Saturday, August 31, 2013

"Labor Day"

Enjoy the holiday weekend, folks. I too will be offline and away for a couple days.
Be safe! See you when I get back. - CP

"‘Boiling Sea’ Off Fukushima"

"‘Boiling Sea’ Off Fukushima"
 By Live Free or Die
"Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."
- “Bhagavad Gita”

"The sea is boiling off of the coast of Fukushima, Japan and the picture below has been called a viral photo of the day by Coolbuster. Check out the picture, what is that all about? It certainly can’t be good for any plant or animal life left off of the coast of Japan… if this radiation keeps leaking, and there’s no way to stop it, will boiling seas spread all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of the United States? If so, what happens then? We are so ‘fuked’. Three brand new video reports below share the Fukushima news that you’re not getting from our government or the mainstream media.

A Twitter photo showing a “boiling sea” off the coast of Japan, 
near the Fukushima nuclear power plant with radiation leaks.

So, why is the sea ‘boiling’? The answer can be found on the report. “After a 29-month cover-up, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is now calling for international help and has all but admitted Fukushima’s radiation leaks are spiraling out of control. In addition to the leaking water storage units that are unleashing hundreds of tons of radioactive water each day, Tepco now says 50% of its contaminated water filtration capability has been taken offline due to corrosion,” the news website published Tuesday. posted that Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday it has officially raised the radioactive water leak severity rating to Level 3 on the international scale for radiological releases.

The simulation from NOAA's HYSPLIT model shows a continuous release of tracer particles at a rate of 100 per hour representing the Cesium-137 emitted from Fukushima Daiichi. Each change in particle color (red, orange, yellow, cyan, green, blue, violet, magenta) represents a decrease in radioactivity by a factor of 10. Radioactivity decreases only due to wet and dry deposition. Decay is not a factor for Cesium in this short duration simulation compared to its long-half life. The air concentration would be computed from the particle density so it is only partially related to the color scale. Emissions occurred from 12-31 March, but the particles are followed through the end of April using meteorological data from the 1-degree resolution NOAA global analyses. The maximum cesium emissions on March 15th are shown by the red color and represent a particle activity of 5E+12 Bq."

Oh my God... folks, please do a Search on this blog for "Fukushima." You'll find what you need to know. Anyone who understands what the above picture means will be as absolutely horrified as I am. What it means is that at least one of the 3 total-melt-down molten slag cores, "burning" at 5,600 degrees F, has reached ground water, and is now boiling off unlimited amounts of sea water, filling the atmosphere with highly radioactive steam which will be carried by wind and ocean currents everywhere. There is no possibility of stopping this now, no technology for dealing with it. May God have mercy on us all... - CP

“How a Moment Can Change the Course of Life"

Joshua Prager, “How a Moment Can Change the Course of Life:
The Crash That Couldn't Break Me”

Friday, August 30, 2013

"The Bird And The Cage"

"The Bird And The Cage"
by Paulo Coelho

"Once upon a time, there was a bird. He was adorned with two perfect wings and with glossy, colorful, marvelous feathers. One day, a woman saw this bird and fell in love with him. She invited the bird to fly with her, and the two travelled across the sky in perfect harmony. She admired and venerated and celebrated that bird. But then she thought: He might want to visit far-off mountains! And she was afraid, afraid that she would never feel the same way about any other bird.

And she thought: “I’m going to set a trap. The next time the bird appears, he will never leave again.” The bird, who was also in love, returned the following day, fell into the trap and was put in a cage. She looked at the bird every day. There he was, the object of her passion, and she showed him to her friends, who said: “Now you have everything you could possibly want.”

However, a strange transformation began to take place: now that she had the bird and no longer needed to woo him, she began to lose interest. The bird, unable to fly and express the true meaning of his life, began to waste away and his feathers to lose their gloss; he grew ugly; and the woman no longer paid him any attention, except by feeding him and cleaning out his cage.

One day, the bird died. The woman felt terribly sad and spent all her time thinking about him. But she did not remember the cage, she thought only of the day when she had seen him for the first time, flying contentedly amongst the clouds. If she had looked more deeply into herself, she would have realized that what had thrilled her about the bird was his freedom, the energy of his wings in motion, not his physical body.

Without the bird, her life too lost all meaning, and Death came knocking at her door. “Why have you come?” she asked Death. “So that you can fly once more with him across the sky,” Death replied. “If you had allowed him to come and go, you would have loved and admired him ever more; alas, you now need me in order to find him again.”

“5 Terrifying Statements in the Leaked Climate Report”

“5 Terrifying Statements in the Leaked Climate Report”
By Chris Mooney

“Climate Desk has obtained a leaked copy of the draft Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Summary for Policymakers report, which other media outlets are also reporting on. The document is dated June 7, 2013. We recognize, as we've previously reported, that this document is not final, and is in fact certain to change.

Most media outlets are focusing on the document's conclusion that it is now "extremely likely"—or, 95 percent certain—that humans are behind much of the global warming seen over the last six decades. But there is much more of note about the document—for instance, the way it doesn't hold back. It says, very bluntly, just how bad global warming is going to be. It gives a sense of irreversibility, of scale…and, of direness.

In particular, here are five "holy crap" statements from the new draft report:

• We're on course to change the planet in a way "unprecedented in hundreds to thousands of years." This is a general statement in the draft report about the consequences of continued greenhouse gas emissions "at or above current rates." Unprecedented changes will sweep across planetary systems, ranging from sea level to the acidification of the ocean.

• Ocean acidification is "virtually certain" to increase. Under all report scenarios, the acidification of the world's oceans will increase—the draft report calls this outcome "virtually certain." As we have previously reported, more acidity "threatens the survival of entire ecosystems from phytoplankton to coral reefs, and from Antarctic systems reliant on sea urchins to many human food webs dependent on everything from oysters to salmon."

• Long-term, sea level rise could be 5 to 10 meters. Journalists are already citing the draft report's prediction that by the year 2100, we could see as much as three feet of sea level rise. But there is also a more long-range sea level scenario alluded to in the draft report, and it's far more dramatic and alarming.

Taking a look at the planet's distant past, the document ascribes "very high confidence" to the idea that sea levels were "at least 5 [meters] higher" during the last interglacial period, some 129,000 to 116,000 years ago. It also adds that sea level during this period probably did not exceed 10 meters higher than present levels. Finally, the draft report says, with "medium confidence," that temperatures at that time weren't more than 2 degrees Celsius warmer than "pre-industrial" levels.

Add it all up, and what that means is that if we exceed 2 degrees of warming beyond pre-industrial levels, then we could be looking at radically higher oceans, and submerged coastal cities, in the long run. And just how close are we to exceeding 2 degrees Celsius? Several scenarios used for the draft report project "high confidence" that we'll get there by the end of the century. At that point, seas would continue to rise well beyond the year 2100, and by much more than three feet.

• This also implies a substantial melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The draft report adds that during the last interglacial period, the melting of Greenland "very likely" contributed between 1.4 and 4.3 meters of global sea level rise, with additional contributions coming from the melting of Antarctica. If Greenland were to melt entirely, it is estimated that sea level would rise by about seven meters.

Thus, a substantial Greenland melting could also be set in motion by the end of this century, which would eventually result in dramatic sea level increases. To be sure, most of this wouldn't occur during the current century—it would play out on a much longer time scale. But over 1,000 years or more, the draft report says, Greenland could melt almost entirely, and much of the change might be "irreversible." (Granted, the report expresses low confidence about the precise temperature threshold required to bring about a full melting of Greenland.)

