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Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Former Top NASA Scientist Predicts Catastrophic Rise In Sea Levels

Science says it has happened before.

Dr. James Hansen has been described as "alarmist and also right."
WASHINGTON -- One of the nation's most recognizable names in climate science, Dr. James Hansen, released a new paper this week warning that even 2 degrees Celsius of global warming may be "highly dangerous" for humanity.
The paper, which will be published online in the European Geosciences Union journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussion later this week, projects sea levels rising as much as 10 feet in the next 50 years.
The paper notes there is evidence indicating that average temperatures just 1 degree Celsius warmer than today caused sea levels to rise 16 to 30 feet and fed extreme storms thousands of years ago.
Hansen and 16 co-authors drafted the paper as a message to policymakers that current greenhouse-gas reduction goals are not strong enough. World leaders have committed to limiting average warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), a goal articulated in the Copenhagen Accord in 2009 and reiterated by G7 leaders in June.
"The message for policymakers is that we have a global crisis that calls for international cooperation to reduce emissions as rapidly as practical," wrote the authors.
Their projections are based on an anticipated accelerated melting of ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica due to rising atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases. The melting ice sheets will put more cold, fresh water into the oceans, changing circulation patterns and ultimately causing even more melting of the ice sheets -- thus causing sea levels to rise much, much faster than other projections have forecast.
"We conclude that continued high emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century," the scientists wrote. "Social disruption and economic consequences of such large sea level rise could be devastating."
Hansen, who was the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies until April 2013and is now an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, has been warning about climate threats for years. He's moved from dispassionately investigating the science to actively advocating for specific solutions to the problem. As Eric Holthaus at Slate put it, Hansen "is known for being alarmist and also right."
The paper has already ruffled some, including Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein, who said on Twitter that he would not cover it -- primarily because it had not yet been peer-reviewed, a process that allows other scientists to critique the work.
The Washington Post's Chris Mooney asked other climate experts to weigh in on the paper. While many said it raised key discussion points, Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research called it "provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and 'what if' scenarios."

Thursday, July 16, 2015



There's been a lot of debate and controversy the last month about the flying of the old Confederate Battle flag on Public property in many parts of the south.  The reality is that the FLAG shown above is the last flag flown by the Confederacy.

   The Civil War started by the Southern Confederacy in April 1861 ended 150 yrs. ago this summer and I think it's past time that the flags of that rebellion be hauled down and removed from PUBLIC property. This should be done, if for no other reason then out of respect for the over 300,000 Federal soldiers that died in that war to save the Union we live in today.

Friday, July 10, 2015


English: Eric Holder speaking at a press confe...
English: Eric Holder speaking at a press conference on Guantanamo Bay detainees. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Eric Holder, Wall Street Double Agent, Comes in From the Cold

By Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
10 July 15

ric Holder has gone back to work for his old firm, the white-collar defense heavyweight Covington & Burling. The former attorney general decided against going for a judgeship, saying he's not ready for the ivory tower yet. "I want to be a player," he told the National Law Journal, one would have to say ominously.
Holder will reassume his lucrative partnership (he made $2.5 million the last year he worked there) and take his seat in an office that reportedly – this is no joke – was kept empty for him in his absence.
The office thing might have been improper, but at this point, who cares? More at issue is the extraordinary run Holder just completed as one of history's great double agents. For six years, while brilliantly disguised as the attorney general of the United States, he was actually working deep undercover, DiCaprio in The Departed-styleas the best defense lawyer Wall Street ever had.
Holder denied there was anything weird about returning to one of Wall Street's favorite defense firms after six years of letting one banker after another skate on monstrous cases of fraudtax evasion,market manipulationmoney launderingbribery and other offenses.
"Just because I'm at Covington doesn't mean I will abandon the public interest work," he toldCNN. He added to the National Law Review that a big part of the reason he was going back to private practice was because he wanted to give back to the community.
"The firm's emphasis on pro bono work and being engaged in the civic life of this country is consistent with my worldview that lawyers need to be socially active," he said.
Right. He's going back to Covington & Burling because of the firm's emphasis on pro bono work.
Here's a man who just spent six years handing out soft-touch settlements to practically every Too Big to Fail bank in the world. Now he returns to a firm that represents many of those same companies: Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup, to name a few.
Collectively, the decisions he made while in office saved those firms a sum that is impossible to calculate with exactitude. But even going by the massive rises in share price observed after he handed out these deals, his service was certainly worth many billions of dollars to Wall Street.
Now he will presumably collect assloads of money from those very same bankers. It's one of the biggest quid pro quo deals in the history of government service. Congressman Billy Tauzin once took a $2 million-a-year job lobbying for the pharmaceutical industry just a few weeks after helping to passthe revolting Prescription Drug Benefit Bill, but what Holder just did makes Tauzin look like a guy who once took a couple of Redskins tickets.
In this light, telling reporters that you're going back to Covington & Burling to be "engaged in the civic life of this country" seems like a joke for us all to suck on, like announcing that he's going back to get a doctorate at the University of Blow Me.
Holder doesn't look it, but he was a revolutionary. He institutionalized a radical dualistic approach to criminal justice, essentially creating a system of indulgences wherein the world's richest companies paid cash for their sins and escaped the sterner punishments the law dictated.
Here are five pillars of the Holder revolution:
One is that he failed to win a single conviction in court for any crimes related to the financial crisis. The only trial of any consequence brought by his Justice Department for crimes related to the crisis involved a pair of Bear Stearns nimrods named Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, who confided in each other via email that the subprime markets were "toast" but told their clients something very different to keep them invested.
After a jury acquitted both in early 2009, the Holder Justice Department turtled. Sources inside the DOJ told me over the years that both Holder and his deputy, fellow Covington & Burling alum Lanny Breuer, were obsessed with winning and refused to chance any case where they felt a jury might go sideways on them. Thus the Cioffi-Tannin case was the last financial crisis case they dared to bring into to a criminal courtroom – virtually every other case ended in settlements.
Two: Holder famously invented a concept called "collateral consequences," under which the state could pursue non-criminal alternatives for companies if they believed prosecuting them might result in too much "collateral" damage. Britain's HSBC bank, which admitted to massive money laundering violations, and the Swiss bank UBS, which was caught manipulating the Libor interest rate benchmark, were examples of firms that escaped vigorous prosecution because Holder and his lackeys were, ostensibly anyway, concerned about market-altering consequences.
Significantly, both banks were later caught up in even more serious scandals, leading to criticism that stiffer punishments the first time around might have prevented future damage. Holder's successor Loretta Lynch was even forced to rip up Holder's UBS deal for being insufficiently punitive. It's worth noting that Holder, before he became attorney general, represented UBS at Covington & Burling.
Holder's lenient policies were deployed at a time when fellow officials like Tim Geithner and Ben Bernanke were using bailout monies to merge troubled firms together and create even larger mega-companies. Chase and Wells Fargo, which swallowed up Washington Mutual and Wachovia in state-aided takeovers, were prototypes of the modern mega-bank. So when Holder wedded "collateral consequences" to these new Too Big to Fail mega-firms, he created Too Big to Jail. This is a huge part of his legacy, the creation of an unjailable class.
Three: Holder also pioneered the extrajudicial settlement, striking huge deals with companies in which judges did not sign off on the agreements. The arrangement prevented pesky judges like the irksome Jed Rakoff (who voided a pair of settlements he felt were inadequate) from protesting lenient justice.
This essentially institutionalized the backroom deal. Everything was done in secret, and there was no longer any opportunity for judges or anyone else to check the power of the executive branch to hand out financial indulgences.
The watchdog group Better Markets described the $13 billion Chase settlement, one of the biggest extrajudicial deals, as "an unprecedented settlement amount [that] cannot…immunize the DOJ from having to obtain independent judicial review of its otherwise unilateral, secret actions."
Four: There is a huge misconception, pushed equally by odd bedfellows in the financial community and Obama supporters, that Eric Holder didn't send anyone from Wall Street to jail because "no one broke any laws."
This preposterous meme grew out of something Barack Obama said on 60 Minutes. Here are the president's exact words:
"Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street — in some cases some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street — wasn't illegal."
Obama, a brilliant lawyer and wordsmith, was not saying that all of the behavior leading to the crash was legal. He merely said that some of the worst behavior wasn't illegal. Which is true. Meaningless, but true.
Of course, some of the worst behavior was very illegal. This is confirmed in the fact that Holder extracted billions of dollars in settlement monies and even, in a few cases, obtained guilty pleas for crimes like fraud, manipulation, bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.
Anyone who even tries to claim that none of the banks actually did anything illegal should be directed to the HSBC settlement of December 2012. In this deferred prosecution agreement, Europe's largest bank paid $1.92 billion to settle their responsibility for violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and other laws.
This is from a description of HSBC's crimes by Holder's Justice Department:
"As a result of HSBC Bank USA's AML failures, at least $881 million in drug trafficking proceeds – including proceeds of drug trafficking by the Sinaloa Cartel in Mexico…were laundered through HSBC Bank USA."
You might remember the Sinaloa cartel for their ISIS-style, unforgettably upsetting torture videos. HSBC washed their cash. They even created special teller windows to make their deposits easier. This is admitted, not alleged.
But Holder went out of his way to let them keep their U.S. charter. He gave their executives a grand total of zero days in jail, zero dollars in individual fines.
To reiterate: HSBC laundered money for guys who chop peoplesheads off with chainsaws. Sowe can dispense with the "but no one broke any laws" thing.
When asked about this in testimony before the Senate, Holder told elected officials he was concerned harsher penalties against firms like HSBC would "have a negative impact on the national economy," and that this "has an inhibiting influence…on our ability to bring resolutions that I think would be more appropriate."
Compare this to what he just said after returning to Covington & Burling:
"I think that what we did in the department was, I always like to say, appropriately aggressive. There may be clients that, for whatever reason, will not decide to work with me..."
Oddly enough, Holder used that same phrase – "appropriately aggressive" – in his Senate testimony. In other words, the attorney general said he was "inhibited" from giving "appropriate" punishments just a few moments before claiming his punishments were appropriate. This is classic Clintonian politics, saying two things at the same time, neither of them true.
Five: Holder contributed countless subtle inventions to soften punishments. The most revolting in my view was allowing banks like Chase the courtesy of calling their settlements "remedial payments" instead of fines for wrongdoing.
This seemingly insignificant semantic tweak allowed the bank to call $7 billion of their settlement a business expense, which meant they could claim it as a tax deduction, which in turn meant that taxpayers like you and me paid a whopping $2.45 billion of Chase's penalty.
Some of the write-ups of these decisions emanating from the financial and legal press were hilarious., noting that the settlement language meant that 35 percent of the bank's regulatory burden would be shifted "onto the backs of taxpayers," pointed out, as if surprised, that the tax treatment "sparked debate" and that "some are even angry about it." Shocking!
Of course, none of us mortals can deduct so much as a speeding ticket, since we wouldn't want to use the tax code to encourage speeding. So why was it OK for the nation's top cop to make fraud or money laundering a tax-subsidized activity?
There were other tricks. Banks that committed multiple violations of the same offense were often allowed to settle or plead to just one count. And in many cases the fines were staggeringly low compared to the volume of crime – BNP-Paribas, for instance, paid $8.9 billion after laundering $30 billion, meaning they paid about 27 cents per dollar of violations.
Holder is a cynic of a type that's increasingly common in Washington. To follow his Justice Department was like watching an endless reel of The Good Wife – smart lawyers half-cleverly constructing one unseemly moral compromise after another, always justifying it to themselves in the end somehow in the name of keeping the ball rolling.
Holder doubtless seriously believed at first that in a time of financial crisis, he was doing the right thing in constructing new forms of justice for banks, where nobody but the shareholders actually had to pay for crime. You've heard of victimless crimes; Holder created the victimless punishment.
But in the end, it was pretty convenient, wasn't it, that "the right thing" also happened to be the strategy that preserved Democratic Party relationships with big-dollar donors, kept the client base at Holder's old firm nice and fat, made the influential rich immeasurably richer and allowed Eric Holder himself to crash-land into a giant pile of money upon resignation.
What a coincidence! In any civilized country, it'd be a scandal. In America, though, he's just another guy selling whatever he can to get by. It was just too bad that what Holder had to sell was the criminal justice system.
Below, watch Matt Taibbi discuss Holder on Wednesday's episode of Democracy Now!


