http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57580166

 

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/09/millennials-are-out-reading-older-generations/379934/

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57590795

 

http://www.livescience.com/25027-universe-grows-like-brain.html

A fundamental law of nature may govern the growth of brain networks, social networks, and the expansion of the Universe, a new computer simulation suggests

Credit: WGBH Educational Foundation

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The universe may grow like a giant brain, according to a new computer simulation.

The results, published Nov.16 in the journal Nature’s Scientific Reports, suggest that some undiscovered, fundamental laws may govern the growth of systems large and small, from the electrical firing between brain cells and growth of social networks to the expansion of galaxies.

“Natural growth dynamics are the same for different real networks, like the Internet or the brain or social networks,” said study co-author Dmitri Krioukov, a physicist at the University of California San Diego.

The new study suggests a single fundamental law of nature may govern these networks, said physicist Kevin Bassler of the University of Houston, who was not involved in the study. [What’s That? Your Physics Questions Answered]

“At first blush they seem to be quite different systems, the question is, is there some kind of controlling laws can describe them?” he told LiveScience.

By raising this question, “their work really makes a pretty important contribution,” he said.

Similar Networks

Past studies showed brain circuits and the Internet look a lot alike. But despite finding this functional similarity, nobody had developed equations to perfectly predict how computer networks, brain circuits or social networks grow over time, Krioukov said.

Using Einstein’s equations of relativity, which explain how matter warps the fabric of space-time, physicists can retrace the universe’s explosive birth in the Big Bang roughly 14 billion years ago and how it has expanded outward in the eons since.

So Krioukov’s team wondered whether the universe’s accelerating growth could provide insight into the ways social networks or brain circuits expand.

Brain cells and galaxies

The team created a computer simulation that broke the early universe into the tiniest possible units — quanta of space-time more miniscule than subatomic particles. The simulation linked any quanta, or nodes in a massive celestial network, that were causally related. (Nothing travels faster than light, so if a person hits a baseball on Earth, the ripple effects of that event could never reach an alien in a distant galaxy in a reasonable amount of time, meaning those two regions of space-time aren’t causally related.)

As the simulation progressed, it added more and more space-time to the history of the universe, and so its “network” connections between matter in galaxies, grew as well, Krioukov said.

When the team compared the universe’s history with growth of social networks and brain circuits, they found all the networks expanded in similar ways: They balanced links between similar nodes with ones that already had many connections. For instance, a cat lover surfing the Internet may visit mega-sites such as Google or Yahoo, but will also browse cat fancier websites or YouTube kitten videos. In the same way, neighboring brain cells like to connect, but neurons also link to such “Google brain cells” that are hooked up to loads of other brain cells.

The eerie similarity between networks large and small is unlikely to be a coincidence, Krioukov said.

“For a physicist it’s an immediate signal that there is some missing understanding of how nature works,” Krioukov said.

It’s more likely that some unknown law governs the way networks grow and change, from the smallest brain cells to the growth of mega-galaxies, Krioukov said.

“This result suggests that maybe we should start looking for it,” Krioukov told LiveScience.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57602945

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/science/alpha-centauri-breakthrough-starshot-yuri-milner-stephen-hawking.html

Can you fly an iPhone to the stars?

In an attempt to leapfrog the planets and vault into the interstellar age, a bevy of scientists and other luminaries from Silicon Valley and beyond, led by Yuri Milner, a Russian philanthropist and Internet entrepreneur, announced a plan on Tuesday to send a fleet of robot spacecraft no bigger than iPhones to Alpha Centauri, the nearest star system, 4.37 light-years away.

If it all worked out — a cosmically big “if” that would occur decades and perhaps $10 billion from now — a rocket would deliver a “mother ship” carrying a thousand or so small probes to space. Once in orbit, the probes would unfold thin sails and then, propelled by powerful laser beams fromEarth, set off one by one like a flock of migrating butterflies across the universe.

Within two minutes, the probes would be more than 600,000 miles from home — as far as the lasers could maintain a tight beam — and moving at a fifth of the speed of light. But it would still take 20 years for them to get to Alpha Centauri. Those that survived would zip past the star system, making measurements and beaming pictures back to Earth.

Much of this plan is probably half a lifetime away. Mr. Milner and his colleagues estimate that it could take 20 years to get the mission off the ground and into the heavens, 20 years to get to Alpha Centauri and another four years for the word from outer space to come home. And there is still the matter of attracting billions of dollars to pay for it.

“I think you and I will be happy to see the launch,” Mr. Milner, 54, said in an interview, adding that progress in medicine and longevity would determine whether he would live to see the results.

“We came to the conclusion it can be done: interstellar travel,” Mr. Milner said. He announced the project, called Breakthrough Starshot, in a news conference in New York on Tuesday, 55 years after Yuri Gagarin — for whom Mr. Milner is named — became the first human in space.

The English cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking is one of three members of the board of directors for the mission, along with Mr. Milner and Mark Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder.

What makes human beings unique?” Dr. Hawking asked. He went on to say, “I believe that what makes us unique is transcending our limits.”

Continue reading the main story

Dr. Hawking added, “Today we commit to the next great leap in the cosmos, because we are human and our nature is to fly.”

The project will be directed by Pete Worden, a former director of NASA’s Ames Research Center. He has a prominent cast of advisers, including the Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb as chairman; the British astronomer royal Martin Rees; the Nobel Prize-winning astronomer Saul Perlmutter, of the University of California, Berkeley; Ann Druyan, an executive producer of the television mini-series “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” and the widow of Carl Sagan; and the mathematician and author Freeman Dyson, of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J.

“There are about 20 key challenges we are asking the world’s scientific experts to help us with — and we are willing to financially support their work,” Dr. Worden said in an email.

A detailed technical description of the project appears on the project’s website.

Estimating that the project could cost $5 billion to $10 billion, Mr. Milner is initially investing $100 million for research and development. He said he was hoping to lure other investors, especially from international sources. Both NASA and the European Space Agency have been briefed on the project, Dr. Worden said.

Most of that money would go toward a giant laser array, which could be used to repeatedly send probes toward any star (as long as the senders were not looking for return mail anytime soon) or around the solar system, perhaps to fly through the ice plumes of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, which might contain microbes — tiny forms of life.

In a sense, the start of this space project reflects the make-it-or-break-it mode of Silicon Valley. Rather than send one big, expensive spacecraft on a journey of years, send thousands of cheap ones. If some break or collide with space junk, others can take their place.

Interstellar travel is a daunting and humbling notion, but Alpha Centauri is an alluring target for such a trip: It is the closest star system to our own, and there might be planets in the system. The system, which looks to the naked eye like one star, consists of three: Alpha Centauri A and Alpha Centauri B, which circle each other, and Proxima Centauri, which may be circling the other two. In recent years, astronomers have amassed data suggesting the possibility of an Earth-size planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B.

It would take Voyager 1, humanity’s most distant space probe, more than 70,000 years to reach Alpha Centauri if it were headed in that direction, which it is not.

Over the years, a variety of propulsion plans have been hatched to cross the void more quickly. In 1962, shortly after lasers were invented, Robert Forward, a physicist and science fiction author, suggested they could be used to push sails in space.

In 2011, Darpa, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, got into the act with 100 Year Starship, a contest to develop a business plan for interstellar travel.

By all accounts, Mr. Milner was initially skeptical of an interstellar probe. But three trends seemingly unrelated to space travel — advances in nanotechnology and lasers and the relentless march of Moore’s Law, making circuits ever smaller and more powerful — have converged in what he called “a surprising way.”

It is now possible to fit the entire probe with computers, cameras and electrical power, a package with a mass of only one gram, a thirtieth of an ounce.

That, Dr. Loeb said, is about what the guts of an iPhone, stripped of its packaging and displays, amount to.

Power would come from a tiny radioactive source like americium, the element in smoke detectors. Propulsion would come from foil sails that would unfold to catch laser light.

The laser is the most intimidating and expensive of the challenges. It would have to generate 100 gigawatts of power for the two minutes needed to accelerate the butterfly probes to a fifth of the speed of light (subjecting its tiny innards to 60,000 times the force of normal gravity, by the way). That is about as much energy as it takes for a space shuttle to lift off, Dr. Loeb said, and about 100 times the output of a typical nuclear power plant.

To achieve that energy would require an array about a mile across combining thousands of lasers firing in perfect unison.

Moreover, to keep the beam tightly focused on one probe at a time would require an adaptive optics system that compensated for atmospheric turbulence — something astronomers know how to do over a span of 10 meters, the size of a big telescope mirror now, but not over a mile.

Posing another challenge is the design of the sails, which would have to be very thin and able to reflect the laser light without absorbing any of its energy. Absorbing as little as one part in 100,000 of the laser energy would vaporize the sail.

Another challenge might simply be to the imagination. Nobody knows what the Starshot fleet might find out.

“Looking is very different from going and visiting,” Dr. Loeb said.

As he noted, referring to recent physics experiments, “Nature teaches us that its imagination is better than ours.”

 

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57640135

 

There is currently a lawsuit concerning the 126,000 Brooklyn votes which were purged.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/20/fk_sanders_says_clinton_aide_bragging_we_kicked_his_a_after_massive_voter_purges_and_irregularities_in_ny_primary/?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=socialflow

F**k Sanders, says Clinton aide, bragging “We kicked his a**” after massive voter purges and irregularities in NY primary
Hillary staffer gloated to Politico reporter after beating Bernie in NY, amid accusations of voting problems
BEN NORTON
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TOPICS: BERNIE SANDERS, HILLARY CLINTON, NEW YORK, NEW YORK PRIMARY, ELECTIONS NEWS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

F**k Sanders, says Clinton aide, bragging “We kicked his a**” after massive voter purges and irregularities in NY primary
Hillary Clinton (Credit: Reuters/Aaron Josefczyk)
“We kicked his a** tonight,” bragged a senior Hillary Clinton aide.

“I hope this convinces Bernie to tone it down. If not, f**k him.”

A Politico reporter says this is what he was told Tuesday night, after Clinton won the New York primary, with around 58 percent of the vote to Sanders’ 42 percent.

Sanders won the vast majority of New York state, but Clinton won the densely populated urban areas, particularly New York City. In Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, the candidates were neck-and-neck, but Clinton pulled just ahead.

Voting day was plagued with enormous problems, leading to widespread accusations of voter suppression and disenfranchisement.

Since last fall, the New York Board of Elections mysteriously purged more than 125,000 Brooklyn Democrats from the voting records without their knowledge.

Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that there had been “purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists.”

The New York City watchdog, Comptroller Scott Stringer, said all of this happened “without any adequate explanation furnished by the Board of Elections.”

There were also countless reports that residents were given wrong voting information, people were sent to wrong polling locations, voters were forced to fill out affidavit ballots that may not count, poll workers did not know how to operate the voting machines and voting machines were broken.

The complaint hotline was flooded with 468 percent more complaints than in the 2012 primary. The office said it was “by far the largest volume of complaints we have received for an election since” since Attorney General Eric Schneiderman entered his position.

Stringer condemned the massive “irregularities” and vowed to audit the election board.

“Election after election, reports come in of people who were inexplicably purged from the polls, told to vote at the wrong location or unable to get in to their polling site,” the city watchdog said.

Stringer went on public radio station WYNC explaining “we need to reform the Board of Elections.”

A group of New Yorkers who were purged from the voting records sued the government in an attempt to get back their right to vote.

A New York federal district court judge did not rule to open the primary or issue an order to count provisional ballots, instead leaving electoral decisions up to New York’s counties, “essentially kick[ing] the ball down the road.”

And these are just the voters who were registered with a dominant party.

New York is one of only 11 U.S. states that has a closed primary, meaning residents who are not registered with the Democratic or Republican Parties cannot participate.

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of New York’s registered voters were therefore unable to vote in the primary. Because they were registered either as independents or with third parties, 3.2 million New Yorkers were left without a voice.

Salon contacted the New York City Board of Elections, asking if there was any way for independents to vote. The office spokesperson bluntly said “You cannot vote today” and “There’s no way,” before abruptly hanging up.