• Much of the carbon we've emitted will stay in the atmosphere for a millennium…even after we've stopped emitting it. The draft report says that 20 percent of the carbon dioxide currently in the atmosphere will stay there for an almost unimaginably long time—more than 1,000 years. Even if we were to completely cease all greenhouse gas emissions, the draft report adds, warming would continue for "many centuries." "A large fraction of climate change," the document intones, "is thus irreversible on a human time scale." The only way out would be if our emission levels were "strongly negative for a sustained period"—which, to put it mildly, seems highly unlikely.”
“The crucified planet Earth,
should it find a voice and a sense of irony,
might now well say of our abuse of it,
"Forgive them, Father, they know not what they do."
The irony would be that we know what we are doing.
When the last living thing has died on account of us,
how poetical it would be if Earth could say,
in a voice floating up perhaps
from the floor of the Grand Canyon,
"It is done. People did not like it here.”
- Kurt Vonnegut, "Requiem"

"How It Really Is"

“Target Iran: What Bombing Syria Is Really About”

“Target Iran: What Bombing Syria Is Really About”
By Ray McGovern

“Amid the increased likelihood that President Barack Obama will cave in to pressure from foreign policy hawks to “Libya-ize” Syria and to accord Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the same treatment meted out to Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi, the main question is WHY? Obviously, there is concern about the human rights catastrophe in Syria, but is the main target Syria’s main ally, Iran, as many suspect?

Surely, the objective has got to be more than simply giving Secretary of State John Kerry a chance to brag, in the manner of his predecessor, Hillary Clinton, regarding Gaddafi, “We came, we saw, he died.” And, there is little expectation – however many Cruise missiles the United States fires at Syrian targets in a fury over disputed claims about chemical weapons – that lives are likely to be saved.

So, what are Iran’s new leaders likely to see as the real driving force behind Obama’s felt need to acquiesce, again, in a march of folly? And why does it matter?

Iran’s leaders need not be paranoid to see themselves as a principal target of external meddling in Syria. While there seem to be as many interests being pursued – as there are rag-tag groups pursuing them – Tehran is not likely to see the common interests of Israel and the U.S. as very complicated. Both appear determined to exploit the chaotic duel among the thugs in Syria as an opportunity to deal a blow to Hezbollah and Hamas in Israel’s near-frontier and to isolate Iran still further, and perhaps even advance Israel’s ultimate aim of “regime change” in Tehran.

In the nearer term, are the neocons in Washington revving up to nip in the bud any unwelcome olive branches from the Iran’s new leaders as new talks on nuclear matters loom on the horizon?

The Not-So-Clean Break:A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm,” a policy document prepared in 1996 for Benjamin Netanyahu by a study group led by American neocons, including Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, laid out a new approach to solving Israel’s principal security challenges. Essentially, the point was to shatter the frustrating cycle of negotiations with the Palestinians and instead force regime change on hostile states in the region, thus isolating Israel’s close-in adversaries.

Among the plan’s features was “the containment of Syria by engaging in proxy warfare and highlighting their possession of ‘weapons of mass destruction.’” The following “Clean-Break” paragraph is, no doubt, part of the discussion in Iran’s leadership councils: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right — as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.” [See’s “ The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

Against this background, what is Iran likely to think of the two-year old mantra of Hillary Clinton, repeated by Obama that “Assad Must Go?” Or what to think of Obama’s gratuitous pledge a half year later, on Super Bowl Sunday 2012, that the U.S. will “work in lockstep” with Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Assuming they checked Webster’s, Iran’s leaders have taken note that one primary definition offered for “in lockstep” is: “in perfect, rigid, often mindless conformity or unison.”

In that pre-game interview, Obama also made the bizarre charge that the Iranians must declare, “We will pursue peaceful nuclear power; we will not pursue a nuclear weapon.” In actuality, Iran has been saying precisely that for years. Still more odd, Obama insisted, “Iran has to stand down on its nuclear weapons program.” The Israelis could hardly have expected the President to regurgitate their claims about Iran working on a nuclear weapon, but that is what he did – despite the fact that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had said on TV just four weeks before that Iran was NOT doing so.

Of course, Panetta was simply reiterating the consensus conclusion of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies that declared in 2007 that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and that it did not appear that such work had resumed.

And even if you don’t want to believe the U.S. intelligence community and Panetta, there was the acknowledgement by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that Israeli intelligence had reached the same judgment. Barak gave an interview on Jan. 18, 2002, the day before JCS Chairman Martin Dempsey arrived for talks in Israel:

“Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?

Barak: … confusion stems from the fact that people ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control [inspection] regime right now in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is not the case. …

Question: How long will it take from the moment Iran decides to turn it into effective weapons until it has nuclear warheads?

Barak: I don’t know; one has to estimate. Some say a year, others say 18 months. It doesn’t really matter. To do that, Iran would have to announce it is leaving the [UN International Atomic Energy Agency] inspection regime and stop responding to IAEA’s criticism, etc.

Why haven’t they [the Iranians] done that? Because they realize that when it became clear to everyone that Iran was trying to acquire nuclear weapons, this would constitute definite proof that time is actually running out. This could generate either harsher sanctions or other action against them. They do not want that.”

So, for those of you just now joining us, Iran stopped working on a nuclear weapon ten years ago. That is the unanimous judgment expressed by all U.S. intelligence agencies “with high confidence” in 2007, and has been revalidated every year since. Thus, Israel’s aim can be seen as “regime change” in Tehran, not the halting of a nuclear weapons program that stopped ten years ago. (It should be noted, too, that Israel possesses a sophisticated and undeclared nuclear arsenal that President Obama and other U.S. leaders have politely refused to acknowledge publicly.)

No one knows all this better than the Iranians themselves. But, for Israel, Iran’s new President Hassan Rouhani poses a more subtle threat than the easier-to-demonize Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The more moderate and polished Rouhani – IF he can calm those Iranians who consider Washington a Siamese twin to Tel Aviv – may be able to enter renewed talks on the nuclear issue with concessions that the West would find difficult to refuse.

This would rattle the Israelis and the neocons in Washington who must be pining for the days when Ahmadinejad made it easier to mask the very real concessions made while he was president. Israeli and neocon hardliners have amply demonstrated that – despite their public face – they have little concern over Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons program. Quite simply, they would like to get the U.S. to do to Iran what it did to Iraq. Period.

Israel Riding High Again: Dealing with more moderate leaders in Iran remains one of Israel’s major headaches, even as Israel has ridden a string of geopolitical successes over the past several weeks. First and foremost, the Israelis were able to persuade Washington to represent the military coup d’état in Cairo as something other than a military coup, which enabled U.S. military and other aid to keep flowing to the Israel-friendly Egyptian military. After shielding this blood-stained Egyptian military from geopolitical pressure, Israel was rewarded by the generals’ decision to choke off Gaza’s lifeline to the outside world via Egypt and thus further punish the Gazans for having the temerity to elect the more militant Hamas as their leadership.

With the Palestinians reeling – as their international backers face internal and external pressures — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has found it timely to return to the bargaining table to discuss what undesirable land might be left for the Palestinians to live on as Netanyahu’s government continues to approve expansions of Jewish settlements on the more appealing patches of Palestinian territory.

The Israeli position vis a vis its Muslim adversaries is also improved by the spreading of sectarian conflicts pitting Sunni vs. Shiite, a rift that was turned into a chasm – and made much bloodier – by the neocon-inspired U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now, similar divisions are shattering Syria in a chaotic civil war with the growing likelihood that the Obama administration will soon weigh in militarily against the Alawite-dominated regime of Bashar al-Assad, which is being challenged by a Sunni-led rebellion. Alawites stem from the Shiite branch of Islam and Assad is allied with Shiite-ruled Iran.

The more the Sunni and Shiite are fighting each other – and thus expending their resources on internecine warfare – the better for Israel, at least in the view of neocon hardliners like those who crafted Netanyahu’s “clean-break” strategy in the 1990s. That strategy would see the snuffing out of the Syrian regime as a signature accomplishment.

Hardliners on Both Sides:
As these regional pressures build, Westerners tend to forget that there is a hard-line equivalent in Tehran with whom Rouhani has to deal. The hardliners in Tehran believe, with ample justification, that many American officials have the virus that George Washington so pointedly warned against; i.e., a “passionate-attachment” to a country with priorities and interests that may differ from one’s own country – in this case, Israel.

The Iranian hawks do not trust the U.S. especially on the nuclear issue, and developments over recent years – including statements like President Obama’s cited above – feed that distrust. So, President Rouhani faces tough sledding should he wish to offer the kinds of concessions Iran made in the fall of 2009 and spring of 2010, when Ahmadinejad’s government offered to export much of its low-enriched uranium.