My Take:

   One of the big gripes on the political right is what they refer to as over regulation of the economy by Gov't at all levels. So for the last 35 or so yrs. deregulation has been a favorite political theme of both parties. Here's the problem, it hasn't really worked out very well. What's happened is that BIG Corporations that are flush with cash have been able to use their economic power to buy all the deregulation they need. Conversely, small businesses lacking this economic/political clout have stayed regulated or have become even more regulated by all levels of Gov't. There are examples after examples of this all over the landscape. In the last few decades the big banks for instance have become more and more deregulated and bigger. This  even after they crashed the World's economies in 2008. Why? Because, they have the economic and political clout necessary to escape the consequences of their own bad actions. Instead, perversely they are rewarded for these actions and everyone else is punished and forced to pay for their misdeeds. In short, they have escaped Justice, or as it's known in the economic world the concept of "moral hazard." Under that concept if you violated the law you were punished, sometimes by being broken up or shutdown. This concept no longer applies to certain businesses and Institutions, we now call them  them "Too BIG to Fail" institutions. All of this has to some degree or another come about due to what is called deregulation. Another , maybe even more pernicious result of this phenomenon has been the return of what used to be called the "let the buyer beware" economy and with it a near endless stream of con men, scammers and shady Corp. practices. The article below is a little tale about such  scams and scammers. Enjoy!

Inspection- On Attempting to X Out of Xfinity
by Ken Carman | July 9, 2015 - 2:04pm
 Really this is a column about how business is done in America, how it has become "ScamAmerica." Xfinity, a Comcast company, is just an interesting example.
  There are certainly others: WalMart teaching employees get public assistance so they can pay poverty wage, while living on the dole themselves: relying on eminent domain, breaks in regulation and taxes, meanwhile using those breaks to sell so cheap they kill Mom and Pops, AT&T reps telling customers they'll get one price and when the bill comes in there's always fees, on fees, on fees... and odd charges like activating lines, or phones, already activated. Ironically it's the same charge to activate a totally new, extra, phone service as it is simply to switch to a new phone and keep the same old, same old.
  What was once capitalism has definitely become scam-a-lism. All due to the fact that anti-reg fanatics dominate our politics these days, and love to make us poorer in order to make the uber rich even more "uber."
  But Xfinity sure is one fascinating example. I think it may be paving the way to an even more, consumer unfriendly, form of scam-a-lism.
  I have never bought their services, and only used it once. It was a mistake. Had no idea who Xfinity was, or that they were Comcast: a company that recently rated as having the worst customer relations in a public survey.
  I was at a Wendys and Xfinity was the only server showing in a business location claiming to have free internet. I figured it was what this specific Wendys called their free internet. But it wasn't the "only," and it certainly wasn't free for all but the first hour. I found out later if you just keep refreshing the Wendys internet will be displayed along with several other services, then not displayed: just Xfinity, then displayed again, then not. It's like Xfinity is struggling to block you from seeing the other servers. Perhaps I shouldn't have typed "like?"
  Couldn't be, could it?
  After my first, and only, hour I would have had to pay for the service. I didn't. I left.
  Story over?
  No. The only thing I can figure is it downloaded something into my laptop because for months after that, wherever I went, it would favor Xfinity. If I asked the laptop to hook to Wendys, or McDonalds, even the library, it would try to hook up with Xfinity. This would happen after I had been on another server for an hour or so. Suddenly I found I could surf nowhere.
 (Anyone notice "surf" is rarely, if ever, used anymore? Did I just commit the crime of showing how ancient my net lingo is?)
  Back on topic, why had I lost my net? You've probably already guessed, yup, without being asked I had been switched to Xfinity.
  This happened several time while in libraries, and having five bars, Xfinity showing far less. Also at McD's, Wendys and Burger King.
  It's happened so much I can't imagine it not being intentional. Do the spooky Burger King, Wendy and Ronald now work for Xfinity? I doubt that. I suspect this is Comcast performing a form of digital, non-consensual, server user rape.
  Any company doing business like this needs to be fined, at best, dismembered if necessary. This is not 'free market," nor "capitalism."
  Other metaphors...
 Attempted connectivity murder? Server murder too, since they block other connections?
  This the kind of corporate criminal behavior that's the antithesis if "free enterprise," where other servers either have to step up and become as aggressive, or go out of business. We'd be like puppets passed back and forth, or better yet an abused woman who keeps falling in with abusive boyfriends.
  One cry over the years has been that we let the market take care of itself. Yet this is exactly one possible result of "leaving alone." And this is what would happen if something isn't done, legally, to limit, regulate, unfair business practices. Without such you can guarantee it would go downhill from here.
  It's also proof the most fanatical anti-reg folks are, at best, not just wrong... but completely whacked.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Fire On Dunes Near Atlantic City Boardwalk

DUNES BURNING in AC !!   You cannot make this kind of shit up!  AC it seems can't even build a dune right. As, I've been complaining for years the AC Beach  Project is a deadly hazard for AC in more then one way. Now we have it being a fire hazard. Worse then this its a awful flood hazard in the event of a 1938 or 44' style Hurricane. The storm surge from such a storm will wash this mess into everything behind it!!  In the mean time its a liter strewn nightmare that blocks the views and the sea breeze from the boardwalk and drives away business,  now its even a friggin FIRE hazard.


