Court Orders Act of 2016 (CCOA)

“This draft bill is the most ludicrous, dangerous, technically illiterate tech policy proposal of the 21st century so far.” – Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.1 Last week, privacy advocates and security experts widely denounced draft encryption … Continue reading

“This draft bill is the most ludicrous, dangerous, technically illiterate tech policy proposal of the 21st century so far.” – Kevin Bankston, director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.1

Last week, privacy advocates and security experts widely denounced draft encryption legislation leaked to The Hill newspaper as a radical assault on privacy that would make the American people less safe.2, 3

The Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016 (CCOA) would undermine Americans’ privacy, make encryption illegal and force companies to weaken the security of their products and services. We need to make sure this dangerous legislation doesn’t gain any traction in Congress.

Sign the petition: Stop the Burr-Feinstein attack on privacy and security. Click here to sign the petition.

The CCOA, which is being drafted by Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-AL) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), is bad policy for a number of reasons. It would:

  • Make end-to-end encryption illegal by requiring companies to provide “information or data” to the government “in an intelligible format” anytime they are served with a court order. It would also require companies to decrypt secure communications “in a timely manner” or give technical assistance to law enforcement agencies attempting to do so. As Sen. Ron Wyden said in a statement, “for the first time in America, companies who want to provide their customers with stronger security would not have that choice – they would be required to decide how to weaken their products to make you less safe.”4
  • Undermine Americans’ privacy by increasing the risk that their private information and information entrusted to businesses is accessed by criminals, hackers and government entities, both domestically and abroad.
  • Make American technology companies less competitive by making it illegal for them to offer secure communications protected by end-to-end encryption, which is currently relied upon by Google, Apple, Facebook, WhatsApp and countless other companies.6 Foreign companies would not be bound by this constraint. As the executive director of a trade group that represents thousands of app developers put it, “the senators might as well take a hatchet to the entire Internet economy.”7
  • Force platforms to censor applications by requiring license distributors to ensure that all “products, services, applications or software” they distribute are able to provide the content of communications to law enforcement agencies “in an intelligible format.” This would put Apple, Google and any other company that operates a platform for software applications in the untenable position of vetting every app to make sure they aren’t secure, and censoring those that are secure.8

Tell Congress: Reject legislation that would undermine our privacy and security. Click here to sign the petition.

As we saw with the FBI’s recent attempt to force Apple to create a backdoor to access San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook’s iPhone, law enforcement agencies are determined to undermine Americans’ privacy and security, and gain access to encrypted communications. The Obama administration’s sudden reversal in that case in March – which came only after it said a third party had helped it access the content of the phone without Apple’s help – doesn’t change its desire to force companies to weaken the security of their own products. Indeed, in an April 8 letter to a district court judge presiding over a separate case, the Department of Justice maintained that “the government continues to require Apple’s assistance in accessing the data that it is authorized to search by warrant.”9

As this debate continues to play out over the coming weeks and months, we need to forcefully reject the dangerous language in the draft Burr-Feinstein bill and any other legislation that would put Americans’ privacy and security at risk by undermining encryption.

Sign the petition to Congress: Stop the Burr-Feinstein attack on privacy and security. Click here to sign the petition.

Thanks for fighting to protect our privacy and security.

Josh Nelson, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ?
  1. Anti-Encryption Bill from Senators Burr and Feinstein Would Be Disastrous for Cybersecurity, Tech Economy,” Open Technology Institute, March 31, 2016.
  2. Cory Bennett, “Senate encryption bill draft mandates ‘technical assistance’,” The Hill, April 7, 2016.
  3. Jenna McClaughlin, “Bill That Would Ban End-to-End Encryption Savaged by Critics,” The Intercept, April 8, 2016.
  4. Wyden Statement on Draft Bill Requiring Companies to Undermine Strong Encryption,” April 8. 2016.
  5. Max J. Rosenthal, “Tech and Privacy Experts Erupt Over Leaked Encryption Bill,” Mother Jones, April 8, 2016.
  6. Andy Greenberg, “The Senate’s Draft Encryption Bill Is ‘Ludicrous, Dangerous, Technically Illiterate’,” Wired, April 8 2016.
  7. Dawn Chmielewski, “The New Encryption Bill Isn’t Finished and Silicon Valley Already Hates it,” Recode, April 6, 2016.
  8. Andy Greenberg, “The Senate’s Draft Encryption Bill Is ‘Ludicrous, Dangerous, Technically Illiterate’,” Wired, April 8 2016.
  9. Julian Chokkattu, “Apple vs. U.S. isn’t over yet; Feinstein-Burr ‘encryption bill’ draft surfaces,” Digital Trends, April 8, 2016.

Oregon militia

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

Jan 7, 2016

Mass attitudes towards the other are influenced by the Media. In this day and age of information overload our brains are struggling to keep up with the demands of the digital age. Moreover, the Media is not a neutral player, but an instrument of the power elite.  Thus, we are ripe for the simplifying power of the sound bite and the Media is more than willing to provide us with a boogeyman .
The neat and sharp-focused World offered by the establishment  – where God is on our side, and The Others are evil Muslims and political correct Marxists conspiring to take away our freedom and wealth-  is compelling and comforting; we have the firepower to do what needs to be done.
While the political ideology of the Tea Party is not an exact match of the European fascism of the 1930´s, there are troubling parallels between the events that lead to the Second World War and the circumstances of the early Twenty-First Century. The Tea Party movement shares with Fascism an obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, and victim-hood, as well as compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants embrace a credo of violence and ideology-driven armed militias .
The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants:
Thomas Jefferson.
Gun owners tend to be among the political right, and Second Amendment support is a common thread among Tea Party demonstrators. One of the fundamental mantra of them is guns as a mechanism of check and balance against tyranny.   It sounds like sedition.  There is a not only idle talk, there is a trail of actual terrorist activity. The Hutterite militia in Michigan was planning to kill police officers but they had not actually done anything violent before they were arrested, and their ultimate goal was to war against the anti-Christ.  Timothy McVeigh in 1995 blamed the US Government for attacks against American citizens at Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The gun crowd likes to wax eloquent about protecting our natural rights with our weapons when the government becomes unconstitutional, and all other avenues have failed. They see themselves as law abiding insurrects that do not use violence and have confidence in the ballot box, and that that ensure that the government can’t stray too far toward tyranny. Fools playing with fire; a fire that will get us all burned.
In the NRA’s world, we are only free to the extent that our guns allow us to impose our will on others.”
Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign,  “Gun Rights and Political Violence”
More guns were sold in December 2015 than almost any other month in nearly two decades, continuing a pattern of spikes in sales after terrorist attacks and calls for stricter gun-buying laws, according to federal data released on Monday.
The heaviest sales last month, driven primarily by handgun sales, followed a call from President Obama to make it harder to buy assault weapons after the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif.
Fear of gun-buying restrictions has been the main driver of spikes in gun sales, far surpassing the effects of mass shootings and terrorist attacks alone, according to an analysis of federal background check data by The New York Times.
During the previous record month, December 2012, President Obama called for new buying restrictions after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Several days ago a group of right wing militiamen stormed a building on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Harney County, Oregon. The group is engaged in an armed occupation claiming to be opposing the U.S. government for perceived violations of their rights. They have also made the demand that two rancher brothers convicted of arson, Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond, be released from prison. The 150-man strong occupation force is being led by three of Cliven Bundy’s sons, specifically Ammon Bundy. As you may recall they were engaged in an armed standoff with the F.B.I. in 2014 over a dispute involving cattle grazing land.