That promising beginning was sabotaged in October 2009 when, after Iran had agreed in principle to a deal involving the shipping of two-thirds to three-quarters of it low-enriched uranium out of country, a terrorist attack killed five generals of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, just before the talk to flesh out that deal. A similar deal was worked out with the help of Turkey and Brazil in early 2010 (with the written encouragement of President Obama) only to fall victim to Secretary of State Clinton and other hawks who preferred the route of sanctions.

As if the prospect of U.S. military involvement regarding Syria was not delicate enough, the hardliners in Tehran are bound to make hay out of two major stories recently playing in the U.S. media.

The first is a detailed account of precisely how the CIA and British Intelligence succeeded in 1953 in removing Iran’s first democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh and installing the Shah with his secret police. A detailed account was released responding to a Freedom of Information Act request by the National Security Archive. Much had been already known about the coup, but the play-by-play is riveting and, presumably, highly offensive to Iranians.

The second exposé came in a detailed report published by Foreign Policy Magazine on Monday entitled: “CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran.” This account, replete with declassified CIA and other documents, will likewise be a highly painful reminder of the troubled past and great grist for those Iranians bent on exposing U.S. treachery.

In sum, the Foreign Policy report by Shane Harris and Matthew M. Aid provides a wealth of detail on how Washington was aware that the Iraqis were using mustard and Sarin nerve gas in their war with Iran in the 1980s, and nonetheless enabled the Iraqis to use it to maximum effect by providing all manner of intelligence, including up-to-date information from satellites.

The nerve gas, in particular, was effective in thwarting the last major Iranian offensives and left thousands dead. The impression given by the documents is that toward the end of the war, Iran had the upper hand and may have ultimately prevailed were it not for Washington’s precise intelligence support for Iraq and blind eye to the first major use of chemical warfare since it was banned after World War I.

A CIA memo dated Nov. 4, 1983, is titled “Iran’s Likely Reaction to Iraqi Use of Chemical Weapons” included this paragraph: “Iran is unlikely to be deterred from pursuing the war because of Iraq’s use of chemical weapons. Iran will be forced to adjust its military tactics and acquire additional protective gear but it will continue to launch attacks on Iraq. We have no evidence that Iran has lethal chemical agents or that it is making an effort to acquire any.”

These will be very painful reminders of the tragic history of Iranian-American relations and seem bound to make negotiations even more difficult.”

"'I Have a Drone': Mena, Obama And The Warlords Romp And Jostle"

"Defiling the Memory of President Eisenhower"

    "Defiling the Memory of President Eisenhower"
by Peter Coyne

"On a Tuesday night, 52 years ago. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appeared on TV sets across America. Three days later, he would leave the Oval Office to John F. Kennedy. It all happened very fast. No one was prepared for the grim prophecy Eisenhower would tell that night in his farewell address. “My fellow Americans…” he began.

“Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense,” he continued. “We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations…”

“In the councils of government,” he warned, “we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.”

Bull’s-eye. In 1961, the words “military-industrial complex” probably sounded nuts. But writing in 2013, I can say with confidence that an alert and knowledgeable citizenry is far more absurd. Back when Ike made his address, defense spending was about $350 billion in today’s dollars. Today, it’s over half a trillion dollars.

In order to keep the money flowing, the Pentagon has pursued a policy of “brass creep.” Case in point: During World War II, there were 30 ships for every admiral. Today there are 973 generals and admirals. There are more admirals than there are ships.

Huh? Many top brass have cohorts of chauffeurs, chefs and secretaries. Some have runway-ready private jets. Still others get motorcade escorts and mansion homes. The cost of the benefits to each top officer works out to roughly $1 million. One general, Kip Ward, used his staff and military equipment to take his wife shopping and send her on taxpayer-funded vacations.

What do these generals do? One retired U.S. army colonel, Jack Jacobs, says many are “spending time writing and defending plans with Congress, and trying to get the money.” They’re essentially lobbyists, but on the Pentagon’s payroll.

Ah… America’s pastime: petitioning government. The U.S. spends over $235 billion per year on armaments. Our country specializes in weapons making. Of the top 100 grossing armament firms, the U.S. is home to the top 47. Go figure, war is profitable.

Lockheed Martin is the largest defense contractor, followed by Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Take a gander at each over the past year… Business is a-boomin’!

Think these guys want a say in Congress? You bet. I haven’t looked, but I bet Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, doesn’t have to worry about filling his campaign coffers.

Relatively speaking, the defense industry doesn’t spend as much lobbying and campaign money as, say, Big Pharma and the insurance industry do. But the contributions the defense industry makes are extremely targeted on specific members of government. But that’s just the beginning of the incest. Many defense contractors contribute to the Defense Policy Board Advisory Committee. Say the Pentagon holds a panel on the future of military aviation to have an informed perspective. Boeing sends in a few “experts” to weigh in. What do you think they say? “Um… We think aviation should be the primary focus for the Pentagon in the years ahead.”

No kidding… And when the legions of generals and admirals retire from military service? Guess where they land jobs? What would Eisenhower say today? Probably, “I told you so you, idiots!” (No, Eisenhower had more decorum than that.)

He forecast his dour prediction in 1953. Again, Eisenhower, this time speaking to the American Society of News Editors: “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children… This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.”

As a freshman in college, I remember scratching my head at the military trade-off they taught us. “Guns or butter,” they said. I understood it… but I thought it was a poor choice. To really drive it home, it should be “Guns or feeding the homeless.” Or “Guns or a college education.” Or “Guns or cancer research.” Doesn’t that pull your heartstrings a little more?

The bottom line: If you’re making a bomb, you’re not making something else. I don’t know what that something should be… But I’m confident you could think of few things better than a bomb. And that means that for every dollar spent on a bomb, you’re made poorer, in the final sense.

Is there a policy fix to all this? No. The whole friggin’ thing is screwed. And sooner rather than later, too. But who cares about a fix? Policy wonking is messy, ineffective and not something we’re concerned with. We’re concerned with showing you how to preserve your wealth. Then helping you make your wallets fatter. Or simply sharing ways you can fortify your retirement savings to last you through the rest of your life. And the military-industrial complex is the place to accomplish all three of those goals.

Maybe you loathe the defense industry, conniving lobbyists and the politicians, staffers and servicemen that keep the revolving door spinning. But the system offers you a way to build your own wealth better than most other industries. Why? Because defense spending is all telegraphed ahead of time! Take cybersecurity, for example. That’s the new big thing. We’ve started to call the digital ether the “fifth domain of war” after land, sea, air and space.

“The CIA and NSA have launched aggressive new efforts to hack into foreign computer networks to steal information or sabotage enemy systems,” reports The Washington Post, “embracing what the budget refers to as ‘offensive cyberoperations.’” The details came from the latest Edward Snowden leak. Apparently, NSA and CIA spending on intelligence has surpassed adjusted Cold War intelligence spending. The amount spent was $52.6 billion. That was part of what’s called the “black budget,” so you couldn’t have known ahead of time or made an investment. But for other types of cybersecurity contracts you can. And looking back at the big three’s stock charts above, you can image how profitable piggybacking on them could be. It’s as simple as following the money."

 Eisenhower Farewell Address (Full)

"Family, Bonds, Space and Time"

"There is a family of us who have this yearning for a kind of excellence that we can manifest every day of our lives, a family who wants to believe we're not pawns, we're not victims on this planet, that knows we have the power within us here and now to change the world we see around us!"
"The bond that links your true family is not one of blood,
 but of respect and joy in each other's life.
Rarely do members of one family grow up under the same roof."
- "Illusions: The Adventures of A Reluctant Messiah"

"If our friendship depends on things like space and time, then when we finally overcome space and time, we've destroyed our own brotherhood! But overcome space, and all we have left is Here. Overcome time, and all we have left is Now. And in the middle of Here and Now, don't you think that we might see each other once or twice?"
- "Jonathan Livingston Seagull"

Musical Interlude: "Tablay 15: Fast Paced Arabic Drums"

"Tablay 15: Fast Paced Arabic Drums", Posted by A7laBladiFalasteen

"A Look to the Heavens"

“These three bright nebulae are often featured in telescopic tours of the constellation Sagittarius and the crowded starfields of the central Milky Way. In fact, 18th century cosmic tourist Charles Messier cataloged two of them; M8, the large nebula left of center, and colorful M20 on the right. The third, NGC 6559, is above M8, separated from the larger nebula by a dark dust lane. All three are stellar nurseries about five thousand light-years or so distant. 

