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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Decimated, USA.

The following is a silly little article, really.  But this final paragraph made me gag a bit:
“The White House press spokesman, Jay Carney, described the bill as a temporary Band-Aid that fails to address the overall threat to the economy. He suggested that Congress should find the same sense of urgency to help families who have had children kicked out of Head Start programs or seniors who have lost access to Meals on Wheels.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/26/house-overwhelmingly-votes-to-block-cuts-that-would-have-caused-air-travel-delays/

These guys all talk like the sequester deal (as well as all the other austerity deals since Obama took office) were some sort of invasive kudzu-like plant that mysteriously took over their offices after a weekend off.  (“Damn!  What the fuck is this shit growing all over the walls in here, Mabel?  Get some RoundUp at lunch, will ya?”)

Where is this shocked surprise and outrage coming from?  They wrote the fucking bills, voted for them, and Oblahblah signed them into law, just as they intended.  Now they are stunned – stunned – to hear that travelers might be affected, old people and poor people and sick people might be sent to early graves…someone should do something.  Tell you what – I think Congress and the administration have done quite enough.  Turn your treasonous, bribe-taking selves in for viciously and coldly attempting to do away with America’s poor and middle classes altogether.  Oh, wait, that won’t work – you bought the judicial system, too.  Tammany Hall Capital Hill will be equally “surprised” and “aghast” when they succeed in stealing social security later this year, too.  But, hey, Eric Holder is going after the really big fish now, so maybe there’s hope for justice, after all.  And how many millions will this lawsuit cost the taxpayers?  Never you mind; I say spare no expense, Eric, you go for those assholes who are stealing all the assets and money in the country…wait, hang on a minute.  He’s suing Lance Armstrong??? [ http://news.msn.com/us/government-sues-armstrong-over-usps-sponsorship-money ]  What a cartoon this whole place is becoming.

And here’s the McCain, once again showing his gathering dementia (please leave already and don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out):

“I support the action by Congress this week to provide the Federal Aviation Administration with the flexibility it needs to keep air traffic controllers on the job and flights on schedule,” McCain said. “However, it is shameful for us to make allowances for the FAA while doing nothing to stop the draconian cuts that are decimating our military today and putting our nation’s security in danger.  Dealing with the impacts of sequestration on a case-by-case basis does nothing to fix the underlying issue and prolongs this damaging policy. While Congress gives flexibility to the FAA, our military aircraft don’t fly and our ships don’t sail.”  (From the rawstory article linked to above.)

Our military decided to cut veteran’s benefits and civilian jobs, you lyin’ fool, not weaponry or war-making capabilities.  The administration is planning an invasion of Syria right now (based on – stop me if you’ve heard this one before – chemical weapons of mass destruction.  Well, it’s an oldie, but a goodie, eh?).  The aircraft is a-flying and the boats are a-sailing.  More’s the pity.  The military complex has enough money to practice their tactical maneuvers in US cities and hire some mercenaries (Craft) to “help”, in advance, in the Boston-oh-my-God-terrorist drill.  The military may be many things to many people, but “decimated”, it ain’t.

Decimated is the destination you have in mind for we, the people.

A video, “Amerika”, made by Laura (http://storytellingproductions.com/), a commenter here.  Used with permission.  (Thank you, Laura!)

Other stuff:

“The White House says that United States President Barack Obama may approve of using military force against the Syrian government. […]
http://rt.com/usa/white-house-syria-force-463/

The unknown knowns, etc:  “[…] In the midst of a Middle East tour dedicated to arranging a $10 billion deal to provide Israel and the right-wing Arab monarchies with advanced weaponry directed against Iran, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel denounced the chemical weapons use, saying it “violates every convention of warfare.” He went on to acknowledge, “We cannot confirm the origin of these weapons, but [they] …very likely have originated with the Assad regime.”
Similarly, British Prime Minister David Cameron charged Syria with a “war crime,” stating: “It’s limited evidence, but there’s growing evidence that we have seen too of the use of chemical weapons, probably by the regime.” […]”
http://wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/27/syri-a27.html

Lots of info in the following article.  Now, how does this work, exactly?  The US gov’t pays Ratheon to build a weapons system.  Then the gov’t pimps out the weapons in Ratheon’s behalf, “selling” the weapons to other countries.  (Does the gov’t make any profit on these sales, or do the profits all just go to Raytheon?  In which case, the taxpayers have just paid a buttload of money for shit that is not even the US’ any more.)
Then the US gives money to Israel which Israel uses to buy the weapons.
 http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/25/arms-a25.html

On Craft presence in Boston: “[…] Few paramilitary outfits in the industrialized West are as sinister as the Craft. Craft was responsible for the drill. Its symbol is a skull not dissimilar to the Marvel character The Punisher. Its motto is a subtlety-shy: ”No matter what your mother told you, violence does solve problems”. US corporate media simply vanished with any trace of Craft operatives swarming the marathon site; talk about a media blackout.

“Alternative media though was not intimidated. Here one may find a conclusive treasure trove of photos showing Craft operatives at the marathon site, complete with combat wear, black backpacks, tactical gear, and even carrying a radiation detector. So how did the FBI react to it? By imposing an absolute blackout. Total photo censorship, as in ”other photos will not be deemed credible” – only photos and footage showing the Tsarnaev brothers. Craft is untouchable.