The militia men are arguing that they should own public land simply because they feel the government hasn’t been kind to them. Their goal is to build private businesses on the protected land. They’re trying to take away land that is being held in common for their own exploitation of it.

The FBI is leading the investigation into the armed occupation of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon and says it will work with local and state authorities to seek “a peaceful resolution to the situation.” The White House considers it “a local law enforcement matter,” Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in a report on that standoff that the militiamen and the federal land-return movement are part of the same spectrum.

“Anti-government extremists have long pushed, most fiercely during Democratic administrations, rabid conspiracy theories about a nefarious New World Order, a socialist, gun-grabbing federal government and the evils of federal law enforcement,” the center said.

Law enforcement officials said that the occupiers came to the region with a specific goal:

“These men came to Harney County claiming to be part of militia groups supporting local ranchers,” Harney County Sheriff David M. Ward said in a statement Sunday. “When in reality these men had alternative motives, to attempt to overthrow the county and federal government in hopes to spark a movement across the United States.”

Clownish as such stunts unquestionably are, it bears remembering that the activities of such violent abolitionists as John Brown looked just as pointless in their time; their importance was purely as a gauge of the pressures building toward civil war—and that’s exactly the same reading I give to the event just described. The era of rural and urban guerrilla warfare, roadside bombs, internment camps, horrific human rights violations by all sides, and millions of refugees fleeing in all directions, that will bring down the United States of America is still a little while off yet.

merchants of doubt

A skeptic would find it interesting that many of the players involved in misleading the public about the dangers of tobacco smoke have been recruited by the anti-AGW camp (Dr. Richard Lindzen being one of them). They would also find … Continue reading


A skeptic would find it interesting that many of the players involved in misleading the public about the dangers of tobacco smoke have been recruited by the anti-AGW camp (Dr. Richard Lindzen being one of them). They would also find the leaked API Global Climate Science Communications plan ( http://www.euronet.nl/users/e_wesker/ew@shell/API-prop.html ) an interesting read, showing the planning that was going on in the fossil fuel industry to mislead the public about the science of climate change. The skeptic would also find it interesting that about $900 million a year is now being spent to mislead the public about climate science ( http://drexel.edu/~/media/Files/now/pdfs/Institutionalizing%20Delay%20-%20Climatic%20Change.ashx ). It would also be interesting to note that where funding for right-wing think tanks and astroturfed climate denial front groups was made openly in the past ( http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2009/jul/01/exxon-mobil-climate-change-sceptics-funding ), the funding is now done largely through groups like the Donor’s Trust to hide the trail ( http://www.desmogblog.com/who-donors-trust ) .

Climate change denial is a denial or dismissal of the scientific consensus on the extent of global warming, its significance, or its connection to human behavior, especially for commercial or ideological reasons.[1][2] Typically, these attempts take the rhetorical form of legitimate scientific debate, while not adhering to the actual principles of that debate.[3][4] Climate change denial has been associated with the fossil fuels lobby, the Koch brothers, industry advocates and free market think tanks, often in the United States.[5][6][7][8][9] Some commentators describe climate change denial as a particular form of denialism.[10][11][12][13][14][15][16]

Although there is a scientific consensus that humans are warming the climate system,[17][18] the politics of global warming combined with some of the debate in popular media has slowed global efforts at preventing future global warming as well as preparing for warming “in the pipeline” due to past emissions. Much of this debate focuses on the economics of global warming.

Between 2002 and 2010, nearly $120 million (£77 million) was anonymously donated, some by conservative billionaires, via two trusts (Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund) to more than 100 organizations seeking to cast doubt on the science behind climate change.[19]

The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on public health, environmental science, and other issues affecting the quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.

In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.

Are there any advocates of climate science denial who don’t take money from fossil fuel companies?

1) “The emissions that are being put in the air by that volcano are a thousand years’ worth of emissions that would come from all of the vehicles, all of the manufacturing in Europe.” Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK) – Incoming Chairman, Energy & Natural Resources Committee, $733,144 from oil and gas industry in her career

2) “We have 186 percent of normal snow pack. That’s global warming?” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), $489,933 from oil and gas industry in his career

3) “Calling CO2 a pollutant is doing a disservice the country, and I believe a disservice to the world.” Ex-Governor Rick Perry (R-TX), $977,624 from oil and gas for his 2012 Presidential Campaign

4) “Listen, I’m not qualified to debate the science over climate change,”Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), $1,463,788 from oil and gas industry in his career

4) (tie) “I’m not a scientist,” Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), $1,783,169 from oil and gas industry in his career

6) “I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.” Senator Marco Rubio(R-FL), $295,138 from oil and gas industry in his career

7) “Anybody who’s ever studied any geology knows that over periods of time, long periods of time, that the climate changes, mmkay? I’m not sure anybody exactly knows why.” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), $129,305 from oil and gas industry in his career

8) “I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think science does, either.” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), on whether human activity causes climate change, $508,549 from oil and gas industry in his career

9) “And the problem with climate change is there’s never been a day in the history of the world in which the climate is not changing.” Senator Ted Cruz(R-TX), $932,568 from oil and gas industry in his career

10) “How long will it take for the sea level to rise two feet? I mean, think about it, if your ice cube melts in your glass it doesn’t overflow; it’s displacement. I mean, this is some of the things they’re talking about mathematically and scientifically don’t make sense.” Ex-Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX), $118,100 from oil and gas industry in his career

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/12/31/top-10-misguided-climate-deniers-quotes-2014

or this…

Earlier this year, the New York Times exposed the secret relationships between a well known climate change denier and the fossil fuel industry. The Times revealed that Dr.Willie Soon had been paid over 1.6 million dollars to create scientifically dubious studies absolving the fossil fuel industry of any responsibility for climate change. His funders included ExxonMobil, the Koch brothers, and Southern Company, a large coal-fired utility.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/us/ties-to-corporate-cash-for-climate-change-researcher-Wei-Hock-S…

Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher

For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity.

One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming.

But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests.

He has accepted more than $1.2 million in money from the fossil-fuel industry over the last decade while failing to disclose that conflict of interest in most of his scientific papers. At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.

‘An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming…

67 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents, said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who said that human-caused climate change is a hoax…

The poll found that 83 percent of Americans, including 61 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of independents, say that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future…

And while the poll found that 74 percent of Americans said that the federal government should be doing a substantial amount to combat climate change, the support was greatest among Democrats and independents. Ninety-one percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents and 51 percent of Republicans said the government should be fighting climate change.’

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/31/us/politics/most-americans-support-government-action-on-climate-ch…

There are also some books such as “Don’t even think about it” (http://www.climateconviction.org/ )and projects such as the Yale project on climate change communication: http://environment.yale.edu/climate-communication/ that explore the psychology and sociology of climate change.

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A majority of earth and climate scientists are convinced by the evidence that humans are significantly contributing to global warming.[1][2]

This is a list of scientists who have made statements that conflict with the mainstream scientific understanding of global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies.