 Click image for larger size.
The expansive M8, over a hundred light-years across, is also known as the Lagoon Nebula. M20's popular moniker is the Trifid. Glowing hydrogen gas creates the dominant red color of the emission nebulae, with contrasting blue hues, most striking in the Trifid, due to dust reflected starlight. The colorful skyscape recorded with telescope and digital camera also includes one of Messier's open star clusters, M21, just above the Trifid.”

"When I heard the learn’d astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged
in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams,
to add, divide, and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where
he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars."

- Walt Whitman

Greg Hunter, “Weekly News Wrap-Up 8.30.13”

“Weekly News Wrap-Up 8.30.13”
By Greg Hunter’s

“To bomb or not to bomb. That is the question for President Obama on Syria. This is the only real story to be concerned with as Syria is the domino that could spark World War III. I am not being dramatic. It looks like the President has already made his choice with five U.S. Navy destroyers off the Syrian coast. Will our closest allies help? In a word–No. France says there should be a diplomatic solution. The Parliament in the UK voted “No” to bombing Syria. According to a recent poll, 91% of Americans do not want the U.S. to take military action in Syria.  It should come as no surprise the President is not going to get formal approval from Congress, even though nearly 120 members from both parties want him to. Congress would surely vote No, and that would include many Democrats that think this this is a very bad idea. Even so, it looks like the President and his “Red Line” talk on the use of chemical weapons in Syria has painted him into a very tight corner. By the way, the Russian and Syrians say the rebels used chemical weapons, not the Syrian government. If President Obama bombs, he looks like a cowboy and a loner. If he holds back, he looks weak. This is the ultimate lose-lose choice.  

Meanwhile, Speaker of the House John Boehner sent the President a letter asking him about his plan and goals. Boehner did not ask the President to ask for Congressional approval. Some say the President doesn’t need it and cite past presidential actions in places like Panama and Grenada. Those places could not set off a global war. The President has said this is a “shot across the bow.” Firing a couple hundred missiles into a country is not a “shot across the bow.” It is an act of war, just like firing missiles into New York City or firing missiles into a U.S. military base would be an act of war. 

The Iranians and Syrians say if attacked, they will attack Israel. Israel will surely counter- attack. What would the world look like then? The Russians have also warned against an attack and have moved warships off the Syrian coast as well. Will the Russians shoot down our cruise missiles? Will a counter-attack close the Strait of Hormuz? Shut down the Suez Canal? How fast could the world spin into war if poison gas was shot into Israel? Would Israel directly counter-attack Iran? What would happen to the financial system? Could the banks crash?  Could the derivative market go haywire?  Could the battle turn nuclear? The answer is maybe to all the above, and that should scare the heck out of everybody.  

I have been telling you about the Syria story for the better part of a year. Gerald Celente warned at the beginning of the year when countries get into financial trouble, they often turn to war.  People like Jim Rogers and Greg Mannarino of say war is coming, and gold, silver and oil will go much higher in price. If this conflict turns nuclear, and it could, that will be the least of our problems.

Finally, I have one last word on Edward Snowden. Up until now, I thought he was a hero for exposing a massive NSA program that spied on millions of innocent Americans. I applauded him for exposing unconstitutional acts. That said, his latest release of our black budget has gone too far. He exposed our strengths and weaknesses. What we know about our enemies and what we do not know. He surely exposed our agents in the field and probably put some in jeopardy.  I think releasing this information to the Washington Post had nothing to do with unconstitutional acts and just hurts America’s national interests.
Join Greg Hunter as he gives his analysis in the Weekly News Wrap-Up."

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chet Raymo, "Seeing"

by Chet Raymo

"There was a moment yesterday evening when the elements conspired to evoke these few lines, spoken by Macbeth:
            "Light thickens,
    And the crow makes wing to the rooky woods,
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse."
The fading light. The crows gliding down the fields to the trees in Ballybeg:
            "Light thickens,
    And the crow makes wing to the rooky woods,
    Good things of day begin to droop and drowse."

It's all there, in those few lines- the mysterious power of poetry to infuse the world with meaning, to anoint the world with a transforming grace. One could spend an hour picking those lines apart, syntax and sound, sense and alliteration. The t's of light thickening, tongue against the teeth. The alar w's making wing. The owl eyes of the double o's. The d's nodding into slumber - day, droop, drowse.

The poet Howard Nemerov says of poetry that it "works on the very surface of the eye, that thin, unyielding wall of liquid between mind and world, where somehow, mysteriously, the patterns formed by electrical storms assaulting the retina become things and the thought of things and the names of things and the relations supposed between thing." It works too in the mouth, in the physical act of speech - tongue, teeth, those d's gliding deeper into the darkness of the throat.

I stand in the gloaming garden and the black birds glide, down, down to Ballybeg, and I marvel that with so few syllables Shakespeare can- across the centuries- teach me how to see.”

"A Look to the Heavens"

“Framing a bright emission region this telescopic view looks out along the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy toward the nebula rich constellation Cygnus the Swan. Popularly called the Tulip Nebula the glowing cloud of interstellar gas and dust is also found in the 1959 catalog by astronomer Stewart Sharpless as Sh2-101. About 8,000 light-years distant the nebula is understandably not the only cosmic cloud to evoke the imagery of flowers. 
 Click image for larger size.
The complex and beautiful nebula is shown here in a composite image that maps emission from ionized sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms into red, green, and blue colors. Ultraviolet radiation from young, energetic O star HDE 227018 ionizes the atoms and powers the emission from the Tulip Nebula. HDE 227018 is the bright star very near the blue arc at image center.”

"Passive Acceptance..."

"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. 
He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
 - Martin Luther King, Jr.

"How It Really Is"

Well of course, nothing else one could possibly think about, right?

“7 Outrageous and Downright Horrific Statements From the Right-Wing Fringe Just This Week”

“7 Outrageous and Downright Horrific Statements
 From the Right-Wing Fringe Just This Week”
 By Janet Allon

1. Justice Scalia wonders aloud if citizens should have rocket launchers. How do you solve a problem like Scalia? The Supreme Court’s most shoot-from-the-hip, right-wing, Tea Partying, really un-judge-like judge mused this week in a speech in Montana about what sort of arms are protected under the Second Amendment. Might “shoulder-fired rocket launchers” be protected? Perhaps, he concluded. Scalia reminded the crowd that the framers of the Constitution put that amendment in there, after all, to preserve the right of the people to revolt against a tyrannical leader.

OK, that’s kind of extreme. Even the gun nuts aren’t making that argument, usually defending their right to bear all kinds of arms for some sort of self-defense against real or imagined criminal. So it’s a tad off for a Supreme Court justice to be suggesting armed insurrection, no? And, of course, these days, that would probably require significantly more powerful weaponry than the muskets that helped win the Revolutionary War. As if the gun nuts need any more encouragement to up their firepower.

2. Colorado legislator: Poverty higher among blacks because they eat too much chicken. At a task force meeting to address economic opportunity and poverty reduction, Colorado State Sen. Vicki Marble (R) delivered a rambling monologue suggesting that the reason for poverty among certain minority groups was their diet, specifically chicken; but no offense, because it’s really delicious chicken.

Here’s what she said verbatim: “When you look at life expectancy, there are problems in the black race: sickle-cell anemia is something that comes up, diabetes is something that’s prevalent in the genetic makeup and you just can’t help it… Although I’ve got to say, I’ve never had better barbecue and better chicken and ate better in my life than when you go down south and you — I mean love it and everybody loves it. The Mexican diet in Mexico with all of the fresh vegetables. And you go down there and they’re much thinner than when they come up here… they change their diet.” Let us pause for a fact-check moment: The UN Food and Agriculture Organization recently found obesity rates are higher in Mexico than the United States.

After that, another task force member, Rep. Rhonda Fields (D) had heard quite enough. “The title for this committee is Economic Opportunity Poverty Reduction; and one of the things I will not tolerate is racist and insensitive comments about African Americans.” She added that she would not “engage in a dialogue where I’m in the company, where you are using these stereotyped references about African American and chicken and food… this is not what this committee is all about… it’s not about chicken.” Meeting adjourned.

