Global Warming to Release Smallpox Virus from Corpses; Gruesome Global Pandemic Looming?

By Reissa Su | March 11, 2014 6:09 PM EST IBT

Smallpox was one of the most feared diseases in the world since it could cover the human body with painful and pus-filled rashes. Since its elimination in 1979, scientists now fear that smallpox and a host of other diseases could reemerge and spread again because of the thawing corpses in Siberia.

Several scientists have expressed fears that defrosting dead bodies in Siberia could restart a cycle of infection should a live person come in contact with contaminated remains. According to reports, scientists have raised this concern for years, but the recent discovery of a 30,000-year-old virus in Siberian permafrost has prompted the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) to warn of the possibility of a smallpox epidemic.

In another report, BBC questioned the idea of a frozen human corpse which had smallpox spreading the virus into the environment. Scientists fear that if such an idea was possible, it could be the beginning of a global pandemic.

Other researchers speculated that the diseases could be in a state of suspended animation just waiting for their host body to be thawed by global warming.

In 2002, author Richard Stone wrote about a place near the Kolyma River in north eastern Siberia. It was there that authorities had gathered a group of people to investigate the corpses buried in the 18th century. The bodies had smallpox scars and officials expressed concern that floods could release the smallpox virus


To End The War On Drugs – A Guide For Politicians, The Press and Public

MAR 11, 2014 Ladybud Dean Becker

For fifteen years, I have sought the most knowledgeable people on the planet to discuss the policy of Drug War.

I’ve interviewed more than a thousand congressmen, scientists, doctors, all kinds of politicians, judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, police chiefs and priests. I’ve invested more than 30 thousand hours investigating this one subject.

And what I’ve found sickens me. It compels me to reject with my very being the concept of a Drug War. It is a scam, a feckless, endless, mindless pursuit of global success and salvation. It’s been more than 40 years since President Nixon declared the war on drugs to “Go after the blacks without appearing to do so”.

It is now over 50 years since the United Nations declared their war on drugs with the belief that they would eliminate drugs from planet Earth within 5 years. Barbarous drug cartels worldwide love this situation. It makes them billions of dollars per year.

Cocaine was made a federal offense when politicians proclaimed that black men on Cocaine would rape white women, or at a minimum would fail to step off the sidewalk when a white man approached.

In 1937, because Mexicans were taking our jobs and they “might” rape white women while high on Marijuana, the feds crafted the Marijuana Tax Act which was later declared unconstitutional in Leary vs. U.S., then put under the regimen of the ludicrously named Controlled Substances Act.

Over the lifetime of the Drug War, more than 45 million non-violent US citizens—have been arrested for these plant products in their pocket. The US has invested over 1 Trillion dollars trying to stop the flow of these drugs. And at the same time, drug users worldwide have invested 10 Trillion dollars in purchasing these drugs. These barbarous cartels, the terrorists and the thousands of U.S. gangs make 400 Billion dollars a year from this policy.


Editorial: Think about real education reform

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER Published: March 11, 2014 Updated: 7:36 p.m.

You don’t have to have children to have a good sense of today’s nationwide debate over education reform. The controversy pits public school unions and their defenders against supporters of private school, home-schooling deunionization – and, making recent headlines – charter schools.

For example, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is embroiled with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio over which districts host charters and how tax dollars are spent.
The antagonism is sharpest in Southern California, as “parent triggers” advance even as such laws are losing ground nationally.

These heightened conflicts shed light on the serious need for change in America’s public education system. They also, however, reveal the limits of the conversation around how we teach our kids and how they learn.

Though triggers and charters can help bring immediate relief to dissatisfied and struggling families, Americans aren’t best-served by staying bogged down in all-too-familiar partisan debates about the particulars of city, state or national education policymaking.

Even more important than the laws and regulations surrounding school choice is the way we envision learning and teaching as a whole. What kind of mental and physical condition are we developing through education? What kind of training leads to what kind of attitude about life? Without focusing on this bigger picture, the constant fight over these details can become debilitating and, ultimately, inconsequential.


Four reasons why the fight against climate change is likely to fail

BY STEVEN MUFSON March 11 at 4:17 pm Washington Post

Democrats in the Senate stayed up all night talking about the perils of climate change. But while there’s hope that technology, changing consumer and business practices or new policies could finally turn the tide and slow or reverse climate change, there are also good reasons to think those efforts will fail.

There isn’t enough research and development into ways of generating energy without emitting carbon dioxide. “The U.S. energy sector invests only 0.23 percent of its revenue in research and development, and federal R&D spending is only half of what it was in 1980,” says a new paper by non-profit centrist policy group Third Way
The price of fossil fuels doesn’t include the cost of environmental damage and climate change. Legislation, meanwhile, isn’t doing the trick when it comes to increasing the price. A cap and trade program is complicated, virtually impossible politically, and not working all that well in Europe. A carbon tax – even a small gasoline tax – won’t get adopted by Congress.