The scientific consensus is that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. The scientific consensus and scientific opinion on climate change were summarized in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions on global warming were as follows:

  1. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.[3]
  2. “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities“, in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[4]
  3. If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100.[A] Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise.[5] The balance of impacts of global warming become significantly negative at larger values of warming.[6]

These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations.[7]

There have been several efforts to compile lists of dissenting scientists, including a 2008 US senate minority report,[8] the Oregon Petition,[9] and a 2007 list by the Heartland Institute,[10] all three of which have been criticized on a number of grounds.[11][12][13]

Each scientist listed here has published at least one peer-reviewed article in the broad field of natural sciences, although not necessarily in a field relevant to climatology.[B] Since the publication of the IPCC Third Assessment Report, each has made a clear statement in his or her own words (as opposed to the name being found on a petition, etc.) disagreeing with one or more of the report’s three main conclusions. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles. As of August 2012, fewer than 10 of the statements in the references for this list are part of the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The rest are statements from other sources such as interviews, opinion pieces, online essays and presentations.

a glimmer of hope

House Speaker, John Boehner, Will Resign From Congress By JENNIFER STEINHAUERSEPT. 25, 2015 WASHINGTON — Speaker John A. Boehner, under intense pressure from conservatives in his party, announced on Friday that he would resign one of the most powerful positions … Continue reading

House Speaker, John Boehner, Will Resign From Congress

Christians have no greater ally than Israel

Religion News Service | By Lauren Markoe
Posted: 09/11/2014 1:17 pm EDT Updated: 09/11/2014 1:59 pm EDT

(RNS) After he said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled off the stage at a Wednesday night (Sept. 10) gala to raise awareness of beleaguered Mideast Christians.

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the Washington, D.C., dinner, sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a new organization spearheaded by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, prompted boos and cries of “stop it!” and “enough” and “no!” as an increasingly louder crowd told him to get off the stage.

The incident, first reported by the online news organization The Daily Caller, was captured on video by EWTN, the Catholic television network. The video shows that Cruz tried to continue speaking, but many in the audience, in a hotel ballroom, expressed anger when he included Hamas in the list of militants out to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.

Middle Eastern Christian leaders condemn ‘barbaric’ persecution

Published 10 September 2014  |   Carey Lodge

Politicians, policy makers and faith leaders have urged the international community to step up its response to religious persecution in the Middle East.

Meeting for the inaugural IDC (In Defence of Christians) Summit in Washington this week, representatives from Middle Eastern churches condemned global inaction, insisting all nations must immediately address the growing crisis in Iraq and Syria.

According to the Washington Post, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East, said: “Far too long the world has stood there watching these atrocities without lifting a finger while the local government has proved to be utterly incapable of saving the lives of its citizens.”

The plight of Christians in the region has been of particular concern after being targeted specifically by Islamic State (IS) militants in a bid to create a caliphate.

Last week, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that the Middle East is the “birthplace of Christianity, and home to indigenous Christian communities that have been an indispensible part of its history”.

He warned that the region is “in desperate danger of losing an irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture.”

The IDC summit yesterday echoed this sentiment, with Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, branding the crisis a “global evil”.

“Religious freedom is not just an American right, it’s a universal right,” Cardinal Patriarch Rai, speaking before several members of Congress, added.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Religion News Service | By Lauren Markoe
Posted: 09/11/2014 1:17 pm EDT Updated: 09/11/2014 1:59 pm EDT

(RNS) After he said “Christians have no greater ally than Israel,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was heckled off the stage at a Wednesday night (Sept. 10) gala to raise awareness of beleaguered Mideast Christians.

Cruz, the keynote speaker at the Washington, D.C., dinner, sponsored by In Defense of Christians, a new organization spearheaded by Catholic and Orthodox Christians, prompted boos and cries of “stop it!” and “enough” and “no!” as an increasingly louder crowd told him to get off the stage.

The incident, first reported by the online news organization The Daily Caller, was captured on video by EWTN, the Catholic television network. The video shows that Cruz tried to continue speaking, but many in the audience, in a hotel ballroom, expressed anger when he included Hamas in the list of militants out to destroy religious minorities in the Middle East.

Middle Eastern Christian leaders condemn ‘barbaric’ persecution

Published 10 September 2014  |   

Politicians, policy makers and faith leaders have urged the international community to step up its response to religious persecution in the Middle East.

Meeting for the inaugural IDC (In Defence of Christians) Summit in Washington this week, representatives from Middle Eastern churches condemned global inaction, insisting all nations must immediately address the growing crisis in Iraq and Syria.

According to the Washington Post, Patriarch Mar Bechara Boutros Cardinal Rai, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East, said: “Far too long the world has stood there watching these atrocities without lifting a finger while the local government has proved to be utterly incapable of saving the lives of its citizens.”

The plight of Christians in the region has been of particular concern after being targeted specifically by Islamic State (IS) militants in a bid to create a caliphate.

Last week, Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby noted that the Middle East is the “birthplace of Christianity, and home to indigenous Christian communities that have been an indispensible part of its history”.

He warned that the region is “in desperate danger of losing an irreplaceable part of its identity, heritage and culture.”

The IDC summit yesterday echoed this sentiment, with Aram I Keshishian, Catholicos of the Holy See of Cilicia of the Armenian Apostolic Church, branding the crisis a “global evil”.

“Religious freedom is not just an American right, it’s a universal right,” Cardinal Patriarch Rai, speaking before several members of Congress, added.

a shady and illegal pipeline expansion

In August the State Department quietly posted documents revealing that it is allowing Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to move ahead with a shady and illegal pipeline expansion project that could nearly double the amount of tar sands crude pumped into the U.S. through its Alberta Clipper pipeline, in clear violation of its existing permit.1
Enbridge is responsible for the Kalamazoo tar sands disaster, the largest inland oil-spill in U.S. history.
But shockingly, the State Department is green-lighting this scheme without giving public notice of its decision, without conducting a detailed environmental review, and without a finding of “national interest,” as required for Keystone XL and other new pipeline projects.
Expanding tar sands production, by any means, will lead to “essentially game over” in our fight against climate change. So it is crucial that we strongly challenge this decision.
Enbridge has been trying since 2012 to get a presidential permit to expand the Alberta Clipper from its current permitted capacity of 450,000 barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day.
Thanks in large part to our public pressure, activists have stalled approvals for this tar sands project and others, like the Keystone XL pipeline. So Enbridge concocted a dangerous scheme that essentially amounts to smuggling to get their filthy product across the border.
Instead of carrying tar sands across the border on the Clipper pipeline directly, Enbridge is diverting the tar sands flow to an adjacent 47-year-old pipeline, where it will travel 20 miles across the US border into Minnesota, then back to the Clipper pipeline. Disturbingly, the aging “Line 3” was not designed to carry toxic and corrosive tar sands crude, yet would be operating at more than double its current capacity.
Yes, this is a proven recipe for disaster: The 2013 Mayflower Arkansas spill was caused by a rupture of the similarly aging Pegasus pipeline, which had been also co-opted to carry tar sands crude.
The quiet State Department approval of Enbridge’s pipeline scheme stands in clear violation of the process required to approve new tar sands infrastructure, and the National Interest Determination test the President set for Keystone XL: If the project significantly increases carbon pollution, it should not be approved.
This project, which could carry about half as much crude as Keystone XL, clearly fails that test.
It’s possible that President Obama and Secretary Kerry did not know about this decision, in which case they could intervene and put a stop to it. But if they do nothing, it will seriously call into question the President’s commitment to fighting climate change, and commitment to the test he himself set for ensuring that tar sands pipeline projects do not make climate change worse.
Thanks for taking action.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Take action now ►
  1. State Department Approves Illegal Scheme for Doubling Tar Sands Flowing through the Great Lakes,” National Wildlife Federation, 8/25/14
In August the State Department quietly posted documents revealing that it is allowing Canadian pipeline company Enbridge to move ahead with a shady and illegal pipeline expansion project that could nearly double the amount of tar sands crude pumped into the U.S. through its Alberta Clipper pipeline, in clear violation of its existing permit.1
Enbridge is responsible for the Kalamazoo tar sands disaster, the largest inland oil-spill in U.S. history.
But shockingly, the State Department is green-lighting this scheme without giving public notice of its decision, without conducting a detailed environmental review, and without a finding of “national interest,” as required for Keystone XL and other new pipeline projects.
Expanding tar sands production, by any means, will lead to “essentially game over” in our fight against climate change. So it is crucial that we strongly challenge this decision.
Enbridge has been trying since 2012 to get a presidential permit to expand the Alberta Clipper from its current permitted capacity of 450,000 barrels per day to 800,000 barrels per day.
Thanks in large part to our public pressure, activists have stalled approvals for this tar sands project and others, like the Keystone XL pipeline. So Enbridge concocted a dangerous scheme that essentially amounts to smuggling to get their filthy product across the border.
Instead of carrying tar sands across the border on the Clipper pipeline directly, Enbridge is diverting the tar sands flow to an adjacent 47-year-old pipeline, where it will travel 20 miles across the US border into Minnesota, then back to the Clipper pipeline. Disturbingly, the aging “Line 3” was not designed to carry toxic and corrosive tar sands crude, yet would be operating at more than double its current capacity.
Yes, this is a proven recipe for disaster: The 2013 Mayflower Arkansas spill was caused by a rupture of the similarly aging Pegasus pipeline, which had been also co-opted to carry tar sands crude.
The quiet State Department approval of Enbridge’s pipeline scheme stands in clear violation of the process required to approve new tar sands infrastructure, and the National Interest Determination test the President set for Keystone XL: If the project significantly increases carbon pollution, it should not be approved.
This project, which could carry about half as much crude as Keystone XL, clearly fails that test.
It’s possible that President Obama and Secretary Kerry did not know about this decision, in which case they could intervene and put a stop to it. But if they do nothing, it will seriously call into question the President’s commitment to fighting climate change, and commitment to the test he himself set for ensuring that tar sands pipeline projects do not make climate change worse.
Thanks for taking action.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Add your name:
Take action now ?
  1. State Department Approves Illegal Scheme for Doubling Tar Sands Flowing through the Great Lakes,” National Wildlife Federation, 8/25/14