3. Fox guest says Oklahoma shooting was partly because shooters could have been aborted. Yes, you read that right. Janet Morana, the executive director of Priests for Life, an anti-abortion group, said that the three teenagers accused of shooting a jogger for fun are actually survivors of Roe v. Wade—everyone born after 1973 is, actually—and that could have messed them up, and contributed to their desire to engage in thrill-killing. “There’s a thing called ‘survivor syndrome,’” she explained. “Just the fact that you could have been aborted can affect you. So that’s factor one.” Then she went on to discuss the less important factors like lack of parenting, and the fact that the accused shooters watched lots of violent video games. But, yeah, survivor syndrome. It’s a thing. Knowing you could have been aborted. Think about it.

4. Bryan Fischer: Christians are the new blacks. The American Family Association spokesman took this week’s New Mexico Supreme Court’s decision that a wedding photography business violated the state’s anti-discrimination law by refusing its services to a same-sex couple very hard. How dare they not be allowed to discriminate? Discrimination is what this country was built on. Fischer encouraged all right-thinking businesses like the one in question to “fight fire with fire” and file countersuits, because preventing people from discriminating is discrimination, yup, against Christians. When are Christians going to start suing for the right to discriminate, huh?

“Essentially what this court has done and what the Obama administration has done with this abortifacient mandate is that they have turned Christians into Dred Scott,” Fischer expounded on his show Focal Point. “Christians have no rights which this court is bound to respect. So to me this looks like Jim Crow is alive and well, we’ve got Jim Crow laws right back in operation, Christians are the new blacks.” Okay, so orange is not the new black? Confused.

5. Alabama GOP candidate: “Homosexuals should stop pretending like they’re married” and Republicans must sign a pledge to make them stop doing that. Dean Young is running for Congress in Alabama in part because he does not think same-sex couples should have the right to marry, and in part because he does not think Republicans in Congress are sufficiently outraged about gay marriage. He wants to go and straighten everyone out, so to speak.

“I’m against homosexuals pretending like they’re married,” he told a local NBC affiliate. “If you want to have homosexuals pretending like they’re married, then go to the Democrat party.” He added: “Congress is weak and spineless,” he said. “We get these mealy-mouthed politicians that just want to move up the ladder, and they won’t tell people where they stand.”

He has gone so far as to compose a six-part pledge to fight marriage equality that he wants all Republicans in the race (and probably all Republicans) to sign. It starts with the belief that marriage should only be between a man and a woman and ends with: 6. I support the by-law change to expel any member of the Republican Executive Committee who opposes the party position by supporting gay marriage.”

6. Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO): Climate change is a conspiracy; only ‘radical environmentalists’ get grants. Al Gore may feel like the conversation on climate change has improved, and feel a little hopeful that the planet can be saved, but the growing, rather late-in-the-day consensus is only making the nut-job climate science deniers more vehement.

One example is Rep. Mike Coffman, who told a local Colorado radio station that you can only get a grant to do science research if you “submit to the…orthodoxy of climate change by the radical environmentalists.” Coffman also said 97 percent of scientists were wrong, and that climate change is “naturally occurring” with “man-made influences” being “debatable.”

7. Heritage Foundation’s Jim DeMint’s alternative to Obamacare: emergency rooms. For weeks, we’ve been saying that the Party of "No” just doesn’t seem to have an alternative to Obamacare, which they are so doggedly and hopelessly fighting. But that turns out not to be true. They do have an alternative. Emergency rooms. Why didn’t we think of that? It’s not as if emergency rooms have been proven to be costly, inefficient and all too often ineffective ways to deliver healthcare.

Thankfully Heritage president and former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint pointed this sensible alternative out in a recent town-hall meeting in Tampa, Florida this week. He’s been waging quite a campaign to defund the Affordable Care Act. “This might be that last off-ramp to stop Obamacare before it becomes more enmeshed in our culture,” he warned the room. The law “is not about getting better healthcare,” he continued. Uninsured Americans “will get better healthcare just going to the emergency room.”

Never mind the inconvenient fact that, as Think Progress points out, in 1989, “the Heritage Foundation was at the forefront of advocating for a requirement to purchase coverage through as system of regulated healthcare marketplaces, the very centerpiece of Obama’s healthcare reform, and later lobbied congressional Republicans to offer the initiative as an alternative to President Bill Clinton’s health proposal. More than a decade later, Heritage boosted former Gov. Mitt Romney’s (R-MA) health reform law and the individual mandate included in it, describing the requirement as ‘one that is clearly consistent with conservative values.’”

Wait, pause, we thought conservative values were the kind that don’t change. There’s more from Think Progress: “A Heritage healthcare analyst said Romney’s proposal would reform the state’s ‘uncompensated-care payment system,’ force residents to take ‘personal responsibility for their healthcare and prevent them from simply showing up ‘in emergency rooms.’” All righty then, that should clear up the Heritage Foundation’s position on that.”

Satire: “Obama Promises Syria Strike Will Have No Objective”

 “Obama Promises Syria Strike Will Have No Objective”
by Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)— “Attempting to quell criticism of his proposal for a limited military mission in Syria, President Obama floated a more modest strategy today, saying that any U.S. action in Syria would have “no objective whatsoever.” “Let me be clear,” he said in an interview on CNN. “Our goal will not be to effect régime change, or alter the balance of power in Syria, or bring the civil war there to an end. We will simply do something random there for one or two days and then leave. I want to reassure our allies and the people of Syria that what we are about to undertake, if we undertake it at all, will have no purpose or goal,” he said. “This is consistent with U.S. foreign policy of the past.”

While Mr. Obama clearly hoped that his proposal of a brief and pointless intervention in Syria would reassure the international community, it immediately drew howls of protest from U.S. allies, who argued that two days was too open-ended a timeframe for such a mission.

That criticism led White House spokesman Jay Carney to brief reporters later in the day, arguing that the President was willing to scale down the U.S. mission to “twenty-four hours, thirty-six tops.” “It may take twenty-four hours, but it could also take twelve,” Mr. Carney said. “Maybe we get in there, take a look around, and get out right away. But however long it takes, one thing will not change: this mission will have no point. The President is resolute about that.”

“'Crash Alert' Flag Still Flying"

“'Crash Alert' Flag Still Flying"
by Bill Bonner

"We hoisted our “Crash Alert” flag last week. So far, no crash. The US stock market came back a bit yesterday, with a 48 point gain on the Dow. Gold was flat. The flag is not a prediction. It’s merely a warning – like the flag at the beach that warns of a dangerous riptide. You can still go in the water. But watch out. You could get washed out to sea.

Syria? Tapering? The return of the debt-ceiling debate? Anemic real economic growth? A preponderance of negative earnings guidance? Rising Treasury yields? A panic in the emerging markets? And here’s the Financial Times warning that central bankers may not be willing to protect investors from every danger: "The world is doomed to an endless cycle of bubble, financial crisis and currency collapse. Get used to it. At least, that is what the world’s central bankers – who gathered in all their wonky majesty last week for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming – seem to expect. Despite the success of unconventional monetary policy and recent big upgrades to financial regulation, we still have no way to tackle imbalances in the global economy, and that means new crises in the future."

Dear readers are urged not to pay too much attention to the FT. Its news is solid. But its editorials are mush. Robin Harding continues: "Five years ago, after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, there was appetite and momentum for a new kind of international financial system. That appetite is gone – but we desperately need to get it back."

What “new kind of international financial system” does he propose? "…boosting the IMF’s resources and handing more voting power to emerging markets so they can rely on it in time of need…"

A reliable backstop is impossible when the international system relies on a national currency – the US dollar – as its reserve asset. Only the Fed makes dollars. In a crisis, there are never enough of them – a shortage that will only get worse as the world economy grows relative to the US – even if the problem for emerging markets right now is too many of them.

The answer is what John Maynard Keynes proposed in the 1930s: an international reserve asset, rules for pricing national currencies against it, and penalties for countries that run a persistent surplus. After the financial crisis there was a flood of proposals along these lines from the UN, from the economist Joseph Stiglitz, and even from the governor of the People’s Bank of China. None has gone anywhere.

