharmendra Prad ..

The report talks about how the scale up and competitiveness of solar power could disrupt the traditional generators. The disruptive force is expected to start being felt from 2017 and may accelerate post 2020, KPMG said in a statement. In some states which are promoting solar (and also wind power) aggressively, conventional coal generators could see their Plant Load Factors (PLFs) fall by as much as 10-15 per cent by 2020, as solar replaces coal-fired generation in the daytime hours. This effect ..

Read more at:
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/49800045.cms

How a super PAC plans to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign

This is relevant because of the reporting about the PPP debate poll this group sponsored. They unquestionably had the opportunity, ability and the inclination to slant the polling.
Polling thread: http://www.democraticunderground.com/1251812304


How a super PAC plans to coordinate directly with Hillary Clinton’s campaign

By Matea Gold May 12

Hillary Clinton’s campaign plans to work in tight conjunction with an independent rapid-response group financed by unlimited donations, another novel form of political outsourcing that has emerged as a dominant practice in the 2016 presidential race.

On Tuesday, Correct the Record, a pro-Clinton rapid-response operation, announced it was splitting off from its parent American Bridge and will work in coordination with the Clinton campaign as a stand-alone super PAC. The group’s move was first reported by the New York Times.

That befuddled many campaign finance experts, who noted that super PACs, by definition, are political committees that solely do independent expenditures, which cannot be coordinated with a candidate or political party. Several said the relationship between the campaign and the super PAC would test the legal limits.

But Correct the Record believes it can avoid the coordination ban by relying on a 2006 Federal Election Commission regulation that declared that content posted online for free, such as blogs, is off limits from regulation. The “Internet exemption” said that such free postings do not constitute campaign expenditures, allowing independent groups to consult with candidates about the content they post on their sites. By adopting the measure, the FEC limited its online jurisdiction to regulating paid political ads.

The rules “totally exempt individuals who engage in political activity on the Internet from the restrictions of the campaign finance laws. The exemption ...
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/05/12/how-a-super-pac-plans-to-coordinate-directly-with-hillary-clintons-campaign/

Nothing can compete with renewable energy, says top climate scientist

Nothing can compete with renewable energy, says top climate scientist


...He said there was reason for optimism about the Paris talks, where at least 80 heads of state are expected. “That is a very telling thing - a sign of hope - because people at the top level do not want to be tainted by failure,” he said.

If a critical mass of big countries implement their pledges, he said in an interview with the Guardian, the move towards a global low-carbon economy would gain unstoppable momentum.

“If some countries really honour their pledges, including China, Brazil, South Africa, US and Europe, I think we will get a dynamic that will transform the development of the century. This is not sheer optimism – it is based on analysis of how incumbent systems implode.”

In July, Schellnhuber told a science conference in Paris that the world needed “an induced implosion of the carbon economy over the next 20-30 years. Otherwise we have no chance of avoiding dangerous, perhaps disastrous, climate change.”

“The avalanche will start because ultimately nothing can compete with renewables,” he told the Guardian. “If you invest at [large] scale, inevitably we will end up with much cheaper, much more reliable, much safer technologies in the energy system: wind, solar, biomass, tidal, hydropower. It is really a no-brainer, if you take away all the ideological debris and lobbying.”

India, for example, aims to deliver 350GW of renewable energy in the next 10 years, the equivalent to 300 nuclear power stations...
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/09/clean-energy-is-key-successful-climate-deal-in-paris-says-top-scientist

Renewable energy made up half of world's new power plants in 2014: IEA

Renewable energy made up half of world's new power plants in 2014: IEA
International Energy Agency says figures are a “clear sign” of a transition from coal to clean energy


Damian Carrington
10 November 2015

Renewable energy accounted for almost half of all new power plants in 2014, representing a “clear sign that an energy transition is underway”, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Green energy is now the second-largest generator of electricity in the world, after coal, and is set to overtake the dirtiest fossil fuel in the early 2030s, said the IEA’s World Energy Outlook 2015 report, published on Tuesday.

“The biggest story is in the case of renewables,” said IEA executive director, Fatih Birol. “It is no longer a niche. Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel, as of now.” He said 60% of all new investment was going into renewables but warned that the $490bn of fossil fuel subsidies in 2014 meant there was not a “fair competition”....
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/nov/10/renewable-energy-made-up-half-of-worlds-new-power-plants-in-2014-iea

Do you want "Economic-Elite Domination" or "Majoritarian Electoral Democracy"

2014
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page


Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented.

A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1,779 policy issues.

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination and for theories of Biased Pluralism, but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy or Majoritarian Pluralism.
Full paper here: https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

Martin Gilens is Professor of Politics at Princeton University (mgilens@princeton.edu). His research examines representa- tion, public opinion, and mass media, especially in relation to inequality and public policy. Professor Gilens is the author of Affluence & Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012, Princeton University Press).

Benjamin I. Page is Gordon S. Fulcher Professor of Decision Making at Northwestern University (b-page@- northwestern.edu). His research interests include public opinion, policy making, the mass media, and U.S. foreign policy. He is currently engaged in a large collaborative project to study Economically Successful Americans and the Common Good.

From The New Yorker
Is America an Oligarchy?
by John Cassidy
April 18, 2014


From the Dept. of Academics Confirming Something You Already Suspected comes a new study concluding that rich people and organizations representing business interests have a powerful grip on U.S. government policy. After examining differences in public opinion across income groups on a wide variety of issues, the political scientists Martin Gilens, of Princeton, and Benjamin Page, of Northwestern, found that the preferences of rich people had a much bigger impact on subsequent policy decisions than the views of middle-income and poor Americans. Indeed, the opinions of lower-income groups, and the interest groups that represent them, appear to have little or no independent impact on policy.

“Our analyses suggest that majorities of the American public actually have little influence over the policies our government adopts,” Gilens and Page write:
Americans do enjoy many features central to democratic governance, such as regular elections, freedom of speech and association, and a widespread (if still contested) franchise. But we believe that if policymaking is dominated by powerful business organizations and a small number of affluent Americans, then America’s claims to being a democratic society are seriously threatened.


That’s a big claim. In their conclusion, Gilens and Page go even further, asserting that “In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule—at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover … even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it.”

...
http://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/is-america-an-oligarchy



Is this an acceptable state of being for this nation?

NY attorney general wields powerful weapon in Exxon climate case

NY attorney general wields powerful weapon in Exxon climate case
NEW YORK | BY MICA ROSENBERG

A near century-old statute that gives New York state prosecutors unusually broad authority to prosecute securities fraud could prove a powerful weapon as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman probes Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) over whether the oil firm mislead the public and shareholders about the perils of climate change.

The 1921 Martin Act, a wide-reaching state law, was dusted off in the early 2000s by former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who used it to aggressively go after Wall Street firms.

Since then, it has been used to prosecute large-scale Ponzi schemes, major investment banks accused of misleading investors and other cases.

Now, Schneiderman is wielding the statute in his probe of Exxon, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source said other state laws could be used as well.

Schneiderman subpoenaed Exxon on Wednesday...

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/11/07/us-exxon-mobil-climatechange-case-idUSKCN0SW01M20151107
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