Ferguson, Missouri

08/18/14 07:34 PM—UPDATED 08/19/14 11:43 AM

By Trymaine Lee, Amanda Sakuma and Zachary Roth

FERGUSON, Missouri – The grief-stricken community of Ferguson was once again wracked by violence and chaos overnight Monday.

Police fired tear gas at protesters amid the sound of explosions, shots rang out and armored police trucks sped down Florissant Avenue. At least two people, both males, were shot “in the dark of night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a press conference. Two guns and a Molotov cocktail were confiscated. There were two fires, one at a local business and another at an unoccupied residence, Johnson said. Police were hit with bottles and rocks. Thirty-one people were arrested by 2 a.m. CT.

Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

President Obama appeared wary today about the National Guard being sent to Ferguson, Missouri, saying he urged the governor to ensure the troops were involved in a “limited” way.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the state’s National Guard to be deployed to the city this morning after another violent night of clashes between protesters and police over the shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Protesters have demanded that officer Darren Wilson be held accountable for shooting Brown.
The prosecutor’s office in St. Louis County, which has jurisdiction in the case, said today a grand jury could begin hearing evidence against Wilson as soon as Wednesday to determine if he will be charged in the shooting.

08/18/14 07:34 PM—UPDATED 08/19/14 11:43 AM

By Trymaine Lee, Amanda Sakuma and Zachary Roth

FERGUSON, Missouri – The grief-stricken community of Ferguson was once again wracked by violence and chaos overnight Monday.

Police fired tear gas at protesters amid the sound of explosions, shots rang out and armored police trucks sped down Florissant Avenue. At least two people, both males, were shot “in the dark of night,” Capt. Ron Johnson of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said at a press conference. Two guns and a Molotov cocktail were confiscated. There were two fires, one at a local business and another at an unoccupied residence, Johnson said. Police were hit with bottles and rocks. Thirty-one people were arrested by 2 a.m. CT.


Watch more news videos | Latest from the US

President Obama appeared wary today about the National Guard being sent to Ferguson, Missouri, saying he urged the governor to ensure the troops were involved in a “limited” way.
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the state’s National Guard to be deployed to the city this morning after another violent night of clashes between protesters and police over the shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9. Protesters have demanded that officer Darren Wilson be held accountable for shooting Brown.
The prosecutor’s office in St. Louis County, which has jurisdiction in the case, said today a grand jury could begin hearing evidence against Wilson as soon as Wednesday to determine if he will be charged in the shooting.

sedition

In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to … Continue reading

In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that is deemed by the legal authority to tend toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority. Sedition may include any commotion, though not aimed at direct and open violence against the laws. Seditious words in writing are seditious libel. A seditionist is one who engages in or promotes the interests of sedition.

Typically, sedition is considered a subversive act, and the overt acts that may be prosecutable under sedition laws vary from one legal code to another. Where the history of these legal codes has been traced, there is also a record of the change in the definition of the elements constituting sedition at certain points in history. This overview has served to develop a sociological definition of sedition as well, within the study of state persecution.

The term sedition in its modern meaning first appeared in the Elizabethan Era (c. 1590) as the “notion of inciting by words or writings disaffection towards the state or constituted authority”. “Sedition complements treason and martial law: while treason controls primarily the privileged, ecclesiastical opponents, priests, and Jesuits, as well as certain commoners; and martial law frightens commoners, sedition frightens intellectuals.”

In 1798, President John Adams signed into law the Alien and Sedition Acts, the fourth of which, the Sedition Act or “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States” set out punishments of up to two years of imprisonment for “opposing or resisting any law of the United States” or writing or publishing “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” about the President or the U.S. Congress (though not the office of the Vice-President, then occupied by Adams’ political opponent Thomas Jefferson). This Act of Congress was allowed to expire in 1801 after Jefferson’s election to the Presidency.

Political cartoon by Art Young, The Masses, 1917.

In the Espionage Act of 1917, Section 3 made it a federal crime, punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000, to willfully spread false news of the American army and navy with an intent to disrupt their operations, to foment mutiny in their ranks, or to obstruct recruiting. This Act of Congress was amended Sedition Act of 1918, which expanded the scope of the Espionage Act to any statement criticizing the Government of the United States. These Acts were upheld in 1919 in the case of Schenck v. United States, but they were largely repealed in 1921, leaving laws forbidding foreign espionage in the United States and allowing military censorship of sensitive material.

In 1940, the Alien Registration Act, or “Smith Act“, was passed, which made it a federal crime to advocate or to teach the desirability of overthrowing the United States Government, or to be a member of any organization which does the same. It was often used against Communist Party organizations. This Act was invoked in three major cases, one of which against the Socialist Worker’s Party in Minneapolis in 1941, resulting in 23 convictions, and again in what became known as the Great Sedition Trial of 1944 in which a number of pro-Nazi figures were indicted but released when the prosecution ended in a mistrial. Also, a series of trials of 140 leaders of the Communist Party USA also relied upon the terms of the “Smith Act”—beginning in 1949—and lasting until 1957. Although the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the convictions of 11 CPUSA leaders in 1951 in Dennis v. United States, that same Court reversed itself in 1957 in the case of Yates v. United States, by ruling that teaching an ideal, no matter how harmful it may seem, does not equal advocating or planning its implementation. Although unused since at least 1961, the “Smith Act” remains a Federal law.