The plan is to turn the IMF into a kind of super central bank… with lots of “international reserve assets” that it can hand out to any country that seems to need them. Readers don’t need to ask too many questions. We’ll just put it into simple words. The world’s money system would be based on paper money and managed by global bureaucrats. You see immediately that it is hopeless. A super bank run by super economists? How long would it take for them to blow up the whole world’s financial system?

But don’t worry about it. The system will blow up anyway. No paper-money system has ever survived a full credit cycle. Why not? Because paper money (a form of primitive, credit-backed money) is unlimited… and undisciplined. That – and not a lack of international monetary reform – is why there are so many bubbles now. When interest rates are falling – often pushed by central banks to artificially low levels and held there for an extremely long time – credit expands and the burden of debt grows. That has been happening for the last three decades. And now, the entire economy depends on something that can’t possibly continue. Debt can’t grow forever.

As long as rates stay low, the system holds together. But as the quantity of debt increases, the quality of it decreases. Debtors’ balance sheets get weaker and weaker. Eventually, the credit markets change direction. Rates start going up again. Then the weight of all that debt comes crashing down like an avalanche. And when it gets started, there is no stopping it. All you can do is make sure you’re not in the way!"
Related: “‘Bubbles Forever’ And Stock Crashes Forever Too”

"11 Horrifying Facts About The Ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Holocaust"

"11 Horrifying Facts About The Ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Holocaust"
by Truth Wins

"Is Fukushima the greatest environmental disaster of all time?  Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. The radioactive material that is being released will outlive all of us by a very wide margin, and it is constantly building up in the food chain. Nobody knows for sure how many people will eventually develop cancer and other health problems as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but some experts are not afraid to use the word “billions”. It has been well over two years since the original disaster, and now they are telling us that it could take up to 40 more years to clean it up. It is a nightmare of unimaginable proportions, and there is nowhere in the northern hemisphere that you will be able to hide from it.

The following are 11 facts about the ongoing Fukushima nuclear holocaust that are almost too horrifying to believe… From The Truth Wins:

#1 It is estimated that there are 1,331 used nuclear fuel rods that need to be removed from Fukushima.  Because of all of the damage that has taken place, computer-guided removal of the rods will not be possible.  Manual removal is much riskier, and it is absolutely essential that the removal of each of the 1,331 rods goes perfectly because a single mistake could potentially lead to a nuclear chain reaction.

According to Reuters, the combined amount of cesium-137 contained in those nuclear fuel rods is 14,000 times greater than what was released when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II.  Other estimates put this number far higher.

#3 Officials in Japan admit that 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima is entering the Pacific Ocean every 24 hours.

#4 According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day

Yoichiro Tateiwa, NHK reporter: [Professor Jota] Kanda argues government statistics don’t add up. He says a daily leakage of 300 tons doesn’t explain the current levels of radiation in the water.
Jota Kanda, Tokyo University professor: According to my research there are now 3 gigabecquerels [3 billion becquerels] of cesium-137 flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every day. But for the 300 tons of groundwater to contain this much cesium-137, one liter of groundwater has to contain 10,000 becquerels of the radioactive isotope.
NHK: Kanda’s research and monitoring by Tepco puts the amount of cesium-137 in the groundwater around the plant at several hundred becquerels per liter at most. He’s concluded that radioactive isotope is finding another way to get into the ocean. He’s calling on the government and Tepco to identify contamination routes other than groundwater.

#5 According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium have gotten into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.

#6 Something is causing fish along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs.  Could Fukushima be responsible?

#7 150 former sailors and Marines say that they now have radiation sickness as a result of serving on U.S. Navy ships near Fukushima and they are suing for damages.

#8 The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time.  Just check out what Harvey Wasserman had to say recently: "Iodine-131, for example, can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer. Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California. It spreads throughout the body, but tends to accumulate in the muscles. Strontium-90’s half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones."

#9 It is believed that the Fukushima nuclear facility originally contained a whopping 1760 tons of nuclear material.

It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.

#11 According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete.

Sadly, the true horror of this disaster is only starting to be understood, and most people have absolutely no idea how serious all of this is.  What fallout researcher Christina War BirdConsolo told RT the other day should be very sobering for all of us: "We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children’s’ lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures.
We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area. As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water.
The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton. But it has to be done, unless there is some way to encase the entire building in concrete with the pool as it is. I don’t know of anyone discussing that option, but it would seem much ‘safer’ than what they are about to attempt…but not without its own set of risks.
And all this collateral damage will continue for decades, if not centuries, even if things stay exactly the way they are now. But that is unlikely, as bad things happen like natural disasters and deterioration with time…earthquakes, subsidence, and corrosion, to name a few. Every day that goes by, the statistical risk increases for this apocalyptic scenario. No one can say or know how this will play out, except that millions of people will probably die even if things stay exactly as they are, and billions could die if things get any worse."

The area immediately around Fukushima is already permanently uninhabitable, and the truth is that a much wider area of northern Japan should probably be declared off limits for human habitation.

But this just isn’t about Japan.  The cold, hard reality of the matter is that this is truly a disaster that is planetary in scope.  The nuclear material from Fukushima is going to be carried all over the northern hemisphere, and countless numbers of people are going to become seriously ill as a result. And remember, this is a disaster that is not even close to being contained yet.  Hundreds of tons of radioactive water continues to enter the Pacific Ocean every single day making the disaster that we are facing even worse."
"May God have mercy on us all.”

"How It Really Is"

The Poet: gk thomas, “Wretched of the Earth”

“Wretched of the Earth”
By gk thomas

“Poor kids,
wretched of the earth,
why should we feed you?
Why shouldn't we empty our sea of
bullets into your swollen bellies or
poison you with toxic chemicals
or depleted uranium?
Why should we care,
we who are living well?

Where is it written in stone
that you deserve better?
Or that we are not animals
subject to the law of nature:
kill or be killed?

You suspect us of being cruel,
but we are kind.
Our god tells us so.
It is yours that lies.

So you cry at night,
shivering in the cold
or sell yourselves
for a slice of bread.
What is that to those of
us who are living well?”

"Why Worry About Total Surveillance When You're Just An Ordinary Joe?"

"Why Worry About Total Surveillance When You're Just An Ordinary Joe?"
By Joe Giambrone
"I'm an upstanding citizen and I'm not doing anything wrong.  
I just don't want the government invading my privacy."

"I got into a heated argument, a disagreeable shouting match over that idea today- mostly being shouted at for nitpicking someone on my own side. I find the above rationale to be a surface response without any thought behind it or any acknowledgement of how actual surveillance-societies of the past devolved into Orwellian abominations. Worse still, the current drive for a "Total Information Awareness" society, where birth to death communications will be stored forever by the government, looms over us. NSA/Booz Allen Hamilton whistleblower Edward Snowden has said:  "they are intent on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."

To that end, the NSA's operating budget has increased steadily, avoiding any cutbacks from the so-called "sequester." The new NSA storage facility in Utah is a central piece of this total data capture society: "An article by Forbes estimates the storage capacity as between 3 and 12 exabytes in the near term...advances in technology could be expected to increase the capacity by orders of magnitude in the coming years." (Wikipedia)

NSA Whistleblower William Binney revealed further problems at the National Security Agency and its runaway capabilities: "Binney alleged... controls that limited unintentional collection of data pertaining to U.S. citizens were removed, prompting concerns by him and others that the actions were illegal and unconstitutional. Binney alleged that the Bluffdale facility was designed to store a broad range of domestic communications for  data mining  without warrants."  (Wikipedia)

 Edward Snowden has also said: "I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications.  Anyone's communications at any time.  That is the power to change people's fates."

Changing people's fates is the key phrase here. How and why can this personal data be used?  With lifelong surveillance of everyone, we are little better off than goldfish swimming from glass wall to wall, always under the complete scrutiny of the authorities. It doesn't take any imagination whatsoever to see the implications of total scrutiny by secretive government or quasi-governmental entities (or others!).