Some groups urged independents to vote with provisional ballots, but there is no indication that they will be counted.

In order to participate, voters had to register for a party in October, six months before the primary. And this is not even considering the possibility of being purged from the records.

The Nation flatly stated that New York has “some of the worst voting laws in the country.” It has no early voting, no same-day registration, no pre-registration and no out-of-precinct voting.

North Carolina, in fact, invoked New York laws to justify its own harsh voting restrictions.

Sanders, a Vermont senator who has been elected for decades as an independent, does significantly better with independent voters than Clinton.

Sanders said he commiserated with the more than 3 million New Yorkers who were unable to vote.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/19/3_2_million_shut_out_in_nyc_listen_to_board_of_elections_tell_resident_you_cannot_vote_today_being_an_independent/

3.2 million shut out in NYC: Listen to Board of Elections tell resident “You cannot vote today being an independent”
27% of New Yorkers can’t vote in today’s primary. Hear Election Board say it openly, dismissing court order option VIDEO
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3.2 million shut out in NYC: Listen to Board of Elections tell resident “You cannot vote today being an independent”
People vote in the New York primary elections at a polling station in Brooklyn borough on April 19, 2016 (Credit: Reuters/Brendan McDermid)
Today, April 19, is the New York primary. It is one of the most important days in the presidential campaign, and can have an enormous impact on the election, potentially helping to give Bernie Sanders the further momentum he needs to challenge firmly entrenched establishment forces, or conversely cementing Hillary Clinton’s status as the “inevitable” nominee.

More than one-quarter (27 percent) of New York’s registered voters, however, are unable to vote in this critical primary today. 3.2 million New Yorkers cannot participate, because they are registered either as independents or with third parties.

New York is one of 11 U.S. states that has a closed primary system, which effectively guarantees that the Democratic and Republican Parties control electoral politics.

Another 63,558 registered Democrats in Brooklyn were mysteriously unregistered in recent months, and therefore stripped of their right to vote in the primary. No city or state election official could explain why to WNYC public radio.

A group of New Yorkers whose party affiliations suddenly changed even filed a lawsuit yesterday in an attempt to pressure the state to return their right to vote.

As The Nation put it, New York has “some of the worst voting laws in the country.”

If voters want to participate in the New York primary, they had to register for one of the two major parties in October — six months before. At this time, few people thought Sanders would have had a chance. In recent months, an enormous grassroots movement has emerged behind Sanders, and he has a real chance at defeating the Clinton machine.

Closed primaries have disproportionately hurt Sanders, who is significantly more popular among independents than his rival. In fact, the Vermont senator has been continuously elected for decades as an independent, and says he commiserates with those unable to vote today.

Some media outlets reported this week, nevertheless, that there could be a possible way around the restrictions on independent and third-party voters. Gothamist wrote that New Yorkers who have fallen through the cracks can “try to get a court order stating you should be allowed to vote in a certain party’s primary.”

“As difficult as this sounds, the city Board of Elections actually stations judges at offices in each of the boroughs on Primary Day to do exactly this,” Gothamist reported. A spokesperson provided the news website a list of locations and hours judges will be present in New York City’s different boroughs.

I called the Board of Elections’ Brooklyn office this afternoon and asked if this is indeed possible. They put me on hold for several minutes before telling me to call the main office of the New York City Board of Elections, in Manhattan.

I proceeded to call the main office, asking if I could try to get a court order, or if there was any other way I could vote in the New York primary. I was firmly rejected.

The Board of Elections office strongly denied that there was any way for me to vote, stating bluntly, “You cannot vote today being an independent.”

“There’s no potential way?” I asked. “There’s no way,” the office spokesperson replied, before abruptly hanging up.

Listen to the phone call below. A transcript of the exchange follows.

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: Board of elections.

ME: Hi, I’m a registered independent, and I read in media reports that it’s possible to potentially get a court order—

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: No that’s true. I don’t, that is not true. Okay? I don’t know where, I’m sorry, but that is not true. You can’t vote today. Okay?

ME: So you’ve heard that from other people as well?

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: Umm.

ME: No, because I’ve seen it, actually, in a few different media reports. They’ve said that—

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: I’m telling you, this is the Board of Elections, and I’m telling you what’s true and what’s false, and you cannot vote today being an independent. Okay?

ME: There’s no potential way?

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: There’s no way. Okay?

ME: None at all?

BOARD OF ELECTIONS OFFICE: None.

ME: Okay—

[Board of Elections spokesperson abruptly hangs up]

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/20/1240_arrested_in_past_week_as_democracy_spring_movement_against_money_in_politics_spreads_throughout_u_s/

1,240 arrested in past week as “Democracy Spring” movement against money in politics spreads throughout U.S.
Activists carried out one of the biggest acts of civil disobedience in recent history—yet got little media coverage
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TOPICS: CITIZENS UNITED, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, DEMOCRACY SPRING, PROTESTS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

1,240 arrested in past week as “Democracy Spring” movement against money in politics spreads throughout U.S.
Democracy Spring and Democracy Awakening protesters rally in front of the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on April 18, 2016 (Credit: Reuters/Joshua Roberts)
It was one of the most massive acts of civil disobedience in recent U.S. history. Over the past week, well over 1,000 people were arrested in an enormous sit-in protest at the U.S. Capitol.

The demonstration is part of a new movement that calls itself “Democracy Spring.” Activists are calling for ending the chokehold money has on U.S. politics, overturning Citizens United and restoring voting rights.

On April 2, activists launched a colossal 10-day, 140-mile march from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. This was the preface to the mass arrests.

At least 1,240 protesters were arrested in the week from Monday, April 11 to Monday, April 18, according to police, on charges of crowding, obstructing or incommoding. Some activists even tied themselves to scaffolding in the Capitol rotunda.

Activists say even more people were arrested. The Nation put the figure at 1,400. The left-wing magazine refers to Democracy Spring and the allied Democracy Awakening protests from April 16 to 18 as “the most important protest of the 2016 election.”

A host of celebrities and prominent figures joined the protesters. Actress Rosario Dawson — who has become an outspoken Bernie Sanders supporter — was arrested, as was Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, along with leaders from the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the AFL-CIO and the NAACP.

And although the Washington, D.C. demonstration officially ended Monday, Democracy Spring is only just beginning.

Leaders in the movement say they plan on expanding it throughout the country.

“Despite this unprecedented call to action, the congressional leadership did nothing,” Kai Newkirk, the campaign director of Democracy Spring, explained.

“Now we will take the battle into their offices in D.C., their home districts and to their fundraisers, to the party conventions and beyond.”

Democracy Spring activists are asking that all U.S. political candidates sign the Equal Voice for All Declaration, which maintains that the “government should be free from the corrupting influence of big money in politics and solely dependent upon the People” and calls “for pro-democracy, anti-corruption reforms, including voting rights protections, citizen-funded elections, and a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.”

The movement is non-partisan and is not affiliated with any political candidates or parties. It has been organized by a coalition of more than 120 organizations, activist groups and unions, which share principles of unity.

Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has expressed support for the new movement.

“We must overturn Citizens United if we are serious about maintaining the foundations of American democracy,” his campaign tweeted.

“Americans understand that our gov’t is dominated by big money. Glad to see people taking action to restore democracy.”

The fact that more than a thousand Americans willingly got arrested in order to protest corporate influence in politics sounds like it would make a good story, but it did not get as much media attention as one might think.

On April 11, more than 400 people were arrested at the sit-in. An analysis by The Intercept found major cable news networks devoted just 30 seconds of coverage to the story.

Perhaps this is unsurprising, given another analysis by The Intercept found that, while Bernie Sanders is more popular among Americans than Donald Trump, the average daily ratio of Trump-to-Sanders mentions in the U.S. media is 29-to-3.

The protesters were painfully aware of this lack of coverage. While they were getting arrested, some chanted “Where is CNN?”

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57640138

 

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/17/two_despised_frontrunners_two_dying_parties_and_a_deeply_broken_system_how_did_we_get_here/

Two despised frontrunners, two dying parties and a deeply broken system: How did we get here?
Trump and Clinton may be the two most hated frontrunners in history, dueling symbols of a duopoly in decay
ANDREW O’HEHIR Follow
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TOPICS: 2016 ELECTIONS, 2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, DEMOCRATIC PARTY, DONALD TRUMP, EDITOR’S PICKS, HILLARY CLINTON, REPUBLICAN PARTY, ELECTIONS NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

Two despised frontrunners, two dying parties and a deeply broken system: How did we get here?
Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton (Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert/Star Max/Photo montage by Salon)
To paraphrase a great American poet of the 1980s, this is not our beautiful house. We get a tiny breather in the political calendar this week, and it’s a useful moment to take half a step back from the most chaotic and disordered presidential campaign in living memory and ask ourselves the big question: What in the name of Jiminy Cricket is going on here? I spent the week digging into the past for clues to the strange dynamics of the present: To be clear, I did not conclude that Donald Trump is a new Hitler or that Bernie Sanders is a new Lenin, only that the parallels and the discontinuities were instructive.

So here’s what’s happening: Our political system is profoundly broken, and although many of us have understood that for years, this has been the year that fact became unavoidable. Both political parties are struggling through transparently rigged primary campaigns that have made that ludicrous process look more outdated than ever. Nobody cares about the Democratic vote in Wyoming and it’s not going to matter, but when Bernie Sanders dominates the caucuses in that empty, dusty and Republican-dominated state and wins seven of its 18 delegates, doesn’t that sum up the whole damn thing?

Both parties are also struggling to control long-simmering internal conflicts that have come boiling to the surface this year, and in both cases the leadership caste is wondering whether it’s time to burn down the village in order to save it. In the larger analysis, both parties are struggling to ignore the mounting evidence of their own irrelevance. One of them is struggling with that in a more public and more spectacular fashion at the moment, but the contagion is general. In my judgment, Democrats would do well to cancel the Champagne and refill the Xanax.

Despite the unkillable Whack-a-Mole candidacy of Sanders — who, as I argued this week, has channeled an insurgent and quasi-revolutionary class-consciousness that other politicians didn’t even know existed — we are likely to end up with a general-election campaign between the two least popular major-party nominees in political history. OK, I suppose we can’t know that for sure: We don’t have polling data to consult from the infamous election of 1828, when Andrew Jackson accused President John Quincy Adams of procuring hookers for the Russian czar and running a gambling den in the White House. (Adams accused Jackson of being a bigamist and an adulterer, and also hinted that he might be partly black, despite his overtly racist views.)

But I imagine you take my point: Jackson and Adams were intensely divisive figures who represented competing class and regional interests within the all-male, all-white electorate of the time, and were loved and hated accordingly. In fact, that election effectively marked the invention of the two-party system after several decades of chaos. If the past is prologue, we could be in for some excitement as that system implodes: The election of 1800 produced a constitutional crisis, by way of an electoral-college tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, and then 19 more tied ballots in the House of Representatives before Jefferson was elected. At the opposite extreme, James Monroe ran for re-election unopposed in 1820, which must have made for a boring year on social media.

Numerous noteworthy American presidents or presidential candidates, from Lincoln to William Jennings Bryan to John F. Kennedy to George W. Bush, have been divisive figures who excited strong passions on both sides and split public opinion roughly in half. Contention is the essence of politics. But what we’re facing this year, in a likely fall campaign between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, is something different and quite likely without precedent that symbolizes the terminal decay of politics. It’s not contention; it’s more like universal distaste.

Of course polling data is not sacrosanct, and ambiguous perceptions like “favorable” and “unfavorable” tend to wobble around even more than voter preference. But by any standard the CBS/New York Times poll published three weeks ago was remarkable. It sort of blew through the news cycle and then out again, like an indigestible fast-food meal: more weird and crazy numbers in a weird and crazy year. But just take a whiff, and tell me it doesn’t smell like democracy dying on the vine. Donald Trump was viewed favorably by just 24 percent of the voters surveyed, and unfavorably by 57 percent, making him by far the least-liked major-party frontrunner since CBS began asking this question in 1984.