There was, however, a brief attempt to use the sedition laws against protesters of the Vietnam War. On October 17, 1967, two demonstrators, including then Marin County resident Al Wasserman, while engaged in a ‘sit in’ at the Army Induction Center in Oakland, Ca., were arrested and charged with sedition by deputy US. Marshall Richard St. Germain. U.S. Attorney Cecil Poole changed the charge to trespassing. Poole said, “three guys (according to Mr. Wasserman there were only 2) reaching up and touching the leg of an inductee, and that’s conspiracy to commit sedition? That’s ridiculous!” The inductees were in the process of physically stepping on the demonstrators as they attempted to enter the building, and the demonstrators were trying to protect themselves from the inductees’ feet. Attorney Poole later added, “We’ll decide what to prosecute, not marshals.”[25]

In 1981, Oscar López Rivera, a Puerto Rican Nationalist and Vietnam war veteran, was convicted and sentenced to 70 years in prison for seditious conspiracy and various other offenses. He was among the 16 Puerto Rican nationalists offered conditional clemency by U.S. President Bill Clinton in 1999, but he rejected the offer. His sister, Zenaida López, said he refused the offer because on parole, he would be in “prison outside prison.” López Rivera is said to be “among the longest held political prisoners in the history of Puerto Rico and in the world.” He has been jailed for 32 years, 8 months, and 24 days.[26]

In 1987 fourteen white supremacists were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges filed by the U.S. Department of Justice against a seditious conspiracy between July 1983 and March 1985. Some alleged conspirators were serving time for overt acts, such as the crimes committed by The Order. Others such as Louis Beam and Richard Butler were charged for their speech seen as spurring on the overt acts by the others. In April 1988, a federal jury in Arkansas acquitted all the accused of charges of seditious conspiracy.[27]

On October 1, 1995, Omar Abdel-Rahman and nine others were convicted of seditious conspiracy.[28]

Laura Berg, a nurse at a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Mexico was investigated for sedition in September 2005[29] after writing a letter[30][31] to the editor of a local newspaper, accusing several national leaders of criminal negligence. Though their action was later deemed unwarranted by the director of Veteran Affairs, local human resources personnel took it upon themselves to request an FBI investigation. Ms. Berg was represented by the ACLU.[32] Charges were dropped in 2006.[33]

On March 28, 2010, nine members of the Hutaree militia were arrested and charged with crimes including seditious conspiracy.

Sedition is a punishable offense under Article 94 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Volksverhetzung (“incitement of the people”) is a legal concept unique to Germany. It is sometimes loosely translated as sedition,[36] although the law bans the incitement of hatred against a segment of the population. Segment of the population meaning, for example, a race or religion.

 

Hobby Lobby

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA. While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could … Continue reading

The decision, written by Justice Alito, is beyond disturbing. It essentially grants for-profit corporations a free pass not to follow laws by invoking their “religious rights” under RFRA.

While Alito and his buddies said their ruling was narrow, nothing could be further from the truth. The door is now wide open for corporations to run to court saying they can discriminate in a variety of ways.

Some key points about Hobby Lobby:

As Justice Ginsberg noted in her dissent, “‘Closely held’ is not synonymous with ‘small.’” America’s five largest “closely held” corporations alone employ more than 436,000 people — one of those companies being the $115 billion, 60,000-employee Koch Industries. And the Washington Post reported that, according to a 2000 study, “closely held” is a term that covers as much as 90 percent (or more) of all businesses, and studies from Columbia University and New York University showed that closely held corporations employed 52 percent of the American workforce.
The duplicitousness of pretending that limiting the ruling to “closely held” corporations really limits it substantially in scope goes beyond just the size and number of “closely held” corporations. In providing no actual reasoning as to why only “closely held” corporations would be afforded religious rights under RFRA, Justice Alito’s Hobby Lobby decision certainly could pave the way for all corporations — even publicly traded ones — to claim these rights.
Many on the Religious Right are already asserting employers’ right to discriminate against LGBT people. While Hobby Lobby states that employers cannot claim religious objections in order to discriminate based on race, it says nothing about sex or sexual orientation.

The Supreme Court ponders the contraceptive mandate

ON March 25th the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare”, was back before the Supreme Court. Two years ago the justices upheld most of the law. This week they heard oral arguments in Sebelius v Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius. These two consolidated cases concern Obamacare’s “contraceptive mandate”—the requirement that businesses offering their employees health insurance must provide plans that cover all federally-approved contraception methods at no extra cost to their employees.

The legal merits of these cases revolve around the concept of  Corporate personhood


Corporations are NOT people. While it is true that what guides them is the human activity of their executives, boards of directors, managers and employees, all the human emotional factors of the people in the corporation pass through a “filter” created by the two basic rules:

  1. Maximize profit
  2. Do whatever is necessary to continue the business.

(Rule number 1 should be modified when it conflicts with rule 2)

It is a slippery road to give personal rights to corporations. The corporation is an amoral entity, i.e., not governed by human moral values. It lacks guilt for what it does, or empathy for those it harms. What’s worse, this “sociopathic” entity is given the rights of a human being, but not similar responsibilities. A corporation is particularly dangerous because of its great concentration of money, power, and political influence–which it uses freely to reach its goals.

To give a concrete example of the dangers of giving too much power to corporations to allow corporations to participate directly on political campaigns is a very serious threat to democracy.

Campaign finance law in the United States changed drastically in the wake of two 2010 judicial opinions: the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC and the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in SpeechNow.org v. FEC.[42] According to a 2011 Congressional Research Service report, these two decisions constitute “the most fundamental changes to campaign finance law in decades.” [43]

Citizens United struck down, on free speech grounds, the limits on the ability of organizations that accepted corporate or union money from running electioneering communications. The Court reasoned that the restrictions permitted by Buckley were justified based on avoiding corruption or the appearance of corruption, and that this rationale did not apply to corporate donations to independent organizations. Citizens United overruled the 1990 case Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, in which the Supreme Court upheld the Michigan Campaign Finance Act, which prohibited corporations from using treasury money to support or oppose candidates in elections.

Two months later, a unanimous nine-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided SpeechNow, which relied on Citizens United to hold that Congress could not limit donations to organizations that only made independent expenditures, that is, expenditures that were “uncoordinated” with a candidate’s campaign. These decisions led to the rise of “independent-expenditure only” PACs, commonly known as “Super PACs.” Super PACs, under Citizens United and SpeechNow, can raise unlimited funds from individual and corporate donors and use those funds for electioneering advertisements, provided that the Super PAC does not coordinate with a candidate.

One should not confuse the individuals working within a corporation with the corporation proper. To elaborate and clarify the point of freedom of speech and corporations let’s consider the case of Media corporations, those whose actual activity revolves around disseminating information and opinion. While journalist, writers, news anchors, and the like have 1st amendment rights, the corporations that they work for do not. This might be a subtle point but it is crucial. When corporations do have positions on some issues, and they always have an agenda, this is NOT freedom of speech, it is censorship. This censorship is exercised trough the firing or ostracizing of staff or source that go astray of the corporate line. Thus, to give corporations freedom of speech rights is actually antithetical of the spirit of the first amendment.

Corporations as such do not have national loyalties. Just as an example, Standard Oil supplied the German government during WW II as Coca Cola did.

The Standard Oil group of companies, in which the Rockefeller family owned a one-quarter (and controlling) interest,1 was of critical assistance in helping Nazi Germany prepare for World War II. This assistance in military preparation came about because Germany’s relatively insignificant supplies of crude petroleum were quite insufficient for modern mechanized warfare; in 1934 for instance about 85 percent of German finished petroleum products were imported. The solution adopted by Nazi Germany was to manufacture synthetic gasoline from its plentiful domestic coal supplies. It was the hydrogenation process of producing synthetic gasoline and iso-octane properties in gasoline that enabled Germany to go to war in 1940 — and this hydrogenation process was developed and financed by the Standard Oil laboratories in the United States in partnership with I.G. Farben.