The STASI regime in East Germany was legendary for this type of behavior, monitoring their own people allegedly for their own good. A hyper-paranoid society emerged where everyone was suspect. Anyone could be an informant, coerced by the authorities into betraying their neighbors or family members. Trust of government was nonexistent, and soon all trust throughout the society crumbled. Any stranger could be a government agent, himself blackmailed by the state into carrying out their wishes. 

Guilt by Association: The problem is blackmail. That is what Edward Snowden meant when he talked about changing people's fates. When all associations are known to authorities, the very act of communicating with someone becomes dangerous. If they are found to be displeasing to the secretive masters of society, then how long before your very real, recorded linkage to them becomes problematic as well? Guilt by association and character assassination do not require you to be "doing anything wrong," only to be perceived that way as a result of smears. Sensitive data about personal habits can destroy a political campaign before it ever begins. The manipulation of the public takes many forms, which political activists and the professional political class understand well.

While Obama and Company (on both sides of the aisle) hawk this glaringly unconstitutional assault as alleged protection, being no threat to the public whatsoever- their vanilla lives deemed uninteresting enough to not concern the state- the terrifying nature of power and coercion must be addressed. Before we follow the propaganda line that we are "not doing anything wrong," and so have nothing to worry about, there is plenty to worry about when privacy is erased.

The legal justifications for securing our personal effects, enshrined in the 4th Amendment, represent the cornerstone of American freedom: that F-word politicians blather on about at length even as they secretly betray it. This is not simply a personal preference to be private but is the necessary precondition for a free society. Private communications are the difference between what once was America and what once was the Soviet Union, or Orwell's dystopia if you prefer. The value of having secure, private lives free of government malfeasance and scrutiny is beyond a price and beyond debate. As long as the Constitution remains the "Supreme Law of the Land," those who willingly  violate it have committed treason against the American people.

Personal preference has nothing to do with it. This is about the very nature of freedom, to be free of coercion and blackmail. While it's true the government apparatus likely has nothing against most people because of their unremarkable ordinariness, this government posture changes immediately as people become politically active. What the masters of society take very seriously are their own positions of power, and they brook no challengers.

Once a citizen becomes active in attempting to change official policy, all bets are off. The US government surveils the lives of citizens who stand up and say "No."  This has been in evidence since forever; name your time period. But more recently from Seattle WTO protests 1999, to the anti-war movement 2003, to Miami FTAA opponents 2003, to the protestors at national political conventions, and of course to Occupy Wall Street activists, the federal government has used all means at its disposal to invade the privacy of its citizen-opponents. Ongoing surveillance of domestic political movements is the norm, as is infiltration by FBI "informants" (criminals who have made deals with the FBI to go undercover and spy for them).

What's more, the government contracts with private, for-profit spy corporations such as Booz, Allen Hamilton and Stratfor. It hands this blanket power to spy on the entire citizenry over to private interests for them to exploit. All this is done in secret, and the Congress cannot even oversee the activities of private contractors, who are naturally shielded from the kind of scrutiny which we are all now subject to by them. If someone has no problem with the government owning all their personal data (I can't imagine why), they surely must stop and think about turning over that power to private, profit-driven corporations legally shielded from public accountability.

One of the most crucial and ignored whistleblowers to come out of the National Security Agency is a satellite analyst by the name of Russell Tice. What Mr. Tice revealed is shocking and largely un-reportable in the corporate perception-management media. It would shake the very system to its core, and so, recently, Mr. Tice has been persona non grata on corporate airwaves. Previously, he was welcomed as an expert on the spying programs as an actual former NSA analyst. After Tice revealed more damaging information, disclosures which threaten the very legitimacy of those who fail to perform Congressional oversight on the runaway surveillance agency, his spotlight was shut down. Russell Tice finally revealed that for at least a decade now those at the top of the intelligence chain secretly abused the capabilities of their federal surveillance state.

"NSA went after lawyers and law firms. They went after judges.  One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House - their own people!"  - NSA Satellite Analyst Russell Tice

Now a picture emerges of something quite a bit more damaging to society than simple privacy preferences. According to Tice, those sitting in Congress and tasked with doing oversight on the spy agencies are themselves under surveillance and compromised. Their loyalties and duties are compromised. Their judgments are compromised. Their repeated displays of gross ignorance about NSA programs are perhaps intentional.

These Senators and Intelligence Committee Congresspersons must toe the line or face expulsion at the next election cycle (or worse). That is how the NSA and its secretive doings can "change people's fates." Is it too obvious to state that such blackmail is criminal and an assault on democracy? This attack is on the American people, who are now at the mercy of a Vichy Congress, occupied by the STASI intelligence/surveillance state.

James Clapper, America's current "Director of National Intelligence," blatantly lied to Congress on live TV, March 12th.  Clapper claimed the NSA doesn't collect Americans' communications knowing full well that they do and are expanding this capability daily.  Clapper received no penalty whatsoever for Contempt of Congress, a criminal offense!  In the Alice in Wonderland world of Washington politics, instead of being jailed for a year for lying to the Congress, Mr. Clapper was voted in UNANIMOUSLY to take over all 16 of America's spy agencies this August. Clapper's current version of the NSA Big Lie is that: "I realized later Sen. Wyden was asking about "metadata collection, rather than content collection. Thus, my response was clearly erroneous, for which I apologize."

But it's not just "metadata," and the metadata is only one component of the data collection, used to more easily search through the actual content that is also stored by the National Security Agency for varying lengths of time. When the UK Guardian released this information, provided by Edward Snowden, their offices were later raided by British security forces, and computer hard drives were destroyed, as in a typical Banana Republic assault on the press.

James Clapper continues to lie, and the liars have no disincentive to stop their officially-blessed fabricating. Congressional oversight is negated absolutely, and the Congress remains powerless in the face of the Total Surveillance State- where they are prime targets for blackmail and coercion. The official pattern has been to lie, backtrack to the next position and to maintain it until further revelations make the current story untenable. Then, a new story is told with the theme being that regular, inactive, unengaged Americans have nothing to worry about; they are already neutralized. The truth is that all Americans have plenty to worry about, the complete destruction of privacy and "freedom," that buzzword that passes by without the slightest contemplation of what it means.

Rule by a secretive, military/corporate dictatorship is simply not the "America" people think of. Surely it bears no resemblance to the "Land of the free." It is an entirely different and alien place. So what's your personal preference on that one?”

"The Deadly Gaze of American Love"

"The Deadly Gaze of American Love"
By Mark Sashine
 "The cat then hugged the mouse and purred, 'I love you to death.'"
  - Old Turkish saying.

"The Deadly Gaze in the U.S.: Several years ago in one of my OEN articles I wrote that the U.S. behaved toward Iraq like a rapist who, after raping a woman, tells her to clean herself because of her disgusting appearance. I was expecting a barrage of comments, but, instead, I got silence. In the U.S., however, silence doesn't mean assent; it means a deliberate ignoring. The same happened, and still happens, when I state that Dick Cheney should be put into an asylum for killing 400 birds in one day. People don't like Cheney very much, but somehow they are okay with an act of killing performed by a man with a gun.

In my research to understand that pattern of brain passivity, I several times stated my perceptions directly into the faces of my fellow Americans. Whenever I did that, the reaction was the same. The person would look sideways and say nothing. I tried to catch that frozen gaze on the person's face, and, when I managed to do that, I recognized it as a gaze I hadn't seen for a very long time. It was the gaze of a bully from my childhood. You can sometimes notice such a gaze in dogs. It is the deadly gaze.
The Boy With  the Deadly Gaze: He was transferred to our school when we were in the 5 th grade, so most of us were about twelve at the time. That was the age when a teenager "grows out of his uniform," as one teacher said. Of course, in Russia at the time, we didn't have cell phones or the Internet; we didn't even have good clothes. Most of us wore uniforms: greenish-gray pants and jackets for boys, white blouses and brown skirts for girls. We were the "young pioneers," and each of us had a triangular red tie, symbolizing equality, fraternity and liberty, as well as the sacrificial blood of the martyrs of the Revolution. The strict collective code of honor included studying hard, helping other people to learn, helping the weak, and respecting society by behaving properly. At the same time, every teenager of our time lived most of his or her life on the beat, and we learned the unwritten "street rules' by experience. As an overweight kid, I had a tough time. No matter what happened between us kids, the worst possible thing you could do was to rat on your peers to adults. We had our rules, though: It was a shame for a boy to hit a girl and for a girl to instigate a fight. It was a shame to hurt someone weaker than yourself, unless that someone had asked for it. And it was a shame to tease old people and to torture animals. Not that we were perfect: We smoked, drank (sometimes with tough health consequences), stole things, fought ferociously and cruelly, cheated on homework and exams, lied repeatedly, and disturbed the peace. But I could say we were honorable. The bully wasn't, however. We saw this from the start.