   If AC feels it needs to protect the boardwalk, fine, then build a bulkhead in front of it already! My advice is,  tear down the stupid so called dune and widen the beach instead. AC would rather let Casinos and hotels build right on top of in back of and in front of the project dune, so what's the pt. of even having this mess. Beyond enriching the dredging Corps. and the rest of the Army Corps' . fellow travelers, it's worthless.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Supreme Court Rejects Obama's Drive To Cut Mercury Emissions From Power Plants

Posted: Updated: 

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Monday ruled against an Environmental Protection Agency regulation limiting mercury and other toxic emissions from power plants, undermining the Obama administration's drive to cut pollution from electricity generators.
The case looked at the EPA's regulation of mercury and other emissions from power plants under the Clean Air Act, which Republicans have attacked as a "war on coal" and an example of presidential overreach.
The EPA interpreted the law "unreasonably" when it failed to consider the costs of compliance with the new regulations, the court ruled 5-4 in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia.
"EPA strayed well beyond the bounds of reasonable interpretation in concluding that cost is not a factor relevant to the appropriateness of regulating power plants," concluded the majority.
Justice Elena Kagan, joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, wrote a scathing dissent that argues that the EPA did consider the costs of complying with the regulations -- just not at the initial stage of determining whether or not to regulate mercury emissions in the first place. 

"Over more than a decade, EPA took costs into account at multiple stages and through multiple means as it set emissions limits for power plants," wrote Kagan. "And when making its initial 'appropriate and necessary' finding, EPA knew it would do exactly that -- knew it would thoroughly consider the cost-effectiveness of emissions standards later on."

The majority's interpretation, Kagan argued, is "a peculiarly blinkered way for a court to assess the lawfulness of an agency’s rulemaking."

"The Agency acted well within its authority in declining to consider costs at the opening bell of the regulatory process given that it would do so in every round thereafter -- and given that the emissions limits finally issued would depend crucially on those accountings," wrote Kagan.
The EPA finalized rules limiting the release of mercury, heavy metals and acid gases from power plants in December 2011. While many newer power plants have technology to curb those hazardous releases, the rules target plants that still do not capture those emissions. The rules affect about 600 U.S. power plants, the majority of which are fueled by coal.
Industry groups and 23 states challenged the rule, arguing that the EPA failed to take into account the cost of compliance, which they put at $9.6 billion.
The EPA argued that the health benefits from cutting emissions would be at leasttriple the compliance costs.
"We are reviewing the decision and will determine any appropriate next steps once our review is complete," said EPA spokeswoman Melissa Harrison on Monday. "EPA is disappointed that the Court did not uphold the rule, but this rule was issued more than three years ago, investments have been made and most plants are already well on their way to compliance."
The question before the court hinged on the interpretation of a line in the Clean Air Act stating that the EPA "shall regulate" emissions from electric utilities if the agency finds that "such regulation is appropriate and necessary." The court assessed whether the EPA's interpretation of the word "appropriate" had to include the costs of compliance.
"It is not rational, never mind 'appropriate,' to impose billions of dollars in economic costs in return for a few dollars in health or environmental benefits," wrote Scalia in the majority opinion.
Environmental groups criticized the ruling, and argued that the EPA should be able to tweak the mercury rule to comply with the court's decision.
"The Court has sided with the Dirty Delinquents -- the small percentage of coal-fired plants that haven't cleaned up -- and against the majority that are already protecting our children from mercury and other toxic pollutants," said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp in a statement. "It's critically important for our nation that these life-saving protections remain in place while EPA responds to the Court's decision, and EDF will focus its efforts on ensuring these safeguards are intact."

The mercury rule is one of several major regulations from President Barack Obama's EPA limiting emissions from power plants, specifically units that are coal-powered. The agency is finishing rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions from both new and existing power plants as well, with the final rules expected within weeks.
A federal appeals court upheld the regulations in 2014. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in March.

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Pics of the present hi rises along Margate NJ's beachfront.

   Some bad ideas just don't want to die as evidenced by the endless fight over the Absecon Island Shore Protection Racket. Unfortunately, another bad idea in Margate that doesn't want to stay buried is the one that allows for the lifting of the ban on hi rise buildings, specifically in the present case a rezoning and waiver for Louis Ventura owner of the beachfront Greenhouse restaurant . Let me be clear on this one. It's a bad idea and its not one that the present Commission was elected to see thru to fruition. If the Commission wants to change the law or regulations in Margate as they pertain to the present 35 ft. height restriction for buildings they should put it to the voters in Margate as a referendum. They should not treat this request as merely one property owner asking for a building code waiver. Raising the height restriction which has been in place since the early  1970s  would change the entire character of the town. The citizens of Margate should be the ones deciding this issue not just the Commissioners or the Zoning board.

I'll Be Part of any Group that Fights this:

   I for one will help any individual or group that wants to stop this ill begotten idea. I do not want to see Margate become just another coastal town buried behind a wall of hi rise condos along the beach and the bay. ( like Ocean City, Md. , Virginia beach, Va, Daytona Beach, Fla or Ventnor and AC)  The height restriction code / law was meant to keep Margate from such a  fate. The three existing hi rises are more then enough, in fact there too much if you ask me.