Evidence presented to the Truman, Bone, and Kilgore Committees after World War II confirmed that Standard Oil had at the same time “seriously imperiled the war preparations of the United States.”2Documentary evidence was presented to all three Congressional committees that before World War II Standard Oil had agreed with I.G. Farben, in the so-called Jasco agreement, that synthetic rubber was within Farben’s sphere of influence, while Standard Oil was to have an absolute monopoly in the U.S. only if and when Farben allowed development of synthetic rubber to take place in the U.S.

Fanta is a global brand of fruit-flavored carbonated soft drinks created by The Coca-Cola Company. There are over 100 flavors worldwide. The drink originated in Germany in 1941.

Fanta originated as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo.[2] To circumvent this, Max Keith, the head of Coca-Cola Deutschland (Coca-Cola GmbH) during the Second World War, decided to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time, including whey and pomace – the “leftovers of leftovers”, as Keith later recalled.[2][3] The name was the result of a brief brainstorming session, which started with Keith exhorting his team to “use their imagination” (“Fantasie” in German), to which one of his salesmen, Joe Knipp, immediately retorted “Fanta!”[3]

While the plant was effectively cut off from Coca Cola headquarters during the war, plant management did not join the Nazi Party. After the war, the Coca Cola corporation regained control of the plant, formula and the trademarks to the new Fanta product — as well as the plant profits made during the war

The U.S. Federal tax system also helps corporations operate in this amoral way by allowing them to deduct from their profits, with some limitations, the cost of public relations campaigns to cover for the damage they cause, the compensation to victims, the cleanup operations, the cost of legal defense, legal damage awards, and the cost of lobbying to change the laws in their favor or gain exemptions from the law. In other words, if they are caught, corporations pay the costs of their destructive, illegal activities with tax-free money. (Tax free for one corporation = somebody else pays more taxes.)

In their current form, corporations are the most dangerous things on earth–because they threaten the survival of humankind and the entire planetary ecosystem.

Birth control does not mean abortion I am not in favor of abortion but I am against using this kind of complicated issues for political ends. How do one balance in black and white gun ownership and the statement that murder is wrong? In the same way that gun advocates justify killing a human being outside the womb (to themselves) by redefining murder according to the circumstances, others justify killing a human being inside the womb (to themselves) by redefining abortion according to the circumstances.

Tea Party types do believe that killing is proper under some conditions and are against governments interfering with the freedoms of people, so why be in favor of government regulations of any kind? Criminalizing behaviors is not a solution for social problems.

Republican Jodie Laubenberg, who co-authored Texas strict anti-abortion laws in 2013, (because she says she believes that “life begins at conception”) also opposed healthcare for newly developing fetuses. Laubenberg testified that the unborn should not be entitled to health care, because “they aren’t born yet.

According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) the single most important factor for a healthy pregnancy is a healthy mother. This means that every woman who is of child-bearing age should have regular health screenings, as well as access to services and medications which can help diagnose, prevent, treat or cure chronic or temporary health conditions.

According to the CDC (the only agency in the United States that has the ability to monitor and track abortion rates) in 2009 there were 15.1 abortions for every 1,000 live births. Of those abortion 91.7 percent were performed earlier than 13th week of pregnancy, and of those the majority, almost 70 percent, were performed prior to the 8th week of pregnancy. Additionally, statistics show that many of the abortions that occur later in pregnancy are performed for medical reasons.

In this highly informative article published on Patheos.com, the author explains the many reasons she lost faith in the right wing’s pro-life movement.

“Highly restrictive abortion laws are not associated with lower abortion rates. For example, the abortion rate is 29 per 1,000 women of childbearing age in Africa and 32 per 1,000 in Latin America—regions in which abortion is illegal under most circumstances in the majority of countries. The rate is 12 per 1,000 in Western Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds.”

There’s a circus of political shows with no other end that entertain and distract. Like for example that speech of a democrat meant to be an attack on Republican policies when Reagan had just passed an immigration amnesty, and now it is used for opposite purposes. Life is not as simple as good conservatives on the shadow of God against evil liberal lefties doing the devil’s work.

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members.  The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers … Continue reading

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster occurred on January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger (mission STS-51-L) broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. 

The disaster resulted in a 32-month hiatus in the shuttle program and the formation of the Rogers Commission, a special commission appointed by United States President Ronald Reagan to investigate the accident. The Rogers Commission found NASA‘sorganizational culture and decision-making processes had been key contributing factors to the accident.[1] NASA managers had known contractor Morton Thiokol‘s design of the SRBs contained a potentially catastrophic flaw in the O-rings since 1977, but failed to address it properly. They also disregarded warnings (an example of “go fever“) from engineers about the dangers of launching posed by the low temperatures of that morning and had failed in adequately reporting these technical concerns to their superiors.

What Rogers did not highlight was that the vehicle was never certified to operate in temperatures that low. The O-rings, as well as many other critical components, had no test data to support any expectation of a successful launch in such conditions. Bob Ebeling from Thiokol delivered a biting analysis: “[W]e’re only qualified to 40 degrees …’what business does anyone even have thinking about 18 degrees, we’re in no man’s land.’”

The Challenger accident has frequently been used as a case study in the study of subjects such as engineering safety, the ethics of whistle-blowing, communications, group decision-making, and the dangers of groupthink. It is part of the required readings for engineers seeking a professional license in Canada[66] and other countries. Roger Boisjoly, the engineer who had warned about the effect of cold weather on the O-rings, left his job at Morton Thiokol and became a speaker on workplace ethics.[67] He argues that thecaucus called by Morton Thiokol managers, which resulted in a recommendation to launch, “constituted the unethical decision-making forum resulting from intense customer intimidation.”[68] For his honesty and integrity leading up to and directly following the shuttle disaster, Roger Boisjoly was awarded the Prize for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Many colleges and universities have also used the accident in classes on the ethics of engineering.[69][70]

Information designer Edward Tufte has claimed that the Challenger accident is an example of the problems that can occur from the lack of clarity in the presentation of information. 

Tufte has also argued that poor presentation of information may have also affected NASA decisions during the last flight of the space shuttle Columbia.[72]

However, Robison, a Rochester Institute of Technology professor, and Boisjoly vigorously repudiated Tufte’s conclusions about the Morton Thiokol engineers’ role in the loss ofChallenger. First they say that the engineers didn’t have the information available as Tufte claimed: “But they did not know the temperatures even though they did try to obtain that information. Tufte has not gotten the facts right even though the information was available to him had he looked for it.” They further argue that Tufte “misunderstands thoroughly the argument and evidence the engineers gave”. They also criticized Tufte’s diagram as “fatally flawed by Tufte’s own criteria. The vertical axis tracks the wrong effect, and the horizontal axis cites temperatures not available to the engineers and, in addition, mixes O-ring temperatures and ambient air temperature as though the two were the same.”[73]


Telecon Meeting (Ethical Decisions – Morton Thiokol and the Challenger Disaster) 

Author(s): Roger M. Boisjoly

The evening telecon meeting between MTI, MSFC and KSC on January 27,1986, was the final event preceding the Challenger disaster. The major activity that day focused upon the predicted 18 °F (-8 °C) overnight low and meetings with Engineering Management to persuade them not to launch below 53 °F (12 °C). My whole being was driven to action for this cause because of my memory of my January, 1985, participation in the inspection of the hardware from the previous coldest launch which had massive hot gas blow-by. The discussion activity concluded with the hurried preparation of fourteen Viewgraphs by various engineering groups which had less then an hour to respond for the scheduled evening telecon.

