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Genetically Modified Mosquitos

The Flying Syringes

by Brandon Turbeville

Global Research, December 13, 2010

While 'scientists' have been genetically modifying insects for years, only in the last few have they begun to openly discuss releasing them into the environment. As always, the fact that public discussion has just now begun to take place on the issue means that the project has already been initiated. This much has been borne out by the facts in that the release of the insects has already been announced.

Under the guise of eradicating Dengue fever, GM mosquitoes were released into the environment in the Cayman Islands in 2009. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne, virus-based disease that has largely been non-existent in North America for several decades. Dengue fever can morph into a much more dangerous form of the illness known as Dengue Hemorrhagic fever. Symptoms of Dengue fever are high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, easy bruising, joint, muscle, bone pain, rash, and bleeding from the gums. There is no known cure or treatment for Dengue fever besides adequate rest and drinking plenty of water.
 

Generally speaking, it is one specific type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which transmits the virus.

The publicly given method for using these GM mosquitoes in the eradication of Dengue fever was that the genetically modified mosquitoes were 'engineered with an extra gene, or inserted bacterium, or have had a gene altered so that either their offspring are sterile and unable to spread dengue, or simply die.' More specifically, the male GM mosquitoes are supposed to mate with natural females which produce larvae that die unless tetracycline, an antibiotic, is present. Without the antibiotic, an enzyme accumulates to a level that is toxic enough to kill the larvae.

 
It is important to note that these GM mosquitoes, known as OX513A, necessarily have to be of the Aedis aegypti type in order to achieve the goals publicly stated by the developers. Therefore, the millions of male mosquitoes that were released into the open-air environment in 2009, and again in 2010, were all of the dengue fever carrying type.
 
The OX513A mosquitoes were developed by a British biotechnology company named Oxitec and their subsequent release was overseen by the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory.
 
Although Oxitec Limited was the developer who engaged in most of the groundwork for the GM insects, the project was not theirs alone. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, The PEW Charitable Trusts, and government agencies in the United States, England, Malaysia, and others were all involved in the development and promotion of the GM mosquitoes.

What has been quite suspicious, however, is the fact that Dengue fever, which has been nonexistent in North America for decades, has recently surfaced in Florida. Initially, the fever was found in 2009, but by 2010 the cases had vastly increased. In July 2010, a CDC study was released to very little media attention indicating that about 10 percent of the population of Key West had been infected with Dengue fever. This had doubled from 2009 where 5 percent had been infected. One might wonder what caused a virus that had been almost entirely eradicated to suddenly reappear with such vigor. That is, one might wonder if the answer weren?t so blatantly obvious. Of course, official reports do not address whether or not the Dengue fever is connected to the millions of mosquitoes capable of carrying the fever which were released just miles away in the Cayman Islands.
 
While Dengue fever had been eradicated in terms of naturally occurring outbreaks in the United States, cases that were research-related and laboratory-generated have occurred in the country for many years. This is because Dengue fever has been of particular interest to the United States government, US Army, and CIA since at least the middle part of the 20th century. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that the biochemical research facilities at Fort Detrick were conducting tests on Dengue fever as a bio-weapon as far back as 1942. It is generally known that in the 1950s the CIA partnered with Ft. Detrick to study Dengue fever and other exotic diseases for use as biological weapons.

It is also interesting to note that, according to CIA documents as well as a 1975 congressional committee, the three locations of Key West, Panama City, and Avon Park (and two other locations in central Florida) were testing sites for Dengue fever research.

As is generally the case, the experiments in Avon Park were concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, in areas that were predominantly black with newly constructed housing projects. According to H.P. Albarelli Jr. and Zoe Martell of Truthout, CIA documents related to the MK/NAOMI program revealed that the agency was using the Aegis aegypti type of mosquito in these experiments as well. In one of these experiments, 600,000 mosquitoes were released over Avon Park and in another 150,000 insects were released in specially designed paper bags that were designed to open up when they hit the ground.
 
Truthout interviewed residents (or test subjects) of Avon Park still living in the area who related that there were at least 6 or 7 deaths resulting from the experiments. As quoted by Truthout, one resident said, 'Nobody knew about what had gone on here for years, maybe over 20 years, but in looking back it explained why a bunch of healthy people got sick quick and died at the time of those experiments.'  Truthout goes on to point out that around the same time of the Avon Park experiments 'there were at least two cases of Dengue fever reported among civilian researchers at Fort Detrick in Maryland.'

In 1978, a Pentagon document titled, 'Biological Warfare: Secret Testing & Volunteers' revealed that similar experiments were conducted in Key West by the Army Chemical Corps and Special Operations and Projects Divisions at Fort Detrick.
 
Like the current situation, U.S. government agencies teamed with NGOs, academia, and other organizations to conduct mosquito-related projects. Operation Bellweather, a 1959 experiment consisting of over 50 field tests, was conducted over several states including Georgia, Maryland, Utah, and Arizona, and Florida. Operation Bellweather was coordinated with the Rockefeller Institute in New York; the facility that actually bred the mosquitoes. What's more, the experiment was aided by the Armour Research Foundation, the Battelle Memorial Institute, Ben Venue Labs, Inc., the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the Lovell Chemical Company.
 
The military and CIA connections to Dengue fever outbreaks do not end with these experiments, however. It is widely believed that the 1981 outbreak in Cuba was a result of CIA and U.S. military covert biological attacks. This outbreak occurred essentially out of nowhere and resulted in over one hundred thousand cases of infection. Albarelli and Martell write:
American researcher William H. Schaap, an editor of Covert Action magazine, claims the Cuba Dengue outbreak was the result of CIA activities. Former Fort Detrick researchers, all of whom refused to have their names used for this article, say they performed ?advance work? on the Cuba outbreak and that it was ?man made.?
In 1982 the CIA was accused by the Soviet media of sending operatives into Pakistan and Afghanistan for the purposes of creating a Dengue epidemic. Likewise, in 1985 and 1986, authorities in Nicaragua made similar claims against the CIA, also suggesting that they were attempting to start a Dengue outbreak.

While the CIA has characteristically denied involvement in all of these instances, army researchers have admitted to having worked intensely with 'arthropod vectors for offensive biological warfare objectives' and that such work was conducted at Fort Detrick in the 1980s. Not only that, but researchers have also admitted that large mosquito colonies, which were infected with both yellow fever and Dengue fever, were being maintained at the Frederick, Maryland facility.
 