Who’s in second place, in this historic sweepstakes of hate? Hillary Clinton, in the same poll: She was viewed favorably by 31 percent and unfavorably by a mere 52 percent. I see you in the back of the room waving your slide rules, eager-beaver Democrats. And yes, you’re right: Every national survey so far, including that one, shows Clinton beating Trump easily. Math was never my strong suit, but 31 percent is more than 24 percent, as I understand it. But are you guys really going to act like that’s a cause for high-fives and #WeGotThis retweets and celebratory glasses of Sonoma Chardonnay? If that’s a silver lining, it’s made out of aluminum foil from the bottom of the cat box. We’ve got the second least-popular candidate ever — that’s what time it is! Winner-winner chicken dinner!

Just to review, those Trump and Clinton numbers are the two highest unfavorable ratings in the 32-year history of the CBS poll, and also the two largest “negative net ratings,” meaning the difference between the positive and negative numbers. The only previous candidate to come close was Bill Clinton in March of 1992, when he was surrounded by allegations of multiple extramarital affairs. (He came back from that minus-17 nadir to win the election, of course, but even at his low point his negatives were nowhere near as high as Trump’s or Hillary Clinton’s are now.) In the previous eight presidential cycles, there has never been a poll showing both major-party candidates with negative net favorability ratings, let alone double-digit ones.

The nationwide Clinton-Trump hate-fest can be viewed as the continuation or culmination of a long-term downward trend that is easy to summarize: Americans don’t much like either political party or the people they nominate. There are peaks and valleys within that downward arc, to be sure, and significant deviations from the mean: Sometimes people dislike one party considerably more than the other (right now the Republicans are in the doghouse) and occasionally an individual candidate breaks through the antipathy, like Ronald Reagan in 1980 or Barack Obama in 2008. But the data suggests an awful lot of blah: At this point in 2004, John Kerry’s numbers were a smidgen negative and George W. Bush’s a smidgen positive; in the spring of 2012, Mitt Romney stood at minus-7 while Obama’s up-down balance was dead even.

I can only conclude that many people who are embedded within the two-party system glance at that kind of data and shrug it off as a meaningless aberration, because it doesn’t conform to their understanding of the world. They carry on pretending they haven’t noticed the gorilla in the room of American politics, which is that their parties are visibly crumbling beneath them. (To be fair, Republicans are having a tough time ignoring that this year.) The proportion of American adults who identify as either Republicans or Democrats is at or near all-time lows. Much of this seems paradoxical: Democrats hold roughly the same slim edge over Republicans that they’ve held in opinion polling for decades, yet according to this year’s Gallup poll, Democratic identification fell below 30 percent for the first time ever. (Another reason to cancel those “Emerging Democratic Majority” parties.)

Of course the X factor in this perplexing equation is independent voters, who have consistently been the largest chunk of the electorate since the early ’90s, and now represent more than 40 percent of the total. Mainstream political science generally behaves as if independents don’t matter or don’t exist; there are only Democratic or Republican “leaners” who for mysterious reasons choose to stand aloof from either party. There’s some crude validity to that when it comes to gaming out electoral scenarios, no doubt, but not when it comes to considering American politics as a system that no longer works, and that most people despise. As the CBS poll reveals, that big unaffiliated chunk of the electorate is where both Trump and Clinton have overwhelmingly unfavorable numbers, and where both parties are perceived with undisguised hostility.

It’s also independent voters who decide presidential elections, a political truism that has typically led both parties to nominate boring, middle-ground candidates who are just barely acceptable to the ideological base but not too scary for the apocryphal suburban swing voter. But that really hasn’t worked too well, at least not since the devious triangulation regime of Bill Clinton. Who was, after his own stealthy fashion — I mean this sincerely! — one of the most destructive presidents in recent history. If President Kerry and President Romney accomplished great things, I guess I missed them.

What independents “really” want, and whether it’s useful or possible to make any general statements about them, is a bigger question than I can hope to answer here. It’s safe to say that by definition they are dubious about the Republicrat duopoly, and many of them are eager for alternative options. Independent voters overwhelmingly supported Obama in 2008, when he ran as a non-ideological agent of historic change, and they have been the bedrock of Bernie Sanders’ support this year. If all the Democratic primaries and caucuses had been closed to independent voters in 2008, Obama would probably have lost to Hillary Clinton. To turn that question upside down, if there were a nationwide open primary between Clinton and Sanders, the outcome would be very much in doubt. Indeed, the Sanders demographic is strikingly similar to the Obama ’08 demographic, with the obvious (and fatal) subtraction of most of the African-American vote.

If there’s a Democratic advantage amid the carnage of 2016, it resides in another paradox whose long-term consequences are unclear. What Jeb Bush recently and plaintively described as “regular-order democracy” has been conclusively demolished on the Republican side, where the nominee will presumably be one of two men who are loathed by the party leadership and nearly certain to lose in November. The Democratic process, on the other hand, has functioned approximately as it was designed to — as witness that result in Wyoming, where Sanders won roughly 56 percent of the vote and came away with 39 percent of the delegates. The establishment candidate with all the corporate dollars and the deep institutional roots is (probably) going to vanquish the crowd-funded rebel outsider, although not without a few hair-raising plot twists along the way.

At this point, it looks as if the Democrats’ mainstream candidate, although widely disliked, is less terrifying to independents than either of the prospective Republican nominees, who have all but announced that they only want the votes of self-righteous and constipated white men. But that is entirely a testimonial to Republican confusion and disorder; anyone who tries to spin it as evidence of Democratic strength and clarity and forward thinking is deep in Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Land of Perpetual Denial. It’s conceivable — not all that likely, but conceivable — that the Republican civil war of 2016, and the purge that is likely to follow, will permit the GOP to rebuild a viable party before the oncoming Democratic crisis can be resolved.

Poll after poll has suggested that Clinton would be in deep trouble against John Kasich, who has won exactly one primary and could only win the Republican nomination in a contested convention with multiple ballots (and an unknown number of felony assault charges). You can’t say anything is impossible this year, but no convention in either party has been seriously contested since the Republican gathering of 1976, and none has gone to a second ballot since 1952. Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio also polled well against Clinton; they and Kasich would all be leading contenders in some third-rail, Koch-funded pro-business party that was less overtly hateful and racist and misogynist than the neo-Confederate monstrosity of the contemporary GOP. That party, I am sorry to say, would probably win the election this year.

If much of this analysis seems contradictory or incoherent — independents love the anti-establishment message of Sanders, but not the anti-establishment message of Trump; they’d probably support a center-right old-school Republican over Hillary Clinton — that’s because American politics don’t make sense, and are driven by subterranean fears and desires more than logic or reason. Clinton supporters will say, of course, that she has been unfairly pilloried by the BernieBros as a tool of Wall Street and a political land shark with no ideological soul, and that the real reason so many people to her right and her left hate her is widespread misogynist resentment toward a powerful and ambitious woman. My own perspective is that both things can be true, but never mind.

There could definitely be a dark historical irony at work here, if the year we elect our first female president — rather late in the day, it must be said — is also the year when our political system enters a period of unmistakable and perhaps terminal decline. If Hillary Clinton wins in November, it won’t happen because America has gotten over sexism or because the Democrats have forged a pathway to the future. It will be because she was nominated by the party that is dying slowly and somewhat politely, rather than the one that just blew itself up in public with a suicide vest. It will happen because many people will conclude they’d rather have a president they don’t particularly like or trust, but who is pretty much a known quantity, than a third-rate comic-book supervillain. Of such choices, history is made.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/18/the_democrats_need_to_stop_being_the_lesser_of_two_evils_party_starting_now/

The Democrats need to stop being the “lesser of two evils” party — starting now
The Clintons style of politics is losing sway, while Bernie represents a return to New Deal principles. It’s time
CONOR LYNCH
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TOPICS: BERNIE SANDERS, DEM PRIMARY, ELECTIONS 2016, HILLARY CLINTON, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

The Democrats need to stop being the “lesser of two evils” party — starting now
Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton (Credit: AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been very busy over the past several months trying to convince people that the Democratic primary process is in no way tilted in favor of frontrunner Hillary Clinton. She has appeared on talk shows to debate about super-delegates and why they are necessary (to ensure that “party leaders and elected officials don’t have to be in a position where they are running against grass-roots activists”), and has denied any kind of real tension within the Democratic Party. Indeed, whenever confronted about her handling of the primaries — or the current state of the party — Wasserman Schultz tends to dodge the question and pivot to just how crazy and dysfunctional the Republicans are, as if to say: “Yeah, we’re pretty terrible, but look at those clowns.”

Similarly, whenever Hillary Clinton’s dismal favorability ratings are mentioned (according to HuffPost Pollster, Clinton’s average is 55.6 percent unfavorable, 40.2 percent favorable), many Democrats simply point to the fact that GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s ratings are even more horrific. (It’s true, the demagogic billionaire has a 64.4 percent unfavorable, 29.7 percent favorable rating.)

Once again, the evil Republicans are used to divert from the reality that Democrats are going through some serious problems of their own, like the fact that their likely nominee is one of the most distrusted politicians in the country. As Democratic strategist Brad Bannon told The Hill a few days ago:

“The No. 1 reason that [Clinton’s] favorability is so bad is that you have large numbers of Americans who say they don’t trust her… Voters see her as the ultimate politician, who will do or say anything to get elected.”

When the general election comes around in a few months, and Clinton is facing Donald Trump or any other Republican candidate, one can easily predict what kind of uninspiring platform she will be running on. The Clinton campaign provided a small appetizer in a short ad earlier this year, in which a foreboding narrator warns that “one of these Republicans could actually be president,” over clips of typical GOP lunacy. “They’re backward, even dangerous,” he continues, “So ask yourself, who’s the one candidate who can stop them?”

Answer: Hillary Clinton can stop them!

It’s the kind of hyper-partisan campaign one has come to expect at this point, running on the lesser of two evils principle. And it’s not wrong. Republicans are unquestionably dangerous and extreme, and if Trump or (God help us) Ted Cruz manages to get elected president, America and the world will be in store for a great deal of pain. One has to be slightly misanthropic to support a Republican over Clinton in hopes of triggering a more radical uprising.

But more and more Americans are tired of voting for a politician simply because he or she is less ghastly than the other party’s candidate. And the rise of Senator Bernie Sanders has intensified this weariness. Although the Clinton campaign has tried to downplay the differences between Clinton and Sanders — making it more about practicality than principles — when it comes down to it, Sanders and Clinton are simply different breeds of politician. Sanders is a throwback to New Deal liberalism, when Democrats promoted economic egalitarian principles and sought to curb the power of monied interests and limit the inequities of capitalism. Clinton, on the other hand, represents the New Democrat liberalism that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, when various Democratic leaders abandoned the working and middle class and cozied up with what Thomas Frank calls the “professional class” in his new book, “Listen, Liberal.” Frank explains the economic philosophy of this professional (i.e. liberal) class:

“To the liberal class, every big economic problem is really an education problem, a failure by the losers to learn the right skills and get the credentials everyone knows you’ll need in the society of the future. Take inequality. The real problem, many liberals believe, is that not enough poor people get a chance to go to college and join the professional-managerial elite.”

So, it is not so much the capitalist system that promotes inequality, but the fact that not everyone gets the chance to live up to their “God-given potential,” as Clinton likes to put it. For a professional who has worked hard to get to his or her current position through many years of education, this perception is understandable. Of course, it’s completely wrong — as the productivity-pay gap, which has steadily increased since the 1980s, reveals. Frank accurately sums up the real source of today’s sweeping inequality:

“The real problem was one of inadequate worker power, not inadequate worker smarts. The people who produced were losing their ability to demand a share in what they made. The people who owned were taking more and more.”

Liberal elitism is real, and many liberal elites are completely oblivious to the struggles of the bottom 90 percent. Sanders has reminded America of the kind of class politics that liberalism once embraced, and how modern liberalism lost its way. Consider each candidates relationship with the telecommunications giant Verizon. On Wednesday, Sanders stood on the picket line with Verizon workers in New York, and even drew fire from CEO Lowell McAdams, who received nearly $20 million in compensation for 2014.

