Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience. 2018 Dec; 10 : 324. Corroboration of a Major Role for Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 in Alzheimer’s Disease.

Strong evidence has emerged recently for the concept that herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) is a major risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This concept proposes that latent HSV1 in brain of carriers of the type 4 allele of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE-ε4) is reactivated intermittently by events such as immunosuppression, peripheral infection, and inflammation, the consequent damage accumulating, and culminating eventually in the development of AD. Population data to investigate this epidemiologically, e.g., to find if subjects treated with antivirals might be protected from developing dementia-are available in Taiwan, from the National Health Insurance Research Database, in which 99.9% of the population has been enrolled. This is being extensively mined for information on microbial infections and disease. Three publications have now appeared describing data on the development of senile dementia (SD), and the treatment of those with marked overt signs of disease caused by varicella zoster virus (VZV), or by HSV. The striking results show that the risk of SD is much greater in those who are HSV-seropositive than in seronegative subjects, and that antiviral treatment causes a dramatic decrease in number of subjects who later develop SD. It should be stressed that these results apply only to those with severe cases of HSV1 or VZV infection, but when considered with the over 150 publications that strongly support an HSV1 role in AD, they greatly justify usage of antiherpes antivirals to treat AD. Three other studies are described which directly relate to HSV1 and AD: they deal respectively with lysosomal changes in HSV1-infected cell cultures, with evidence for a role of human herpes virus type 6 and 7 (HHV6 and HHV7) in AD, and viral effects on host gene expression, and with the antiviral characteristics of beta amyloid (Aβ). Three indirectly relevant studies deal respectively with schizophrenia, relating to antiviral treatment to target HSV1, with the likelihood that HSV1 is a cause of fibromyalgia (FM), and with FM being associated with later development of SD. Studies on the link between epilepsy, AD and herpes simplex encephalitis (HSE) are described also, as are the possible roles of APOE-ε4, HHV6 and HSV1 in epilepsy.

Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California

By Dan Bacher, Indybay

12 November 18

“Protecting the health of our coastal waters is essential to our commitment to conserving the ecosystem and marine life necessary for our maritime culture,” said Mati Waiya, executive director of Wishtoyo Foundation. “The decision by honorable Judge Gutierrez upholds the law that ensures the health of our ocean waters. We all celebrate this decision that honors the rights of our maritime resources.”

n a victory for the ocean, a federal judge on November 9 ordered the Trump administration to cease issuing permits for offshore fracking and acidizing in federal waters — waters over 3 miles from shore — off the coast of Southern California.

U.S. District Judge Philip S. Gutierrez ruled that the federal government violated the Endangered Species Act and the Coastal Zone Management Act when it allowed fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and acidizing in offshore oil and gas wells in all leased federal waters off Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles counties.

Gutierrez issued an injunction prohibiting the two responsible federal agencies, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE), from approving any plans or permits for the use of well stimulation treatments (WSTs) off California.

Hydraulic fracturing is a well stimulation technique that uses a pressurized liquid to fracture rock. Acidizing is another well stimulation technique that entails pumping acids into a well in order to dissolve the rock, increasing the production by creating channels in the rock to allow oil and natural gas to reach the well.

“Stopping offshore fracking is a big victory for California’s coast and marine life,” said Kristen Monsell, oceans program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re glad the Trump administration lost this round in its push to expand dangerous oil operations off California. This decision protects marine life and coastal communities from fracking’s toxic chemicals.”

This order is an important step in addressing the expansion of fracking off California, although it doesn’t impact state waters within 3 miles from shore, where most of California’s offshore oil wells are located. Fortunately, litigation has prevented fracking from taking place in state waters for several years.

The court order results from three lawsuits filed by the state of California, Center for Biological Diversity and Wishtoyo Foundation, and the Environmental Defense Center and Santa Barbara Channelkeeper challenging the federal government’s approval and environmental review of offshore fracking in the Pacific Ocean.