The following discussion is summarized to show the content of the engineering presentation. Figures labeled as Viewgraphs show the major thrust of the telecon and contain the actual content of the originals as presented, with Sl units added, while others are summarized to give general content for brevity.

The first Viewgraph was a title page. The second Viewgraph showed a table of post history of O-ring damage on SRM field joints. The third, fourth and fifth Viewgraphs are shown as Figures 4., 5., and 6., respectively.

– field joint – highest concern
– erosion penetration of primary seal requires reliable secondary seal for pressure integrity
– ignition transient – (0-600 ms)
– (0-170 ms) high probability of reliable secondary seal
– (170-330ms) reduced probability of reliable secondary seal
– (330-600 ms) high probability of no secondary seal capability
– steady state – (600 ms – 2 minutes)
– if erosion penetrates primary o-ring seal – high probability of no secondary seal capability
– bench testing showed o-ring not capable of maintaining contact with metal parts gap opening rate to meop
– bench testing showed capability to maintain o-ring contact during initial phase (0- 170 ms) of transient

Figure 4. – primary concerns

Figure 4. was taken directly from the August 19, 1985 presentation to NASA headquarters. The last two statements show the reasons for both the high concern and for having a high probability of a secondary seal during the first portion of the transient time zone. The last statement was produced from testing at 50 °F (10 °C) which showed that a seal could maintain contact with its mating surfaces when compressed 0.040 inches (1.02 mm) and only 0.010 inch (0.25 mm) of compression was removed from the seal.

– a temperature lower than current data base results in changing primary o-ring sealing timing function
– srm 15a – 800 arc black grease between o-rings srm 15b – i 100 arc black grease between o-rings
– lower o-ring squeeze due to lower temp
– higher o-ring shore hardness
– thicker grease viscosity
– higher o-ring pressure actuation time
– if actuation time increases, threshold of secondary seal pressurization capability is approached
– if threshold is reached, then secondary seal may not be capable of being pressurized

Figure 5. – Field Joint Primary Concerns SRM 25

Figure 5. was the heart of the discussion at the telecon. The engineering issue was “Would the seals even actuate and seal due to changing their timing function?” This would place us in the category of having a high probability of no secondary seal capability while the primary seal would be experiencing massive blow-by erosion due to its inability to respond to the gap opening of the metal parts. The last two statements summarized the fear of loss of redundancy based upon my remembrance of the January, 1985 post-launch hardware inspection.

Drawing of the field joint as assembled

Inches Milli-meters
0.042 1.07
0.060 1.52

Figure 6. SRM Field Joint

Figure 6. shows the field joint in the “as assembled” configuration, plus the pressurized configuration which shows the gap opening parameter due to outboard radial deflection of the case membrane. The differential deflection between the membrane and the stiffer joint causes the inboard clevis leg to deflect inboard opposite the rotation of the tong, which causes the gap at the seals to open. This results in the secondary seal lifting off its seat at full pressurization without considering seal resiliency parameters.

The sixth Viewgraph showed a comparison of hot gas blow-by by comparing ARC lengths of blackened grease and some descriptive phases for various flights at different launch temperatures. The seventh Viewgraph was a table of O-ring shore hardness versus temperature. The eighth Viewgraph contained the preliminary O-ring resiliency data in a tabular form. Up to this point in the telecon, I was asked several times by NASA to quantify my concerns, but I said that I could not since the only data I had was already presented and that I had been trying to get more data since last October (1985). At this comment, the General Manager of MTI gave me a scolding look as if to say, “Why did you tell them that?” The presentation continued with Viewgraph nine which showed sub-scale test results of cold gas blow-by tests at 75 °F (24 °C) and 30 °F (-1 °C) which showed no leakage. This data was used as an argument by management to say that the joint sealed at 30 °F (-1 °C) but in fact, the tests were not seal tests at all, since the test ring was a solid block of metal which did not have the deflection characteristics of the full-scale joint and was never intended to test anything but incipient blow-by before any joint deflection occurred. Viewgraph ten contained a table of compression set data to aid in the visualization of seal permanent set characteristics. Viewgraph eleven is shown as Figure 7., It provided a comparison of O-ring squeeze for the Challenger joints (SRM 25) versus the previous coldest flight at 53 °F (12 °C) (SRM 15).

Motor FWD CTR AFT
% in mm % in mm % in mm
SRM-15A 16.1 0.045* 1.14 15.8 0.044 1.12 14.7 0.041 1.04
SRM-15B 11.1 0.031 0.79 14 0.039** 0.99 16.1 0.045 1.14
SRM-25A 10.16 0.028 0.71 13.22 0.037 0.094 13.39 0.037 0.094
SRM-25B 13.91 0.039 0.99 13.05 0.037 0.094 14.25 0.40 1.02

* 0.010 in. (0.25mm) erosion

** 0.038 in. (0.97mm) erosion

Figure 7. Field Joint O-Ring Squeeze (Primary Seal)

Viewgraph twelve is shown as Figure 8. The DM designates development motors, QM is qualification motors and SRM is flight motors. This chart showed the current data base versus the predicted Challenger seal temperature of 27 to 29 °F (-3 to -2 °C).

Motor MBT** Ambient O-Ring* Wind
°F °C °F °C °F °C
DM-4 68 20.0 36 2.2 47 8.3 10 mph
DM-2 76 24.4 45 7.2 52 11.1 10 mph
QM-3 72.5 22.5 40 4.4 48 8.9 10 mph
QM-4 76 22.4 48 8.9 51 10.6 10 mph
SRM-15 52 11.1 64 17.8 53 11.7 10 mph
SRM-22 77 25.0 78 25.6 75 23.9 10 mph
SRM-25 55 12.8 26 -3.3 29 -1.7 10 mph
27 -2.8 25 mph

* 1-D Thermal Analysis

** Propellant Mean Bulk Temperature

Figure 8. History of O-ring temperatures

Viewgraph thirteen is shown as Figure 9. The third and fourth statements under the first bullet are actually disclaimers for the development and qualification test data because the joint putty had been altered after assembly and prior to horizontal test firings. Observed holes in the joint putty were repaired since it was thought that the horizontal assembly was very severe on the joints and is what caused the holes in the putty and that vertical assembly would not cause such holes to occur. The reasoning was generally okay but that reasoning was never tested until sometime in 1985 when it was found that vertical assembly could indeed cause holes in the putty. The major faulty thinking lies in the fact that no specific vertical assembly testing was performed to verify the original assumption and that made the original horizontal test firings a series of successful tests without any sea] erosion.

– temperature of o-ring not only parameter controlling blow-by srm 15 with blow-by had an o-ring temp at 53 °F (11.7 °C) four development motors with no blow-by were tested at o-ring temp of 47 to 52 °F (8.3 to 11.1 °C) development motors had putty packing which resulted in better performance
– at about 50 °F (10 °C) blow-by could be experienced in case joints
– temp for srm 25 on 1-28-86 launch will be 29 °F (-1.7 °C) 9 a.m. 38 °F (3.3 °C) 2 p.m.
– have no data that would indicate SRM 25 is different than SRM 15 other than temp

Figure 9. – conclusions

Viewgraph fourteen is shown as Figure 10.