On the other hand, Clinton, as Salon’s Ben Norton reported, has received tens of thousands from Verizon executives and lobbyists, and was paid $225,000 by Verizon for a 2013 speech. The corporation also has ties to the Clinton Foundation, and has donated between $100,000 and $250,000.

As Norton notes, 18 out of 20 of Clinton’s top donors from 1999 to 2015 were “corporations or firms that provide services to corporations,” while 19 out of Sanders top 20 donors from 1989 to 2015 were unions.

The 2016 primaries have revealed a major strife within the Democratic party. If Clinton is the nominee — which is still the most likely outcome — she will probably win the general election, because the horror of a Donald Trump or Ted Cruz presidency would propel liberals and Independents to come out and vote. But how long can the Democratic party run as the “lesser of two evils” party? How long can liberal elites use Republicans to divert attention from their own reactionary beliefs?

According to a report from Pew Research Center, the least financially secure Americans largely preferred Democrats in 2014, but a majority of them did not vote. There is an understandable political apathy among lower class Americans — not to mention voter suppression, which tends to hurt poor people and minorities. After all, both parties supported corporatist trade deals that eliminated working class jobs, both parties supported Wall Street bailouts, both parties are largely dependent on big money donors — it goes on and on.

When Sanders announced his candidacy last year, he barely registered in the national polls, and Clinton had a enormous 60 percent support. Today, Clinton and Sanders are just about tied in national polls (according to HuffPost Pollster, 47.9 to 44.1 percent). Sanders’ egalitarian vision has energized many Americans who had lost faith in the political process — and while Clinton’s hold on delegates may be insurmountable, her hold on the Democratic Party is not.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57640148

 

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/19/hillary_dirty_tricks_sanders_campaign_accuses_clinton_of_breaking_campaign_finance_laws_in_letter_to_debbie_wasserman_schultz/

Hillary dirty tricks? Sanders campaign accuses Clinton of breaking campaign finance laws in letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz
The letter claims Clinton has benefited illegally from a fundraising committee known as the Hillary Victory Fund
SEAN ILLING
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TOPICS: BERNIE SANDERS, CAMPAIGN FINANCE, DEMOCRATIC PARTY, EDITOR’S PICK, ELECTIONS 2016, HILLARY CLINTON, NEW YORK PRIMARY, ELECTIONS NEWS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

Hillary dirty tricks? Sanders campaign accuses Clinton of breaking campaign finance laws in letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Credit: AP/Reuters/Jim Young/Mark Kauzlarich/Stephen B. Morton)
On the night before the New York primary, Team Sanders sent a carefully worded letter to Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, accusing Hillary Clinton of violating campaign finance rules. Written by Brad Deutsch, an attorney for the Sanders campaign, the letter questions whether Clinton has benefited illegally from a joint fundraising committee known as the Hillary Victory Fund.

The HVF was created by the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s super PAC Hillary for America as a means of raising funds both for the Clinton campaign and for down-ballot races across the country. In principle, individuals can give over $350,000 to the joint fundraising committee if they donate the maximum amount to Clinton, the DNC and the various state parties. However, federal election laws do not allow individual donations to candidates to exceed $2,700.

Deutsch writes:

“The Hillary Victory Fund has reported receiving several individual contributions in amounts as high as $353,400 or more, which is over 130 times the $2,700 limit that applies for contributions to Secretary Clinton’s campaign. Bernie 2016 is particularly concerned that these extremely large-dollar individual contributions have been used by the Hillary Victory Fund to pay for more than $7.8 million in direct mail efforts and over $8.6 million in online advertising, both of which appear to benefit only HFA by generating low-dollar contributions that flow only to HFA, rather than to the DNC or any of the participating state party committees.”

So the issue here is whether Clinton’s campaign is using funds raised by large-dollar donors (who’ve already exceeded their individual contribution limit) to fund activities that benefit Clinton’s campaign alone, which at the very least violates the spirit of the election laws.

Deutsch argues that, “at best, the joint fundraising committee’s spending on direct mail and online advertising appears to represent an impermissible in-kind contribution from the DNC and the participating state party committees to HFA. At worst, using funds received from large-dollar donors who have already contributed the $2,700 maximum to HFA may represent an excessive contribution to HFA from these individuals.”

Although Clinton hasn’t responded publicly to the letter, campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin told The Washington Post in February that their use of the fund has not violated any campaign finance laws. “Republicans are spending record amounts trying to beat Democrats,” Schwerin said, “and we want to ensure that the Democratic nominee and candidates up and down the ballot are backed by a strong party with the resources needed to win.” The problem, though, as Politico reported last week, is that while the money is theoretically supposed to benefit all Democratic candidates, the majority of it so far has gone to Clinton’s campaign. Which is precisely why Sanders supporters continue to push the narrative that the DNC is hardly neutral in this race.

At any rate, the timing of Deutsch’s letter is not a coincidence. Nor is the fact that the letter itself is mostly speculative. It’s entirely likely that Team Clinton is taking advantage of arcane and convoluted campaign finance laws. But the letter is careful not to definitively accuse the Clinton campaign of any crimes; instead, it’s suggestive and raises serious questions.

Against the backdrop of today’s primary, this letter makes a lot of sense. It won’t amount to anything legally, but it is a subtle reminder of the differences between Sanders and Clinton. This story will permeate the news cycle for the next 24 hours and it will fuel the perception among Sanders’s supporters that Clinton is benefiting unfairly from her ties to the DNC. That’s likely all it will do, whether the accusations are true or not. Tactically, though, the Sanders campaign can only benefit from making these points. Clinton has an enormous amount of institutional support in this election cycle. This has given her a comparative advantage over Sanders at almost every level. A letter like this, if nothing else, drives that point home.

http://www.salon.com/2016/04/20/yes_bernie_sanders_is_not_a_democrat_and_hillary_represents_the_very_worst_of_the_party/

Yes, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat — and Hillary represents the very worst of the party
Sanders has exposed just how reactionary and corrupt the Democratic Party is—while Clinton wants things to carry on
BEN NORTON
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TOPICS: BERNIE SANDERS, DEMOCRATIC PARTY, HILLARY CLINTON, ELECTIONS NEWS, NEWS, POLITICS NEWS

Yes, Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat — and Hillary represents the very worst of the party
Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders (Credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder/Jonathan Ernst/Photo montage by Salon)
A new strategy has emerged in the Hillary Clinton camp: No longer even try to match Bernie Sanders’ left-wing politics — which the Wall Street-backed multimillionaire war hawk Clinton is fundamentally incapable of doing. Instead, appeal to authority and accuse the democratic socialist of disloyalty to the corrupt Democratic Party.

Clinton’s campaign did just that this week, condemning Sanders for “trying to convince the next generation of progressives that the Democratic Party is corrupt.”

The notion that Sanders had to try to convince progressives of this in the first place is ludicrous. The warmongering, corporate-funded, pro-privatization Democratic Party leadership has long made it loud and clear that it is thoroughly corrupt and reactionary.

Yet Clinton and her supporters happen to be correct about one thing; they are just right for the wrong reasons.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. And this is a good thing.

What the Clinton camp appears to be incapable of understanding is that the Democratic Party is less and less popular among progressive Americans.

Since the rise of the Clintonian “New Democrat” almost three decades ago, the party has moved so far to the right it has little in common with the base it purports to represent.

President Obama campaigned on the promise of change, but, in many ways, his presidency — particularly in the first term — was George W. Bush lite.

The Obama administration barely even slapped the banks and financial elites responsible for the Great Recession on the wrist. Not a single Wall Street executive went to jail while, today, the very banks responsible pose just as much of a systemic risk as they did in 2008.

The Obama administration killed thousands of people, including an unknown number of civilians, with its secretive drone war. It expanded the war in Afghanistan — twice — dragged its feet on Guantánamo, backed a right-wing military coup that overthrew Honduras’ democratically elected left-wing government and dropped 23,400 bombs on six Muslim-majority countries in 2015.

The Obama administration waged a McCarthyite crackdown on whistleblowers, using the World War I-era Espionage Act to clampdown on more than all previous presidential administrations combined, while drastically expanding the surveillance state.

This is the Democratic Party Americans have grown up with in the past nearly 30 years, since the rise of the Clintonism. And, in these same decades, wages have stagnated, poverty has increased and people have become more and more dissatisfied with the way things are.

It is true that Sanders’ social democratic politics are similar to those of New Deal Democrats. He often jokes that many of his policies were supported by President Dwight Eisenhower — a Republican in the 1950s.

Yet the Democratic Party of the mid-20th century is long gone.

Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the U.S. has drifted more and more to the right — and taken much of the international community with it. During the Cold War, Western capitalist countries had to at least pretend to be concerned with fighting inequality and systemic discrimination. Today they no longer have to compete with an alternative.

As the Republican Party has shifted to the extreme, far-right, the Democratic Party moved along to the right with it. Instead of holding ground (shifting to the left was not even on the table), the Democratic Party embraced neoliberalism.

The so-called “Third Way” paved by the Clintons is just another word for this process.

Hillary Clinton, a figure greatly admired by neoconservatives (who are overwhelmingly backing her over Trump), represents a continuation of this status quo — a status quo millions upon millions of Americans have said they refuse to tolerate anymore.

Americans are desperate for actual change, and Sanders has offered a new path. Clinton has flatly insisted that Americans cannot have basic things that much of the world takes for granted — single-payer health care, free public higher education, environmental policies that don’t rely on fossil fuel corporations that destroy the planet. Sanders says otherwise.

The Democratic Party is a party of corporate influence and military power. It is chock-full of 1 percenters, with leaders like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel — who shuts down public schools en masse and covers up police killings of unarmed black residents — or Debbie Wasserman Schultz — who is working to help loan sharks.

Many of the things that have been called for by Donald Trump, a fascistic demagogue, have already been implemented by the Democratic Party.

The Obama administration has deported more than 2.5 million people — more than any other president. It is sending Central American refugees fleeing violence back to where they are killed.

The Obama administration is more and more heavily militarizing the border, a process that began with the Clinton administration’s passing of NAFTA.

The Obama administration is discriminating against Muslims throughout society, with widespread police surveillance and entrapment, along with shadowy policies like the no-fly list.

When Clinton’s campaign and her supporters implore Americans to oppose Sanders because he is not a Democrat, it is nothing more than a disingenuous appeal to authority.

What they are really saying is loyalty to the Democratic Party is more important than loyalty to the left-wing ideals that it supposedly espouses.

This is the textbook definition of rank opportunism. For them, being a loyal Democrat is more important than having left-wing politics.

Under eight years of a Democratic presidential administration, life for the average working-class American, and particularly for the average working-class American of color, has not gotten better; it has gotten worse.

The Clintons, the most powerful force in the Democratic Party, happen to embody everything that is wrong with it. It was under their leadership that the party took its most reactionary, and despicable, turn.

Bill and Hillary gutted welfare and passed the anti-LGBTQ Defense of Marriage Act.

Bill and Hillary advocated for neoliberal trade deals like NAFTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Bill and Hillary have made millions of dollars speaking for corporations and banks.

Moreover, the Clintons are one of the most corrupt families in U.S. politics. The Clinton Foundation has been described by investigative journalist Ken Silverstein as a “so-called charitable enterprise [that] has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.”

Unlike that of the Clintons, Sanders’ record is not just consistent; it is squeaky clean. And it is consistent and squeaky clean precisely because Sanders is not an opportunist.

Sanders, a longtime independent, is not a party hack. He is a principled leftist who is only running on the Democratic ticket because he knows this, at the present political moment, is the only way he could have a chance of winning.

And he is right.

When it comes to third parties, the U.S. is an incredibly undemocratic country. Most of the world’s democracies have some kind of space for non-hegemonic parties. And in much of Europe in particular, where governments are based on parliamentary systems, third parties can play at least a small role in the political system.

This is not so in the U.S., where there are countless obstacles to democracy in U.S. elections — with limited debates, closed primaries, unelected superdelegates and of course the electoral college.