Many countries still subsidize fossil fuels, including those in the Middle East where consumption is growing fastest. The International Monetary Fund puts the annual cost at $1.9 trillion (on a post-tax basis).

China is determined to increase living standards with more cars, more power plants, and more everything. In 2012, the average Chinese emits 6.2 metric tons a year of carbon dioxide versus 17.6 metric tons for the average American. Closing even one-third of that gap (even with more energy efficient economy) will generate a lot more emissions.


Climate change body chief: ‘bad guys’ won after the ‘good guys’ lay down

Lenore Taylor, political editor, Tuesday 11 March 2014 16.19 EDT

Bernie Fraser says ‘brazen falsehoods’ and ‘misinformation’ have confused a switched-off and fed-up public

One of the country’s most experienced policy thinkers draws a brutal conclusion about Australia’s climate change debate: the “good guys” have lost the argument because they failed to contest untruths peddled by “bad guys”, including the federal government.

Bernie Fraser, the chairman of the independent climate change authority, which the Abbott government intends to abolish, is a softly spoken former governor of the reserve bank and former secretary of the federal treasury, not known for simplistic assessments of major policy discussions.

But he is clearly frustrated at what he believes has been the wilful misleading of a confused and increasingly fed-up public by politicians and industry groups who, he says, deliberately spread misinformation about climate science and the policies that might reduce Australia’s emissions.

The “bad guys” are winning because their “brazen falsehoods”, “untruths” and “misinformation” are often going unchallenged.

“The good guys are way behind and seem to be not making up ground,” he says, in an interview with Guardian Australia ahead of a speech he will make to the national press club on Thursday. “The public generally are getting bored with it all and switching off. The problem seems to be to be that the bad guys are spreading untruths and exaggerations and assertions without a lot of hard evidence and serious debate, cheered on by the big companies who make similar assertions and repeat those assertions without thorough debate.”


David Harsanyi: US Has Too Much Democracy

Monday, 10 Mar 2014 03:26 PM By Bill Hoffmann

A misunderstanding of democracy is to blame for the legislative gridlock on Capitol Hill, says David Harsanyi, author of the new book “The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy.”

“Gridlock is an organic reaction to what went on when the left took over and pushed through a lot of things that were unprecedented in America, left-wing policies, especially in healthcare,” Harsanyi told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

“Then you had a reaction, you had a right-wing Congress, a pretty conservative Congress that doesn’t want to do those things,” he said Monday.

Read Latest Breaking News from
Urgent: Should Obamacare Be Repealed? Vote Here Now!But Americans shouldn’t be upset at the tumultuous political landscape in Washington, said Harsanyi, who is senior editor of The Federalist.

“This is the most underrated Congress ever … I think 96 percent of Americans think that it’s not doing its job. They are doing their job. You don’t have to get things done all the time to be productive,” he said.

“Everyone thinks that government always has to be active for our communities to work, and it’s just not the case … Gridlock is a good thing, it’s a natural thing, and it’s helped this country, not hurt it.”


Of Debt + Degrees


nly in post-recession America could the indebted masses become a constituency — and a potential market.

Call them Generation Overleveraged. A whopping 40 million Americans owe an even more whopping $1.2 trillion in student-loan debt. The amount surpasses every other type of household debt except mortgage debt.

While the federal government has enacted laws that will ease future graduates’ debt burdens, plenty of 20- and 30-somethings are still in the lurch. And at last these red-ink-stained wretches are garnering some attention from policymakers, politicians and bankers. Eyeing voters, politicians on the left and right have highlighted the issue, while banks are beginning to broaden their reach to refinancing student loans. It’s not clear whether true relief or reform is on the way, but there’s no denying that momentum has built along with the debt.

Defaults are at a two-decade high, with nearly 15 percent of borrowers defaulting within three years.

The main reason for rising student debt is this: In the halcyon years before the Great Recession, millions of young Americans took out loans to get through university, only to graduate into an economy that didn’t need them as badly anymore. They’re finding it harder to pay off their loans than they likely anticipated.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been profiting at their expense. Federal loan interest rates remain high relative to other types of government-backed lending, and private loan rates tend to be even higher. Beneficiaries include for-profit secondary institutions, private lenders and good ol’ Uncle Sam.


Their rising numbers have turned student-loan holders into a fledgling constituency. Student debt has become a marquee issue for both Republicans, like Sen. Marco Rubio, and Democrats, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kirsten Gillibrand. There’s even the hint of bipartisan consensus on the issue. Organizations that face off on other issues, like the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Center for American Progress, are finding common ground on policy solutions like income-based repayment and refinancing.


Can we overcome our current political dysfunction?