“The problem is that everything touching Craft in this scenario is troubling. 1) Their invisibility – corporate media sheepishly bowing to the FBI and never even mentioning them. 2) Their ”security” expertise – your army of mercenaries gets paid a fortune and all your hyper-trained tough guys loaded with high-tech gear cannot find a couple of amateur bombers. 3) The sinister possibility that this was a black ops produced by Craft. […]”
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-220413.html

Questions about the Boston narrative; another great article from Pepe: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-01-230413.html

” The US Department of Defense conducted urban warfare training drills in Tinley Park, Illinois, a southwestern suburb of Chicago, during the nights of April 23 and 24. The drills, conducted with the coordination of the Illinois state government, came a week after the police shutdown of the city of Boston following the marathon bombings.

“Similar exercises have been conducted recently in Miami, Florida and Houston, Texas. Stories have emerged in local media only after frightened residents called in reports of explosions. It is not known how many such operations have been conducted in other cities. […]”
http://wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/27/tinl-a27.html

“[…] Speaking to the city’s Herald newspaper though, Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says he’s looking to add at least one new element in 2014: unmanned aerial vehicles. Weighing in with regards to how his city will ensure another attack won’t ruin next year’s marathon, Davis says he’s looking towards obtaining a drone aircraft to conduct surveillance from the Boston sky. […]”
http://rt.com/usa/boston-marathon-surveillance-drones-452/

“[…]Before we get to the impact of the Obama budget, let’s explode a critical myth: there is no recovery (at least for the 99%). Last month’s unemployment numbers revealed the fraud of the unemployment rate.  Even though the country produced less than 90,000 new jobs, when over 120,000 are needed to keep up with growth, the unemployment rate declined. Why? Because hundreds of thousands are giving up on work each month and they don’t get counted.
“At present, over 100 million working age Americans do not have a job – that is 41.5%.  And, for some groups, African Americans and youth in particular, this is a persistent jobs crisis that ensures low incomes and little wealth for the future. And, workers who do have jobs are paid way too little, about half of the value of what they actually produce. There will be no recovery until these fundamentals change. […]
http://www.nationofchange.org/collapse-call-action-1366295531

Congressional hijacking of the public good:  “[…] And how else to explain why corporate tax breaks have more than doubled in the last 25 years? Or why the Senate and House recently gutted the STOCK Act requiring disclosure of financial transactions by White House staff and members of Congress and their staffs and prohibiting them from insider trading? It was passed into law and signed by President Obama last year – an election year – with great self-congratulation from all involved. […]
“Nonetheless, the House and Senate leapt at the opportunity to eviscerate key sections of the STOCK Act when almost no one was watching. And the president signed it. […]
“Then there’s the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, where last week, fire and explosion killed at least 15 — 11 of them first responders — and injured more than 200. The Reuters news service reported that the factory “had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Why wasn’t Homeland Security on top of this? For one thing, the company was required to tell the department — and didn’t. For another, budget cuts demanded by Congress mean there aren’t enough personnel available for spot inspections.[…]  Congress quietly acquiesces as the regulations meant for our safety are whittled away.[…]”
http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/how-we-ended-worst-congress-money-can-buy?akid=10373.201112.WqKrzq&rd=1&src=newsletter831496&t=8&paging=off

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Posted by on April 27, 2013 in austerity, Congress, economy, security state

 

So much for the home of the brave.

Your leaders on crack.  These are the same guys who overwhelmingly voted for the 2011 and 2012 NDAA’s, which allow for the indefinite detention of American citizens, and find no issue with a President who declares he can kill Americans at his whim with no charges, arrest or trial taking place.  Oh, except that brave, brave Sir Rand, who stood up against the Obama Drone America program, right?

Description of this video clip from youtube user who uploaded  it:

Remember when Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) stood up on the Senate floor for nearly 13 hours in an ideological protest of the Obama administration’s hypothetical authority to use drone technology to kill U.S. citizens on American soil? Well, now he’s saying killing a certain U.S. citizen on some specific American soil in Watertown, Massachusetts last Friday may not have been the worst thing in the world.

During an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business Network Monday night, Paul attempted to make a distinction between the American “sitting in a café” example he has often cited and the “imminent threat” faced by Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Friday night. “I’ve never argued against any technology being used when you have an imminent threat, an active crime going on,” Paul said. Though his next example offered up a disturbingly low bar for the predator drone option. “If someone comes out of a liquor store with a weapon and fifty dollars in cash,” he said, “I don’t care if a drone kills him or a policeman kills him.”

Yes, that is exactly what he said.  So much for ideological stances and moral rectitude.  He doesn’t care if a cop or a drone kills a guy running out of a store?  Really?  Drone-bomb the fucker on the mere suspicion he stole fifty bucks?   The alternative is letting the cops kill anyone they suspect of a crime, right there on the street?  That’s your “imminent danger” and your two suggested solutions?   Although perhaps if the standard is going to be an “active crime going on”, there are quite a few banks and corporations – not to mention the entirety of Wall Street and Capital Hill – that would fit the criteria.

Frontier justice, baby.  It’s a free-for-all in the land of the free, now in free-fall.

And then there are these swell senators – hey, y’all elected these people, if election results are to be believed – baying for the chance to officially incorporate the idea of everywhereness into the War on Terror:

Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (SC), John McCain (AZ), and Kelly Ayotte (NH) lashed out at liberals and libertarians on Tuesday, claiming it was dangerous to oppose the notion the United States was a “battlefield.”

The three senators have been pushing for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to be treated as an enemy combatant for intelligence purposes. The term enemy combatant was controversially used by the Bush administration to refer to alleged members of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, making them neither criminals nor prisoners of war.