There is also evidence of experimentation with federal prisoners without their knowledge. As Truthout reports:
Several redacted Camp Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal reports indicate that experiments were conducted on state and federal prisoners who were unwittingly exposed to Dengue fever, as well as other viruses, some possibly lethal.
With all of the evidence that CIA and military tests have been conducted regarding Dengue fever, there is ample reason to be concerned when one sees a connection like the recent release of mosquitoes and the subsequent outbreak of Dengue fever in Florida, a traditional testing site for these organizations. 

The response to the Dengue outbreak should also be questioned as aerial spraying campaigns were intensified. While these sprayings were claimed to be for the eradication of the Dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the number of people who contracted the illness actually rose.
 
Another questionable incident related to mosquito-borne Dengue fever and the sudden outbreak occurred on November 15, 2010. A University of South Florida molecular biologist apparently committed suicide by drinking cyanide at a Temple Terrace hotel.  Dr. Chauhan, had studied mosquitoes and disease transmission at the University of Notre Dame. While ordinarily this would not be cause for concern, when one considers the level of interest maintained in mosquito-borne illnesses by both the military and intelligence agencies, the death of Dr. Chauhan might well be something that should be investigated further.
 
Until her death, she was a post-doctoral researcher in the Global Health department in the College of Public Health. Those who knew her described her as both very bright and very enthusiastic. Maybe this is a coincidence, but regardless, it is one that should be looked at closely.
 
Unfortunately, the issue of GM insects being released into the wild does not end with increasing Dengue fever and malaria. In 2009, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $100,000 each to researchers in 22 countries in order to develop mosquitoes that would act as 'flying syringes.' Essentially, the mosquitoes would be genetically engineered to deliver vaccines with each bite. 
 
The money was distributed to a wide variety of academic institutions, non-profit organizations, government agencies, and private companies. The funding was part of what was termed in an AFP article 'the first round of funding for the Gates Foundation?s 'Grand Challenges Explorations,' a five-year 100-million-dollar initiative to ?promote innovative ideas in global health.?'  The basic premise behind the flying mosquito vaccines is that an insect will be genetically modified to produce antibodies to a certain disease in their saliva, which is then transmitted to the individual when the mosquito bites them.
 
There is a host of problems with this method that range from the moral to the scientific. First, the presence of antibodies does not necessarily mean immunity, and the transfer of them does not in any way provide immunization to the subject being injected with them. The science related to antibodies and immunity is still largely unsettled. Vaccines, themselves, are completely ineffective and have never been proven effective by a study that was not connected to a drug company or a pharmaceutical company.[1] They are, essentially, faith-based medicine.

Even more frightening is the potential of releasing genetically modified mosquitoes that contain actual diseases in their systems to purposely cause a human pandemic. Those who have weakened immune systems would be at the highest risk, but this would no doubt include everyone else as well since they would also be infected with the viruses when bitten. Person-to-person spreading would take over where the mosquitoes left off. Add to this the potential for simultaneous pandemics (if different versions of the insects were used simultaneously) and one has the recipe for genocide on a mass scale. Unfortunately, this is the scenario that many have envisioned for some time.
 
Nevertheless, although Gates has invested so much money, and so many hardworking individuals and prestigious universities have invested so much time and effort, the general consensus of the media is that the flying syringes will never take flight. This is because, as Science NOW reports,
 
The concept of a ?flying vaccinator? transgenic mosquito is not likely to be a practicable method of disease control, because ?flying vaccinator? is an unacceptable way to deliver vaccine without issues of dosage and informed consent against current vaccine programs. These difficulties are more complicated by the issues of public acceptance to release of transgenic mosquitoes.
However, it is quite difficult to believe that the Gates Foundation distributed such a vast amount of money to researchers without first questioning whether or not their efforts were feasible for future use. It is likewise very hard to believe that once these issues were considered, that the Gates Foundation would simply throw away money on a project that was doomed to failure. In fact, anyone who actually believes this is unfortunately very naïve.  Clearly, we are being conditioned to accept and expect these organisms to be released on the public on some future date. What the context will be, however, is anyone?s guess.

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Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians" for 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Judicial Watch Announces List of Washington's “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians” for 2010

It’s that time of year again! As the nation’s largest government watchdog organization, each year Judicial Watch publishes its list of Washington's "Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The purpose of the list, which is widely distributed in the press, is to put the spotlight on the year’s most egregious incidents of secrecy, corruption and abuse of power. This list is a powerful tool to educate Americans about the bipartisan problem of corruption in Washington, so please share it far and wide.

The 2010 list, in alphabetical order, includes: Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Rahm Emanuel, Former Obama White House Chief of Staff, Senator John Ensign (R-NV), Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL), President Barack Obama, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY), and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA).

Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) is Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Ethics. But it appears she still needs an ethics lesson. Boxer presided over a year-long investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee into whether two of her Senate colleagues, Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Kent Conrad (D-ND), received preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial as part of the company’s “VIP” program. (Senate ethics rules prohibit members from receiving loan terms not available to the general public.) In fact, according to The Associated Press, during an Ethics Committee hearing Boxer asked “the bulk of the questions.”

However, Boxer failed to mention (or disclose on her official Senate Financial Disclosure documents) that she and her husband have signed no less than seven mortgages with Countrywide! At the time of the hearing, Boxer reportedly indicated she had paid off two Countrywide mortgages, but did not mention the others.

The evidence clearly showed that Dodd and Conrad knew they were receiving preferential treatment despite repeated denials. Yet Boxer’s Senate Ethics Committee allowed Dodd and Conrad to wriggle off the hook with a light admonition that suggested the two Senators should have exercised better judgment. The same, apparently, can be said of the Committee’s own chair, who either neglected to mention or outright lied about her own dealings with the corrupt mortgage company.

Rahm Emanuel, Former Obama White House Chief of Staff didn’t earn the nickname “Rahmbo” for being a mild-mannered shrinking violet. He served as Bill Clinton’s chief money-man at a time when the Clinton campaign was corrupted by foreign money. He defended the “worst of the worst” Clinton scandals, and, in fact, earned his reputation as a ruthless political combatant by fiercely defending President Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky investigation. (Notably, Emanuel also served on the board of Freddie Mac when the company was involved in fraudulent activity.)

The bottom line is that when the Clintons’ dirty work needed to be done, Emanuel did it and apparently without question. That didn’t change under Obama. Remember when the Obama White House wanted to manipulate Democratic primaries in 2010?