Sanders’ popularity proves that Americans are hungry for real left-wing politics, for the kind of left-wing politics the Democratic Party has long abandoned.

The fact that a 74-year-old, bald and frankly unattractive man, a Vermont senator with a Brooklyn accent whom most Americans had never heard of until this year, has been doing so incredibly well is a testament to just how popular — and one might even say correct — his socialist ideas are.

An enormous grassroots movement has been built around Sanders. This movement has exploded in very little time. It is led by the youth, particularly by young women and people of color.

What we are witnessing right now is the resurgence of a new left throughout the U.S. — and throughout the world. Sanders is part of this much larger international trend, with figures like Jeremy Corbyn in the U.K., or Podemos in Spain.

And Sanders is aware of this. When he says “Not me, us,” he is acknowledging that the social movements around him are much more important than he is as a mere individual. The fact that he has responded to pressure from Black Lives Matter and the Palestinian solidarity movement demonstrates this.

Those like Hillary Clinton, who are desperate to cling on to the old vestiges of establishment power, are not part of this new left-wing resurgence; they are in fact impediments to it.

Even if Sanders does not win the primary, one of his many important accomplishments will be helping to expose to millions upon millions of Americans just how reactionary and corrupt the Democratic Party is.

He should be thanked for this, not condemned.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57640234

http://usuncut.com/politics/new-york-audit-clinton-delegate/

Scott Stringer, the New York City comptroller who ordered the audit of the New York City Board of Elections, is on the record as a Hillary Clinton delegate.

In a primary election fraught with voter suppression complaints, prompting anofficial investigation from New York’s Attorney General, a Hillary Clinton delegate in charge of overseeing the audit of New York City’s voting processes raises red flags. However, Stringer told BuzzFeed News that if he finds any issues that require him to recuse himself, he will.

“I’m not auditing the election results,” Stringer said. “We are auditing the management of the agency that conducts the elections.”

Stringer’s name is found on page 9 of the State of New York’s official primary certification documents, listed as a Hillary Clinton delegate from New York’s 10th Congressional District, which covers parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn. Stringer, who previously served as borough president of Manhattan, got a higher percentage of the vote (10.3 percent) during Tuesday’s primaries than any other delegate in the district, according to BuzzFeed.

Before polls even closed yesterday, Stringer ordered the audit, citing the unexpected purge of over 120,000 voters from Brooklyn’s voter rolls. Before the audit was announced, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio demanded an explanation for the purge from the Board of Elections.

“The voting lists in Brooklyn contain numerous errors, including the purging of entire buildings and blocks of voters from the voting lists,” de Blasio said in a public statement.

Despite the bad optics, Dick Dadey, executive director of the good governance advocacy group Citizens Union, trusts Stringer to do his jobwithout having politics cloud his judgment.

“Elected officials have many connections to other elected officials, as well as responsibilities as public officials, so there are always connections. That does not necessarily mean it rises to a conflict of interest,” Dadey told BuzzFeed.

Hillary Clinton won the New York primary with 58 percent of the vote, and 139 pledged delegates. Bernie Sanders won 106 pledged delegates.

http://usuncut.com/politics/new-york-primary-disaster/

The New York primary is already rife with complaints of voter disenfranchisement in at least two different New York City boroughs.

The Cooper Park House polling location in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood was supposed to open at 6 a.m., but the site remained closed for hours, preventing early morning voters trying to cast their ballot before work hours from voting. According to Twitter user@KeithRebecca, voters had been waiting outside for more than two hours for poll workers to open the doors.@Kedesai382, who tried to vote in the early morning hours at Brooklyn’s Atlantic Terminal Senior Citizen Center, also reported that her polling station was closed nearly two hours after voting officially began.

Ben Kesselman of FiveThirtyEight.com also confirmed a delay in opening at his poll location.

At another Brooklyn polling station, a voter recorded poll worker Vitaliy Gazvants informing voters that both voting machines at the precinct were down, and that voters would have to cast paper ballots to be fed into a machine later on. The precinct was originally supposed to have four voting machines, but the only two machines at the precinct were malfunctioning. At one point, a man is heard telling the poll worker, “A piece of paper! You have to trust that somebody is going to enter it correctly.”

“It’s a recipe for disaster,” George Mack, who voted for Hillary Clinton, told theNew York Daily News. “Somebody at the end of the day is gonna feed [the ballots] through a machine? I don’t have confidence in that.”

According to the New York Daily News, Queens voters also faced problematic voting machines at the P.S. 52 precinct in the Springfield Gardens neighborhood. Queens Democrat George Mack told theNews that he and approximately 50 other voters were told that all three of the precinct’s voting machines weren’t in working order and that they should fill out paper ballots as well.

These irregularities come on top of the news that approximately 126,000 voters were purged from the rolls in Kings County, which houses Brooklyn. As US Uncut reported this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio is demanding an explanationfrom the New York City Board of Elections as to why so many Democrats in the state’s most Democratic-leaning county were taken off the voter rolls. The state agency overseeing elections has yet to provide a definitive explanation for the purge.

Other irregularities plaguing the New York primary include the changing of voters’ party affiliation without their consent, even apparent forged signatures on forms changing party affiliation from “Democrat” to “Other” or “Republican.”

Because New York is a closed primary state, these voters are unable to cast their ballots in today’s primary, despite being previously registered as Democrats. Other strange irregularities and inconsistencies have been reported, including this anecdote shared by Shaun King, noted activist and reporter with the New York Daily News.

Because of New York’s closed primary system, roughly 27 percent of the state’s registered voters will be unable to participate.

The below tweet from @rjpct shows the contact information for New York elections officials. Voters can register complaints of voter suppression and voter disenfranchisement.

The New York primary is seen as the most critically important contest to date, with 247 pledged delegates at stake. Polling station will remain open until 9 p.m.

http://usuncut.com/resistance/new-york-voting-nightmare/

In a perfect example of how disastrously run the New York primaries have been, one voter is reporting that his name was deleted from the list of eligible voters despite his registration six months ago. Why? Because his name shares a few of the same letters as another man who lives in a completely different borough.

Ben Gershman, a young voter from Chicago, registered at the New York Department of Motor Vehicles after moving to Ridgewood in Queens six months ago. But when he checked his voter status shortly before today’s election, he found that his name had been taken off the voter list.

“They told me I shared the same initials as a voter in the Bronx, it confused both registrations and I had become de-registered,” Gershman told DNAinfo New York.

Rather than helping Gershman fix this inexplicably frustrating problem at the polls, he was forced to spend hours at the New York City Board of Elections office on Queens Boulevard. Gershman said that by the time he jumped through all the bureaucratic hoops and returned to his poll site in Ridgewood, it took him a total of five and a half hours to cast his ballot.

“It’s insane what I have to do, and I am registered,” he said. “There’s no accountability in the election process.”

In addition to Gershwin’s ordeal, at least 126,000 registered New Yorkers were quietly purged from the voter list, andComptroller Scott Stringer has vowed to audit the Board of Elections, saying the entire day had been “riddled with chaos and confusion.” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio echoed these sentiments, calling for “major reforms” within the Board of Elections.

In a Facebook post, Gershwin urged other voters not to let the system defeat them: “NYC Voters- DON’T settle for an Affidavit Ballot if you’ve been deregistered! I went to the Queens County BOE and stood in front of a judge who gave me a court order. It is your LEGAL RIGHT to vote on a standard ballot. There’s already 126,000 voters confirmed to have been deregistered– corrupt system, corrupt party, corrupt country!”

http://usuncut.com/politics/new-york-attorney-general-primary/

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has announced an official investigation into the New York State Board of Elections after widespread allegations of election fraud and voter suppression.

“I am deeply troubled by the volume and consistency of voting irregularities, both in public reports and direct complaints to my office’s voter hotline,” said Schneiderman. He reported his office received a 368 percent increase in complaints compared to the 2012 general election. Brooklyn was the source of the most complaints out of the five boroughs.

Gawker, which is based in New York City,asked voters to share their experienceswith obstacles preventing them from casting their ballots. Chavisa, a voter in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, had been a registered Democrat for over a decade, yet still ended up filling out an affidavit ballot and received conflicting answers from poll workers on whether or not it would even be counted.

“Over the last month, I have double and triple checked that I was registered and that I knew my polling place. Everything has seemed to be in good order. I was even registered in the online system. I triple checked it as recently as two weeks ago,” Chavisa told Gawker. “When I came to my polling place today, they said that they didn’t have my name in their book. They couldn’t explain why.”

Will, who also lives in Brooklyn, had been a registered Democrat for over three years, but still had to vote by affidavit ballot, and only after securing a court order.

“Even though I have been a registered Democratic voter in NYC for years, and voted in the last mayoral primary and general election in 2013, my name was not on the rolls in my election district this morning,” Will told Gawker in an email. “My girlfriend who shares my apartment has the same voting history as I do, and her name was on the rolls.”

Their ordeals are far from being isolated cases.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has also asked for an explanation for the 5-month purge of over 120,000 New York voters from the rolls in Kings County, which houses Brooklyn. City comptroller Scott Stringerdemanded a full audit of the New York City Board of Elections in the wake of the voter purge. As of this writing, apetition demanding a full audit of the purge, and online publication of the full, edited results of the audit has almost 75,000 signatures.

 

I Voted in New York’s Primary… After 5 Hours and a Court Order

A former paid “Internet troll” for Clinton speaks out: It was “nasty” and “left a very bad taste” (UPDATED)

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57653808

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57676591

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/presidential-nominating-system-rigged_us_57209f59e4b01a5ebde40051

Half Of Americans Think Presidential Nominating System ‘Rigged’ – Poll

“I’d prefer to see a one-man-one-vote system.”

04/27/2016 07:21 am ET

3.4 K

CHARLES MOSTOLLER / REUTERS

A voter leaves the booth after casting her ballot in the Pennsylvania primary at a polling place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S., April 26, 2016.

More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway.

One quirk of the U.S. system – and the area where the parties get to flex their muscle – is the use of delegates, party members who are assigned to support contenders at their respective conventions, usually based on voting results. The parties decide how delegates are awarded in each state, with the Republicans and Democrats having different rules.

The delegates’ personal opinions can come into play at the party conventions if the race is too close to call – an issue that has become a lightning rod in the current political season.

Another complication is that state governments have different rules about whether voters must be registered as party members to participate. In some states, parties further restrict delegate selection to small committees of party elites, as the Republican Party in Colorado did this year.

‘SO FLAWED’

“I’d prefer to see a one-man-one-vote system,” said Royce Young, 76, a resident of Society Hill, South Carolina, who supports Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. “The process is so flawed.”

Trump has repeatedly railed against the rules, at times calling them undemocratic. After the Colorado Republican Party awarded all its delegates to Ted Cruz, for example, Trump lashed out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, charging “the system is being rigged by party operatives with ‘double-agent’ delegates who reject the decision of voters.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has dismissed Trump’s complaints as “rhetoric” and said the rules would not be changed before the Republican convention in July.

Trump swept the five Northeastern nominating contests on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The New York billionaire has 950 delegates to 560 for Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, and 153 for Kasich, the Ohio governor, according to the Associated Press. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination.

On the Democratic side, Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has taken issue with the party’s use of superdelegates, the hundreds of elite party members who can support whomever they like at the convention and who this year overwhelmingly back front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has repeatedly emphasized that she is beating Sanders in both total votes cast and in pledged delegates, those who are bound by the voting results – rendering his complaints about superdelegates moot.

On Tuesday, the former secretary of state won Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut, while Sanders won in Rhode Island. Clinton leads Sanders by 2,141 delegates to 1,321, according to the AP, with 2,383 needed to win the nomination.

Sanders has also criticized party bosses for not holding enough prime-time television debates and said before a string of primaries open only to registered Democrats this month that “independents have lost their right to vote,” referring to a voter block that has tended to favor him.

A Democratic National Committee official was not immediately available to comment.

‘ARCANE RULES’

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the U.S. presidential nominating system could probably be improved in a number of areas, but noted that the control wielded by party leadership usually became an issue only during tight races.

“The popular vote overwhelms the rules usually, but in these close elections, everyone pays attention to these arcane rules,” he said.