Speaking on the Senate floor, the three Republicans said the government should expand the definition of an enemy combatant to include any domestic terrorists inspired by “radical Islam.” They said Tsarnaev should be interrogated as an enemy combatant before being transferred to the civilian justice system, despite the fact he is an American citizen. […]

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/23/republican-trio-push-to-militarize-u-s-response-to-domestic-terrorism/

As we watch it all crumble in real time, let’s remember that old saw, “At least Mussolini made the trains run on time.”  (Although Snopes says that is an urban legend.  See: http://www.snopes.com/history/govern/trains.asp)  We can’t even manage that.

Some 1,200 flights were delayed Monday thanks to staffing cuts put into effect because of sequestration, the Federal Aviation Administration said today.

Air travelers throughout the country were hit with cancellations and tarmac delays as long as four hours, as the nation’s largest airports grappled with the onset of the air-traffic controllers furloughs. Another 1,400 flights were delayed for the usual reasons: “weather and other factors,” the FAA said in a statement.

“Industry-wide, the FAA plan could delay one out of every three people who fly, and the delays could be significant,” United Airlines says.

Though the furloughs had little impact when they started on Sunday, delays were building quickly Monday. Reports of late takeoffs at O’Hare, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International, New York’s LaGuardia, Los Angeles International and Charlotte-Douglas International in Charlotte, N.C., were widespread. In many cases, planes left the gate, only to sit on the tarmac for extended periods of time, while many flights were cancelled. Flights into cities such as Washington and New York were delayed by more than two hours as a result of the furloughs, the FAA told the Associated Press. […]

http://articles.marketwatch.com/2013-04-23/finance/38730530_1_sequestration-cuts-furloughs-faa

See also: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/04/23/furl-a23.html

A relative trying to book a cross-country flight for next week was told that none of his connecting flights were guaranteed, as the airlines are not sure which flights will be canceled a week from now.  You are flying by the seat of your pants, so to speak, and he was warned that despite what his ticket may say, he could end up sitting in an airport for any length of time waiting to be placed on the next available flight.  (“For days? Is that what you are saying?”  “Yeah, we don’t know in advance which flights we will have to cancel.”)

Maybe if we are just willing to give up our social security and a few other assorted “goodies”, they’ll let us travel again.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2013 in civil rights, Congress, drones, economy

 

Israeli police called in to assist in Boston bombing investigation.

The investigation into Monday’s deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon has officially gone international: law enforcement officials from Israel have been sent to the United States to assist in the probe.

Israel Police Chief Yohanan Danino says he has dispatched officials to Boston, Massachusetts, where they will meet with Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and other authorities, the Times of Israel Reports. […]

http://rt.com/usa/police-israel-investigation-boston-009/

The question has been asked: why?  Don’t we have a slew a stew a mess hundreds of security agencies employing tens of thousands of personnel ourselves?  Yes, we do.  The answer is simple.  Last year, our Congress wrote and passed a law, which Obama signed, that makes Israel a part of our security apparatus.  It may be that this is the first instance of the Israel police force actually being utilized this way (or the first publicly acknowledged), but it will not be the last.  The law in the United States now reads that they may “help” our various agencies (the DHS, CIA, NSA, etc.) in “homeland” investigations.  In light of this, I have a different question: does an Israeli police officer have the power of arrest while aiding in a US investigation?  Think about it.  That and related questions will spring to your mind shortly.

I wrote about the “Israel first” law last summer; The United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act of 2012 which Obama signed into law in July, 2012.  That bill allows Israel the right to use US air space for practice in flying its fighter jets, invites Israel to “coordinate” with our DHS and internal security, reaffirms our commitment to Israel as a Jewish nation and our primary ally, and authorizes permanent funding for Israel’s internal security.  It furthermore stresses the need to get Israel in as a member of NATO and opens with (surprise!) angry language about Iran and its existential threat to Israel.

See here:
http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/07/in-which-we-attempt-to-codify-israel-first-into-law-2/

and also here:
http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/07/israel-first-now-the-law/

 

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2013 in Congress, security state

 

Environmental news.

[..] 17 months before BP’s DeepwaterHorizon blew out and exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP rig suffered an identical blow-out in the Caspian Sea.

Crucially, both the Gulf and Caspian Sea blow-outs had the same identical cause: the failure of the cement “plug”. […]

So, when its Caspian Sea rig blew out in 2008, rather than change its ways, BP simply covered it up. Our investigators discovered that the company hid the information from its own shareholders, from British regulators and from the US Securities Exchange Commission. The Vice-President of BP USA, David Rainey, withheld the information from the US Senate in a testimony he gave six months before the Gulf deaths. (Rainey was later charged with obstruction of justice on a spill-related matter.) […]

Only after I dove into deep water in Baku did I discover, trolling through the so-called “WikiLeaks” documents, secret State Department cables released by Manning. The information was stunning: the US State Department knew about the BP blow-out in the Caspian and joined in the cover-up. Apparently BP refused to tell its own partners, Chevron and Exxon, why the lucrative Caspian oil flow had stopped. Chevron bitched to the office of the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. […]

The US Ambassador in Baku got Chevron the answer: a blow-out of the nitrogen-laced cement cap on a giant Caspian Sea platform. The information was marked “SECRET”. Apparently loose lips about sinking ships would help neither Chevron nor the Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, the beneficiary of millions of dollars in payments of oil company baksheesh.