“Protecting the health of our coastal waters is essential to our commitment to conserving the ecosystem and marine life necessary for our maritime culture,” said Mati Waiya, executive director of Wishtoyo Foundation. “The decision by honorable Judge Gutierrez upholds the law that ensures the health of our ocean waters. We all celebrate this decision that honors the rights of our maritime resources.”

The court ruled that federal officials violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to complete its consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the impacts of offshore fracking on endangered species.

“The court also said the Trump administration violated the Coastal Zone Management Act when it failed to let the California Coastal Commission determine whether offshore fracking is consistent with California’s coastal management program,” said Monsell. “The judge ordered the feds to complete the process with the State of California before approving any permits for offshore fracking.”

“Endangered sea otters and other critters just won a reprieve from the Trump administration’s assault on our oceans for dirty oil,” Monsell stated. “We plan to celebrate this great victory in the fight against climate change and dirty fossil fuels. This court decision sends a strong message that we need to get dangerous drilling out of ocean, out of coastal areas and out of our state.”

Exxon Mobil Corporation and the American Petroleum Institute joined the Trump administration in opposing the lawsuits. The oil industry claims fracking is safe and poses no harm to the environment, noting that the Barack Obama administration permitted fracking and acidizing in federal lands and waters when the lawsuits were filed.

However, Center scientists contest oil industry claims that fracking is harmless, since they have found that at least 10 fracking chemicals routinely used in offshore fracking could kill or harm a broad variety of marine species, including marine mammals and fish. “The California Council on Science and Technology has identified some common fracking chemicals to be among the most toxic in the world to marine animals,” said Monsell.

In a tweet, Attorney General Xavier Becerra responded to the ruling: “California didn’t back down when the federal government moved forward with plans for #fracking off our pristine shores. Today’s ruling stops @BOEM_DOI in their tracks and sends them back to the drawing board to follow the law. #ProtectOurCoast”

The Environmental Defense Center (EDC) and the Santa Barbara Channel Keeper (SBCK) also lauded the judge’s ruling.

“We are pleased that the court has put a halt to the risky practice of fracking and acidizing off our coast,” said Maggie Hall, Staff Attorney at EDC, which represents EDC and SBCK in this matter. “This ruling ensures that no further permits will be issued until potential impacts to threatened and endangered species, including the Southern sea otter and Western snowy plover, are considered.”

Hall said EDC previously filed a lawsuit to stop fracking and acidizing in the region after discovering, through a series of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, that more than fifty permits had been issued by the federal government without any public or environmental review. When the government failed to conduct full environmental review or consult with Fish and Wildlife Service, she said EDC and SBCK “had no choice but to file this lawsuit.”

Offshore drilling continues off California coast

While fracking in state and federal waters has been halted for the time being, traditional methods of offshore oil drilling continue in state and federal waters off the California coast. On September 8, Governor Jerry Brown signed two bills, SB 834 and AB 1775, to block new federal offshore oil drilling along California’s coast, but consumer and environmental justice advocates pointed out that he needs to also to stop his expansion of new offshore drilling in state waters, where Brown controls four times the number of wells that the Donald Trump does.

In a separate action, Brown announced the state’s opposition to the federal government’s plan to expand oil drilling on public lands in California as 30,000 people from California and throughout the world marched in San Francisco to demand that Brown halt his pro-Big Oil policies, including the approval of 21,000 new oil and gas permits, an oil industry-written cap-and-trade program, the pollution of California aquifers with toxic oil waste, and the irrigation of crops with oil wastewater.

This action came days before mayors, governors, heads of industry and international leaders convened in San Francisco for the purpose of “mobilizing climate action” at the Global Climate Action Summit. Meanwhile, a coalition of indigenous, environmental justice and conservation groups engaged in direct action outside of the summit.

Consumer Watchdog thanked Governor Brown for signing SB 834 and AB 1775, but the group noted that Brown has jurisdiction over four times more state oil wells in state waters off California’s coast than oil wells Trump has control of in federal waters off the coast — and said Brown needs to shut those wells down.

“During his administration Brown, has issued more than 20,000 permits to drill new oil and gas wells in California, and that includes more than 200 permits for off shore wells in state waters — wells within 3 miles of the California coast,” said Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog.

“Governor Brown cannot preach one mantra of ‘Drill baby drill’ in California and another when it comes to Trump drilling in federal waters off California,” said Court. “That’s hypocrisy not leadership. Governor Brown needs to revoke the permits for the hundreds of oil wells he has approved off California’s coast if he is willing to prevent Trump from drilling in federal waters off California. Today’s signing is an important step for coastal protection, but Brown needs to walk the walk and revoke the permits of the offshore wells he controls in state waters too.”

Between 2012 and 2017, Brown Administration regulators issued about 238 permits for new state wells in existing offshore leases, within three miles of the coast, and 171 of those offshore wells are currently active, according to analysis by the nonprofit FracTracker Alliance. Oil production continues from 1,366 offshore wells in existing leases, according to the California Department of Conservation in 2017.

“Overall the state under Brown controls four times as many offshore oil wells in state waters as Trump’s federal government controls in California water,” said Court.

An online map at http://www.BrownvTrumpoilmap.orgshows all the state offshore wells under Brown’s control vs the federal wells under Trump’s control, with geolocation data for each.

Over 800 groups call on Brown to freeze new oil and gas permits

Over 800 public interest groups have called upon Brown to limit neighborhood drilling and freeze new oil permits before he leaves the Governor’s Office in January and Gavin Newsom takes the helm. Brown has refused to do so to date. Read more at

The vulnerability of the California coast to an oil spill was demonstrated during the Refugio Oil Spill of May 2015, when over 9 miles of the Southern California Coast, including four so-called “marine protected areas” were fouled with crude oil from badly corroded pipeline operation owned by the Plains All American Pipeline Company out of Houston Texas. A jury found oil pipeline company Plains All American Pipeline, L.P. (Plains) guilty of one felony and eight misdemeanor counts in the Refugio Oil Spill of 2015 that fouled over 9 miles of coast.

Ironically, in an apparent conflict of interest, Catherine Reheis Boyd, the President of the Western States Petroleum Association, the lobbying organization for the Plains All American Pipeline Company, served from 2009 to 2012 as the chair of the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) initiative Blue Ribbon Task Force to create so-called marine “protected areas” (MPAs) in Southern California, including four MPAs being fouled by the spill.

Four “marine protected areas” created under Reheis-Boyd — the Goleta Slough, Campus Point, Naples and Kashtayit State Marine Conservation Areas — were imperiled by the oil spill that started at Refugio State Beach.

While state officials and the mainstream media continually portray California as the nation’s “green leader,” the reality is much different. In fact, Big Oil is the most powerful corporate lobby in California and the West – and the Western States Petroleum Association is the most powerful corporate lobbying organization.

WSPA and Big Oil wield their power in 6 major ways: through (1) lobbying; (2) campaign spending; (3) serving on and putting shills on regulatory panels; (4) creating Astroturf groups: (5) working in collaboration with media; and (6) contributing to non profit organizations. For more information, go to:

‘I’m Suffocating’: Khashoggi’s Last Words, Says Turkish Reporter By Al Jazeera

11 November 18

Senior Turkish journalist tells Al Jazeera what Khashoggi’s last words were, according to unpublished audio recording.

he head of investigations at the Turkish Daily Sabah newspaper has told Al Jazeera that Jamal Khashoggi’s last words were “I’m suffocating … Take this bag off my head, I’m claustrophobic”, according to an audio recording from inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist, suffocated to death while a plastic bag covered his head, Nazif Karaman told Al Jazeera.

Karaman said the murder lasted for about seven minutes, according to the recordings.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that audio related to Khashoggi’s murder was shared with Saudi Arabia, the United States, Germany, France and Britain.

He said Saudi Arabia knows Khashoggi’s killer is among a group of 15 people who flew into Istanbul hours before the October 2 incident.

According to Karaman, the Saudi entourage covered the floor with plastic bags before dismembering Khashoggi’s body – a 15-minute process that was led by Salah al-Tubaigy, head of the Saudi Scientific Council of Forensics.

Karaman’s remarks come as Turkish police are ending the search for the body, but the criminal investigation into Khashoggi’s murder will continue, sources told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

Traces of acid were found at the Saudi consul general’s residence in Istanbul, where the body was believed to be disposed of with the use of chemicals.

Karaman said that Daily Sabah would soon publish images of the tools that were brought into the country and used by the Saudi group.

He added the Turkish newspaper would also publish some of the recordings that document the last moments of Khashoggi’s life.

Last month, Istanbul’s chief prosecutor said that Khashoggi was strangled as soon as he entered the consulate and that his body was dismembered, in the first official comments on the case.

Saudi Arabia has said it arrested 18 people and dismissed five senior government officials as part of an investigation into Khashoggi’s killing. Ankara, meanwhile, seeks extradition of the suspects.

Beween two evils choose neither

In the world there is always a right and wrong in any given situation. One decisions serves the majority of people (the working class) and the other serves the few. (the ruling class). One way is to human progress and the other is a decline in human lives for the majority. An understanding of history and perception of emerging possibility. However, the argument to choose the lesser of two evils is an argument for the status quo. An argument to choose decline over progress. Between to evils choose neither.

Polio virus infection of cells of the colon may induce some degree of resistance to the development of colon cancer decades later. The effect of polio virus infection seems to be especially potent in reducing the rate of death from colon cancer.

In Vivo. 2018 Nov; 32 (6) : 1485-1489.

AIM: Polio is predominantly an enteric viral infection that was progressively eradicated in the United States after the introduction of polio vaccine in the early 1950s. U.S. colorectal cancer rates have dropped steadily for individuals born between 1890 and 1950, but have been increasing for every generation born since 1950. Moreover, the lowest worldwide age adjusted rates of colorectal cancer in 2012 were in sub-Saharan Africa, Gambia and Mozambique, where polio has not been eradicated. In the current study, poliomyelitis incidence in US states before the introduction of polio vaccine was analyzed.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Reported cases of poliomyelitis per 100,000 population by state 1932-1951 were from Centers for Disease Control. Colorectal cancer deaths per 100,000 in men (2005-2009) by US State are from the American Cancer Society. US state overweight and obesity data are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Smoking data are from the CDC.

RESULTS: By US state, colorectal cancer incidence per 100,000 in men for 2005-2009 was inversely correlated with reported cases of poliomyelitis per 100,000 for 1932-1951 (r=-0.311, p=0.032). Colorectal cancer deaths per 100,000 in men in 2005-2009 were also inversely correlated with reported cases of poliomyelitis per 100,000 by state for 1932-1951 (r=-0.493, p<0.001). The relationship between colorectal cancer deaths and polio incidence was significant (β=-0.196, p=0.028) and independent of the effects of smoking (β=0.289, p=0.012) and overweight (β=0.547, p<0.001). The relationship in females with colorectal cancer was identical.

CONCLUSION: Polio virus infection of cells of the colon may induce some degree of resistance to the development of colon cancer decades later. The effect of polio virus infection seems to be especially potent in reducing the rate of death from colon cancer.

A very good blog and authors explanation and description well worth reading. It is called: “Educate Inspire Change”

Educate Inspire Change a blog

A Weber Communications

Why I believe the whole world is brainwashed and what I’m doing to fix it

Kasim Khan

I don’t often write and I’m literally writing this as I’m thinking to myself so please be patient with me…

Most people I know have a loving family, good friends, an education , a job and yet if I was being totally honest with myself I would say most of them are unfulfilled with a feeling of emptiness. Of course I cannot speak for everyone but certainly the majority of people I know or have known have felt like this at least at some stage in their life. And I am sure if you look at yourself and even around you at the people in your life you would agree with me.
But why? You have shelter, food, security, family . . . this immediately puts you in probably the top 10% bracket of ‘wealthy people’ in the world. We are indeed lucky.

Well as I sit here and question why you feel so unfulfilled I think I have the answer ; You’ve spent all your life being brainwashed and conditioned into being a certain way, and somewhere deep down you know this and it doesn’t agree with you. And it’s this that is causing that powerless empty feeling that you can’t seem to shake.

It starts from birth, if you have religious parents then they will choose your religion for you, you have no choice over this and only very few of you will ever question your own religion and even fewer will look at the possibility of leaving.
Then as you grow older at a specific age you are entered into an education system and find yourself surrounded with hundreds of other children of the exact same age and all being taught at the same or similar level. You are essentially being given boundaries at this young age and cannot progress quicker than the education system allows.
You are also taught to conform. If you disobey you are in some way punished. Often if you even question authority in any way this is frowned upon and again you may even be punished.
Many education systems want you to wear a uniform and even some require a specific type of haircut. Again this is all sub consciously embedding in your brain that to conform is good. Even at this young age you are being trained to be a perfect little worker. To turn up on time, to take breaks when told, to learn at a pace which is dictated to you. Your uniqueness and creativity at this young tender age is being pounded away by relentless demand from the system to conform.

As you grow older, you have your religion or belief system that is the same as your families, you have an education that is the same as everyone you know and now as your mind grows with all the constraints in place you start to fight back against these and some of you may succeed but most will not. Most of your minds will now start to be shaped by the media, by marketing , you start to follow fashion trends, music trends, you need the latest phone/laptop or game. You want to fit in with all your friends and be the same as everyone because this is all you know , this is all you have been taught to be.

You watch the news and trust what you are being told, you read the papers and assume this to be truth. Why? Because all your life you have relied on others for information and never been told to question things for yourself…

Now you are about to leave education and enter into the world of work. This is what your parents and teachers have been preparing you for your whole entire life … to work and to be ”successful”. If you done as you were told to do in school, and if you memorised all the books you were given in class and then regurgitated all this information in your exams chances are you will find a high paying job which will make your family happy, it will get you lots of friends and buy you many nice things.

At this stage in life many of you may still try to question what life is all about, and even try to resist being sucked into the rat-race but sadly the harsh realities of life begin to set in and even the most ardent of rebels begins to see that they need money to survive and slowly even you will be forced to conform and be a part of ‘society’

Then eventually once you have been fully integrated as a perfect contributing citizen you will soon have kids , and then more than ever you understand the importance of having money and working. And … the cycle begins again, this time with your own children. And this pattern will continue to repeat until we have a society full of workers designed to feed a corrupt system which makes the rich richer and keeps everyone else sedated, unaware and unfulfilled.

As I write this I understand that I am also a part of this system that I talk so negatively about but I feel lucky to have found a passion which has taken me on a journey of self-realization and helped me to understand the world I live in and literally question everything.The passion I am talking about is the truth. Nearly three years ago I decided to create a Facebook page called Educate Inspire Change and that was probably the best decision I have ever made, because by trying to inform others I ended up learning more than I could ever have imagined and am still learning everyday. And it’s this passion for the truth that has allowed me to see clearly and I want to use this clarity to help others do the same as me and find their passion and pursue it and to ultimately be fulfilled.

And I believe the key to finding your own passion is self-education and critical thinking because you can never know what it is you really want or who you really are until you really start to think for yourself . We are literally living in the matrix and many of us are breaking free and it’s up to those of us who have this new-found sense of clarity to share it with others and be the light for others.

It can be a very frustrating thing being surrounded by people who you care about and love who simply cannot see what is happening around them. A fish born in the lake will never question what the water is around it, or whether there may be more lakes or even oceans. Similarly humans will never question our surroundings or the systems we are placed in unless other humans give us the wake-up call we need.

Everyday I learn more about science, spirituality, politics, nature , space …. and the more I learn the more excited I am about life and the more lucky I feel to be alive. And the more I want to share this knowledge with the world.

I have recently became a father and when I sit here and think about it perhaps that is what is the driving force behind me writing this. Because I know I will do my utmost not to condition him, I will do my best to nurture his creative abilities and instill the confidence in him to question everything… even me.
I want to teach him how lucky he is to be alive, to teach him about the beauty of nature, the beauty of humanity, the beauty of real knowledge and I hope that he too will find his passion because I believe that all of us are fundamentally creative beings who are here to learn, explore, create and simply wonder.

So I suppose I am writing this to share with you my understanding of the world and my hopes for change. Fortunately the fix is easy for all of us, just look to get better informed, self-educate, self-reflect, try to question everything and instill these values in your children and then sit back and watch the world change for the betterment of all people.

You can follow me personally on Instagram here

And follow Educate Inspire Change Instagram and facebook

You’ve Felt It Your Entire Life

How Corporations Bought Kavanaugh’s Seat on the Supreme Court

Powell’s proposal — a corporate takeover of US politics to carve off a bigger piece of the pie — was just the remedy for their ongoing crisis of profitability. Corporate America was all in.

Calvin F. Exoo Truthout

Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh speaks at his ceremonial swearing-in in the East Room of the White House on October 8, 2018, in Washington, DC. , Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In the 1970s, a revolution began. It was a deliberately hidden revolution, concealed so well that it is unknown to most Americans, even though it has profoundly and forever changed the nation. This ongoing revolution has brought us a Grand Canyon of inequality, Donald Trump — and now, Brett Kavanaugh. To understand what happened, we must go to the beginning.

It was 1971, and US corporations had a problem. The economies of Europe and Asia, previously devastated by WWII, had recovered and were knocking on our door with their cars, consumer electronics, appliances and other goods. US corporate profits fell like wet laundry.

Not only were US companies under pressure from abroad — they were also under pressure domestically. According to corporate attorney Lewis Powell, the politics of the ’60s had emboldened “Communists, New Leftists and other revolutionaries,” who were now joined by “the college campus, the pulpit, the media … the arts and sciences, and … politicians” in critiquing corporate power. US business, accustomed to doing well without having to do much political work, seemed to have neither the stomach nor the muscle to fight back.

Powell was angry. In a memo, he called for a counterattack, a massive marshaling of business’ fearsome resources to fight back on campuses, in the media, in books, political advertising, lobbying, campaign spending and finally, in Powell’s own bailiwick, “the neglected opportunity of the courts.”

Powell’s proposal — a corporate takeover of US politics to carve off a bigger piece of the pie — was just the remedy for their ongoing crisis of profitability. Corporate America was all in. Indeed, raising money to buy a pro-corporate legal system was like “knocking Coke bottles over with a baseball bat, as one fundraiser put it.

In particular, a group of individual billionaires — scions of corporate family dynasties — took the lead: Joseph Coors (beer), John Olin (munitions and chemicals), Richard Mellon Scaife (banking), the Smith-Richardsons (pharmaceuticals) and the Kochs (oil and natural gas) provided the crucial money. Their funds were then often matched by corporate contributions.

What They Built

The pillars of this corporate offensive soon began flying off the line like cars at a Ford plant. Almost overnight, it seemed, there were new conservative think tanks, journals, book publishers, media outlets, Political Action Committees (PACs) and Super PACs, lobbyists, consultants, and on and on in a dizzying array of tactics for Corporate America to win its political fights.

The legal arena was no exception. The conservative weapons forged to fight for control of the law included:

  • A law and conservative economics program to imbue legal scholars with the insights of conservative economists. Their doctrine is laissez faire, propounded by Adam Smith and beloved by big business as the talisman that wards off government regulation. The speed of its spread through US law schools was due to the “creative patronage” of the Olin family’s two-decade investment. Soon, law schools at the University of Virginia, University of Miami and George Mason were dominated by these ideas, and they had established a beach head at Harvard, Yale, University of Chicago, Stanford and Berkeley. Law schools were soft targets for this penetration. Surprisingly, many of them have little or no endowment and remain cash-strapped. What the Olin money offered was a free program and free professors.
  • Fellowships for legal scholars. James Buchanan, a godfather of the billionaires’ offensive, advised that “money talks.” Create a “gravy train,” he said, to “bring men into the fold” and get them “committed to a set of values” that would profit them and the conservative project. Accordingly, the Olin family funded fellowships that offered outstanding law school graduates a great boon: a coveted year off after law school to do research and writing. This gave them a year’s worth of publications their non-fellowship peers did not have and a leg up in seeking law school teaching jobs. Olin then provided a second fellowship: a financially supported year off before these conservative law school professors came up for tenure. In interviews with Olin Fellows, they unanimously declared that this advantage had a “major impact” on their careers.
  • Conservative legal foundations. There are currently more than 50 of these, all funded by corporate and billionaire money, pursuing conservative policy as “public interest” law firms. To take just one example of their influence, the DeVos family-funded James Madison Center became what Jane Mayer, author of Dark Money, calls a “litigation machine,” attacking campaign finance regulation, slowly restructuring the record of precedent until a once far-fetched theory became the law of the land. The culmination of their work was the landmark Citizens United and SpeechNowcases, ruling that corporations and billionaires could spend as much as they liked in supporting candidates at election time.
  • The National Chamber Litigation Center (NCLC).Powell’s memo was addressed to the US Chamber of Commerce, and he urged the organization to transform itself into a junkyard dog on behalf of corporate political interests. The Chamber did just that. As one prong of its political program, it formed the NCLC to achieve conservative wins through the courts — and did they ever. While the Supreme Court agrees to hear only about 2 percent of all the cases appealing to the court, the court has recently agreed to hear a stunning 70 percent of the cases brought by the NCLC. Since 2006, the NCLC has won an even more staggering 68 percent of its Supreme Court cases. Those cases represent defeats for employees, state regulations, the environment, consumers and whistleblowers, among others.
  • The Federalist Society: This Scaife-Olin-Bradley-Smith-Richardson-funded group is a kind of conservatives’ American Bar Association. It is, among other things, a place for conservative lawyers to network and to share ideas. Here is one sign of its power: It is now standard practice for Republican presidents to choose Supreme and Appellate Court appointees from a list provided by the Federalist Society. It was from this list that Donald Trump drew the name of Brett Kavanaugh.

The result of this conservative surround-sound system is a “bubble” in which conservative jurists can go from a conservative law school education to a conservative legal foundation or to the faculty of a conservative law school; and finally to an Appellate or Supreme Court seat, always under the tutelage of the Federalist Society, without encountering an idea different from your own.

Not surprisingly, in this right-wing hothouse, conservatism became more conservative. Corporations used to win Supreme Court victories about 50 percent of the time, even under conservative courts. Today, they win 75 percent of the time. In those cases where the “Roberts Five” Republican-appointed justices vote together against the four Democratic-appointed justices, they have supported corporate or Republican positions 92 percent of the time — allowing dark (anonymous) money to influence elections, decimating unions, preventing gun regulation, suppressing voters, allowing gerrymandering, blocking workers and consumers from court protection against corporations, permitting pollution and undermining abortion rights. Today’s Supreme Court is the most conservative in living memory.

A new generation of conservative jurists now fervently flogs a legal theory that is too far-right even for the last generation of conservatives like Scalia and Alito. The court decisions that struck down child labor, minimum wage and workplace safety laws have long been considered part of the “anti-canon” – decisions so discredited as to dwell with Plessy and Dred Scott in the Court’s basement of shame. But in the writings of Appellate Court conservatives trying to catch the eye of the Federalist Society (see Neil Gorsuch), the doctrine of corporate “anything goes” is back.

Kavanaugh and the Billionaires’ Legal System

The power of this conservative legal system over judicial appointments became clear when George W. Bush nominated White House Counsel Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court. She turned out to have two fatal flaws: She was not a member of the Federalist Society, and she hadn’t produced a body of writing that would show her to be a bona fide conservative. A firestorm of angry conservative blowback torched her nomination.

Justice Kavanaugh had no such problem. He is not just a member of the Federalist Society; he is a leading light who has given more than 50 speeches to the group. The fact that he was on the Society’s list of eligible candidates means that he will fit the “Roberts Five” like a machine-tooled cog.

In 2-1 decisions on the DC Circuit Court, Justice Kavanaugh supported a corporate or Republican position 91 percent of the time. Like the “Roberts Five,” Justice Kavanaugh supported dark money, union busting, voter suppression, corporate pollution, guns and abortion restrictions. He is significantly more conservative than the Republican-appointed justice he is replacing. With his confirmation, the billionaires’ takeover of the courts has reached a new zenith.

The Liberal Counterpart

There is a liberal counterpart to this conservative legal system, but it’s a little David up against a big Goliath. Take, for example, the liberal version of the Federalist Society, the American Constitution Society. Its budget is $6 million. That’s what the Federalist Society’s budget was 20 years ago. Today, the Federalists have a budget of more than $20 million.

A new addition to the billionaires’ stable, the Judicial Crisis Network by itself spent more than $12 million on advertising and lobbying to boost Justice Kavanaugh’s nomination. A spokesman for the liberal Alliance for Justice, an advocacy group which monitors federal judicial appointments, could only hope, in vain, that “this fight can be won without the millions of dollars amassed by the right, by big business.”

The reason liberals lag behind is simple: They do have billionaires in their corner, but not as many as the conservatives have. Only recently have researchers been able to report on the political attitudes of the richest Americans, and their findings are a revelation: It turns out that F. Scott Fitzgerald was right when he said, “The rich are different from you and me.” They are much more politically active than the average American, and much, much more conservative.

This finding explains why liberals and Democrats lag behind in financing almost everything, including election campaigns. Princeton political scientist Larry Bartels reports that, in an analysis of 14 elections, every Republican presidential candidate outspent his Democratic opponent, giving the GOP an average vote boost of 3.5 percentage points – often, the margin of victory.


The stunning success of the billionaires’ revolution has given rise to a formidable political machine and huge policy wins for corporations. Justice Kavanaugh’s ascension to the Supreme Court is an important moment in the revolution of the rich. The right-wing corporate movement has wrought a Supreme Court that Lewis Powell and US billionaires could love. Ironically, it is a former Supreme Court justice who has captured the moral of our story: “We must make our choice,” Louis Brandeis said. “We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.”

Calvin F. Exoo is a political science Ph.D. (Wisconsin-Madison) and an endowed professor of government at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. Exoo has published three books on US politics; the most recent, The Pen and the Sword: Press, War and Terror in the 21st Century, was named an “Outstanding Academic Book for 2010 by Choice” by the reviewing service of the American Library Association. Since 2010, Exoo has been writing for online magazines, including Salon, HuffPost, Daily Kos and Truthout.

Copyright, Truthout. Reprinted with permission. May not be reprinted without permission.

Does herpes cause Alzheimer’s?

October 19, 2018
Herpes is the dreaded ‘gift that keeps on giving’. But could it also be taking our memories? Decades of research show a striking correlation between Alzheimer’s disease risk and infection with Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV1) in people carrying a specific gene. Now, newly-available epidemiological data provide a causal link between HSV1 infection and senile dementia — raising the tantalizing prospect of a simple, effective preventive treatment for one of humanity’s costliest disorders.