– O-ring temp must be & mac179; 53 °F (11.7 °C) at launch development motors at 47 to 52 °F (8.3 to 11.1 °C) with putty packing had no blow-by SRM 15 (the best simulation) worked at 53 °F
– project ambient conditions (temp & wind) to determine launch time

Figure 10. – Recommendations

This concluded the engineering presentation. Then Joe Kilminster of MTI was asked by Larry Mulloy of NASA for his launch decision. Joe responded the he did not recommend launching based upon the engineering position just presented. Then Larry Mulloy asked George Hardy of NASA for his launch decision. George responded that he was appalled at Thiokol’s recommendation but said he would not launch over the contractor’s objection. Then Larry Mulloy spent some time giving his views and interpretation of the data that was presented with his conclusion that the data presented was inconclusive.

Now I must make a very important point. NASA’S very nature since early space flight was to force contractors and themselves to prove that it was safe to fly. The statement by Larry Mulloy about our data being inconclusive should have been enough all by itself to stop the launch according to NASA’S own rules, but we all know that was not the case. Just as Larry Mulloy gave his conclusion, Joe Kilminster asked for a five-minute, off-line caucus to re-evaluate the data and as soon as the mute button was pushed, our General Manager, Jerry Mason, said in a soft voice, “We have to make a management decision.” I became furious when I heard this, because I sensed that an attempt would be made by executive-level management to reverse the no-launch decision.

Some discussion had started between only the managers when Arnie Thompson moved from his position down the table to a position in front of the managers and once again, tried to explain our position by sketching the joint and discussing the problem with the seals at low temperature. Arnie stopped when he saw the unfriendly look in Mason’s eyes and also realized that no one was listening to him. I then grabbed the photographic evidence showing the hot gas blow-by comparisons from previous flights and placed it on the table in view of the managers and somewhat angered, admonished them to look at the photos and not ignore what they were telling us; namely, that low temperature indeed caused significantly more hot gas blow-by to occur in the joints. I, too, received the some cold stares as Arnie, with looks as if to say, “Go away and don’t bother us with the facts.” No one in management wanted to discuss the facts; they just would not respond verbally to either Arnie or me. I felt totally helpless at that moment and that further argument was fruitless, so I, too, stopped pressing my case.

What followed made me both sad and angry. The managers were struggling to make a list of data that would support a launch decision, but unfortunately for them, the data actually supported a no-launch decision. During the closed manager’s discussion, Jerry Mason asked the other managers in a low voice if he was the only one who wanted to fly and no one answered him. At the end of the discussion, Mason turned to Bob Lund, Vice President of Engineering at MTI, and told him to take off his engineering hat and to put on his management hat. The vote poll was taken by only the four senior executives present since the engineers were excluded from both the final discussion with management and the vote poll. The telecon resumed and Joe Kilminster read the launch support rationale from a handwritten list and recommended that the launch proceed as scheduled. NASA promptly accepted the launch recommendation without any discussion or any probing questions as they had done previously. NASA then asked for a signed copy of the launch rationale chart.

Once again, I must make a strong comment about the turn of events. I must emphasize that MTI Management fully supported the original decision to not launch below 53 °F ( 12 °C) prior to the caucus. The caucus constituted the unethical decision-making forum resulting from intense customer intimidation. NASA placed MTI in the position of proving that it was not safe to fly instead of proving that it was safe to fly. Also, note that NASA immediately accepted the new decision to launch because it was consistent with their desires and please note that no probing questions were asked.

The change in the launch decision upset me so much that I left the room immediately after the telecon was disconnected and felt badly defeated and angry when I wrote the following entry in my notebook. “I sincerely hope that this launch does not result in a catastrophe. I personally do not agree with some of the statements made in Joe Kilminster’s summary stating that SRM- 25 (Challenger) is okay to fly.”

After I had a chance to review a copy of Joe’s chart, I realized that I didn’t agree with any of his statements made to support a launch decision. I believe that anyone who has normal powers of reason will question the validity of Figure 11 as a document to support the Challenger launch.

1. calculations show that SRM-25 O-rings will be 20 °F colder than SRM-15 rings
2. temperature data not conclusive on predicting primary o-ring blow-by
3. engineering assessment is that: colder o-rings will have increased effective durometer (“harder’)
4. “harder” O-rings will take longer to “seat”
5. more gas may pass primary O-ring before the primary seal seats (relative to SRM 15)
6. demonstrated sealing threshold is 3 times greater than 0.038″ Erosion experienced on SRM-15.
7. if the primary seal does not seat, the secondary seal will seat
8. pressure will get to secondary seal before the metal parts rotate
9. O-ring pressure leak check places secondary seal in outboard position which minimizes sealing time
10. MTI recommends STS-51l launch proceed on 28 January1986
11. SRM-25 will not be significantly different from srm-15.

Signed by Joe C. Kilminster, Vice President Space Booster Programs

Figure 11. MTI assessment of temperature concern on SRM-25 (51l) launch

The chart lists twelve separate statements. Statements 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 9 actually support a no-launch decision. Statement 3 is actually a lie. There was no engineering assessment made during the caucus. Arnie and I continued to press for retaining the original decision of not launching below 53 °F (12 °C). Statement 7 addresses the erosion margin but erosion was not the primary topic of discussion that evening. We were all discussing whether the seals would even seal before hot gas blow-by would destroy them, this statement is the only one to support a launch but it was not part of the concern that night. Statement 10 neither supports nor is against a launch decision. It is simply a statement of engineering fact which states that when pressure is applied to an O-ring seal, it will move away from the pressure to the opposite side of the groove containing it. Statement 12 is a contradiction of statement 1 because everyone knew that 20 °F (-7 °C) colder seals were very significant as our preliminary test data had shown.

Therefore, MTI senior management reversed a sound technical recommendation without one shred of supporting data and without any re-evaluation of the data they had promised when they requested the caucus.

The next morning I paused outside Arnie Thompson’s office and told him and my boss that I hoped the launch was safe, but I also hoped that when the booster joints were inspected that we would find all the seals burned almost all the way through the joint, and then maybe we could get someone with authority to take a stand and stop the flights until we fixed the joints.

Later, I was walking post the room normally used to watch the launches when Bob Ebeling stepped out to invite me to watch the launch. At first I refused because I didn’t want to watch the launch, but he encouraged me to enter. The room was filled so I seated myself on the floor close to the screen and leaned against Bob’s legs as he was seated in a chair. The boosters ignited and as the vehicle cleared the support tower, Bob whispered to me that we had just dodged a bullet. The reason Bob made this statement was that the propellant experts had told us that the boosters would explode at ignition if we developed a leak in the case. At approximately T+60 seconds, Bob again whispered to me that he had just completed a prayer of thanks to the Lord for a successful launch. Just 13 seconds later we both saw the horror of destruction as the vehicle exploded. We all sat in stunned silence for a short time; then I left the room and went directly to my office where I remained in shock for the remainder of the day. Two of my seal task team colleagues inquired about my condition at my office, but I was unable to speak to them and hold back my emotions, so I just nodded yes I was okay and they left after a short silent stay.

Within a day of the launch, one of my colleagues on the seal task force team told me that he was reviewing the video tape and thought he could see a plume of flame coming from a booster as it exited the explosion. My first thought was that one of the joints had failed, so I postulated several scenarios to fit the observations and one of them turned out to be what was found to cause the disaster. A failure investigation team was formed at MTI on January 31, 1986, which included Arnie Thompson and myself. The team was immediately sent to MSFC in Huntsville, Alabama.

 

Additional Sections

Cite this page: “Telecon Meeting (Ethical Decisions – Morton Thiokol and the Challenger Disaster)” Online Ethics Center for Engineering 5/15/2006 National Academy of Engineering Accessed: Thursday, May 01, 2014 <www.onlineethics.org/Topics/ProfPractice/PPEssays/thiokolshuttle/shuttle_telecon.aspx>