So what about Bradley Manning? […]  Had Manning’s memos come out just a few months earlier, the truth about BP’s deadly drilling methods would have been revealed, and there’s little doubt BP would have had to change its ways. Those eleven men could well have been alive today. […]

http://www.gregpalast.com/bradley-manning-the-deepwater-horizon/#more-7998

 

While the US media tries to drive us to war with North Korea and Iran, they pass over news about the environment.  We sure have enough money to bomb and/or invade other countries and “secure” the Homeland.  Unfortunately, the Homeland is looking more like a wasteland every day, and we don’t have enough money to take care of that.  It’s a strange phenomenon, this dearth of environmental news, given that the environment is (literally) all around us and that too many disruptions and hazards will end up killing us humans.  We are not going to kill the earth, just certain life-forms that dwell on it.  We are one of those life-forms.  The earth makes no distinction and has no preferences for one species over another.  No, I am not going to go off on a rant about climate change.  That’s a futile exercise – people who don’t “believe” cannot be convinced.  The fact that the Pentagon believes – and likes the opportunities it presents – ought to be of some interest to deniers; those guys are some hard-nosed sumbitches with access to all the reports and science available.  We know next to nothing about the geoengineering going on all around us in attempts to alleviate climate change; but the military and some rich companies and individuals are messing around with far-fetched ideas all the time.  (A gratuitous “fuck Bill Gates” here.)  Unfortunately, these half-assed schemes are making things worse and the public has next to no input on the experiments.  The closest we come to hearing “discussions” is when some Congressional committee kicks around the idea of carbon credits, a plan that always ends up pretty much looking like the fossil fuel companies being able to pass some more costs onto customers, which is why the public always hates the idea.

Nah, I’m talking about pollution, toxins, the die-off of other species, all of which will affect homo sapiens negatively.  We think that we can evolve quickly (hey, look at how many varieties of i-shits we have!), but we cannot evolve fast enough to adapt to a world without fresh potable water.  Some of us will survive if we kill off all marine life, but not many of us.  Some of us can survive if the pollinators are allowed to continue dying off – we’ll eat foodstuffs that don’t need bees – but not many of us will continue living at that point.  We ignore the problems unless they are a local issue.  I guarantee you the people in Arkansas are aware of the details of the most recent oil spill, for example.

Congress does not care about any of this, at least not in the same way we, the fracked, do.  They care about what Monsanto and Exxon tell them to care about, which doesn’t happen to go beyond securing more profits for these corporations.  They’ve been bought off.

There are no real science committees in Congress.  They do not want to know facts about GMO food or allow any long-term tests on the effects genetic modification will have.  They want us to eat the shit and shut up so they can collect their payola.  They have convinced a large portion of the population that regulations of any sort are bad, even regulations that keep our food and water safe to ingest.  After Fukushima, Hillary Clinton assured the agricultural attache in Japan that the US would continue importing food from Japan without testing it for radiation and the US nuclear agency loosened regulations on nuclear power plants operating here.  The Macondo site continues to leak into the Gulf of Mexico; after the BP explosion, Obama fast-tracked deepwater drilling permits.

At this point, I say that our rulers, i.e., Congress and the administration, should be tried for treason. They no longer serve the good of the American people. They have chosen, deliberately and with malice aforethought, to serve a different clientele, one which is bent on taking all the assets, land, and resources from the US public no matter the cost to that public.

I have collected a set of news items related to the environment.  Very few of them made national news by themselves, but the overall picture they present is grim.  Almost all of these are very recent – within the past month.  I have included a few older ones, as they show a progression from “then” to “now” or an earlier event may have resulted in what is happening now.  And I am aware that Fukushima is in Japan.  There is news about Fukushima included because that affects us here in the States whether or not we want to face it.

The United States on Monday criticized “unnecessary” European Union rules against genetically modified US crop imports as it prepares to enter free-trade talks with the EU.
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/01/u-s-criticizes-unnecessary-eu-rules-on-genetically-modified-crops/

For the price of the Iraq War, the U.S. could have gotten halfway to a renewable power system.
http://grist.org/climate-energy/for-the-price-of-the-iraq-war-the-u-s-could-have-gotten-halfway-to-a-renewable-power-system/

“[…] Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were found to be in poor condition for aquatic life due to fertilizers and other runoff.  The EPA has found harmful levels of phosphorus and nitrogen as well as runoff from urban areas that have continued to degrade our 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers. […]”
http://jonathanturley.org/2013/03/27/report-fifty-five-percent-of-u-s-river-unfit-for-aquatic-life/#more-62243

US loosens safety rules at nuclear sites after Fukushima:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/43455859/ns/us_news-environment/#.UWQskldGQe0

Fukushima: “Yet another radioactive water leak has been detected at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, officials announced Tuesday, as the nuclear catastrophe continues to unfold more than two years after a massive earthquake and tsunami caused meltdowns at the plant.
“The new leak marks the third of seven underground radioactive water pools that are leaking since Saturday, and follows two failures of the plant’s cooling system in a month.[…]”
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/09-5