Emanuel teamed with his then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina to allegedly interfere with Senate elections in Pennsylvania and Colorado by offering federal appointments to Rep. Joe Sestak and Andrew Romanoff. Sestak and Romanoff were not Obama’s favored candidates, so Emanuel and Messina apparently attempted to unlawfully persuade them to abandon their campaigns.

A Judicial Watch complaint to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel on June 15, 2010, tells the story: “As widely reported in the media, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina, on behalf of the Obama Administration, have both used their position and influence as highly placed federal employees to affect the outcome of federal elections in direct violation of the Hatch Act, which states that an employee may not ‘use his official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.’”

And then, of course, there’s Emanuel’s participation in the Blagojevich scandal.

According to sworn testimony during the “Blago” trial, Emanuel served as Obama’s chief negotiator with the Blagojevich team as the former Illinois Governor attempted to illegally sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, the federal prosecutor cut short the case against Blagojevich and Emanuel and other Obama insiders were never called to testify.

Emanuel left the White House under an ethical cloud and has decided to throw his hat in the ring for Mayor of Chicago, where he again stands accused of ignoring the rules and violating the law regarding candidate residency requirements.

Senator John Ensign (R-NV): In a scandal that first broke in 2009, Senator Ensign publicly admitted to an affair with the wife of a long-time staffer. And the evidence indicates Ensign then tried to cover up his sexual shenanigans by bribing the couple with lucrative gifts and political favors.

According to The New York Times, after Ensign’s aide, Douglas Hampton, discovered the affair, “Mr. Ensign asked political backers to find a job for…Hampton. Payments of $96,000 to the Hamptons also were made by Senator Ensign’s parents, who insist this was a gift, not hush money. Once a lobbying job was secured, Senator Ensign and his chief of staff continued to help Mr. Hampton, advocating his clients’ cases directly with federal agencies.”

These lobbying activities were seemingly in violation of the Senate’s “cooling off” period for lobbyists. According to The Wall Street Journal, “Under Senate rules, former Senate aides cannot lobby their former colleagues for one year after leaving Capitol Hill.” Hampton began to lobby Mr. Ensign’s office immediately upon leaving his congressional job.

Ensign seems to have ignored the law and allowed Hampton lobbying access to his office as a payment for his silence about the affair. And despite the claims of Ensign and his parents, the $96,000 in “gifts” provided to the Hamptons were clearly hush payments.

Nonetheless, on December 1, 2010, the Obama Justice Department announced it will file no criminal charges against Ensign, while the Federal Election Commission has also dismissed a related ethics complaint. If there is to be justice for Ensign, it will have to be up to the corrupt (see Boxer entry above) Senate Ethics Committee, which is still considering the charges against the Nevada Republican.

Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): In a story that continued to mushroom throughout 2010, Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) improperly intervened for Maxine Waters (D-CA) on behalf of his home-state OneUnited Bank to obtain Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds. When asked about the scandal, the Massachusetts Democrat admitted he spoke to a “federal regulator” but, according to The Wall Street Journal he didn’t remember which federal regulator he spoke with.” According to explosive Treasury Department emails uncovered by Judicial Watch in 2010, however, it appears this nameless bureaucrat was none other than then-Treasury Secretary Henry “Hank” Paulson!

While Frank’s “partner in crime” in the OneUnited scandal, Congressman Maxine Waters, is being investigated by the House Ethics Committee (see below), Frank’s colleagues in the House have inexcusably ignored the Massachusetts Democrat’s connection to the OneUnited grant.

To this day, Barney Frank continues to defend his role in the meltdown of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying he was just as blindsided as the rest of America when the two government sponsored enterprises collapsed, triggering the financial crisis. Frank has been peddling this fiction ever since the economy collapsed in September 2008. But, as The Boston Globe reported in a devastating article published on October 14, 2010, not many people are buying Frank’s lies anymore. And Frank knows it. Here’s an excerpt from the Globe:

The issue…in 2003 was whether mortgage backers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were fiscally strong. Frank declared with his trademark confidence that they were, accusing critics and regulators of exaggerating threats to Fannie’s and Freddie’s financial integrity. And, the Massachusetts Democrat maintained, ‘even if there were problems, the federal government doesn’t bail them out.’ Now, it’s clear he was wrong on both points…

Frank wasn’t wrong. He was just lying through his teeth. Frank claims that he “missed” the warning signs with Fannie and Freddie because he was wearing “ideological blinders,” which was just his lame attempt to blame Republicans. But he did not miss them. According to evidence uncovered by Judicial Watch, he just chose to ignore them.

Judicial Watch obta ined documents in 2010 proving that members of Congress, including — and perhaps especially — Barney Frank, were well aware that Fannie and Freddie were in deep trouble due to corruption and incompetence and yet they did nothing to stop it.

Moreover, as the Globe notes, in July 2008, then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson says he called Frank and told him the government would need to spend “billions of taxpayer dollars to backstop the institutions from catastrophic failure.” Frank, despite that conversation, appeared on national television two days later and said the companies were “fundamentally sound, not in danger of going under.” Less than two months later, the government seized Fannie and Freddie and the bailout began.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL): This year’s trial of scandal-ridden former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich ended with “Blago” being convicted of only 1 of 24 charges related to the scheme to sell Obama’s vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder. But as the government plans its second attempt to prosecute the case, one person who should be on the hot-seat is Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL).

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate.”

How much cash?

The Chicago Sun Times put that figure at $1.5 million in its initial reports. But according to Jackson’s fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, the Illinois Congressman asked him to offer not $1.5 million, but a whopping $6 million in campaign cash to Blagojevich to secure the Senate seat!

In addition to his corrupt deal-making, in 2010 Jackson was also nailed for conducting an improper and potentially criminal relationship with a female “social acquaintance.”

Nayak told investigators that Jackson asked him to “pay to fly a Washington, DC, restaurant hostess named Giovana Huidobro…to Chicago to visit him.” Nayak reportedly did so twice.

We all know what “social acquaintance” means under these circumstances. Jackson says this is a “private and personal matter between me and my wife.” But not if it involves public funds or illegal gifts — issues which remain unsettled.

President Barack Obama: Remember the promise President Obama made just after his inauguration in 2009? “Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

Instead, Americans have suffered through lies, stonewalling, cover-ups, corruption, secrecy, scandal and blatant disregard for the rule of law…this has been the Obama legacy in its first two years.

In 2010, Obama was caught in a lie over what he knew about Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich’s scheme to sell the president’s vacated Senate seat. Blagojevich’s former Chief of Staff John Harris testified that Obama had personal knowledge of Blago’s plot to obtain a presidential cabinet position in exchange for appointing a candidate handpicked by the President. In fact, according to Harris’s court testimony, Obama sent Blagojevich a list of “acceptable” Senate candidates to fill his old seat. Obama was interviewed by the FBI even before he was sworn into office. He claimed he and his staff had no contact with Blagojevich’s office. Unfortunately federal prosecutors never called the President or his staff to testify under oath.

The President also broke his famous pledge to televise healthcare negotiations. And in 2010, we learned why he broke his pledge. In what is now known as the “Cornhusker Kickback” scheme, Obama and the Democrats in the Senate “purchased” the vote of one of the last Democrat hold-outs, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, who opposed Obamacare over the issue of covering abortions with taxpayer funds. Nelson abandoned his opposition to Obamacare after receiving millions of dollars in federal aid for his home-state, helping to give the Democrats the 60 votes they needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. Same goes for Louisiana Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu, who received a $100 million payoff in what has been called “The Louisiana Purchase.” (The Kickback was so corrupt that Democrats stripped it out at the last minute. The Louisiana Purchase, on the other hand, became law of the land.)

Obama lied about his White House’s involvement in this legislative bribery that helped lead to the passage of the signature policy achievement of his presidency.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): “Air Pelosi” is now grounded.

Judicial Watch uncovered documents back in 2009 detailing attempts by Pentagon staff to accommodate Pelosi’s numerous requests for military escorts and military aircraft for herself and her family as well as the speaker’s 11th hour cancellations and changes. In 2010, Judicial Watch kept the pressure on Pelosi, uncovering documents that demonstrated the Speaker was using U.S. Air Force aircraft as her own personal party planes. Overall, the Speaker’s military travel cost the United States Air Force $2,100,744.59 over a two-year period — $101,429.14 of which was for in-flight expenses, including food and alcohol.

For example, purchases for one Pelosi-led congressional delegation traveling from Washington, DC to Tel Aviv, Israel and Baghdad, Iraq May 15-20, 2008, included: Johnny Walker Red scotch, Grey Goose vodka, E&J brandy, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Maker’s Mark whisky, Courvoisier cognac, Bacardi Light rum, Jim Beam whiskey, Beefeater gin, Dewar’s scotch, Bombay Sapphire gin, Jack Daniels whiskey, Corona beer and several bottles of wine.

Moreover, Pelosi also abused the rules by allowing members of her family to join her on taxpayer-funded Air Force flights. For example, on June 20, 2009, Speaker Pelosi’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons joined a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to San Francisco International Airport. That flight included $143 for on-flight expenses for food and other items. On July 2, 2010, Pelosi took her grandson on a flight from Andrews Air Force Base to Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield, California, which is northeast of San Francisco.

Judicial Watch’s efforts not only exposed Nancy Pelosi’s corrupt abuse of military aircraft, but they also led to reform when Rep. John Boehner announced after Election Day that, as Speaker of the House of Representatives, he will fly commercial to and from Ohio instead of using military aircraft.

Of course, it was Rep. Nancy Pelosi who famously promised to “drain the swamp” in Washington, DC during the campaign of 2006 when the Democrats seized control of power on Capitol Hill. That did not happen. Aside from her own personal transgressions, Pelosi also turned a blind eye to corruption on the part of her Congressional colleagues (see Charlie Rangel entry below).

Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): On December 2, 2010, the House of Representatives voted 333-79 to “censure” Rep. Charles Rangel. Next to expulsion, this is the most serious sanction that can be taken by the House against an individual member. This censure vote followed an investigation by the Committee for Official Standards of Conduct, which finally convicted Rangel on 13 ethics violations, including:

  • Forgetting to pay taxes on $75,000 in rental income he earned from his off-shore rental property. (Rangel was formerly in charge of the committee responsible for writing tax policy.)
  • Misusing his congressional office, staff and resources to raise money for his private Rangel Center for Public Service, to be housed at the City College of New York. (He also put the squeeze on donors who had business before his House Ways and Means Committee, and used the congressional “free mail” privilege to solicit funds.)
  • Misusing his residentially-zoned Harlem apartment as a campaign headquarters.
  • Failing to report $600,000 in income on his official congressional financial disclosure reports, which contained “numerous errors and omissions.”

It is worth noting that the Committee did not consider other serious corruption charges against Rangel. For example, it has been alleged that Rangel preserved a tax loophole for an oil company in exchange for a Rangel Center donation. The Committee also did not consider the charge that Rangel used improper influence to maintain ownership of his highly coveted rent-controlled apartment — the same apartment he improperly used for campaign activities.

As this is Washington, politicians of both parties will pretend that censure is a serious punishment. But it is a “punishment” that simply requires Rangel to come to the well of the House and hear a disapproving statement read by lame-duck House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. In the real world, you get fired or thrown in jail for abusing your office and not paying your taxes.

Here is further context: The last time the House censured anyone was in 1983, when two congressmen (a Republican and Democrat) were censured for having sexual relationships with teenaged House pages. It seems that unless one is convicted of a crime, one can do anything as a congressman and not be thrown out of the House! The fact that the House has so rarely resorted to censure is more indicative of the lack of seriousness about ethics in Congress than of the so-called severity of the censure punishment.

Rangel should have been expelled from the House of Representatives.

Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY): On Election Day 2010, voters sent Congress a clear message: No more big spending or corrupt back-room deals! And what did House Republicans decide to do as one of their first moves for the new Tea Party Congress? Appoint Rep. Hal Rogers, also known as the “Prince of Pork,” to chair the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

According to ABC News: “In two years, Rogers pushed through 135 earmarks worth $246 million. He’s brought tens of millions of dollars into his hometown of Somerset, Ky., so much so that the town has been dubbed ‘Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood.’” Among the most egregious earmarks was a $17 million grant Rogers obtained for an “Airport to Nowhere,” a Kentucky airport with “so little traffic that the last commercial airline pulled out in February (2010).”

But the most serious charge against Rogers involves an earmark he obtained that could benefit one of his own family members.

Rogers secured $5 million in the House for conservation groups that work with wild cats, including the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a Namibia-based organization that employs Rogers’ daughter Allison. In fact, Allison Rogers serves as grants administrator. After she joined the organization in 2007, Congressman Rogers began his push for funding. In 2009, with help from Rogers, the bill passed the House by a 2-1 margin. (It has yet to be voted on in the Senate.)

Congressman Rogers claims he’ll change his stripes now: “No more earmarks. I’ll be the enforcer of the moratorium.” But Rogers’ 27 year history of wasting taxpayer funds on questionable projects is certainly cause for skepticism.

On November 9, 2010, Judicial Watch sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner asking him to reject a bid by Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-CA), who made our 2009 “Top Ten” list, to once again serve as Chair of the Appropriations Committee, given Lewis’s penchant for influence peddling. Rep. Rogers, however, is no upgrade.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): Now that Charlie Rangel has been “punished” for his wrongdoing is California Rep. Maxine Waters next up on the hot-seat?

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (known informally as the House Ethics Committee) plans to hold hearings, although the committee delayed the trial indefinitely on November 29, 2010, citing newly discovered documentary evidence that may impact proceedings. According to The Associated Press, “The charges focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors.”

Judicial Watch has investigated the Waters/OneUnited Bank scandal for months. In fact, JW successfully sued the Obama Treasury Department to get documents and obtained explosive emails from the Treasury that provide documented evidence to support the charges against Waters.

For instance, a January 13, 2009, email from Brookly McLaughlin, Treasury’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, expresses surprise at Waters’ apparent conflict of interest:

Further to email below, WSJ [Wall Street Journal] tells me: …Apparently this bank is the only one that has gotten money through section 103-6 of the EESA law. And Maxine Waters’ husband is on the board of the bank. ??????

Judicial Watch also uncovered documents detailing the deplorable financial condition of the bank at the time of the cash infusion, which showed that the bank would have been an unlikely candidate to receive TARP funding without intervention from Waters and Frank.

Aside from OneUnited, there was yet another scandal with Waters’ fingerprints all over it.

According to The Washington Times: “A lobbyist known as one of California’s most successful power brokers while serving as a legislative leader in that state paid Rep. Maxine Waters’ husband $15,000 in consulting fees at a time she was co-sponsoring legislation that would help save the real-estate finance business of one of the lobbyist’s best-paying clients, records show.” That “real-estate finance business” was labeled a “scam” by the IRS in a 2006 report.

Where Are They Now?

(Updates on Selected Judicial Watch “Ten Most Wanted” Alumni)

Jack Abramoff, Former Lobbyist: Jack Abramoff appeared on Judicial Watch’s 2006 “Ten Most Wanted” list for his role in a slew of public corruption scandals that led to the convictions of 20 people, including former Ohio Republican Congressman Bob Ney. Abramoff was sentenced that year to nearly six years in prison for a fraudulent casino deal. In 2008, Abramoff received a concurrent four-year sentence “for conspiring to defraud the government, corrupting public officials and defrauding his clients in a separate case.” In December 2010, Abramoff completed a six-month stint at a Baltimore pizza joint, which officially concludes his prison sentence, and he is now on probation for three years. In 2010, Abramoff was also the subject of a new film called “Casino Jack,” which stars actor Kevin Spacey. Spacey received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of the disgraced former lobbyist.

Former Senator Roland Burris (D-IL): Former Senator Roland Burris made Judicial Watch’s 2009 “Ten Most Wanted” list for his corrupt (and ultimately successful) attempt to secure Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat from then-Governor Rod Blagojevich. According to Reuters: “Roland Burris came under fresh scrutiny…after disclosing he tried to raise money for the disgraced former Illinois governor who named him to the U.S. Senate seat once held by President Barack Obama…Burris said he looked into mounting a fundraiser for Rod Blagojevich — later charged with trying to sell Obama’s Senate seat — at the same time he was expressing interest to the then-governor’s aides about his desire to be appointed.” Burris changed his story five times regarding his contacts with Blagojevich prior to being appointed to the U.S. Senate. Three of those changing explanations came under oath. As a special appointment, Roland Burris’s term ended in November 2010, and he is no longer in the U.S. Senate.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX): Congressman DeLay was embroiled in a series of scandals while serving as majority leader for House Republicans, earning him a spot on Judicial Watch’s 2006 “Ten Most Wanted” list. DeLay, who was also investigated for his ties to “Ten Most Wanted” alumnus Jack Abramoff, resigned his post as majority leader in 2005 and resigned from Congress in 2006. In November 2010, DeLay was ultimately convicted of “illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002,” according to The Associated Press. “He faces five years to life in prison on the money laundering charge and two to 20 years on the conspiracy charge.” Mr. DeLay is adamant he did nothing wrong and plans to appeal the verdict. Mr. DeLay is also the only “Ten Most Wanted” alumnus to appear on the television dance competition Dancing with the Stars.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT): Senator Dodd made Judicial Watch’s “Ten Most Wanted” list in 2008 for his corrupt relationship with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and for improperly accepting preferential treatment from Countrywide Financial as part of the company’s corrupt “Friends of Angelo” VIP program. Then he made the list again in 2009 for undervaluing a property he owns in Ireland on his Senate Financial Disclosure form. Dodd allegedly obtained a sweetheart real estate deal for the Ireland property in exchange for his assistance in obtaining a presidential pardon (during the Clinton administration) and other favors for a long-time friend and business associate. It seems the scandals were too much politically, and in 2010 Dodd announced he would not run for re-election. Despite his ethical lapses related to the financial sector, Dodd’s name (along with Barney Frank’s) is affixed to the “Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act,” the huge regulatory overhaul of the financial sector passed and signed into the law earlier this year. In January 2011 he will be out of office.

For previous versions of the annual Top Ten list, please go here.

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Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

(From Zen, news contributor)

The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people demanded it. That was in 1971...before computers, before e-mail, before cell phones, etc.

Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or less to become the law of the land...all because of public pressure.

I'm asking each addressee to forward this Email to a minimum of twenty people on their Address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one proposal that really should be passed around.

Proposed 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution:

"Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives; and, Congress shall make no law that applies to the Senators and/or Representatives that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States ."

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The Genocide of the American Mind

Zen said...

"This is a must see and should be sent to everybody you know.

Be sure to look up the author of "The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America" Charlotte Iserbyt, former Senior Policy Advisor in the US Department of Education, who blew the whistle on government activities.

Go HERE after you view the video. Please pass it on. So many are completely unaware of what's going on and need to know. Every wake up makes a difference."

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The Reason California is Broke and will Remain Broke.

( From Gail, news contributor)

LIST OF STATE OF CALIFORNIA AGENCIES:

California Academic Performance Index (API) * California Access for Infants and Mothers * California Acupuncture Board * California Administrative Office of the Courts * California Adoptions Branch * California African American Museum * California Agricultural Export Program * California Agricultural Labor Relations Board * California Agricultural Statistics Service * California Air Resources Board (CARB) * California Allocation Board * California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority * California Animal Health and Food Safety Services * California Anti-Terrorism Information Center * California Apprenticeship Council * California Arbitration Certification Program * California Architects Board * California Area VI Developmental Disabilities Board * California Arts Council * California Asian Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus * California Assembly Democratic Caucus * California Assembly Republican Caucus * California Athletic Commission * California Attorney General * California Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California Bay-Delta Authority * California Bay-Delta Office * California Biodiversity Council * California Board for Geologists and Geophysicists * California Board for Professional Engineers and Land Surveyors * California Board of Accountancy * California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology * California Board of Behavioral Sciences * California Board of Chiropractic Examiners * California Board of Equalization (BOE) * California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection * California Board of Guide Dogs for the Blind * California Board of Occupational Therapy * California Board of Optometry * California Board of Pharmacy * California Board of Podiatric Medicine * California Board of Prison Terms * California Board of Psychology * California Board of Registered Nursing * California Board of Trustees * California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians * California Braille and Talking Book Library * California Building Standards Commission * California Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education * California Bureau of Automotive Repair * California Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair * California Bureau of Home Furnishings and Thermal Insulation * California Bureau of Naturopathic Medicine * California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services * California Bureau of State Audits * California Business Agency * California Business Investment Services (CalBIS) * California Business Permit Information (CalGOLD) * California Business Portal * California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency * California Cal Grants * California CalJOBS * California Cal-Learn Program * California CalVet Home Loan Program * California Career Resource Network * California Cemetery and Funeral Bureau * California Center for Analytical Chemistry * California Center for Distributed Learning * California Center for Teaching Careers (Teach California) * California Chancellors Office * California Charter Schools * California Children and Families Commission * California Children and Family Services Division * California Citizens Compensation Commission * California Civil Rights Bureau * California Coastal Commission * California Coastal Conservancy * California Code of Regulations * California Collaborative Projects with UC Davis * California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth * California Commission on Aging * California Commission on Health and Safety and Workers Compensation * California Commission on Judicial Performance * California Commission on State Mandates * California Commission on Status of Women * California Commission on Teacher Credentialing * California Commission on the Status of Women * California Committee on Dental Auxiliaries * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office, Junior Colleges * California Community Colleges Chancellors Office * California Complaint Mediation Program * California Conservation Corps * California Constitution Revision Commission * California Consumer Hotline * California Consumer Information Center * California Consumer Information * California Consumer Services Division * California Consumers and Families Agency * California Contractors State License Board * California Corrections Standards Authority * California Council for the Humanities * California Council on Criminal Justice * California Council on Developmental Disabilities * California Court Reporters Board * California Courts of Appeal * California Crime and Violence Prevention Center * California Criminal Justice Statistics Center * California Criminalist Institute Forensic Library * California CSGnet Network Management * California Cultural and Historical Endowment * California Cultural Resources Division * California Curriculum and Instructional Leadership Branch * California Data Exchange Center * California Data Management Division * California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission * California Delta Protection Commission * California Democratic Caucus * California Demographic Research Unit * California Dental Auxiliaries * California Department of Aging * California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Appeals Board * California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control * California Department of Boating and Waterways (Cal Boating) * California Department of Child Support Services (CDCSS) * California Department of Community Services and Development * California Department of Conservation * California Department of Consumer Affairs * California Department of Corporations * California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation * California Department of Developmental Services * California Department of Education * California Department of Fair Employment and Housing * California Department of Finance * California Department of Financial Institutions * California Department of Fish and Game * California Department of Food and Agriculture * California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) * California Department of General Services * California Department of General Services, Office of State Publishing * California Department of Health Care Services * California Department of Housing and Community Development * California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) * California Department of Insurance * California Department of Justice Firearms Division * California Department of Justice Opinion Unit * California Department of Justice, Consumer Information, Public Inquiry Unit * California Department of Justice * California Department of Managed Health Care * California Department of Mental Health * California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) * California Department of Personnel Administration * California Department of Pesticide Regulation * California Department of Public Health * California Department of Real Estate * California Department of Rehabilitation * California Department of Social Services Adoptions Branch * California Department of Social Services * California Department of Technology Services Training Center (DTSTC) * California Department of Technology Services (DTS) * California Department of Toxic Substances Control * California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) * California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVets) * California Department of Water Resources * California Departmento de Vehiculos Motorizados * California Digital Library * California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Division of Apprenticeship Standards * California Division of Codes and Standards * California Division of Communicable Disease Control * California Division of Engineering * California Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control * California Division of Gambling Control * California Division of Housing Policy Development * California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement * California Division of Labor Statistics and Research * California Division of Land and Right of Way * California Division of Land Resource Protection * California Division of Law Enforcement General Library * California Division of Measurement Standards * California Division of Mines and Geology * California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) * California Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources * California Division of Planning and Local Assistance * California Division of Recycling * California Division of Safety of Dams * California Division of the State Architect * California Division of Tourism * California Division of Workers Compensation Medical Unit * California Division of Workers Compensation * California Economic Assistance, Business and Community Resources * California Economic Strategy Panel * California Education and Training Agency * California Education Audit Appeals Panel * California Educational Facilities Authority * California Elections Division * California Electricity Oversight Board * California Emergency Management Agency * California Emergency Medical Services Authority * California Employment Development Department (EDD) * California Employment Information State Jobs * California Employment Training Panel * California Energy Commission * California Environment and Natural Resources Agency * California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) * California Environmental Resources Evaluation System (CERES) * California Executive Office * California Export Laboratory Services * California Exposition and State Fair (Cal Expo) * California Fair Political Practices Commission * California Fairs and Expositions Division * California Film Commission * California Fire and Resource Assessment Program * California Firearms Division * California Fiscal Services * California Fish and Game Commission * California Fisheries Program Branch * California Floodplain Management * California Foster Youth Help * California Franchise Tax Board (FTB) * California Fraud Division * California Gambling Control Commission * California Geographic Information Systems Council (GIS) * California Geological Survey * California Government Claims and Victim Compensation Board * California Governors Committee for Employment of Disabled Persons * California Governors Mentoring Partnership * California Governors Office of Emergency Services * California Governors Office of Homeland Security * California Governors Office of Planning and Research * California Governors Office * California Grant and Enterprise Zone Programs HCD Loan * California Health and Human Services Agency * California Health and Safety Agency * California Healthy Families Program * California Hearing Aid Dispensers Bureau * California High-Speed Rail Authority * California Highway Patrol (CHP) * California History and Culture Agency * California Horse Racing Board * California Housing Finance Agency * California Indoor Air Quality Program * California Industrial Development Financing Advisory Commission * California Industrial Welfare Commission * California InFoPeople * California Information Center for the Environment * California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank (I-Bank) * California Inspection Services * California Institute for County Government * California Institute for Education Reform * California Integrated Waste Management Board * California Interagency Ecological Program * California Job Service * California Junta Estatal de Personal * California Labor and Employment Agency * California Labor and Workforce Development Agency * California Labor Market Information Division * California Land Use Planning Information Network (LUPIN) * California Lands Commission * California Landscape Architects Technical Committee * California Latino Legislative Caucus * California Law Enforcement Branch * California Law Enforcement General Library * California Law Revision Commission * California Legislative Analyst's Office * California Legislative Black Caucus * California Legislative Counsel * California Legislative Division * California Legislative Information * California Legislative Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus * California Legislature Internet Caucus * California Library De velopment Services * California License and Revenue Branch * California Major Risk Medical Insurance Program * California Managed Risk Medical Insurance Board * California Maritime Academy * California Marketing Services * California Measurement Standards * California Medical Assistance Commission * California Medical Care Services * California Military Department * California Mining and Geology Board * California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts * California Museum Resource Center * California National Guard * California Native American Heritage Commission * California Natural Community Conservation Planning Program * California New Motor Vehicle Board * California Nursing Home Administrator Program * California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board * California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board * California Ocean Resources Management Program * California Office of Administrative Hearings * California Office of Administrative Law * California Office of AIDS * California Office of Binational Border Health * California Office of Child Abuse Prevention * California Office of Deaf Access * California Office of Emergency Services (OES) * California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment * California Office of Fiscal Services * California Office of Fleet Administration * California Office of Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Implementation (CalOHI) * California Office of Historic Preservation * California Office of Homeland Security * California Office of Human Resources * California Office of Legal Services * California Office of Legislation * California Office of Lieutenant Governor * California Office of Military and Aerospace Support * California Office of Mine Reclamation * California Office of Natural Resource Education * California Office of Privacy Protection * California Office of Public School Construction * California Office of Real Estate Appraisers * California Office of Risk and Insurance Management * California Office of Services to the Blind * California Office of Spill Prevention and Response * California Office of State Publishing (OSP) * California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development * California Office of Systems Integration * California Office of the Inspector General * California Office of the Ombudsman * California Office of the Patient Advocate * California Office of the President * California Office of the Secretary for Education * California Office of the State Fire Marshal * California Office of the State Public Defender * California Office of Traffic Safety * California Office of Vital Records * California Online Directory * California Operations Control Office * California Opinion Unit * California Outreach and Technical Assistance Network (OTAN) * California Park and Recreation Commission * California Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) * California Performance Review (CPR) * California Permit Information for Business (CalGOLD) * California Physical Therapy Board * California Physician Assistant Committee * California Plant Health and Pest Prevention Services * California Policy and Evaluation Division * California Political Reform Division * California Pollution Control Financing Authority * California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo * California Postsecondary Education Commission * California Prevention Services * California Primary Care and Family Health * California Prison Industry Authority * California Procurement Division * California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) * California Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) * California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) * California Real Estate Services Division * California Refugee Programs Branch * California Regional Water Quality Control Boards * California Registered Veterinary Technician Committee * California Registrar of Charitable Trusts * California Republican Caucus * California Research and Development Division * California Research Bureau * California Resources Agency * California Respiratory Care Board * California Rivers Assessment * California Rural Health Policy Council * California Safe Schools * California San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission * California San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy * California San Joaquin River Conservancy * California School to Career * California Science Center * California Scripps Institution of Oceanography * California Secretary of State Business Portal * California Secretary of State * California Seismic Safety Commission * California Self Insurance Plans (SIP) * California Senate Office of Research * California Small Business and Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Certification Program * California Small Business Development Center Program * California Smart Growth Caucus * California Smog Check Information Center * California Spatial Information Library * California Special Education Division * California Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology Board * California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) * California Standards and Assessment Division * California State Administrative Manual (SAM) * California State Allocation Board * California State and Consumer Services Agency * California State Architect * California State Archives * California State Assembly * California State Association of Counties (CSAC) * California State Board of Education * California State Board of Food and Agriculture * California Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) * California State Children's Trust Fund * California State Compensation Insurance Fund * California State Contracts Register Program * California State Contracts Register * California State Controller * California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD) * California State Disability Insurance (SDI) * California State Fair (Cal Expo) * California State Jobs Employment Information * California State Lands Commission * California State Legislative Portal * California State Legislature * California State Library Catalog * California State Library Services Bureau * California State Library * California State Lottery * California State Mediation and Conciliation Service * California State Mining and Geology Board * California State Park and Recreation Commission * California State Parks * California State Personnel Board * California State Polytechnic University, Pomona * California State Railroad Museum * California State Science Fair * California State Senate * California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) * California State Summer School for the Arts * California State Superintendent of Public Instruction * California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) * California State Treasurer * California State University Center for Distributed Learning * California State University, Bakersfield * California State University, Channel Islands * California State University, Chico * California State University, Dominguez Hills * California State University, East Bay * California State University, Fresno * California State University, Fullerton * California State University, Long Beach * California State University, Los Angeles * California State University, Monterey Bay * California State University, Northridge * California State University, Sacramento * California State University, San Bernardino * California State University, San Marcos * California State University, Stanislaus * California State University (CSU) * California State Water Project Analysis Office * California State Water Project * California State Water Resources Control Board * California Structural Pest Control Board * California Student Aid Commission * California Superintendent of Public Instruction * California Superior Courts * California Tahoe Conservancy * California Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists * California Tax Information Center * California Technology and Administration Branch Finance * California Telecommunications Division * California Telephone Medical Advice Services (TAMS) * California Transportation Commission * California Travel and Transportation Agency * California Unclaimed Property Program * California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board * California Unemployment Insurance Program * California Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Commission * California Veterans Board * California Veterans Memorial * California Veterinary Medical Board and Registered Veterinary Technician Examining Committee * California Veterinary Medical Board * California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board * California Volunteers * California Voter Registration * California Water Commission * California Water Environment Association (COWPEA) * California Water Resources Control Board * California Welfare to Work Division * California Wetlands Information System * California Wildlife and Habitat Data Analysis Branch * California Wildlife Conservation Board * California Wildlife Programs Branch * California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) * California Workers Compensation Appeals Board * California Workforce and Labor Development Agency * California Workforce Investment Board * California Youth Authority (CYA) * Central Valley Flood Protection Board * Center for California Studies * Colorado River Board of California * Counting California * Dental Board of California * Health Insurance Plan of California (PacAdvantage) * Humboldt State University * Jobs with the State of California * Judicial Council of California * Learn California * Library of California * Lieutenant Governors Commission for One California * Little Hoover Commission (on California State Government Organization and Economy) * Medical Board of California * Medi-Cal * Osteopathic Medical Board of California * Physical Therapy Board of California * Regents of the University of California * San Diego State University * San Francisco State University * San Jose State University * Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy * State Bar of California * Supreme Court of California * Teach California * University of California * University of California, Berkeley * University of California, Davis * University of California, Hastings College of the Law * University of California, Irvine * University of California, Los Angeles * University of California, Merced * University of California, Riverside * University of California, San Diego * University of California, San Francisco * University of California, Santa Barbara * University of California, Santa Cruz * Veterans Home of California

This and all the pensions that go along with them!! Any questions????

1/3 of all state taxes collected in 2009 go to the payment of pensions...

The Obamacare legislation has a similar number of NEW agencies ....But THEY say it will save us money.... Welcome to Disneyland.

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Science of man-made life can proceed

(From Don, news contributor)

By Kerry Sheridan
Agence France-Presse
12/17/2010

WASHINGTON—A White House panel said on Thursday the controversial field of synthetic biology, or manipulating the DNA of organisms to forge new life forms, poses limited risks and should be allowed to proceed.

An expert commission convened by President Barack Obama advised vigilance and self-regulation as scientists seek ways to create new organisms that could spark useful innovations in clean energy, pollution control and medicine.

The Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues "concluded that synthetic biology is capable of significant but limited achievements posing limited risks," it said in its first report.

"Future developments may raise further objections, but the Commission found no reason to endorse additional federal regulations or a moratorium on work in this field at this time."

The 13-member panel of scientists, ethicists and public policy experts was created by Obama last year.

Its first order of business was to consider the issue of synthetic biology after the J. Craig Venter Institute announced in May it had developed the first self-replicating bacteria cell controlled by a synthetic genome.

Critics said the discovery was tantamount to "playing God," creating organisms without adequate understanding the ramifications, and upsetting the natural order.

Announcing the creation of the "first synthetic cell," lead researcher Craig Venter said at the time it "certainly changed my views of the definitions of life and how life works."

But the commission said Venter's team had not actually created life, since the work mainly involved altering an already existing life form.

"Thoughtful deliberation about the meaning of this achievement was impossible in the hours that elapsed between the breaking news and the initial round of commentaries that ensued," it said in its report.

"Of note, many scientists observe that this achievement is not tantamount to 'creating life' in a scientific sense because the research required a functioning, naturally occurring host cell to accept the synthesized genome."

Commission chair Amy Gutmann said the panel considered a range of approaches to regulating the new scientific field, from allowing unbridled freedom to imposing strict government regulation on experiments.

"We chose a middle course to maximize public benefits while also safeguarding against risks," she said.

"Prudent vigilance suggests that federal oversight is needed and can be exercised in a way that is consistent with scientific progress."

As to the risk of releasing modified organisms into nature, a scenario some have warned could spark biological threats or damage to the ecosystem, "scientists and ethicists advised careful monitoring and review of the research," the panel said.

The panel also urged greater cooperation among federal agencies that oversee product licensing and funding of synthetic biology, and collaboration with world governments and global groups like the World Health Organization.

"Educational classes on the ethical dilemmas raised by synthetic biology should be a mandatory part of training for young researchers, engineers, and others who work in this emerging field," it added.

A spokesman in the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy said that the Obama administration was "grateful" for the report and highlighted the panel's conclusion that no new regulatory bodies were needed.

"We appreciate the commission's main conclusion that synthetic biology does not currently pose novel safety or ethical issues that require the creation of new oversight bodies," the spokesman said.

"The administration has an ongoing process for thinking through risk assessment that will integrate the assessment by the commission," he said.

The White House would also "work diligently to study and take any appropriate action on the Commission’s recommendations."

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Jewish Voice For Peace...

Stop the Israeli occupation!

December 10--investors and supporters in 23 cities across the US tell financial giant TIAA-CREF to divest from CATERPILLAR and other companies that profit from the Israeli occupation. More info at jvp.org

Auschwitz Survivor on Palestine

Auschwitz survivor Dr. Hajo Meyer talks about the differences between the Nazi's treatment of the Jews and the Palestinians today.

Meyer expresses in impassioned terms his dismay at what he sees as the moral collapse of contemporary Israeli society and the worldwide Jewish community as a whole. Meyer is a member of "A Different Jewish Voice," a Dutch-based, secular Jewish movement that dares to openly criticize Israel's policies toward the Palestinians. In his observations, deeply colored by his personal experiences during the Holocaust, Meyer compares Israel's current policies with the early stages of the Nazis' persecution of the German Jews. He clearly explains that he is in no way seeking to draw a parallel between the current policies of Israel and the Nazis' endgame, which resulted in the mass murder of six million innocent people. He is merely trying to point out the slippery slope that eventually led to this catastrophe, and the necessity of foreseeing the possible consequences of a policy that oppresses and marginalizes the Palestinians in their own homeland. As a result of his experiences in Auschwitz, Hajo Meyer claims to have learned one fundamental lesson: that his moral duty as a human being was to never become like his oppressors. The End of Judaism is the outcry of a dissident Jew who is not afraid of standing up to entrenched ways of thinking about history and particularly about the Palestinian conflict, which is one of the most intractable social and political problems in the world today.

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Obama reaffirms long-range missile defenses in Europe

President Obama on Saturday reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to building a long-range missile defense system in Europe that likely will be opposed by Russia and might prompt Moscow's withdrawal from the arms treaty known as the New START.

In a letter to Senate leaders aimed at allaying concerns voiced by treaty opponents that the new arms treaty will constrain missile defenses, Mr. Obama said that "as long as I am president and as long as the Congress provides the necessary funding, the United States will continue to develop and deploy effective missile defenses to protect the United States, our deployed forces, and our allies and partners."

Significantly, Mr. Obama stated in the letter that the Pentagon is committed to all four phases of its European missile defenses. The Pentagon will begin deploying the first phase of sea-based missile defenses in and around Europe next year, he stated, and will then start fielding advanced, ground-based SM-3 anti-missile interceptors in Romania and Poland to protect Europe and U.S. forces from Iranian and other medium-range missiles.

Read full story here

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