He was a tall, lanky, blondish boy with a strange, sticky voice. When he talked, it seemed the words came out of him in slow-motion. We noticed his voice first, because it was full of sh*t. He used profanity as a primary way of communication. It was kind of like the way movie characters talk these days. We all used bad words, but coming from him they sounded exceptionally dirty. He had two followers who looked very much like him, though not as repulsive, and this unholy triad roamed the school hallways and nearby streets night and day. Nobody knew where he lived; it seemed as if he could appear and disappear at will. You could go out for groceries and bump into him. He would then perform his ritual of pretending to be your friend, pawing you, especially if you were a girl, then complaining that you didn't appreciate him, so he had to hurt you for your own good. All that would usually end with some really dirty thing, like throwing your groceries on the pavement and stomping on them, throwing stones at your pet, or lighting a match near a girl's skirt so that it created a huge hole in the only uniform she had--etc, etc. While his goons laughed their ears off, he never laughed. Instead, his frozen smirk seemed to become more like a mask and his expressionless gaze would get uglier than ever. Sometimes he would force a kid to do something dirty to others; he called it a coalition. That wouldn't last for long, however, because you could never satisfy his perverse appetites. Eventually, he would discard his temporary allies and hurt them even more. At that time, I didn't know about moronic evil, or such terms as "sadism." If had known about them, I would have recognized the pattern in the bully. But I was a bookish boy, and I recognized him instead in references I encountered to the Hitlerjugend and the SS. The bully was like them. In books about the Nazi culture, the training of young children that deprived them of a social conscience was described in gory detail. One of the main goals was to develop in them a sense of total indifference to, and contempt for, "others"- the inferior beings, whether animals or humans. The children were also pushed to have fun hurting people. In that context, our own bully was a "natural.

People noticed his behavior and tried to change it. Teachers warned him repeatedly, and the pioneer organization threatened to take away his tie (a very tough public punishment). One day, when he had been caught in some bad action, he put on quite a spectacle, promising to change and become a better person. To the kids who were his victims, though, this was a disgusting sight. We all knew he didn't mean it. The smirk was there all the time.

That's when those of us who had been hurt by him decided to take the matter into our own hands. On that rainy evening, we took off our red ties after school as usual, but we didn't go home. Instead, I went to intercept the bully, leaving the others ready to back me up. He was at his usual place and called me to approach, but I told him to f&ck himself, and when he started toward me in his deliberately menacing posture, I ran. Then the bully, accompanied by his two allies, followed me down the street and into the dark stone passage, through the cast-iron gates. Those gates were usually closed, but this time they were open. Right after they passed the gates, I reached the end of the passage, where the exit gates were closed. And at that moment a screeching sound told us that the entry gates were also closed. I stopped and looked at them. Then the shadows along the passage walls came alive and the enemy triad found itself surrounded, with nowhere to run.

As we presumed, the two butt kissers betrayed the bully in a second. We pushed them away, threw a blanket over him and started hitting. At that moment, we forgot that he was always bragging about carrying a knife. But, in this circumstance, he was lucky not to have one; if he had been carrying a knife, the enraged kids would likely have killed him with bricks. We knew this was our day. The deal between us was that we would stop punishing the bully when he began to cry. But he didn't cry. For some time we could only hear ourselves, our own animalistic rage. Suddenly, however, we heard a howl. He howled like a wounded beast in a paroxysm of helplessness and desperation. Then we stopped. We opened the gates on both sides and left in silence. None of us felt any satisfaction. We were just tired and empty. The one girl among us saved our souls that evening. When we all stopped to go our separate ways, she took out our red ties, which we had given her for safekeeping, and neatly put a tie on each of us. Then she smiled at us all and vanished into the darkness. The burden was lifted. We knew we had done the right thing.

The bully didn't come to school in the morning. The two others came, but they knew nothing of him. Eventually, we heard that his parents had transferred him to a special school for kids with psychological problems. We never saw him again and, for some reason, the bullying among ourselves also stopped entirely. None of us wanted to be like him, ever. We had all grown up.

When as a parent you introduce shame to your child, you do that by appealing to the child's sense of empathy and of self-preservation. Those are connected in a thoughtful human. Empathy tells you that you inflicted something on another person that you would not like to be subjected to yourself. And the sense of self-preservation tells you that the same kind of hurtful action could be directed toward you. Those realizations make you feel ashamed of your actions: you see them as not only mean, but also stupid. A person with no concept of shame, who sees the world only as an object for self-indulgence, is the bad seed. Such a person belongs in an asylum. From Reagan to Cheney and Obama, we have such people at the highest levels of power in the U.S. It is bad enough if one person is shameless. But what if this disease were to spread through the entire nation?
Our Gaze at the World:  I have been living in this country for 24 years now, and through all those years we have been at war, either directly or indirectly. Here are the places I remember since Y1989: Iraq, Kuwait, Somalia, Panama, Sudan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Haiti, Iraq again, Afghanistan, Libya. Now we ogle Syria as a next target. In all these cases, we had our fun. We killed a lot of people after leaning on them, pretending to be their friends, and proclaiming our love. In all these cases, we denied any atrocities and vehemently called ourselves the best people in the world. In these cases, too, as well as in numerous cases before, we forced other people into a "coalition" with us.

Yet, NONE of these cases produced any positive outcome. In fact, we considerably worsened the world economy and devastated political structures, creating chaos and misery whenever we went. Those are the facts, and they are indisputable. If it wasn't for that insane gaze of ours, all of us here in the U.S. would be on our knees begging God's forgiveness. Instead, we are going to celebrate Labor Day after we've destroyed anything that even remotely resembles honest work for honest pay. We are truly unbelievable, and my little psycho-bully would fit in here very nicely. He would be in charge of some important department, and the media would be calling him "Slow, but Smarty, Mike," or whatever his ugly name was. The presence of the bully here has become so obvious that every morning I am afraid to see his face on TV. Just a few days back, a female with that gaze bragged that we should attack Syria because it had become "a hotbed of terrorism." Sometimes the bullies come back, courtesy of Stephen King. They eat their breakfast, send their kids to school, and then proceed to spread their deadly love over other people, leaving dead bodies behind.

Americans are sick, and that sickness overtook them in the 20th Century when they benefited immensely from other people's miseries in two World Wars. Since that time, they have felt superior to other people and that feeling culminated in the BOMB. Not only do we have the BOMB; we actually used it and got away with it. Nobody threw a blanket over us and kicked us bad. Our hubris rules supreme. Our religion tells us that we are the freest, the smartest, the most righteous people on earth, and thus all our actions toward others are GOOD. We claim the right to dominate others, because we indulge ourselves and believe we are by default the ones who deserve it. Do you recognize the logic? It is the logic of a shameless, bratty toddler. There is no real love there, just self-adoration. We behave like a child who is "asking for it," and anyone who is at least a half-wit should become very worried indeed. Humankind is not very different from a middle school, and eventually the shadows will separate from the walls. Do we really want to risk being exposed?
I Am Not Fair: I concede that I am not entirely fair in comparing the whole American nation to a psycho kid from my childhood. There are plenty of good people in this country, and I have no right. No, I have every right! This is my home. Diversity: the real display of it is not in food, drinks and flowers. It is in the historical, generational experience, in the memory of the heart. I have an obligation before my people here to report a dangerous, maybe even fatal, psychic disease--a disease that once consumed the whole German nation and is now in full swing in America. I don't want to run again, panting and sweating into that dark passage. It is the light I seek, and in the light we fight. I am not fair. I am in love and I want to protect this beloved country of mine. In this battle I take no prisoners. It is easy to get cured. Just put the damned psychos into an asylum, where they belong!"