Fukushima: underground storage tanks for wastewater built like waterlily ponds.
“[…] TEPCO is moving tons of highly radioactive water from the temporary tanks to two similar ones nearby to minimize the leak. They are among seven underground tanks of different sizes which employ the same design.
“TEPCO admitted Sunday it had dismissed earlier signs of water loss as within a margin of error and waited until a spike in radiation levels around the tanks was detected. Critics suspect cash-strapped TEPCO built poorly designed underground pits instead of safer and more manageable steel tanks to save money. TEPCO has also been criticized for delaying replacement of makeshift equipment, raising questions about whether the plant is really under control.
“The underground tanks, several times the size of an Olympic swimming pool and similar to an industrial waste dump, are dug directly into the ground and protected by double-layer polyethylene linings inside an outermost clay-based lining, with a felt padding between each layer. Officials suspect there were ruptures in the linings due to the weight of the water.[…]”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/accident-investigators-say-japan-nuclear-safety-plans-too-lax-for-crowded-quake-prone-nation/2013/04/08/3c2ae7ee-a04d-11e2-bd52-614156372695_story.html

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/is-fukushima-leaking-or-is-the-the-reactor-wholly-uncontained.html

From an Aug, 2011 article on Clinton’s secret pact with Japan:
http://www.examiner.com/article/radiating-americans-fukushima-rain-clinton-s-secret-food-pact

No-one knows what to do with nuclear waste.  Fukushima cooling water – highly contaminated – simply stored in more and more tanks with plans to eventually “clean” it and dump it back into the ocean:
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-pacific/2013/04/20134681324337410.html

Thyroid illnesses showing up in US after Fukushima:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/02-1

And:  http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/study-almost-one-third-of-babies-born-after-fukushima-in-alaska-california-hawaii-oregon-and-washington-have-thyroid-problems.html

One dead, three injured in Arkansas nuclear plant accident.
http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/03/31/17540838-one-dead-three-injured-in-arkansas-nuclear-plant-accident#.UVwtFQjQY74.email

Hanford Nuclear Waste Site at Risk of Hydrogen Explosion, Report Warns.
Following report of leaks, nuclear safety board finds dangerous hydrogen build up in waste holding tanks:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/04/03-1

“[…] But there’s growing evidence that these two impulses, toward energy and food independence, may be at odds with each other.
Tonight’s guests have heard about residential drinking wells tainted by fracking fluids in Pennsylvania, Wyoming and Colorado. They’ve read about lingering rashes, nosebleeds and respiratory trauma in oil-patch communities, which are mostly rural, undeveloped, and lacking in political influence and economic prospects. The trout nibblers in the winery sympathize with the suffering of those communities. But their main concern tonight is a more insidious matter: the potential for drilling and fracking operations to contaminate our food. The early evidence from heavily fracked regions, especially from ranchers, is not reassuring.  […]” – from Nov, 2012 article
http://www.thenation.com/print/article/171504/fracking-our-food-supply

Fracking and toxins in the aquifers as a result:
http://www.nationofchange.org/poisoning-well-how-feds-let-industry-pollute-nation-s-underground-water-supply-1355676143

” ‘There has always been a scientific link between fracking and earthquakes,’ U.S. Geological Survey spokesperson Clarice Ransom told AlterNet.” – http://www.alternet.org/water/153717

Natural gas (obtained through fracking) insiders admit there may not be all that much gas anyway – well productivity is vastly overestimated:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/us/26gas.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

Yes, fracking causes earthquakes. (Duh.)
“[…] Researchers from Oklahoma and Columbia universities found that over time, depositing used-up drilling fluid into the ground may have snapped geological tension that had built up near rural Prague, Oklahoma, causing a 5.7 quake that destroyed 14 homes and injured two.
The authors also write that the number of large earthquakes in and around the center of the country has skyrocketed in recent years. […]”
http://www.businessinsider.com/fracking-wastewater-oklahoma-earthquake-2013-3

Natural gas extraction causing frequent quakes, property damage in northern Netherlands.
“Farmers living atop Europe’s largest gas field in the isolated northern Netherlands are angry at increasingly frequent earthquakes caused by extraction. Freezing winds and a glimmer of cold light pass through the three-foot by two-inch (one metre by five centimetre) crack in Martha and Jan Bos’s stable in Middelstum, a few miles (kilometres) from the Netherlands’ most northern.[…]”
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/31/natural-gas-extraction-causing-frequent-quakes-property-damage-in-northern-netherlands/

The Obama administration has broken the law, issuing oil leases across California without examining the risks of fracking. A federal judge ruled that the administration has “completely ignored” environmental concerns upon issuing the leases.:
http://rt.com/usa/fracking-judge-california-obama-583/

Judge in Wyoming says fracking chemicals must remain secret from the public.
http://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2013/03/25/judge-sides-with-wyoming-in-fracking-chemical-suit

Arkansas oil spill: martial law, how is it that the public didn’t know the oil pipeline ran beneath their neighborhood (for God’s sake, 9/11?  Really?  That’s the excuse?).
http://www.alternet.org/14-things-you-need-know-about-horrifying-arkansas-oil-spill?paging=off

No-fly zone imposed over Arkansas spill (sound familiar?) and oil diverted to wetlands:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/07/activists-claim-arkansas-oil-spill-diverted-into-wetland/

Oil spill in Texas, third in a week:
http://rt.com/usa/shell-pipeline-oil-texas-409/

Minnesota Oil Spill: Canadian Train Derails, Spilling 30,000 Gallons Of Crude In U.S.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/28/minnesota-oil-spill_n_2967118.html

“Chevron’s third pipeline spill in Utah in as many years on March 25 released hundreds of barrels of oil, polluting a river and leading to the closure of a state park and the evacuation of campers. Dozens of cleanup workers are now mopping up the fuel along the north-eastern edge of the Great Salt Lake in an attempt to avert a wildlife disaster. […]”
http://www.hazardexonthenet.net/article/57174/Chevron-pipeline-oil-spill-is-third-major-leak-in-Utah-in-three-years.aspx?AreaID=2