MARCH 9, 2014, AT 12:00 PM The Week Taegan Goddard

In the latest episode of the Political Wire podcast, we spoke with Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, founder of the group No Labels, about breaking the gridlock in Washington and creating an atmosphere of where both parties work to solve the problems facing the country.

McKinnon is optimistic the two major political parties can work to overcome the current political dysfunction.

Here are five takeaways from our conversation:

  1. Democracy usually rights itself after periods of frustration: There’s no question that Congress is as dysfunctional as it has been in recent memory. Filibusters have become routine, and it’s difficult to get any major legislation enacted on a bipartisan basis. But this division can’t go on forever, McKinnon suggested. At some point people become so frustrated that democracy corrects itself. Although he acknowledged the recent increase in gerrymandered districts, the fragmentation of the media, and the rise of outside groups, he suggested that “we just hit rock bottom, and at a certain point the pendulum has to swing back, and I think that’s starting to happen.”


Progressive Push on Debt

March 7, 2014 By Michael Stratford Inside Higher Ed

A coalition of progressive groups on Thursday formally began a new campaign aimed at curbing rising student debt and reducing the price of college.
The group of think tanks, student organizations, consumer advocates, and unions is targeting the country’s “increasingly dysfunctional system of higher education,” said Anne Johnson, executive director of Generation Progress, the youth division of the Center for American Progress, which is an organizer of the campaign.
Speaking at the launch event Thursday, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, a Democrat, said the $1.2 trillion in outstanding student debt was unfairly “penalizing young people for getting an education.”

“The federal student loan program makes this problem worse,” she said, citing the billions of dollars in profit that the government makes on student loans, though the extent of that profit margin is disputed.

Warren outlined new legislation she plans to introduce that would allow all federal student loan borrowers to refinance their debt at a 3.86 percent interest rate. She proposed paying for the refinancing program by raising taxes on wealthy Americans under the so-called Buffett Rule, which would impose a new minimum tax rate on personal incomes higher than $1 million.
The refinancing effort, Warren said, would effectively cut in half the interest rate on many existing federal student loans and save borrowers with the maximum federal loan for undergraduate education about $1,000 each year.

“This is real money back in the pockets of students who invested in their education,” she said.



No solution, no end, and no hope in sight for American war on drugs

Posted on March 5, 2014 by Noah Buyon Georgetown Voice

We Americans love our wars. There are literal ones (The War on Terror), metaphorical ones (The War on Poverty), and downright silly ones (The War on Christmas). While we haven’t won any of these wars per se, I think the argument can be made that we’re fighting, and fighting hard. There is one exception, though. We’ve long since lost this war. As Ellis Carver of The Wire will tell you, “You can’t even call this shit a war: wars end.”

Whatever you call it, the cost of defeat is unmistakable: a trillion dollars wasted, and 500,000 people imprisoned, on American soil no less. What “war,” you ask? The War on Drugs, or as The Wire’s Omar Little might term it, “the game.”

Allow me to draw upon The Wire one last time. Its creator, David Simon, said of the War on Drugs: “Say it this way, because it’s more honest … ‘Let’s just get rid of the bottom 15 percent of the country. Let’s lock ‘em up. In fact, let’s see if we can make money off of locking them up.’ … At that point, why don’t you just say, ‘Kill the poor. If we kill the poor, we’re going to be a lot better off?’ Because that’s what the Drug War has become.”

Hyperbole, perhaps, but the essential point remains—that the American War on Drugs has contracted crippling mission creep. The fight is no longer about curbing the nation’s addictions. It has devolved into a cash cow for bloated law enforcement agencies and private contractors. The War on Drugs has become a $51 billion annual feeding frenzy, wherein the American justice system arrests and incarcerates a steadily increasing number of citizens in order to show progress on a stat-plot, rather than on a city street.

Since Richard Nixon launched the Drug War in the 1970s, the American prison population has grown by 705 percent. In the same time, drug use has only increased. That is what failure looks like. So says the Global Commission on Drug Policy, a 22-person body that includes Kofi Annan and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker—the group’s groundbreaking 2011 report notes, “Vast expenditures on criminalization and repressive measures directed at producers, traffickers, and consumers of illegal drugs have clearly failed to effectively curtail supply or consumption.”

But why? Like my Facebook relationship status, it’s complicated. Fundamentally, though, the American approach to illicit drugs closely resembles that of a medieval doctor: bleeding the nation of perceived corruption—even amputating the undesirable parts. The “producers, traffickers, and consumers” listed in the GCDP report are treated by the American justice system as a cancerous monolith that needs to be cut out, instead of as diverse groupings of sick and shattered people—most of whom are not beyond the point of salvation.

Drugs and the Drug War are easy to critique, but nigh impossible to solve. I don’t have the solution to what ails the addicted nation. What I’d like to address, instead, is a dangerous misconception about who it is that we’re fighting in our crusade against narcotics. Who’s to blame?