Some 51 percent of likely voters who responded to the April 21-26 online survey said they believed the primary system was “rigged” against some candidates. Some 71 percent of respondents said they would prefer to pick their party’s nominee with a direct vote, cutting out the use of delegates as intermediaries.

The results also showed 27 percent of likely voters did not understand how the primary process works and 44 percent did not understand why delegates were involved in the first place. The responses were about the same for Republicans and Democrats.

Overall, nearly half said they would also prefer a single primary day in which all states held their nominating contests together – as opposed to the current system of spreading them out for months.

The poll included 1,582 Americans and had a credibility interval of 2.9 percentage points.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Leslie Adler)

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57713408

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/how-david-brock-built-empire-put-hillary-white-house/

and let’s add in Goldman Sachs for good measure- no wonder she doesn’t want the speech transcripts released:

http://www.thenation.com/article/how-many-ways-can-goldman-give

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57713420

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/bernies-philadelphia-challenge/http://www.thenation.com/article/sanders-fights-on-for-the-strongest-progressive-agenda-that-any-political-party-has-ever-seen/

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57713424

 

http://www.thenation.com/article/bernie-sanders-should-push-for-a-new-realism-in-foreign-policy/http://www.thenation.com/article/hawk-named-hillary

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57715920

 

 

Nikodem Poplawski, Inside Science Minds Guest Columnist

Inside Science Minds presents an ongoing series of guest columnists and personal perspectives presented by scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and others in the science community showcasing some of the most interesting ideas in science today.

(ISM) — Our universe may exist inside a black hole. This may sound strange, but it could actually be the best explanation of how the universe began, and what we observe today. It’s a theory that has been explored over the past few decades by a small group of physicists including myself.

Successful as it is, there are notable unsolved questions with the standard big bang theory, which suggests that the universe began as a seemingly impossible “singularity,” an infinitely small point containing an infinitely high concentration of matter, expanding in size to what we observe today. The theory of inflation, a super-fast expansion of space proposed in recent decades, fills in many important details, such as why slight lumps in the concentration of matter in the early universe coalesced into large celestial bodies such as galaxies and clusters of galaxies.

But these theories leave major questions unresolved. For example: What started the big bang? What caused inflation to end? What is the source of the mysterious dark energy that is apparently causing the universe to speed up its expansion?

The idea that our universe is entirely contained within a black hole provides answers to these problems and many more. It eliminates the notion of physically impossible singularities in our universe. And it draws upon two central theories in physics.

The first is general relativity, the modern theory of gravity. It describes the universe at the largest scales. Any event in the universe occurs as a point in space and time, or spacetime. A massive object such as the Sun distorts or “curves” spacetime, like a bowling ball sitting on a canvas. The Sun’s gravitational dent alters the motion of Earth and the other planets orbiting it. The sun’s pull of the planets appears to us as the force of gravity.

The second is quantum mechanics, which describes the universe at the smallest scales, such as the level of the atom. However, quantum mechanics and general relativity are currently separate theories; physicists have been striving to combine the two successfully into a single theory of “quantum gravity” to adequately describe important phenomena, including the behavior of subatomic particles in black holes.

A 1960s adaptation of general relativity, called the Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble theory of gravity, takes into account effects from quantum mechanics. It not only provides a step towards quantum gravity but also leads to an alternative picture of the universe. This variation of general relativity incorporates an important quantum property known as spin. Particles such as atoms and electrons possess spin, or the internal angular momentum that is analogous to a skater spinning on ice.

In this picture, spins in particles interact with spacetime and endow it with a property called “torsion.” To understand torsion, imagine spacetime not as a two-dimensional canvas, but as a flexible, one-dimensional rod. Bending the rod corresponds to curving spacetime, and twisting the rod corresponds to spacetime torsion. If a rod is thin, you can bend it, but it’s hard to see if it’s twisted or not.

Spacetime torsion would only be significant, let alone noticeable, in the early universe or in black holes. In these extreme environments, spacetime torsion would manifest itself as a repulsive force that counters the attractive gravitational force coming from spacetime curvature. As in the standard version of general relativity, very massive stars end up collapsing into black holes: regions of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape.

Here is how torsion would play out in the beginning moments of our universe. Initially, the gravitational attraction from curved space would overcome torsion’s repulsive forces, serving to collapse matter into smaller regions of space. But eventually torsion would become very strong and prevent matter from compressing into a point of infinite density; matter would reach a state of extremely large but finite density. As energy can be converted into mass, the immensely high gravitational energy in this extremely dense state would cause an intense production of particles, greatly increasing the mass inside the black hole.

The increasing numbers of particles with spin would result in higher levels of spacetime torsion. The repulsive torsion would stop the collapse and would create a “big bounce” like a compressed beach ball that snaps outward. The rapid recoil after such a big bounce could be what has led to our expanding universe. The result of this recoil matches observations of the universe’s shape, geometry, and distribution of mass.

In turn, the torsion mechanism suggests an astonishing scenario: every black hole would produce a new, baby universe inside. If that is true, then the first matter in our universe came from somewhere else. So our own universe could be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe. Just as we cannot see what is going on inside black holes in the cosmos, any observers in the parent universe could not see what is going on in ours.

The motion of matter through the black hole’s boundary, called an “event horizon,” would only happen in one direction, providing a direction of time that we perceive as moving forward. The arrow of time in our universe would therefore be inherited, through torsion, from the parent universe.

Torsion could also explain the observed imbalance between matter and antimatter in the universe. Because of torsion, matter would decay into familiar electrons and quarks, and antimatter would decay into “dark matter,” a mysterious invisible form of matter that appears to account for a majority of matter in the universe.

Finally, torsion could be the source of “dark energy,” a mysterious form of energy that permeates all of space and increases the rate of expansion of the universe. Geometry with torsion naturally produces a “cosmological constant,” a sort of added-on outward force which is the simplest way to explain dark energy. Thus, the observed accelerating expansion of the universe may end up being the strongest evidence for torsion.

Torsion therefore provides a theoretical foundation for a scenario in which the interior of every black hole becomes a new universe. It also appears as a remedy to several major problems of current theory of gravity and cosmology. Physicists still need to combine the Einstein-Cartan-Sciama-Kibble theory fully with quantum mechanics into a quantum theory of gravity. While resolving some major questions, it raises new ones of its own. For example, what do we know about the parent universe and the black hole inside which our own universe resides? How many layers of parent universes would we have? How can we test that our universe lives in a black hole?

The last question can potentially be investigated: since all stars and thus black holes rotate, our universe would have inherited the parent black hole’s axis of rotation as a “preferred direction.” There is some recently reported evidence from surveys of over 15,000 galaxies that in one hemisphere of the universe more spiral galaxies are “left-handed”, or rotating clockwise, while in the other hemisphere more are “right-handed”, or rotating counterclockwise. In any case, I believe that including torsion in geometry of spacetime is a right step towards a successful theory of cosmology.

Nikodem Poplawski is a theoretical physicist at the University of New Haven in Connecticut.

 

the funny thing is our universe is two dimensional if you go to extremely high energies like that which existed near the Big Bang- extremely high energy cosmic rays have been found that exhibit only two degrees of freedom (meaning they only move in two dimensions.)

There is also the theory of the universe being 2D projected on a third dimension, the Holographic Principle

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holographic_principle

In a larger sense, the theory suggests that the entire universecan be seen as two-dimensionalinformation on thecosmological horizon, the event horizon from which information may still be gathered and not lost due to the natural limitations of spacetime supporting a black hole, an observer and a given setting of these specific elements, such that the three dimensions we observe are an effective description only at macroscopic scales and at low energies. Cosmological holography has not been made mathematically precise, partly because theparticle horizon has a non-zero area and grows with time.

The holographic principle was inspired by black hole thermodynamics, which conjectures that the maximal entropy in any region scales with the radius squared, and not cubed as might be expected. In the case of a black hole, the insight was that the informational content of all the objects that have fallen into the hole might be entirely contained in surface fluctuations of the event horizon.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57718695

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57718273

 

Roderick Balle wrote:

Interesting piece. This idea of torsion seems to provide a better explanation for dark energy and dark matter than anything else that’s been postulated. Currently dark matter plus dark energy apparently constitute 95.1% of mass energy in the universe, yet we can’t see or detect it. We can only observe the effects it has on the energy and mass we can see – stars and galaxies. I’m not a cosmologist, but this has always sounded suss to me.

The theory of the cosmic singularity – big bang when space time started, doesn’t allow for any prior anything. 14 odd billion years ago was when everything kicked off, and there was nothing before hand, has always sounded arbitrary and somewhat implausible to me. So there was nothing before the big bang?

If our universe is hemispherical with left and right handed galaxies, this would seem to suggest it’s also polarised – as in, have a giant universe sized magnetic field. This might also explain the motion of galaxies?

Yup, we can take a related theory, Loop Quantum Cosmology and Quantum Gravity- like this, they predict no singularity because gravity ceases to operate in 2 dimensions, therefore the universe can’t get any smaller than about 10 planck units. So our universe would be the result of a previous contracting one that got down to 10 planck units and then re-expanded.

Also look up Imaginary Time, it’s another axis of time that’s conjectured by Stephen King to run “perpendicular” to our conventional time, it gets rid of the singularity in a similar way. Time didn’t begin at the Big Bang- it only restarted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imaginary_time

Imaginary time is a concept derived from special relativity andquantum mechanics and is mathematically convenient in connecting quantum mechanics with statistical mechanics.

If we imagine “regular time” as a horizontal line running between “past” in one direction and “future” in the other, then imaginary time would run perpendicular to this line as theimaginary numbers run perpendicular to the real numbers in the complex plane. Imaginary time is not imaginary in the sense that it is unreal or made-up — it simply runs in a direction different from the type of time we experience. In essence, imaginary time is a way of looking at the time dimension as if it were a dimension of space: you can move forward and backward along imaginary time, just like you can move right and left in space.

Imaginary time is also used in cosmology. It is used to describe models of the universe inphysical cosmology. Stephen Hawking popularized the concept of imaginary time in his book A Brief History of Time.

The concept is useful in cosmology because it can help smooth out gravitational singularitiesin models of the universe (see Hartle–Hawking state), where known physical laws do not apply. The Big Bang, for example, appears as a singularity in “regular time.” But, when visualized with imaginary time, the singularity is removed and the Big Bang functions like any other point in spacetime.

 

I would say this- since when in nature do you ever see just one of anything?  If there is one universe, there should be an equal likelihood of there being others, with their own physical laws and constants.  Possibly some wouldn’t expand and would be “still born”- still others might expand too quickly and “burst.”  Eventually I think we’ll find evidence- possibly in the cosmic microwave background and the way gravity behaves at the edges of the observable universe- that is, “dark flow.”

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57718666

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57718858

 

Michio is on my list of must-reads.

But here is the thing- what is, nature, exactly? You can tweak the alpha fine structure constant, or the gravity constant, or the speed of light in a cacuum constant, or the cosmological constant and create a completely different universe. As a matter of fact, even in our universe, there is evidence that the alpha fine structure constant was different in the past.

I don’t think it’s a case of nature or laws of nature, but how many different types of “nature” are possible- not just ours.

Some fascinating reading material from Kaku:

http://mkaku.org/home/articles/

Sure, we have our technology: airplanes, the internet, satellites. But what would an advanced civilization millions of years old look like? Learn about the different types, and why our civilization ranks a measly Type-0.

What would it take to reach the stars? Explore the real physics behind interstellar travel.

It looks easy in the movies, but time travel is still theory. Learn about the physics behind navigating time travel.

Looking for a way to present your theory of everything? Let Dr. Kaku guide you on your path towards submitting a well formed proposal on the Unified Field Theory

Becoming a physicist in 3 exciting steps! What more could you want?

How would a ‘carp scientist’ explain the 3rd dimension, to his 2 dimensional pond inhabitants? Learn about higher dimensions from Dr. Kaku’s well known childhood story – the Japanese Tea Garden.

What lies on the other side of a black hole? Discover the quest to find a ‘theory of everything’, which could finally explain some of the strangest objects in the cosmos and beyond.

What makes M-Theory a mother of all theories, and when will scientists be able to verify it? Learn about the people and concepts behind the M-Theory.

A vivid and exciting look at higher dimensions and their role in a ‘theory of everything’.

An excerpt from Dr. Kaku’s New York Times bestseller for your review.

Brush up on your mathematics and delve into the world of Theoretical Physics.Note: These papers are in PDF format, requires Adobe Acrobat to view.

Symmetries and String Field Theory in D=2

How Unstable are Fundamental Quantum Super Membranes?

Sub Critical Closed String Field Theory (Less then 26)

Ultra-Violet Behavior of Bosonic Quantum Membranes

A Note on the Stability of Quantum Super Membranes

books:

http://mkaku.org/home/publications/

The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (Paperback Edition)

Publisher: Anchor Books; February 17, 2015

Go to Book Detail Page.

Purchase from Amazon.

Purchase from Apple iBooks.

Physics of the Future: How Science Will Shape Human Destiny and Our Daily Lives by the Year 2100 (Paperback Edition)

Publisher: Anchor Books; February 21, 2012

Purchase from Amazon.

Physics of the Impossible: A Scientific Explorations into the World of Phasers, Force Fields, Teleportation, and Time Travel

Publisher: Doubleday; March 11, 2008

Purchase from Amazon.

Parallel Worlds: A Journey Through Creation, Higher Dimensions, and the Future of the Cosmos

Publisher: Anchor Books; February 14, 2006

Purchase from Amazon.

Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the Tenth Dimension

Publisher: Oxford University Press; October 1995

Purchase from Amazon.

Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century and Beyond

Publisher: Oxford Paperbacks; March 4, 1999

Purchase from Amazon.

Einstein’s Cosmos: How Albert Einstein’s Vision Transformed Our Understanding of Space and Time (Great Discoveries)

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; May 16, 2005

Purchase from Amazon.

Beyond Einstein: The Cosmic Quest for the Theory of the Universe

Publisher: Anchor Books; September 1, 1995

Purchase from Amazon.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57716026

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/large-hadron-collider/11489442/Big-Bang-theory-could-be-debunked-by-Large-Hadron-Collider.htmlhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/11285605/Did-the-Big-Bang-create-a-parallel-universe-where-time-goes-backwards.htmlwoah I am amazed at how much this matches what I had said….

The theoretical claims put forward in the Physical Review Lettersjournal could revolutionise the field of research into the origin and future of the universe.

In the paper titled ‘Identification of a Gravitational Arrow of Time’, an international team of world renowned scientists led by Oxfordshire-based Dr Julian Barbour challenge assumptions about the so called ‘arrow of time’.

The ‘arrow of time’ is the theory that time is symmetric and therefore time moves forward. They contend that there is no scientific reason that a mirror universe could not have been created where time moved in an distinct way from our own.

But in a quirk of science it is thought that if a parallel universe did exist where time moved backward, any sentient beings there would consider that time in our universe in fact moved backward

What I said a few years ago:

note the date and the part about arrows of time flowing opposite relative to each other but forward relative to themselves

Proof of Concept Origin

January 5, 2013Basically, I conjecture on a new theory of everything; in my theory each dimension can be analoged to a primary color….. in our universe each spatial dimension would be equivalent to an additive primary color (RGB) with time as the background (Black) with a complementary spacetime which consisted of dimensions that analoged to the subtractive primary colors (CMY) with complementary time as the background (White) as one space expanded the other contracts and vice versa (because the arrow of time flows opposite to each other but forward within each), It’s been peer reviewed and it seems there’s some excitement over this as this would solve the dark matter / dark energy problem by unifying the strong nuclear force and gravity (the strong nuclear force is carried by gluons and color charge and analoging dimensions to primary colors is gravity’s version of color charge) so now we have a strong force-gravity unification and an electroweak unification and we just need to combine those dualities. There are four layers to the omniverse, with universes of different dimensions in each layer (the number of dimensions in each layer bear a pythagorean relationship to the other layers and each universe has a parent superverse from whose parent black hole it was created. If you loop through the entire hierarchy of universes you end up back where you started, so the omniverse is not only cyclical time, but also in space. I guess I’ll leave that for a sequel lol.BTW if there are multiple timelines they would be created right after the big bang, by the force of inflation and be emergent diverging timelines along two dimensions of time (think cartesian coordinates) and if the cyclic model is correct and dark flow does reverse the expansion of space, the time lines would converge once again with a Big Bounce as the universe deflated (rinse and repeat.) The antiverse would have opposing cycles (because the arrow of time was opposite compared to ours) and if there was someway to construct some sort of device (a la star gate) to tap into the barrier which separates the two (consisting of light, which does not experience the passage of time) than both time and long distance space travel would become possible through the second temporal dimension (which keeps each timeline intact)…… according to Einstein the past, present and future all coexist and it is we who move through them, so theoretically this should be possible. He also stated that the universe (or omniverse on a larger scale) created us in order to understand itself better, forming the framework for a cosmic collective mind which encompasses not only humans, but animals, plants, alien life, even whole planets (Gaia Theory, which has been proven multiple times) and even stars and galaxies, the only difference is the density of the level of consciousness, although planets (for example) are much larger than any single life form, their density of consciousness is much less, with their “memories” (fossil record) spread out over a much larger area, so any one spot (on our scale) is seemingly lifeless. But it’s not. The planet consists of a complicated series of checks and balances and delicate interplay between different parts that can and should be considered alive.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2-futures-can-explain-time-s-mysterious-past/

Barbour and his colleagues argue that it is gravity, rather than thermodynamics, that draws the bowstring to let time’s arrow fly.Looks like they also caught on to my idea that gravity and time are directly related since time is just as out of place with the other 3 dimensions as gravity is with the other 3 forces.Alsohttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2868238/Did-Big-Bang-create-mirror-universe-time-moves-BACKWARDS-New-theory-explain-past-future.html#comments Basically a carbon copy of my two time lane two universe theory from years ago. https://supermanbatmanalexthegreatest.shutterfly.com/2633

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/2-futures-can-explain-time-s-mysterious-past/

Barbour and his colleagues argue that it is gravity, rather than thermodynamics, that draws the bowstring to let time’s arrow fly.Looks like they also caught on to my idea that gravity and time are directly related since time is just as out of place with the other 3 dimensions as gravity is with the other 3 forces.Alsohttp://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2868238/Did-Big-Bang-create-mirror-universe-time-moves-BACKWARDS-New-theory-explain-past-future.html#comments Basically a carbon copy of my two time lane two universe theory from years ago. https://supermanbatmanalexthegreatest.shutterfly.com/2633

10:33AM GMT 23 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/large-hadron-collider/11489442/Big-Bang-theory-could-be-debunked-by-Large-Hadron-Collider.html
“The detection of miniature black holes by the Large Hadron Collider could prove the existence of parallel universes and show that the Big Bang did not happen, scientists believe.

The particle accelerator, which will be restarted this week, has already found the Higgs boson – the God Particle – which is thought to give mass to other particles.Now scientists at Cern in Switzerland believe they might find miniature black holes which would reveal the existence of a parallel universe.And if the holes are found at a certain energy, it could prove the controversial theory of ‘rainbow gravity’ which suggests that the universe stretches back into time infinitely with no singular point where it started, and no Big Bang”.http://phys.org/news/2015-03-universe-brink-collapse-cosmological-timescale.html#ajTabshttp://phys.org/news/2014-11-gravity-universe-big.html#inlRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2014-11-gravity-universe-big.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2015-03-dark-side-cosmology.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2014-06-lumpy-universe-cosmic.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2015-03-landmark-magnets.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2015-03-stars.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2015-03-lhcb-analysis-puzzle.html#nRlvhttp://phys.org/news/2015-03-lhcb-analysis-puzzle.html#nRlvThey talk about The Big Crunch but in my opinion rather than the Big Crunch, we would have the Big Bounce(s), because as the universe shrinks, the effects of gravity will wane and then disappear (at 2D- at least according to Relativity) and then the universe will re-expand.

this discovery will bolster the chances for time travel

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57716292

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/5/4/headlines/report_less_than_1_of_clinton_fundraising_venture_goes_to_state_parties

The Bernie Sanders campaign has launched a petition urging the Hillary Clinton campaign to transfer money raised by her massive joint fundraising venture to state parties. This comes after a Politico investigation into the unprecedented fundraising vehicle Clinton formed with state parties found less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the venture has actually gone to the state parties. The Hillary Victory Fund is a joint venture between the Democratic National Committee, 32 state committees and Clinton’s campaign. It allows Clinton to collect massive donations at events like the recent dinner at George and Amal Clooney’s house. But it turns out that of the $3.8 million the victory fund has transferred to the state parties, 88 percent of it was quickly moved back to the DNC by the Clinton staffer who controls the committee.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57803111

 

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/158432/20160516/scientists-hold-secret-meeting-about-creating-synthetic-human-genomes.htmhttp://www.techtimes.com/articles/158490/20160515/how-close-are-we-to-an-entirely-synthetic-human.htm

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57803114

 

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/158564/20160516/nasa-invests-in-futuristic-plans-such-as-cryogenic-sleep-chambers-magnetoshells-and-more.htmhttp://www.techtimes.com/articles/150927/20160417/human-mission-to-mars-closer-than-ever-thanks-to-colorado-aerospace-companies.htm

 

http://nypost.com/2016/05/22/how-corporate-america-bought-hillary-clinton-for-21m/

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57843373

 

Werderano wrote:

I wonder how much she got from the fracking industry?https://theintercept.com/2016/05/23/hillary-clinton-fracking/ But who cares, she is Bibis best friend and the NYT will push her to the top, like they pushed the Millerreport infront of the invasion or stopped Risen from publishing his story before BushII was “reelected”..https://theintercept.com/2016/05/26/the-new-york-times-and-clinton-campaigns-abject-cowardice-on-israel/

And some may even be critical about what ClintonI did with WS, but ClintonII doesn´t care as long as someone near her can make a good deal.https://theintercept.com/2016/05/27/hillary-clinton-wont-say-how-much-goldman-sachs-ceo-invested-with-her-son-in-law/

Have heard ClintonII is the chosen one, totally not biased from all the money she gets from their good friends around the globe.

Looks like the fraudulent activities are continuing with the next generation of Clintons! They remind me of the Bush-es!

The connection between mass media and certain political figures is extremely discomforting.  So much so that I’ve stopped perusing such mass media.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57830528

 

In addition to the betrayal of progressive policies by supporting fracking and mass deportations conducted by Obama’s administration, we also have this:

http://nypost.com/2016/05/21/the-scandal-in-washington-no-one-is-talking-about/

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57890490

 

http://www.ibtimes.com/clinton-foundation-donors-got-weapons-deals-hillary-clintons-state-department-1934187

Even by the standards of arms deals between the United States and Saudi Arabia, this one was enormous. A consortium of American defense contractors led by Boeing would deliver $29 billion worth of advanced fighter jets to the United States’ oil-rich ally in the Middle East.

Israeli officials were agitated, reportedly complaining to the Obama administration that this substantial enhancement to Saudi air power risked disrupting the region’s fragile balance of power. The deal appeared to collide with the State Department’s documented concernsabout the repressive policies of the Saudi royal family.

But now, in late 2011, Hillary Clinton’s State Department was formally clearing the sale, asserting that it was in the national interest. At press conferences in Washington to announce the department’s approval, an assistant secretary of state, Andrew Shapiro, declared that the deal had been “a top priority” for Clinton personally. Shapiro, a longtime aide to Clinton since her Senate days, added that the “U.S. Air Force and U.S. Army have excellent relationships in Saudi Arabia.”

These were not the only relationships bridging leaders of the two nations. In the years before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia contributed at least $10 million to the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic enterprise she has overseen with her husband, former president Bill Clinton. Just two months before the deal was finalized, Boeing — the defense contractor that manufactures one of the fighter jets the Saudis were especially keen to acquire, the F-15 — contributed $900,000 to the Clinton Foundation, according to a company press release.

The Saudi deal was one of dozens of arms sales approved by Hillary Clinton’s State Department that placed weapons in the hands of governments that had also donated money to the Clinton family philanthropic empire, an International Business Times investigation has found.

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Under Clinton’s leadership, the State Department approved $165 billion worth of commercial arms sales to 20 nations whose governments have given money to the Clinton Foundation, according to an IBTimes analysis of State Department and foundation data. That figure — derived from the three full fiscal years of Clinton’s term as Secretary of State (from October 2010 to September 2012) — represented nearly double the value of American arms sales made to the those countries and approved by the State Department during the same period of President George W. Bush’s second term.

The Clinton-led State Department also authorized $151 billion of separate Pentagon-brokered deals for 16 of the countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation, resulting in a 143 percent increase in completed sales to those nations over the same time frame during the Bush administration. These extra sales were part of a broad increase in American military exports that accompanied Obama’s arrival in the White House. The 143 percent increase in U.S. arms sales to Clinton Foundation donors compares to an 80 percent increase in such sales to all countries over the same time period.

American defense contractors also donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and in some cases made personal payments to Bill Clinton for speaking engagements. Such firms and their subsidiaries were listed as contractors in $163 billion worth of Pentagon-negotiated deals that were authorized by the Clinton State Department between 2009 and 2012.

The State Department formally approved these arms sales even as many of the deals enhanced the military power of countries ruled by authoritarian regimes whose human rights abuses had been criticized by the department. Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Qatar all donated to the Clinton Foundation and also gained State Department clearance to buy caches of American-made weapons even as the department singled them out for a range of alleged ills, from corruption to restrictions on civil liberties to violent crackdowns against political opponents.

As secretary of state, Hillary Clinton also accused some of these countries of failing to marshal a serious and sustained campaign to confront terrorism. In a December 2009 State Department cable published by Wikileaks, Clinton complained of “an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority.” She declared that “Qatar’s overall level of CT cooperation with the U.S. is considered the worst in the region.” She said the Kuwaiti government was “less inclined to take action against Kuwait-based financiers and facilitators plotting attacks.” She noted that “UAE-based donors have provided financial support to a variety of terrorist groups.” All of these countries donated to the Clinton Foundation and received increased weapons export authorizations from the Clinton-run State Department.

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Clinton Foundation did not respond to questions from the IBTimes.

In all, governments and corporations involved in the arms deals approved by Clinton’s State Department have delivered between $54 million and $141 million to the Clinton Foundation as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments to the Clinton family, according to foundation and State Department records. The Clinton Foundation publishes only a rough range of individual contributors’ donations, making a more precise accounting impossible.

Winning Friends, Influencing Clintons

Under federal law, foreign governments seeking State Department clearance to buy American-made arms are barred from making campaign contributions — a prohibition aimed at preventing foreign interests from using cash to influence national security policy. But nothing prevents them from contributing to a philanthropic foundation controlled by policymakers.

Just before Hillary Clinton became Secretary of State, the Clinton Foundation signed anagreement generally obligating it to disclose to the State Department increases in contributions from its existing foreign government donors and any new foreign government donors. Those increases were to be reviewed by an official at the State Department and “as appropriate” the White House counsel’s office. According to available disclosures, officials at the State Department and White House raised no issues about potential conflicts related to arms sales.

During Hillary Clinton’s 2009 Senate confirmation hearings, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind.,urgedthe Clinton Foundation to “forswear” accepting contributions from governments abroad. “Foreign governments and entities may perceive the Clinton Foundation as a means to gain favor with the secretary of state,” he said. The Clintons did not take Lugar’s advice. In light of the weapons deals flowing to Clinton Foundation donors, advocates for limits on the influence of money on government action now argue that Lugar was prescient in his concerns.

“The word was out to these groups that one of the best ways to gain access and influence with the Clintons was to give to this foundation,” said Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center, an advocacy group that seeks to tighten campaign finance disclosure rules. “This shows why having public officials, or even spouses of public officials, connected with these nonprofits is problematic.”

Hillary Clinton’s willingness to allow those with business before the State Department to finance her foundation heightens concerns about how she would manage such relationships as president, said Lawrence Lessig, the director of Harvard University’s Safra Center for Ethics.

“These continuing revelations raise a fundamental question of judgment,” Lessig told IBTimes. “Can it really be that the Clintons didn’t recognize the questions these transactions would raise? And if they did, what does that say about their sense of the appropriate relationship between private gain and public good?”

National security experts assert that the overlap between the list of Clinton Foundation donors and those with business before the the State Department presents a troubling conflict of interest.

While governments and defense contractors may not have made donations to the Clinton Foundation exclusively to influence arms deals, they were clearly “looking to build up deposits in the ‘favor bank’ and to be well thought of,” said Gregory Suchan, a 34-year State Department veteran who helped lead the agency’s oversight of arms transfers under the Bush administration.

As Hillary Clinton presses a campaign for the presidency, she has confronted sustained scrutiny into her family’s personal and philanthropic dealings, along with questions about whether their private business interests have colored her exercise of public authority. As IBTimes previously reported, Clinton switched from opposing an American free trade agreement with Colombia to supporting it after a Canadian energy and mining magnate with interests in that South American country contributed to the Clinton Foundation. IBTimes’ review of the Clintons’ annual financial disclosures also revealed that 13 companies lobbying the State Department paid Bill Clinton $2.5 million in speaking fees while Hillary Clinton headed the agency.

Questions about the nexus of arms sales and Clinton Foundation donors stem from the State Department’s role in reviewing the export of American-made weapons. The agency is charged with both licensing direct commercial sales by U.S. defense contractors to foreign governments and also approving Pentagon-brokered sales to those governments. Those powers are enshrined in a federal law that specifically designates the secretary of state as “responsible for the continuous supervision and general direction of sales” of arms, military hardware and services to foreign countries. In that role, Hillary Clinton was empowered to approve or reject deals for a broad range of reasons, from national security considerations to human rights concerns.

The State Department does not disclose which individual companies are involved in direct commercial sales, but its disclosure documents reveal that countries that donated to the Clinton Foundation saw a combined $75 billion increase in authorized commercial military sales under the three full fiscal years Clinton served, as compared to the first three full fiscal years of Bush’s second term.

The Clinton Foundation has not released an exact timetable of its donations, making it impossible to know whether money from foreign governments and defense contractors came into the organization before or after Hillary Clinton approved weapons deals that involved their interests. But news reports document that at least seven foreign governments that received State Department clearance for American arms did donate to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was serving as secretary: Algeria, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Thailand, Norway and Australia.

Sales Flowed Despite Human Rights Concerns

Under a presidential policy directive signed by President Bill Clinton in 1995, the State Department is supposed to specifically take human rights records into account when deciding whether to approve licenses enabling foreign governments to purchase military equipment and services from American companies. Despite this, Hillary Clinton’s State Department increased approvals of such sales to nations that her agency sharply criticized for systematic human rights abuses.

In its 2010 Human Rights Report, Clinton’s State Department inveighed against Algeria’s government for imposing “restrictions on freedom of assembly and association” tolerating “arbitrary killing,” “widespread corruption,” and a “lack of judicial independence.” The report said the Algerian government “used security grounds to constrain freedom of expression and movement.”

That year, the Algerian government donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation and its lobbyists met with the State Department officials who oversee enforcement of human rights policies. Clinton’s State Department the next year approved a one-year 70 percent increase in military export authorizations to the country. The increase included authorizations of almost 50,000 items classified as “toxicological agents, including chemical agents, biological agents and associated equipment” after the State Department did not authorize the export of any of such items to Algeria in the prior year.

During Clinton’s tenure, the State Department authorized at least $2.4 billion of direct military hardware and services sales to Algeria — nearly triple such authorizations over the last full fiscal years during the Bush administration. The Clinton Foundation did not disclose Algeria’s donation until this year — a violation of the ethics agreement it entered into with the Obama administration.

The monarchy in Qatar had similarly been chastised by the State Department for a raft of human rights abuses. But that country donated to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton was running the State Department. During the three full budgetary years of her tenure, Qatar saw a 14-fold increase in State Department authorizations for direct commercial sales of military equipment and services, as compared to the same time period in Bush’s second term. The department also approved the Pentagon’s separate $750 million sale of multi-mission helicopters to Qatar. That deal would additionally employ as contractors three companies that have all supported the Clinton Foundation over the years: United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and General Electric.

Clinton foundation donor countries that the State Department criticized for human rights violations and that received weapons export authorizations did not respond to IBTimes’ questions.

That group of arms manufacturers — along with Clinton Foundation donors Boeing, Honeywell, Hawker Beechcraft and their affiliates — were together listed as contractors in 114 such deals while Clinton was secretary of state. NBC put Chelsea Clinton on its payroll as a network correspondent in November 2011, when it was still 49 percent owned by General Electric. A spokesperson for General Electric did not respond to questions from IBTimes

 

I don’t like either of them.  They are definitely cut from the same cloth.  Bushes, Clintons, Trump, etc.- they all get money from the same sources and all you have to do is see how friendly they’ve been to each other outside the political stage to see what any of these people say on the stage is just an act.  You just have to look behind the curtain to see what  really goes on and why change doesn’t really happen.  Politicians are puppets and the puppet masters are the corporations and upper class that pull the strings.

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57891006

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57890522

 

http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/282725-lawmakers-celebrate-passage-of-chemical-reform-bill

Good, now it’s time to start dealing with all those superfund sites!

Lawmakers took a victory lap Wednesday to celebrate the Senate passing its major chemical safety overhaul, sending it to President Obama’s desk.

It was a long-fought battle to pass the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemicals for the 21st Century Act, and lawmakers framed it as nothing short of a miracle.

The Senate passed it by voice vote Tuesday night, following the overwhelming passage two weeks ago by the House. Obama is likely to sign it soon.

The bipartisan bill would dramatically overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976, giving the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sweeping new authority to regulate harmful chemicals, while limiting states’ powers over chemicals.

It’s the first major environmental bill to pass Congress since the Clean Air Act of 1990.

“This law has been in need of updating for decades,” Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), a lead sponsor of the legislation, told reporters Wednesday. “Every stakeholder in sight, everyone involved in this part of the economy and the law has said that. The trick has been bringing everyone together on a bipartisan basis.”

Vitter said the bill accomplishes the two goals he had set out when he joined the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) in working on the bill.

“First, make sure we fully protect all Americans’ health and safety. And second, make sure we create a workable regulatory environment, so that our leaders in science and innovation and technology … can remain world leaders and continue to innovate,” Vitter said.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the lead Democratic sponsor, called the feat “a great triumph of bipartisanship” and compared it to climbing a mountain.

“Most Americans think, when you go to a grocery store, or you go to a hardware store, and you buy a product, they think that it’s been tested for safety. It hasn’t been tested,” he said.

“Now we’re going to see that that testing takes place, and we’re going to move forward with a very tough cop on the beat, which will be the EPA, looking at the safety of products, doing that analysis.”

Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who led House efforts as chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction, spoke about how long the process has taken.

“David Vitter came over 5 and a half years ago … and said he was going to do this with Sen. Lautenberg, and I said, ‘come see me when you get any success,’ ” Shimkus joked.

“And then a couple years later, he popped back in, and that made us really get more serious in moving on the House said.”

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called the legislation “a new chemical Magna Carta, a chemical bill of rights for every American that will serve as the foundation for protecting the American people from the dangers of toxic substances.”

 

I hope we get to the regulatory levels of what they have in Europe. I will tell you what I personally do and don’t do. I don’t use plastic bags (no BHT/BHA). I don’t drink alcohol or soda (no artificial sweeteners or HFCS). I don’t smoke or do other drugs. I don’t eat fast food (no MSG). I grow my own veggies pesticide free and eat meat that comes from farms that don’t use antibiotics or hormones.

 

http://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/57892522

 

a company like Monsanto or Dupont, that were rather scandalously dumping toxic chemicals near populated areas and now getting sued for it by large cities like Seattle and San Diego and entire states like Hawaii.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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