Overfished and under-protected: Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse.
“The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world’s oceans, victims primarily of overfishing. […] At the same time fisheries and vital marine ecosystems like coral are being decimated, the oceans continue to provide vital services, absorbing up to one third of human carbon dioxide emissions while producing 50% of all the oxygen we breathe.
“But absorbing increasing quantities of carbon dioxide (CO2) has come at a cost, increasing the acidity of the water. […] ‘I could sum it up as: we need to fish less and in less destructive measures, waste less, pollute less and protect more,’ says Roberts.
‘This change of course will see us rebuild the abundance, variety and vitality of life in the sea which will give the oceans the resilience they need to weather the difficult times ahead. Without such action, our future is bleak.’ ”
http://www.cnn.com/2013/03/22/world/oceans-overfishing-climate-change/index.html

The garbage patches in the oceans (there is more than one): “So on the way back to our home port in Long Beach, California, we decided to take a shortcut through the gyre, which few seafarers ever cross. Fishermen shun it because its waters lack the nutrients to support an abundant catch. Sailors dodge it because it lacks the wind to propel their sailboats.

“Yet as I gazed from the deck at the surface of what ought to have been a pristine ocean, I was confronted, as far as the eye could see, with the sight of plastic.

“It seemed unbelievable, but I never found a clear spot. In the week it took to cross the subtropical high, no matter what time of day I looked, plastic debris was floating everywhere: bottles, bottle caps, wrappers, fragments. Months later, after I discussed what I had seen with the oceanographer Curtis Ebbesmeyer, perhaps the world’s leading expert on flotsam, he began referring to the area as the ‘eastern garbage patch.'”

Capt. Charles Moore, discoverer of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in an article for Natural History magazine in 1993.
http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1

CBS Los Angeles: “Dead sea lions everywhere” — Rescuer: I’ve never seen anything like this… we never would have imagined the numbers — Expert: No oceanographic explanation for what we’re seeing.
http://enenews.com/cbs-los-angeles-dead-sea-lions-everywhere-rescuer-ive-never-anything-like-never-imagined-numbers-expert-oceanographic-explanation-video

This may have something to do with the above.  As the radiation-filled seaweed works its way up the food chain, larger animals die. From March 2012: Southern California had 2,500 Bq/kg of iodine-131 in seaweed — Over 500% higher than other tests in U.S., Canada
http://enenews.com/california-2500-bqkg-iodine-131-seaweed-500-higher-other-tests-canada

Dead dolphin spike in Louisiana, Mississippi — “We have been advised not to discuss our findings” — Mostly babies washing up…This is from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/tv-spike-in-dolphins-washing-up-in-gulf-of-mexico-mostly-dead-babies-we-have-been-advised-not-to-discuss-our-findings-video

“Manatees Dying in Droves on Both Coasts of Florida” — Deaths of pelicans, turtles, dolphins also increasing — “Scientists fear this is the beginning of a devastating ecosystem collapse.”  This is also from March of this year.
http://enenews.com/manatees-dying-record-numbers-florida-deaths-pelicans-turtles-dolphins-spiking-scientists-fear-beginning-devastating-ecosystem-collapse-videos

UPDATE, Thurs. 11 April

Lead in rice: “Commercially available rice imported into the U.S. contains levels of lead far higher than what’s considered safe, according to a study by the American Chemical Society and reported by Jason Palmer of the BBC. […] The U.S. imports 7 percent of its rice. The team sampled packages from Bhutan, Italy, China, Taiwan, India, Israel, the Czech Republic, and Thailand — accounting for 65 percent of U.S. imports — and calculated lead intake on the basis of daily consumption.
“Rice from China and Taiwan had the highest lead levels.[…]
“Rice products also contain ‘moderate to moderately high levels of arsenic’ (which is also highly toxic), according to a study by Consumer Reports. Palmer notes that Dr. Tongesayi has also worked on quantifying arsenic contamination, and plans on testing the prevalence of other heavy metals.[…]
http://www.businessinsider.com/lead-found-in-us-rice-2013-4

This comes on the heels of last fall’s report that rice grown in the US contains arsenic. The FDA said it would have a report out by Dec. ’12, but nothing has been released from them yet.  (Funny how the reports about lead in imported rice made the mainstream immediately, while the arsenic reports never made it much beyond Consumer Reports. Also note that the article – about lead – above does not mention that the arsenic is in US-grown rice.)  About the arsenic in rice:
http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/10/arsenic-in-us-grown-rice/

Bonus video.  Tina Turner sings “We Don’t Need Another Hero”  from “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”.

Lyrics:

Out of the ruins, out from the wreckage
Can’t make the same mistake this time
We are the children, the last generation
We are the ones they left behind
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome
Looking for something we can rely on
There’s got to be something better out there
Love and compassion, their day is coming
All else are castles built in the air
And I wonder when we are ever gonna change it
Living under the fear till nothing else remains
All the children say, “We don’t need another hero
We don’t need to know the way home
All we want is life beyond the thunderdome”

(Fan made music video to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome and The Road Warrior movies. All images, video, and sound recordings belong to their respective artists Warner Bros and Music Entities.)

 

Iraq then, Iran now.

Remember how we got into Iraq?  All those lies about weapons of mass destruction, which some of us at the time knew were lies, to ruin a country that had nothing to do with 9/11…

We illegally invaded and destroyed a country which had not threatened us, much less mounted an attack against us.  Now that the ten-year anniversary of the Iraq invasion has arrived, there are plenty of articles and op-eds pointing out what was obvious then and is irrefutable to us all now – the war was based on pure fabrication.  Too late for Iraq, however, whose people live in a ruined country with millions displaced and somewhere over 100,000 dead (some estimates are much higher and run up to half a million or more) due to the “war”.  Although I don’t think you can call it a “war” if there is only one side – this was an invasion, pure and simple.

Back in ’02, we read this sort of opinion piece in the papers; this was fairly typical of the war-mongering of the time.

Sept. 11 alerted most Americans to the grave dangers that are now facing our world. Most Americans understand that had al Qaeda possessed an atomic device last September, the city of New York would not exist today. They realize that last week we could have grieved not for thousands of dead, but for millions.

But for others around the world, the power of imagination is apparently not so acute. It appears that these people will have to once again see the unimaginable materialize in front of their eyes before they are willing to do what must be done. For how else can one explain opposition to President Bush’s plan to dismantle Saddam Hussein’s regime?

I do not mean to suggest that there are not legitimate questions about a potential operation against Iraq. Indeed, there are. But the question of whether removing Saddam’s regime is itself legitimate is not one of them. Equally immaterial is the argument that America cannot oust Saddam without prior approval of the international community.

This is a dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, who has used these weapons of mass destruction against his subjects and his neighbors, and who is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons.

The dangers posed by a nuclear-armed Saddam were understood […] two decades ago[…]

Two decades ago it was possible to thwart Saddam’s nuclear ambitions by bombing a single installation. Today nothing less than dismantling his regime will do. For Saddam’s nuclear program has changed. He no longer needs one large reactor to produce the deadly material necessary for atomic bombs. He can produce it in centrifuges the size of washing machines that can be hidden throughout the country — and Iraq is a very big country. Even free and unfettered inspections will not uncover these portable manufacturing sites of mass death.

[…] For in the last gasps of his dying regime, Saddam may well attempt to launch his remaining missiles, with their biological and chemical warheads, at the Jewish state.

[…] For if action is not taken now, we will all be threatened by a much greater peril.[…]

But no gas mask and no vaccine can protect against nuclear weapons. That is why regimes that have no compunction about using weapons of mass destruction, and that will not hesitate to give them to their terror proxies, must never be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. These regimes must be brought down before they possess the power to bring us all down.

If a pre-emptive action will be supported by a broad coalition of free countries and the U.N., all the better. But if such support is not forthcoming, then the U.S. must be prepared to act without it. This will require courage, and I see it abundantly present in President Bush’s bold leadership and in the millions of Americans who have rallied behind him.

[…] Today the terrorists have the will to destroy us but not the power. Today we have the power to destroy them. Now we must summon the will to do so.

Pretty breathless and excited rhetoric, isn’t it?  All of it a tissue of lies, of course, as history has proven.  Who wrote this piece, which was published by the Wall Street Journal in September, 2002?  The fellow sounds like a whackaloon at this late juncture.

It was titled “The Case for Toppling Saddam”, and the author was Benjamin Netanyahu. http://www.potomac-airfield.com/netanyahu.htm

Now he is the main cheerleader behind the calls to invade Iran.  (And here you thought Ahmadinejad was a tad touched.)

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, addressing his minions at AIPAC via video chat on March 4, spent a bunch of his time saying supposedly scary things about “Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons” and dismissing negotiations.

“I have to tell you the truth,” he told the fawning crowd. “Diplomacy has not worked. Iran ignores all these offers. It is running out the clock.” He continued:  “Iran enriches more and more uranium. It installs faster and faster centrifuges. It’s still not crossed the red line I drew at the United Nations last September. But Iran is getting closer to that line, and it’s putting itself in a position to cross that line very quickly once it decides to do so.”

Netanyahu deliberately ignored the fact that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium remains far from weapons-grade and that Iran has, for over a year now, been systematically converting much of its 19.75% enriched stock to fuel plates that precludes the possibility of being diverted to military purposes.[…]

Netanyahu once again demonstrated his complete disregard for the tenets of the United Nations Charter by calling for Iran to be explicitly threatened with a military attack if it doesn’t comply with absurd Israeli demands. He insisted “with the clarity of my brain” (whatever that means) that “words alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions alone will not stop Iran. Sanctions must be coupled with a clear and credible military threat if diplomacy and sanctions fail.”

Addressing the same audience, Vice President Joe Biden also spoke at length about “Iran’s dangerous nuclear weapons program,” which the U.S. intelligence community and its allies, including Israel, have long assessed doesn’t exist. The consensus view of all 16 American intelligence agencies has maintained since 2007 that Iran ceased whatever research into nuclear weaponization it may have conducted by 2003, and has never resumed that work. The NIE has been consistently reaffirmed ever since (in 2009, 2010, and again in 2011). […]

Moreover, the IAEA itself continually confirms that Iran has no active nuclear weapons program and has stated it has “no concrete proof that Iran has or has ever had a nuclear weapons program.”

http://www.wideasleepinamerica.com/2013/03/biden-time-on-iran-at-aipac.html

The Israeli military and the US military do not believe that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons.  The IAEA finds no such program.  Hans Blix, the UN inspector who told us repeatedly ten years ago that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction is warning us today that the same is true of Iran. See: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/03/06-9

The invasion of Iraq was about oil, for the most part.  Not only getting Iraq’s oil, but keeping it off the market to drive up prices.

[…] And that’s how George Bush won the war in Iraq. The invasion was not about “blood for oil”, but something far more sinister: blood for no oil. War to keep supply tight and send prices skyward.

Oil men, whether James Baker or George Bush or Dick Cheney, are not in the business of producing oil. They are in the business of producing profits.

And they’ve succeeded. Iraq, capable of producing six to 12 million barrels of oil a day, still exports well under its old OPEC quota of three million barrels.

The result: As we mark the tenth anniversary of the invasion this month, we also mark the fifth year of crude at $100 a barrel.

As George Bush could proudly say to James Baker: Mission Accomplished!

http://www.gregpalast.com/how-george-bush-won-the-war-in-iraq-really/#more-7963

The same can be said of our destruction of Libya and the same is true of Iran now.  It’s always about the control of the oil.  The US has imposed numerous life-threatening sanctions on Iran, each new set increasing in severity.  One might think that we could have figured out by now that the increase in gas prices here and abroad can partly be blamed on the restrictions of Iranian oil exports these sanctions demand, but we are not very good at adding two and two.  (To be sure, the bulk of the price increases in the US is due to speculation on the market, as we do not purchase that much Iranian oil.  However, the speculators work on the global market, so the decrease in availability of Iran’s oil is partly driving the speculators as well.)  The situation sits well with the US Congress, which would like to see every inch of US soil dug up to get at the oil and natural gas underneath it, rather than investing in renewable energies or doing the hard work – and it will be hard work – of getting the US to understand that we cannot count on fossil fuels and ever-increasing GDP forever.  Even renewables will not fully sustain the way we live, but they would certainly be a better investment than our current game, which will otherwise come to an abrupt halt one day, and sooner rather than later.  We are furthermore at the end of always expanding economic growth; that truth is too hard to face and so we let our country be torn to shreds in a farcical attempt to continue the prosperity (of the few) for a couple of more years.  It’ll only work for a short time and then nature will play its winning hand.  We will have polluted all our water and land beyond repair by then, but I guess the assumption is that we will be dead and unaccountable by that time – it’ll be the next generation’s problem.

At this point, however, we would like to have Iran’s oil and this involves some very strange and twisted imaginings from the brains of various Important People in Charge.  This, for example, is simply one of the weirdest decisions ever handed down by a federal judge: we are now trying to blame Iran for 9/11.

“A federal judge has signed a default judgment finding Iran, the Taliban and al-Qaida liable in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.” – from news article on the decision. (See: http://teri.nicedriving.org/2011/12/how-many-countries-attacked-us-on-911/ )

9/11 brought us the invasion of Iraq, the Authorized Use of Military Force, Homeland Security, the Patriot Act, the TSA, the continuous State of Emergency, the Continuity of Government Plans, the continued war in Afghanistan (we seem to have forgotten that the Taliban had absolutely nothing to do with 9/11, although Congress blames the Taliban for it with greater frequency all the time), the expenditure of between $4 and 6 tt for two unnecessary wars (consider what invading Iran will do to the US financially), Guantanamo Bay, torture, the drone-bombing of more than a dozen countries that we are not at war with, and the police state we live under here at home.  Etc., etc.  Now we are not only talking about starting a war in Iran and “intervention” in Syria, Obama is threatening to sanction Pakistan over their commitment to the IP pipeline. [See: http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/15/paki-m15.html ]  I have written about the TAPI and IPI pipelines before; it used to be termed the Iran/Pakistan/India (or IPI) pipeline, but we managed to convince India to drop out.

If Netanyahu, AIPAC, and the current crop of feeble-minded members of Congress have their way and we invade Iran or help Israel do so, imagine the joys that await us.  Change we can believe in, my ass.

Further reading:

Pentagon requests additional $49 mm to “improve” Guantanamo:
http://www.infowars.com/pentagon-requests-49-million-to-build-new-gitmo-prison/

Hunger strike at Guantanamo (” A Yemeni prisoner filed complaints that they are being denied access to clean drinking water and are being kept in freezing temperatures.”):
http://warisacrime.org/content/guantanamo-hunger-strike-gets-attentionand-more-dangerous

On the cost of the Iraq/Afghanistan wars:
http://rt.com/usa/us-wars-most-expensive-109/

On Bagram prison being handed over to Afghanistan control – well, except for 50 of the prisoners and hundreds arrested and held since the agreement was signed in March ’12.  If you hand over the prison, but not the prisoners, does it still count as the same deal? (“[…] But about 50 foreign inmates, which the US considers too dangerous to hand over, will remain under US control, as well as hundreds of Afghans who were arrested since the initial transfer deal was signed in March 2012. […]Although US officials have proudly announced the ‘full transfer’ of the Bagram prison, 50 foreigners not covered by the agreement will continue to remain in US hands — which would again be a violation of last year’s deal.[…]”):
http://rt.com/usa/us-afghanistan-bagram-prison-808/

Obama talks about “peace” in Israel, while threatening war on two countries:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/22/isra-m22.html

‘Falluja Babies’ and Depleted Uranium — America’s Toxic Legacy in Iraq:
http://www.alternet.org/world/falluja-babies-and-depleted-uranium-americas-toxic-legacy-iraq

Plans for military surveillance of Americans’ financial records:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/19/surv-m19.html

Pakistan begins construction of Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/03/15/paki-m15.html

US threatens Pakistan with sanctions over the IP pipeline:
http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/11/u-s-officials-warn-pakistan-risks-sanctions-over-iran-pipeline/

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2013 in Afghanistan, fossil fuels, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan