Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street Journal’

‘When I first came across the title to this article, I didn’t think much of it. In fact, I almost didn’t even click the link thinking it was just a repeat of a prior expose I highlighted in the post: Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 2 – Clinton Foundation Took Millions From Countries That Also Fund ISIS.

Fortunately, I did decide to take a look and pretty soon my jaw absolutely hit the floor. Although the Wall Street Journal didn’t play up the connection, I was stunned to see that of all the oligarchs connected to foreign governments who donated to the Clinton Foundation while she was Secretary of State, Ukraine was at the very top. I thought this to be strange, but as I read on I just couldn’t believe how connected the main donor was to the current regime in power. Considering this is the main geopolitical hotspot on earth right now, many, many questions need to be asked.’

Read more: Clinton Foundation’s Deep Financial Ties to Ukrainian Oligarch Who Pushed for Closer Ties to EU Revealed


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February 20, 2015 5:00 am

The Wall Street Journal reported this past week that the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation has quietly dropped its ban on foreign contributions and is accepting donations from the governments of “the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Australia, Germany, and a Canadian government agency promoting the Keystone XL pipeline.” The Journal’s conclusion: Since 2001 “the foundation has raised at least $48 million from overseas governments.”

Needless to say, the gargantuan troll-like conflict of interest that arises as soon as the foundation of the leading candidate for the presidency of the United States begins accepting money from overseas is apparent to every sentient being on the planet except members of the Clinton family and the growing number of advisers, consultants, strategists, pollsters, groupies, allies, and hangers-on whose livelihood depends on that family’s political success. “These contributions,” the foundation said in a statement to the Journal, “are helping improve the lives of millions of people across the world, for which we are grateful.”

What I love about this statement is its flip shamelessness, the way in which its airy sentimental public relations gobbledygook is both a denial of what is obviously a corrupt practice and an implicit endorsement of it. I do not doubt for a moment that the Clinton flack who led the email chain that came up with this blistering retort to the Journal is indeed “grateful” for every single one of the donations that foreign governments are making to his organization, because life in Manhattan and North Caldwell, New Jersey, is very expensive and these kids are not going to be paying for college on their own you know. If a little charity on the part of his excellency Sultan Qaboos of Oman can help pay for the lake house in Connecticut and the monthly installment on that brand new Tesla you’ve been eyeing through the window of the store on 25th Street, well, what’s the harm? The programs you run—“transforming communities,” “creating partnerships of purpose,” devising other alliterative slogans—“improve the lives of millions of people across the world.” OK, maybe not “millions of people,” but certainly the lives of the oligarchs and monarchs and functionaries and foreign agents who sign checks to the Clintons and can count on reciprocity, not to mention the lives of one very special pair of grandparents, their beloved daughter, her husband (especially when Goldman Sachs is footing the bill for losses at his hedge fund), and beautiful Charlotte.

In its 14 years of existence the Clinton Foundation has raised a sum approaching $2 billion. A McClatchy analysis found that 40 percent of contributions in the last decade have come from foreign sources. “It’s a massive sum of money—though no one has done a story yet on how overseas programs they fund have worked,” Maggie Haberman of the New York Times noted on Twitter. Gee I wonder why. It’s almost as though the political press is morally and intellectually disarmed whenever it hears words like “global dialogue” and “wellness” and “economic development” and “women and girls,” as if the gritty, cynical, I’ve-seen-it-all correspondents for our major newspapers and networks turn to bubbling bittersweet goo as soon as some Clinton flack tells them, “We are working with global partners to build an evidence-based case for the full participation of women and girls in the 21st century,” and their eyes fall on a picture of a cute, vibrant, and diverse group of young women surrounding the aging potentate and her daughter and former NBC News special correspondent. What it would take the Post or the Times to dispatch a reporter to Ishmaelia or wherever to examine, in skeptical detail, just where the Clinton money is going, to report on the precise state of the President Peter Mutharika Water Reclamation Plant and Convention Center, is beyond me. Certainly the reports from Haiti are not encouraging. Even the Journal is not clear when the Clinton Foundation dropped its ban on foreign money, a mystery the Foundation itself does not seem to be in any hurry to solve.

One can always count on the media’s herd instinct, however, and in the hours since the initial Journal scoop and the Clintons’ flagrant doubling-down on buckraking from overseas interests, a group of stories has appeared that suggests the Clintons have a big problem on their hands. A Washington Post analysis “found substantial overlap between the Clinton political machinery and the foundation,” and noted that “nearly half of the major donors who are backing ready for Hillary, a group promoting her 2016 presidential bid, as well as nearly half of the bundlers from her 2008 campaign, have given at least $10,000 to the foundation, either on their own or through foundations or companies they run.” What do you think they want for all of that money? An Eid al-Fatr card?

McClatchy draws our attention to donors such as “Mohammed Al-Amoudi, a billionaire businessman who lives in Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, retired German race car driver Michael Schumacher, and Denis O’Brien, the Irish chairman of Digicel phone company,” who “each donated between $5 million to $10 million.” You know, regular folks; American-Gothic types; the sort of common people who so puzzle Clinton that she is asking more than 200 policy wonks for advice on how to talk to them.

How I would love to have been in the room with Bill Clinton and Doug Band and God-only-knows-who-else as the former president sweet-talked Herr Schumacher, telling him stories of his childhood and presidency and subsequent career, confiding his preferred cigar brands, mixing up funny vignettes with economic and political analysis, dropping hints at Hillary’s political future and impending ascension to the status of Sun-Queen, dispensing tips on vegan dieting, interspersing his unending monologue with deadpan treacle like “it’s for our children” and “we’re all one big global village” and “you should see what they’re doing for women’s health in Rwanda,” as the “retired German race car driver” kept his mouth contorted in a tight grin, ready to mention the quo for the quid, feeling like a big man for gaining proximity to the biggest big man of them all.

And to think that scenes like this have played out in conference rooms and private jets and luxury hotels around the world for over a decade, with promises exchanged and pledges made and deals negotiated and influence peddled, and no one really has the faintest idea of any of the details except members of Bill Clinton’s innermost circle. What beguiles and amazes is the scope of the self-dealing, the effrontery of the horse-trading, the utterly earnest way in which the Clintons are able to transform hobnobbing with and skimming off the global elite into a parody of “philanthropy.”

I also find it revealing, though, that the Clintons seemed to be caught off guard by the Wall Street Journal’s reporting, that the insistence by Clinton Foundation spokesmen that there is no story here and that it is “a false choice” to suggest a conflict of interest when foreign billionaires hand money to the presidential frontrunner has assumed an increasingly desperate character. What the scrambling exposes is that this political organization is as aloof and tone-deaf as ever.

Clinton appears to have decided to remain secluded for as long as possible so that her approval numbers do not plunge, but I wonder whether this strategy is as sound as she seems to think it is. It’s not as though her non-candidacy candidacy is really producing results. Her book was a flop, she stepped in it with the “dead broke” comments, continuing the paid speeches and chartered flights plays into the caricature of a tired comfortable rich politician, all of the infighting is being played out in the media, some liberals are wondering whether it really would be a good thing for her to become the first non-incumbent in memory to waltz into the nomination unopposed, and now she faces the prospect of two years of questions about transactions and commitments and actions by her husband and his cronies.

What the Clintons have done in the years after they left the White House will be an important part of the “narrative” of the 2016 campaign, of the tale Republicans market to the public of a venal and corrupt and bizarre family so bent on wealth and power that they are more interested in catering to rich foreigners than to the average American. I don’t know if the public will buy it—no one knows—but I do know that Hillary Clinton as a candidate and as the chief executive of a massive political organization has shown herself to be seriously deficient in the methods and skills required for a successful presidential campaign. She lost before, she’s flubbing now, and people are beginning to recognize that she can always lose again. It’s not the sleaze so much as her clumsy pronounced absence of style, her hesitant maladroit uneasy responses to tough questions posed by serious critics. It won’t be corruption alone that does Hillary in. It will be her cluelessness.


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Wall Street has been bracing for a billion-dollar currency manipulation investigation that will be over in a few weeks, says The Wall Street Journal.

In the past few weeks, it seems banks have been scrambling to prepare for whatever regulators on both sides of the pond may find after a fairly boring earnings season. Performance was average to slightly below, and the total trading rout banks expected didn’t turn out to be that bad.

But then the disclosures started coming.

First Citigroup revised its earnings down to $0.88 per share from $1.07 per share to add $600 million to its legal reserves.

Then JPMorgan Chase also disclosed that US and UK regulators were conducting criminal (the Department of Justice is in there) and civil probes into its Forex trading operations. Of course, it’s cooperating, but it has no idea how much it could lose in such a settlement — maybe nothing, maybe $6 billion.

Finally, on Thursday after the closing bell, Bank of America followed Citi and revised its earnings down by $400 million, adding that to its legal reserves to deal with whatever comes of the probe.

So here’s what we know about the investigation: Barclays, HSBC, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, UBS, Citigroup, JPMorgan, and Bank of America are all involved.

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(David Catanese)  Hillary Clinton’s claim of being “dead broke” offered up easy fodder to Republicans, who swiftly poked fun at a politician who appeared out of touch with regard to her own potential wealth.

Yet what’s really keeping GOPers tossing and turning at night is the powerful political fundraising punch the Clinton brand brings to the table.

The Wall Street Journal did the math and found that Bill and Hillary Clinton helped raise more than $1 billion from U.S. companies over the last two decades, through political fundraising, paid speeches and their advocacy groups.

“Clinton Inc. is going to be the most formidable fundraising operation for the Democrats in the history of the country. Period. Exclamation point,” said Rick Hohlt, a lobbyist and fundraiser for Republican Party presidential candidates. “It sure causes concern.”

Particularly notable in the Journal’s tally is the Clintons heavy reliance on Wall Street. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have been the power couple’s No. 1 Wall Street contributor, doling out nearly $5 million to the Clintons. As a senator, Hillary raked in $5.7 million from financial services firms, fairly typical for a New York legislator. Financial-services firms accounted for about 12 percent of the total amount raised by the Clintons. By comparison, Mitt Romney – Mr. 47 Percent – raised 13 percent of his 2012 campaign funds from financial-services firms.

Put it altogether and it’s easy to see how Hillary Clinton could become the preferred candidate of Wall Street in 2016.

And that has both the right and the left trembling, but for different reasons.


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Banks that received billions during the Federal Reserve created implosion of the subprime real estate market say they are not obliged to make good on repaying the money.

From The Wall Street Journal:

Maryland Financial Bank, one of six banks included in the government’s auction this week of stakes it received as part of its crisis-era bailout program, enjoys an unusual luxury: It doesn’t have to make good on the money it still owes taxpayers.

The Journal reports when the TARP program “was hastily assembled in the frantic days of 2008, the government was interested in making sure the capital was widely available to banks of all sizes” and banks that issued noncumulative shares as repayment figured out how to delay and ultimately stiff tax payers.

The Towson, Md., bank, which received $1.7 million in the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2009, is a beneficiary of a quirk that placed stricter rules on some recipients of financial aid than on others.

Specifically, some of the banks that received TARP money aren’t obligated to make good on dividend payments they have missed. That leaves the banks with a dilemma of either fulfilling their obligations to taxpayers at the expense of their own balance sheets, or keeping the money for themselves. Banks can protect themselves and their shareholders by skipping the payments. Shelling out optional payments to the U.S. government could even be interpreted as a breach of duty to shareholders.


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Report: VA lobotomized 2,000 disturbed veterans

11 Dec 2013 The U.S. government lobotomized roughly 2,000 mentally ill veterans — and likely hundreds more — during and after World War II, according to a cache of forgotten memos, letters and government reports unearthed by The Wall Street Journal. The Veterans Administration performed the brain-altering operation on former servicemen it diagnosed as depressives, psychotics and schizophrenics, and occasionally on people identified as homosexuals, according to the report. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says it possesses no records detailing the creation and breadth of its lobotomy program.

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Mandela Eulogies – Reinventing His Disturbing Legacy

Mainstream praise is virtually unanimous. It ignores reality. It got short shrift. It reinvents Mandela’s disturbing legacy. It turned a Thatcherite into a saint. A previous article discussed it.

Editorials, commentaries, and feature articles read like bad fiction. Tributes are overwhelming. They reflect coverup and denial.

The true measure of Mandela is hidden from sight. It’s willfully ignored. Illusion replaced it.

Obama issued a disingenuous statement. He called Mandela “a man who took history in his hand, and bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.”

“We will not likely see the likes of Nelson Mandela again.”

They infest world governments. They run America. They inflict enormous harm. Mandela exceeded the worst of South African apartheid injustice. He deserves condemnation, not praise.

White supremacy remains entrenched. Extreme poverty, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, malnutrition, and lack of basic services for black South Africans are at shockingly high levels. They’re much worse than under apartheid.

Mandela embraced the worst of neoliberal harshness. His successors followed the same model. They still do.

They’re stooges for predatory capitalist injustice. They’re figureheads. They enforce white supremacist dominance. They betray their own people in the process.

Black South Africans are some of the world’s most long-suffering deprived people anywhere. They suffer out of sight and mind.

Mandela could have changed things. He never tried. He didn’t care. He sold out to wealth, power and privileged interests. He did so shamelessly. His life ended unapologetically.

South African conditions today remain deplorable. Neoliberal harshness works this way. Business as usual is policy. Disadvantaged millions are ruthlessly exploited.

Privileged interests alone are served. Doing so reflects financial, economic and political terrorism. It’s commonplace globally. It infects Western societies. It plagues South Africa.

Injustice is deep-seated. It’s nightmarish in South Africa. Mandela’s legacy reflects the worst of all possible worlds short of war, mass slaughter and destruction.

Free market mumbo jumbo inflicts enormous pain and suffering. It empowers corporate interests. It benefits privileged elites. It does so at the expense of deprived millions.

Ordinary people don’t matter. They suffer out of sight and mind. They do so horrifically in South Africa. Major media ignore it. Mandela praise continues.

Former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller headlined “Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s Liberator as Prisoner and President, Dies at 95.”

Mandela was more enslaver than liberator. Not according to Keller. He called him “an international emblem of dignity and forbearance.”

He symbolized injustice. Keller called him “a capable statesman, comfortable with compromise and impatient with the doctrinaire.” He ignored the enormous harm he caused. He turned truth on its head doing so.

Washington Post editors headlined “Nelson Mandela brought the world toward a racial reconciliation.”

They called Gandhi, King and Mandela transformative figures. They “helped create a new ethic through the power of their ideas and the example of their lives,” they said.

Gandhi and King deserve praise. Mandela deserves condemnation. Not according to WaPo editors.

“Mandela,” they said, “dismantl(ed) the strong web of racist ideas, with which certain Western thinkers had sought for more than a century to rationalize the subjugation of others through colonialism, segregation and disenfranchisement.”

Mandela continued the worst of these practices. Black South African suffering deepened on his watch. He did nothing to relieve it.

He’s gone, said WaPo editors. It’s “more important than ever – in a century marked so far by frightening eruptions of terror and religious intolerance – to keep before the world the name and example of Nelson Mandela.”

Doing so requires explaining facts, not fiction. It involves stripping away false illusions. It demands telling it like it is fully, accurately, impartially and dispassionately.

Wall Street Journal editors headlined “Nelson Mandela.” They called him a “would-be Lenin who became Africa’s Vaclav Havel.”

He was no Lenin. He defended capital’s divine right. He did it at the expense of social justice. He’s no candidate for sainthood.

Journal editors perhaps think otherwise. They called him an “all too rare example of a wise revolutionary leader.”

“Age mellowed him…He walked out of jail an African Havel…He opened up (South Africa’s) economy to the world, and a black middle class came to life,” they said.

Fact check

He sold out to powerful white interests. Apartheid didn’t die. It flourishes. Mandela deepened the scourge of injustice.

No black middle class exists. A select few share wealth, power and privilege. The vast majority of black society is much worse off than under apartheid.

Don’t expect Journal editors to explain. They called the “continent and world fortunate to have” Mandela. Neoliberal ideologues think this way.

Chicago Tribune editors headlined “Nelson Mandela, conscience of the world,” saying:

He “was more than just a symbol. His name was a clarion call for people across the globe in their struggles against oppression.”

“He personified the triumph of nearly unimaginable perseverance over nearly unimaginable tribulation.”

“His top priority was to oversee the creation of a new constitution, guaranteeing equality for all.”

“He also brought together disparate elements of the country, black and white, to address the grinding poverty and homelessness that afflicted his country.”

If one person could be called the conscience of the world, it would be Nelson Mandela.”

“The best way for us to truly honor his life, his suffering, and his memory is to uphold the values he embodied and fight the injustices he forced the world to confront. His inspiration is universal, his legacy timeless.”

Fundamental journalistic ethics require truth, full disclosure, integrity, fairness, impartiality, independence and accountability.

Tribune editors ignore these fundamental principles. So do their mainstream counterparts.

Los Angeles Times editors headlined “South Africa after Mandela.” They called him “one of the towering figures of the 20th century.”

“(H)e was revered around the globe for his vision and courage, and for the enormous personal sacrifices he made to right the wrongs that plagued his country,” they said.

LA Times editors reinvented history like their counterparts. It didn’t surprise.

Boston Globe editors headlined “Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013: A rare vision of magnanimity,” saying:

His “remarkable vision of leadership (helped) overturn South Africa’s vicious apartheid regime.”

He “was a pillar of grace, magnanimity, and restraint in victory.”

“His stable hand helped maintain (South Africa’s) status as a top economic engine on the African continent.”

He “proved that progress was possible.”

Privileged whites during his tenure benefitted hugely. Black society suffered horrifically. It still does. Mandela’s no hero. Don’t expect Globe editors to explain.

Major media editors turn truth on its head. They do it consistently. They do it repeatedly. Countless editorials and commentaries praised Mandela. They proliferate like crab grass. They’re still coming.

Headlines below reflect common sentiment:

“Nelson Mandela: a leader above all others”

“Nelson Mandela’s place in history.”

“Nelson Mandela, rest in peace”

“Nelson Mandela: Farewell to a visionary leader”

“Freedom is Nelson Mandela’s legacy”

“Nelson Mandela, historic icon of peaceful equality”

“Mandela, a moral force for the ages”

“Mandela, the transcendent ‘South African Moses’ ”

It’s hard choosing which one is worst. Mandela was more pied piper of Hamelin than Moses. He was no patron saint of impoverished, oppressed and deprived South African blacks.

He sold out to power and privilege. His legacy reflects the worst of neoliberal harshness. Conditions during his tenure exceeded apartheid’s dark side.

They’re worse today. Inequality is institutionalized. So is apartheid. Democracy is more illusion than reality.

Black stooges serve white supremacist interests. Fundamental human and civil rights don’t matter. Corporate interests count most.

Government of, by, and for everyone equitably is nowhere in sight. Don’t expect scoundrel media editors to explain.


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It knows all about your life, now it wants to get inside your HEAD: Facebook trialling new technology to track users’ behaviour online

Facebook wants to get inside users heads with new capabilities to track and analyse their behaviour across the social network.

Not content with collecting huge troves of data about users’ lives outside of Facebook, executives want new capabilities to track users’ minute interactions with the service itself.

New technology would allow them to start collecting data on details like how long users hover their cursors over elements on the page and whether their newsfeed is visible as they browse the site.

I just can't get you out of my head: Facebook is trialling new technology to allow it to precisely track users' interactions with the site, such as how long they hover their mouse cursors over adverts shown on the pageI just can’t get you out of my head: Facebook is trialling new technology to allow it to precisely track users’ interactions with the site, such as how long they hover their mouse cursors over adverts shown on the page

Facebook analytics chief Ken Rudin said the recorded data could be used for various ends – ranging from product development to targeting advertising more precisely.

But with the company among a string of Silicon Valley firms exploited for personal data by the U.S. National Security Agency, any increase in the data it collects is bound to raise users’ concerns.

It emerged last month that fears over privacy are prompting many to commit ‘virtual identity suicide’ by deleting their Facebook accounts.

In a separate survey earlier this year more than half of those quitting Facebook cited privacy concerns as their main reason for doing so.

It has long been said of online services like Facebook that users, who enjoy the site’s features for free, are in fact the company’s product rather than its customers.

Data gold mine: Facebook collects two kinds of data about its users: demographic data, including where users' live or went to school; and behavioural data, such as users' online 'friends' and 'likes'Data gold mine: Facebook collects two kinds of data about its users: demographic data, including where users’ live or went to school; and behavioural data, such as users’ online ‘friends’ and ‘likes’

Facebook is a rich mine of personal information about its more than a billion users, data it leverages commercially to target promotional campaigns precisely to advertisers’ desired audiences.

To this end, the company collects two kinds of data about its users: demographic data, including where users’ live or went to school; and behavioural data, such as users’ online ‘friends’ and ‘likes’.

Mr Rudin told the Wall Street Journal that the new technology, which is still in testing, would would massively expand the collection of that latter kind of data.


If any parent was ever in two minds about letting their teenager use Facebook, their reservations may be about to increase as Facebook has allowed young people make posts public.

This means anyone on the social network will be able to see the posts, click through to the young user’s profile and see any other publicly shared information.

By adding this option to users aged between 13 and 17 it also means they can let strangers ‘follow’ their public posts.

If a friend then interacts with the post – either by liking or commenting on it – the status appears on that friend’s news feed – making it visible to even more people.

Before the update Facebook prevented under 18s making posts public; the widest audience they could reach was Friends of Friends.

Details recorded may include ‘did your cursor hover over that ad … and was the newsfeed in a viewable area,’ said Mr Rudin, adding that he was not certain when the the capabilities would go live across Facebook.

The social network would not be the first online service to make such a detailed record of users’ interactions with its website.

Digital image marketplace Shutterstock already records literally everything that its users do on the site, including where they place their cursosrs and how long they hover over a picture before buying it.

Shutterstock uses open-source software called Hadoop to analyse the data, the same technology Facebook already uses a modified form of to manage its data.

The Journal reported that Facebook has expanded the hardware in its data analytics warehouse a staggering 4,000 times in four years to a current capacity of 300 petabytes.

That’s equivalent to 300million gigabytes, which is 600,000 times the capacity of a typical 500GB laptop hardrive or equal to the storage space on around 470,000 top-of-the-range 64GB iPhones.

That massive amount of data is distinct from the demographic data stored by Facebook, which has never disclosed how much of the latter it holds.

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Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off California Coast

bluefin tunaEvery bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.

Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”

Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”

That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.

Radioactive cesium doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven’t been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:

When contact with radioactive cesium occurs, which is highly unlikely, a person can experience cell damage due to radiation of the cesium particles. Due to this, effects such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding may occur. When the exposure lasts a long time, people may even lose consciousness. Coma or even death may then follow. How serious the effects are depends upon the resistance of individual persons and the duration of exposure and the concentration a person is exposed to.

The half life of cesium 134 is 2.0652 years. For cesium 137, the half life is 30.17 years.

The Fukushima disaster is an ongoing battle with no signs that humans are gaining the upper hand. The only good news to come out of Japan has later been proven to be false and was nothing more than attempts by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to mislead the public and lull them into a sense of security while the company searched vainly for ways to contain the accident. This incident makes Three Mile Island and Chernobyl pale in comparison. Those were nuclear meltdowns. A nuclear melt-through poses a much more serious problem and is one that modern technology doesn’t have the tools to address. Two and a half years later and the contaminants are still flowing into the ocean and will continue to for the foreseeable future.

The FDA assures us that our food supply is safe, that the levels of radiation found in fish samples are within safe limits for consumption. But one has to question if this is true and, if it is true now, will it remain true? Is this, like the statements issued from TEPCO, another attempt to quell a public backlash in the face of an unprecedented event that, as yet, has no solution and no end in sight?

As for me, fish is off the menu.

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US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq to cost $6 trillion

19 Sep 2013 The decade-long American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq would end up costing as much as $6 trillion, the equivalent of $75,000 for every American household, calculates Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. When President [sic] George Bush’s National Economic Council Director, Lawrence Lindsey, had told the The Wall Street Journal that the war would cost between $100 billion and $200 billion, he found himself under intense fire from his colleagues in the administration which claimed that this was a gross overestimation. Consequently, Lindsey was forced to resign. The Bush administration had claimed at the outset that the Iraq war would be financed via Iraqi oil revenues, but Washington D.C. instead borrowed $2 trillion to finance the two wars, the bulk of it from foreign lenders. [See that? When it comes to financing US wars for oil and opium, the ‘debt ceiling’ matters about as much as a June bug in July.

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Building Israel: The Start-Up Nation

James Petras

City of London demands ad firm stop using spy cams in trash cans” Fox News, August 12, 2013

 The story was headlined: “Jerusalem mayor demands investigation of secret ‘smart tracking devices’ in toilets”.  The executives of an Israeli company that installed high tech toilets to secretly track the smart-phones of defecators are facing charges of ‘privacy violation’.  The company, cleverly named ‘Two Commandments’, ( as in ‘Ye shall make money’ and ‘Ye shall not get caught’), a Tel Aviv-based marketing and private government subcontractor,  developed ‘smart pods’ to capture smells, color, expulsive energy and volatile gases.  One of the owners, Bibby Dershitz, (a ‘21st century Moses’, according to the Wall Street Journal), claimed the device provided valuable marketing information on consumer habits.  According to Bibby’s partner, Laura Klapshitz, “the color, size, texture, density and chemical composition of turds reveals eating and drinking habits and can lead to the development of food products, which are easier to digest, reducing gas and disagreeable lower bowel sounds.”

They marketed the devices as a major breakthrough in health:  Israelis would enter public or private bathrooms unaware that their most natural, intimate experiences were being recorded and photographed, because, as Bibby liked to point out, “facial expressions and sphincter tone can reveal serious underlying health issues which will benefit our Israeli pharmaceutical companies in designing new treatments – thus expanding their market”.

The original idea for high tech smart-tracking in public toilets came from Bibby’s time as an intern at the prestigious Israeli research center, Technion, where he was assigned to analyze the blood content in the turds of Palestinian prisoners following what Shin Bet (Israeli secret police) officials laughingly called ‘routine’ interrogation.  Israeli scientists maintained that high blood content correlated positively with ‘high quality physical interrogation’ sessions.  This could be used to track the performance of ‘interrogators’ for future promotion and bonuses.  More importantly, they concluded that high blood content identified prisoners classified as ‘highly resistant (HR)’ to providing ‘reasoned responses’.  Israeli scientists maintained that HR prisoners were most likely ‘members of terrorist cells’ and candidates for higher level interrogation protocols.  All this critical national security data was derived from turd analysis!

From this stint at ‘Technion’, Bibby concluded that, ‘Turds talk!’ With this entrepreneurial insight, Bibby asked his partner, Laura Klapshitz, to prepare a prospectus to secure the backing of wealthy venture capitalists.  Bibby and Laura’s success in raising funds focused initially on the impact on ‘consumer goods’ market.  Rigorous analysis of foods and drinks, kosher and otherwise, provided invaluable “data in the well”, to use Laura’s euphemism for turds in the toilet. Ms. Klapshitz explained that the “visual dimension thing, especially through facial expressions, and the tight sphincter thing, can help us to break into the trendy, upscale health food market”.  Laura also introduced innovative toilet accessories and upgrades, like ‘the gauge to accurately measure sphincter tone’.  She and Bibby used the gauge to provides data measuring the ‘constipation index, to identify and address a common problem among “our highly stressed sedentary techno-warriors and high BMI index(overweight) settlement rabbis.”

Bibby described the initial heady days of the new ‘start-up’: “As soon as our campaign to install smart tracking in public toilets took off, the market-savvy investors and wealthy ‘insider’ financiers from the Diaspora jumped on board!”  Their success, he philosophically declared to Laura, confirmed one of Freud’s most profound insights: that ‘money is crap and crap is money’.

Laura and Bibby met with a team of young Harvard law graduates and newly-minted Wharton MBAs to patent the ‘Crap Watch’ (as it came to be known to the insiders) and to discuss ‘new markets’.

This team of the best and brightest from the Ivy Leagues jokingly dubbed themselves as ‘the toilet tribe’, (TT).  They developed a new marketing strategy based on moving to upscale private corporate toilets and government bathrooms and formed a joint venture with major Israeli business groups and security agencies.  The ‘TT’ also decided to upgrade their promotional material and consider a public stock offering.

They agreed to eventually consider mergers and acquisitions -especially in what they called ‘turd-centered appliances’ designed to enhance ‘data collection’.

After winning the prestigious Forbes Award as ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’, Bibby and Laura signed off on a million-dollar book contract for a manuscript entitled, ‘Defecation:  The Eye in your Toilet’.

Bibby and Laura were no longer just running a ‘mom and pop’ business:  They borrowed big and re-invested their profits like ‘true entrepreneurs’, hiring salespeople, public relations specialists, market researchers and ‘special’ field technicians (a euphemism for agents adept at discreetly penetrating high-security facilities and  planting smart pods in toilets under delicate circumstances).

Despite the major expansion of their workforce, Bibby and Laura were still personally responsible for negotiating with high-end clients.  They secured lucrative contracts with Israel’s leading multi-nationals by convincing the CEOs that ‘smart’ turd-analysis could identify employees who were consuming well beyond their income level – important clues to rooting out potential trouble-makers, embezzlers, corporate spies and rogue speculators.  In addition analysis of turd composition (color, texture, smell) would reveal if lower level employees had potentially expensive, undeclared health problems or drug habits – both grounds for their immediate dismissal without severance pay.  As an added bonus, Bibby promised to provide ‘smart insurance’ to top CEOs: a security device, which would detect any smart-pod secretly placed in their own toilets.

Klapshitz insisted on the competitive advantages that toilet espionage offered to corporate clients:  “Toilets are frequently used as discreet meeting places”.  She argued persuasively that, “Behind the closed doors, strategic decisions are discussed which we record with our high-quality monitoring while removing any irrelevant, unseemly noises, such as flatulence”.  “She means farting”, Bibby ejaculated.  ‘Look. We provide the intimate data”, Bibby argued to potential clients,“ Call it blackmail, if you like. But it can increase your competitive advantage in any contract negotiation”.

Laura, striking a moralistic posture, pointed out that, “Our recordings may reveal ‘perversions’, unethical corporate activity during business hours, such as masturbation among the highly stressed executives or government officials grabbing female or male employees inside the water closet.  This gives you powerful leverage in closing deals”.

As part of a major expansion program, a joint venture was worked out with the Mossad. Two Commandments went global!  The new target market included the Arab countries, North America and the European Union.

Entry-level field technicians with Middle Eastern (Sephardic) backgrounds were hired especially for their ‘Arab looks’ for missions to plant the toilet-pods in Muslim countries – considered a ‘smelly assignment’ by Bibby, a Zionist-Neo-Con, who claimed that, “Arabs rarely flush”.

Laura, the Zionist-Liberal, corrected Bibby’s bigotry by pointing out that it wasn’t the Arabs’ poor hygiene, but their “frequent water shortages because the US and Israel had bombed their water systems and the West blocked sale of replacement parts”.  She added that “Our target population, especially the elite in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, use ultra-modern perfumed, air-conditioned toilets, especially designed with soothing musical flushing systems – better than anything here.  Bibby, it’s wrong to label all Arabs as ‘non-flushers’.  Do you really want our Sephardic technicians to complain that we are giving them the dirtiest and most dangerous assignments because they look like Arabs? ”.

The joint venture with Mossad took “Two Commandments” into the US market, where AIPAC and its cohorts among the ‘52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations’ brokered a long-term, large-scale, multi-million dollar contract to ‘toilet-watch’ members of Congress, White House officials, generals, oil company executives and anyone else involved in Middle East policy affecting Israel.

As Bibby later wrote in his ‘memoirs’, Defecation: The Eye in Your Toilet: “The AIPAC and Co. sent the toughest negotiators we had ever encountered.  First, they tried the ‘tribal gambit,’ telling us that, “If it’s for Israel you should do it for free”.  So I told them:  “First, you should give up your $100 million dollar annual lobbying budgets.”  Then they bargained for a discount rate claiming that AIPAC was a ‘non-profit’.  “Yeah.”, I said, “You’re not counting the annual $ 3 billion-plus that Israel milks from the US Treasury and the big kickback to you and the Defamation League”.  Finally, they resorted to the cheap charge that we were ‘profiteering at the expense of Israel’s security’, accusing us, Sabras, of verging on anti-Semitism for not confronting Israel’s ‘existential threat’.  Such Chutzpah!”

“I laughed in their face!  Both Laura and I served in the military, we are still in the Reserves and who are these guys really working for?  Wall Street bankers!  These guys were stink-tank policy wonks drawing six figure salaries to con the goys. And most of them weren’t even married to Jews.  I started for the door saying, “No Deal!  You AIPAC bums screwed up the Rosen Weismann spy case; you let Pollard get caught with bags of documents; ‘Lobo’ Wolfowitz temporarily lost his security clearance and Marty Indyk too!  What amateurs!  If you want a professional job you have to pay.  Pick up the phone and call any of your billionaire philanthropists. Tell’um to cough up 20 million for Israel!”

“After some shouting and even shoving, Laura and I walked out the door.  They called us back and signed the contract.”

“They got their money’s worth.  The Congressional toilets were hooked up and in the first week we picked up one constipated senior Senator who uttered prophetic anti-Semitic slurs while he struggled:  “The Jews won’t let me have a moment’s peace.  They follow me into the bathroom to bugger me (!!) about upping the annual payola, tightening the sanctions on Iran and not cutting aid to the Egyptian military … They make me feel (“grunt and grunt”) like I am just working for Israel.”   This guy was marked as a “fence-sitter on Israel”.

“The State Department, Pentagon and Treasury toilets were all brought ‘on-line’  by our teams of dual citizen agents and terror ‘experts’, strategically placed by AIPAC inside the institutions.  We monitored members of Congress who had ‘plumbing problems’ (urinary frequency) and couldn’t sit through long-winded appropriation sessions. They could be relied on to close the debate and call for a vote to fund wars against Israel’s enemies – just so they could rush off to the nearest ‘facilities’.”

“Our ‘smart-pods’ tracked a top White House staffer with financial problems who we caught trying to arrange a loan on his cell-phone while ‘sitting in the stall’. AIPAC , used their financial contacts to cultivate this White House asset.  They got ‘the inside dope’ on the White House’s Palestine peace proposals in exchange for a low-interest loan.  Prime Minister Bibi ‘the Whale’ used that information to pre-empt  Vice President Biden’s visit when he announced the construction of three thousand new settlement units”.

“This ‘toilet talk’ had become a goldmine: We went from continent to continent,  deal to deal.  We paid for new settlements in the West Bank, (Laura objected ‘a little’).  The press crowed that our “Jewish genius had turned shit to gold”.  The only objection came from some self-righteous Haredi draft-dodging loser who condemned us for worshiping ‘Mammon instead of the Y- guy’.”

“At the pinnacle of our success, the curse of that Haredi loud-mouth came back to haunt us!  No it wasn’t an Arab terrorist, they were all under toilet surveillance; nor was it a competing intelligence service like the US Homeland Security, the Mossad had their own people in there.  We were brought down by one of our own:  The rat was a graduate of Hebrew University, Joshua Ben Ezra.  We had hired him as a field technician, assigned (on account of his ‘Arab’ looks) to  bug and monitor the toilets and turds of the Palestinian Authority:  A dangerous and smelly assignment to which he felt he was over-qualified.  This Ben Ezra, got some ‘chip on his shoulder’ because he looked Arab, forgetting, that was the reason we hired him in the first place.  Then rumors began to circulate among our other employees that his ‘blood was tainted’ or that he was ‘using the race card to promote his career’… Joshua, from the start, was very good at what he did:  He discovered ‘President’ Mahmoud ‘the Bagman’ Abbas’ secret overseas bank account worth $400 million while monitoring a long cell-phone call to his London bankers from a ‘session on the throne’ (Constipation- Conspiracy- Confidentiality) which only yielded a puny turd.  Then he monitored a secret tryst between a devout Hamas leader and a rival’s daughter ‘over the toilet seat’. This helped the Mossad to set-off a mini-civil war in Gaza.  Joshua was that good!”

“There was no doubt that Ben Ezra would ‘go places’. But he was too impatient. He felt his professional and personal ambitions were blocked by his ‘skin problem’.  He secretly tried skin products, lightened and straightened his hair, waxed off his hairy arms, legs, chest and the rest… Josh was hoping to score some upscale Ashkenazi or make it with our leggy blond Long Island ‘college intern on the aliya’ junket.  We know this because we bug our own employees’ toilets.”

“In the aftermath of our debacle, we investigated what led  Ben Ezra to turn traitor, or what Laura called, a ‘whistle blower’.  The historic turning point took place on the edge of the bath tub. His puny ‘performance’ with his tall Long Island lovely was a fiasco: He was too short, she giggled instead of moaning. He drooped and she dressed, walked out and described the whole encounter to the secretarial staff during a coffee break.”

“The fact is that Ben Ezra was and is a computer genius, whatever his other shortcomings.  He had access to our files all around the world and he mined our findings, reports and evaluations, including industrial spying, speculation and blackmail.   He secretly exposed our joint venture with the Mossad in Arab countries, including the assassinations, infiltration, bribes and converted spies (with their names, dates and bank account numbers).  He released information on our collaboration with ‘the Lobby’ where we secured confidential White House documents, how we ‘arm-twisted’ Congressional ‘vacillators on Israel’ and demolished the ‘anti-Semitic’ critics of Israel.”

Nobody knew who he was. Ben Ezra escalated.  At first, as a loyal Zionist, he would only leak documents to the Israeli press but the Israeli papers ‘self-censored’ and refused to print.  Long Island leggy had done a lot of damage: He was ridiculed at work, Bibby and Laura snubbed him and the secretaries snickered.  Joshua then sent a stream of documents to independent journalists, major newspapers and web sites the world over.  The NY Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, the major TV networks and NPR all contacted the Israeli embassy in Washington and refused to follow-up on any of the documents.  The BBC, quoted an anonymous Israeli official, who claimed that the ‘so-called whistleblower was an anti-Semitic neo-Nazi holocaust denier with a conspiracy complex’.  Al Jazeera quoted a Gulf State expert who claimed the allegations especially the reports on Gulf state collaboration with Mossad were part of an ‘Al Qaeda disinformation campaign’.”

Ben Ezra then contacted  Rachel (“Ray”) Klapshitz, the ‘black-sheep’ daughter of the Two Commandments founder, who had renounced her Israeli citizenship and become an investigative journalist for the Gatekeeper.  Ray’s stories exposing the turd spy operations busted through the media blackout.  The mass circulation ‘yellow press’ couldn’t resist:  ‘Fellatio for Israel in Pentagon Toilets’, headlined the Daily Sun.  ‘400 Million Bucks for Abbas, Turds for the Pals’, wrote an Israeli scandal sheet.  The Washington Post discreetly jumped with its article entitled, ‘Presidential Toilets as a Site of alleged Israeli Spying.  Is Israel endangering its ‘special relationship?’

Prime Minister Bibi, the Whale, was hysterical.  Jowls twitching, he called in the heads of Mossad, Shin Bet’s Special Operations Unit (Yamas) and the National Security Council:  “Find the Turd Spy at all costs and shut him up forever!” he bellowed. “Even, I mean, especially, if he’s a Jew, a self-hating traitor!”

The Mossad had already checked the toilets of all its spies and employees, including the mobile assassins, whores and bankers.  It was realized much later that because of his computer skills and his innocuous reputation, Bibby and Laura recommended that Joshua Ben Ezra be made a member of the special investigating unit.  He worked 18 hour days; 9 hours for the Jewish State and 9 hours for Truth, Democracy, Freedom and Justice for the Sephardi.  Even more incriminating documents were published including the covert consultations between top Pentagon Zionists and Israeli Foreign Policy officials when they concocted the ‘data’ about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction in the lead up to the US invasion, proof that Treasury Zionists had written the entire policy for new sanctions on Iran in consultation with Tel Aviv and shocking information about the Mossad’s ‘prior knowledge of the 9-11 attack and its monitoring of the perpetrators in the air and on the ground’.

Ben Ezra had deeply penetrated the highly vaunted Mossad counter-espionage apparatus. Prime Minister Bibi ‘the Whale’ called for a much smaller super-elite Mossad team to investigate the investigators and Joshua was picked to be among the ‘final five’.

Meanwhile ‘Two Commandments’ became ‘No Commandments’:  The company went ‘belly-up’.  Investment capital evaporated.  Bibby and Laura were under investigation.  Share prices dropped from 500 shekals to near zero.  Investors jammed the lines and traders refused to answer their phone.  The Harvard ‘Toilet Tribe’ returned to Cambridge to scrounge for post docs.  The ‘victims’ filed law suits.  The clients claimed innocence and paid fines ‘without admitting guilt’.  Forbes withdrew its entrepreneurial award.  Bibby and Laura signed up for an extended cruise on the Nile.  The whistleblower, Ben Ezra, hidden in broad sight on the elite Mossad ‘Special Commission’ quietly worked away.  While he drew a double-salary as chair of the investigation, he planted amorous e-mails between Prime Minister Bibi ‘the Whale’ and Long Island Long Legs – special references to his ‘oversize gut and undersize ‘member’.  ‘Yamas’ was exposed to have been spying on Mossad agents within Hamas, resulting in a shoot-out, which wounded an IDF soldier from Brooklyn…

‘Two Commandments’ filed for bankruptcy.  The ‘Holocaust Foundation’, a major investor, lost millions and denounced it as a Ponzi scam claiming that Bibby and Laura were “worse than Madoff”.  To escape threats and charges of “blood libel”, and Defamation League charges of “soiling the pristine reputation of Israel, the Only Democratic Country in the Middle East governed by the Only Moral People”, Bibby Dershitz and Laura Klapshitz left for their cruise, leaving no forwarding address.  They made sure to check the ship’s toilets and ignore the turds.

Rachel’s reportage, based on Ben Ezra’s leaked documents, led to fame and harassment:  She won the Colombia University Annual Investigative Journalism Award and the furious condemnation of the World Zionist Council.  Meanwhile Joshua quietly packed his toothbrush and computer files and bought a one way ticket to Teheran, avoiding security checks by flashing his official passport as a member of the Whale’s Elite Super Special Counter Espionage Commission.

Furious, Israel demanded that Iran extradite the traitor, Ben Ezra. AIPAC threatened to round up a unanimous Congressional vote of support for whatever Israel demanded.  The Iranians calmly pointed out that since Joshua’s grandfather was born in Iran, Ben Ezra could claim citizenship and Iranian citizens could not be extradited abroad; it was against their Constitution.

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In Rush to Strike Syria, US Tried to Derail UN Probe

by Gareth Porter

WASHINGTON – After initially insisting that Syria give United Nations investigators unimpeded access to the site of an alleged nerve gas attack, the administration of President Barack Obama reversed its position on Sunday and tried unsuccessfully to get the U.N. to call off its investigation.

The administration’s reversal, which came within hours of the deal reached between Syria and the U.N., was reported by the Wall Street Journal Monday and effectively confirmed by a State Department spokesperson later that day.

In his press appearance Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry, who intervened with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to call off the investigation, dismissed the U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that Syrian opposition sources claimed killed as many 1,300 people.

The sudden reversal and overt hostility toward the U.N. investigation, which coincides with indications that the administration is planning a major military strike against Syria in the coming days, suggests that the administration sees the U.N. as hindering its plans for an attack.

Kerry asserted Monday that he had warned Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem last Thursday that Syria had to give the U.N. team immediate access to the site and stop the shelling there, which he said was “systematically destroying evidence”. He called the Syria-U.N. deal to allow investigators unrestricted access “too late to be credible”.

After the deal was announced on Sunday, however, Kerry pushed Ban in a phone call to call off the investigation completely.

The Wall Street Journal reported the pressure on Ban without mentioning Kerry by name. It said unnamed “U.S. officials” had told the secretary-general that it was “no longer safe for the inspectors to remain in Syria and that their mission was pointless.”

But Ban, who has generally been regarded as a pliable instrument of U.S. policy, refused to withdraw the U.N. team and instead “stood firm on principle”, the Journal reported. He was said to have ordered the U.N. inspectors to “continue their work”.

The Journal said “U.S. officials” also told the secretary-general that the United States “didn’t think the inspectors would be able to collect viable evidence due to the passage of time and damage from subsequent shelling.”

The State Department spokesperson, Marie Harf, confirmed to reporters that Kerry had spoken with Ban over the weekend. She also confirmed the gist of the U.S. position on the investigation. “We believe that it’s been too long and there’s been too much destruction of the area for the investigation to be credible,” she said.

That claim echoed a statement by an unnamed “senior official” to the Washington Post Sunday that the evidence had been “significantly corrupted” by the regime’s shelling of the area.

“[W]e don’t at this point have confidence that the U.N. can conduct a credible inquiry into what happened,” said Harf, “We are concerned that the Syrian regime will use this as a delay tactic to continue shelling and destroying evidence in the area.”

Harf did not explain, however, how the Syrian agreement to a ceasefire and unimpeded access to the area of the alleged chemical weapons attack could represent a continuation in “shelling and destroying evidence”.

Despite the U.S. effort to portray the Syrian government policy as one of “delay”, the formal request from the United Nations for access to the site did not go to the Syrian government until Angela Kane, U.N. High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, arrived in Damascus on Saturday, as Ban’s spokesman, Farhan Haq, conceded in a briefing in New York Tuesday.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in a press conference Tuesday that Syria had not been asked by the United Nations for access to the East Ghouta area until Kane presented it on Saturday. Syria agreed to provide access and to a ceasefire the following day.

Haq sharply disagreed with the argument made by Kerry and the State Department that it was too late to obtain evidence of the nature of the Aug. 21 incident.

“Sarin can be detected for up to months after its use,” he said.

Specialists on chemical weapons also suggested in interviews with IPS that the U.N. investigating team, under a highly regarded Swedish specialist Ake Sellstom and including several experts borrowed from the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, should be able to either confirm or disprove the charge of an attack with nerve or another chemical weapon within a matter of days.

Ralph Trapp, a consultant on proliferation of chemical and biological weapons, said he was “reasonably confident” that the U.N. team could clarify what had happened.

“They can definitely answer the question [of] whether there was a chemical attack, and they can tell which chemical was used,” he said, by collecting samples from blood, urine and hair of victims. There was even “some chance” of finding chemical residue from ammunition pieces or craters where they landed.

Trapp said it would take “several days” to complete an analysis.

Steve Johnson, who runs a programme in chemical, biological and radiological weapons forensics at Cranfield University in the United Kingdom, said that by the end of the week the U.N. might be able to answer whether “people died of a nerve agent.”

Johnson said the team, if pushed, could produce “some kind of view” on that issue within 24 to 48 hours.

Dan Kastesza, a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army Chemical Corps and a former adviser to the White House on chemical and biological weapons proliferation, told IPS the team will not be looking for traces of the nerve gas sarin in blood samples but rather chemicals produced when sarin degrades.

But Kastesza said that once samples arrive at laboratories, specialists could make a determination “in a day or two” about whether a nerve agent or other chemical weapons had been used.

The real reason for the Obama administration’s hostility toward the U.N. investigation appears to be the fear that the Syrian government’s decision to allow the team access to the area indicates that it knows that U.N. investigators will not find evidence of a nerve gas attack.

The administration’s effort to discredit the investigation recalls the George W. Bush administration’s rejection of the position of U.N. inspectors in 2002 and 2003 after they found no evidence of any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the administration’s refusal to give inspectors more time to fully rule out the existence of an active Iraqi WMD programme.

In both cases, the administration had made up its mind to go to war and wanted no information that could contradict that policy to arise.

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You Won’t BELIEVE What’s Going On at Fukushima Right Now…Washington’s Blog

You’ve heard bad news about Fukushima recently.

But it’s worse than you know.

The Wall Street Journal notes that radiation levels outside the plant are likely higher than inside the reactor:

NRA [Nuclear Regulation Authority] officials said highly contaminated water may be leaking into the soil from a number of trenches, allowing the water to seep into the site’s groundwater and eventually into the ocean.


Both radioactive substances are considered harmful to health. An NRA official said Monday that the very high levels were likely to be even higher than those within the reactor units themselves.


It was by far the highest concentration of radioactivity detected since soon after Japan’s March 2011 earthquake and tsunami ….

How could it be more radioactive outside the nuclear reactors? The reactors have lost containment, and experts have no idea where the nuclear cores are.

And the problems which have been detected at ground-level are only the tip of the iceberg.  Japan Times points out:

Cesium levels in water under Fukushima No. 1 plant soar the deeper it gets, Tepco reveals


Tepco found 950 million becquerels of cesium and 520 million becquerels of beta ray-emitting radioactive substances, including strontium, in the water from 13 meters [~43 feet] underground.

Water from 1 meter down contained 340 million becquerels, and a sample from 7 meters down contained 350 million becquerels.


Cesium, a metallic element, is subject to gravity.

Yomiuri reports that highly-radioactive groundwater could start coming to the surface at the Fukushima plant:

TEPCO spokesman Noriyuki Imaizumi revealed the water level of the tainted groundwater in a test well located on the sea side of the No. 2 reactor has risen rapidly.

If the water level continues to rise, it could reach the ground surface,” Imaizumi, an acting general manager of the company’s nuclear power-related division, said at a press conference Monday.

According to the company, the water level has risen about 70 centimeters over the past 20 days.


To prevent contaminated groundwater from leaking into the sea, TEPCO is working to reinforce the ground foundation of seawalls. The rising water level in the test well means the measures to prevent leakage have been working.

However, the company apparently failed to give much thought to the fact that the groundwater would have nowhere else to go ….

Even Tepco admits that the groundwater problems are due to a lack of planning.  NHK points out:

[Tepco] learnt on Wednesday that its efforts to prevent radiation-tainted groundwater from seeping into the sea are failing.


TEPCO has been trying to solidify the embankment of the crippled power plant.


TEPCO says water levels in one of the contaminated wells have risen by about 1 meter since the work began in early July.

It says this is likely the result of its work to solidify the ground  [to a depth of 16 meters], using chemicals.

The company says soil up to 2 meters below the ground cannot be hardened, and water may be seeping out.

In addition, a top expert says that radioactive water could be flowing beneath the seafloor … and could well up outside of the port “containment” zone:

Atsunao Marui, head of the Groundwater Research Group at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, said, “Groundwater also flows beneath the seafloor, so it’s possible that contaminated groundwater could spring up outside the port.”

Marui added that water outside the port also needs to be carefully checked.

Reuters notes that the bolts in Fukushima’s tanks will corrode in just a few years, and a plant workers reveal — “Tepco says it doesn’t know how long tanks will hold”:

Experts say Tepco is attempting the most ambitious nuclear clean-up in history, even greater than the Chernobyl disaster ….


Radioactive water that cools the reactors …]mixes with some 400 tonnes of fresh groundwater pouring into the plant daily.

Workers have built more than 1,000 tanks ….

With more than 85 percent of the 380,000 tonnes of storage capacity filled, Tepco has said it could run out of space.

The tanks are built from parts of disassembled old containers brought from defunct factories and put together with new parts, workers from the plant told Reuters. They say steel bolts in the tanks will corrode in a few years.

Tepco says it does not know how long the tanks will hold.

Asahi writes:

[Tepco’s] appallingly shoddy handling of radioactive water that is leaking from the crippled plant into the sea.


At the No. 3 reactor, highly radioactive “mystery steam” has been spotted.

The fact that radioactive substances are still being released into the ground, the sea and the air is irrefutable proof that the nuclear disaster of March 2011 is not over. The responsible parties must take this situation gravely ….

The utility’s glaring ineptitude with crisis management was noted right from the start of the Fukushima disaster.


We have zero faith in the utility’s reliability as an operator of any nuclear power plant. In fact, allowing the company to handle nuclear energy is simply out of the question.

The entire company now needs to be focused on preventing radioactive substances from escaping into the environment.

Yomiuri argues that the government agency overseeing Fukushima has no idea what’s going on:

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, which oversees safety management at the nuclear plant, decided to set up a working team to analyze conditions concerning contamination.

But the NRA’s actions have also been badly delayed. At a meeting Monday, an expert said the NRA “still can’t grasp the risks posed by the current situation.”

As Enformable points out, top Japanese officials are finally calling for Tepco to be fired:

In case one hasn’t paid attention the constant stream of international experts who have called for TEPCO to be removed  as the organization in charge of decommissioning the crippled Fukushima Daiichi reactors, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority has also called for Tokyo Electric to be removed. “It is simply too big for one company to handle,” said Tanaka, at a press conference Wednesday. “Placing all the burden (of controlling the site) on them won’t solve the problem.” 


Remember, an official Japanese government investigation concluded that the Fukushima accident was a “man-made” disaster,  caused by “collusion” between government and Tepco and bad reactor design.  And yet the Japanese government has allowed the culprit – Tepco – to oversee the “cleanup”, in the same way that the U.S. government allowed BP to oversee the “cleanup” of the Gulf oil spill even though BP’s criminal negligence caused the spill in the first place.

ABC Australia reports:

It’s taken about two-and-a-half years, but it seems the Japanese government is finally losing patience with the operator of the Fukushima nuclear plant. The reason: its haphazard approach to stabilising the complex. Last week it was unexplained steam rising from the shattered remains of the building housing the melted reactor number three. This week it’s TEPCO’s admission that radioactive water from the plant has probably been leaking into the Pacific for the last three months.

Indeed, Asahi notes:

The operator of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant sat on its hands for more than two years despite having pledged to seal a leaking hole in a turbine building ….

NHK writes:

[Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide] Suga told reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday that the government views this as a grave matter.

Tepco’s own advisors are also blasting the operator of the stricken nuclear plant.  AFP points out:

Foreign nuclear experts on Friday blasted the operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, with one saying its lack of transparency over toxic water leaks showed “you don’t know what you’re doing”… “appears that you are not keeping the people of Japan informed. These actions indicate that you don’t know what you are doing … you do not have a plan and that you are not doing all you can to protect the environment and the people.” [said Dale Klein, Former NRC Chairman and Tepco advisory committee member]

Nuclear expert – and former high-level nuclear industry executive – Arnie Gundersen says that Fukushima has “contaminated the biggest body of water on the planet”, and that the whole Pacific Ocean likely to have cesium levels 5-10 times higher than at peak of nuclear bomb tests.

How could this happen?   Doesn’t the ocean dilute radiation to the point it is rendered harmless?  No, actually:

Japan Times notes:

Fukushima … seems to lurch from one problem to the next ….


When the situation is so bad that Shunichi Tanaka, the NRA chairman, is stating in a press conference, with regard to water leaks, that “if you have any better ideas, we’d like to know,” it should be clear that Fukushima No. 1 still requires the upmost attention.

The chairman of the NRA also says (via the New York Times):

Considering the state of the plant, it’s difficult to find a solution today or tomorrow… That’s probably not satisfactory to many of you. But that’s the reality we face after an accident like this… We don’t truly know whether that will work….

Indeed, technology doesn’t currently even exist to stabilize and clean up Fukushima, and Tepco – with no financial incentive to actually fix things – has only been pretending to clean it up. And see this.

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“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used against Iran


Under the title Pentagon bulks up ‘bunker buster’ bomb to combat Iran: U.S. Upgrades Weapon to Penetrate Key Nuclear Site; Push to Persuade Israelis,  The Wall Street Journal reports that the US military is planning to use its “biggest” conventional bunker buster bombs against Iran:

The Pentagon has redesigned its biggest “bunker buster” bomb with more advanced features intended to enable it to destroy Iran’s most heavily fortified and defended nuclear site.

The newest version of what is the Pentagon’s largest conventional bomb, the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, has adjusted fuses to maximize its burrowing power, upgraded guidance systems to improve its precision and high-tech equipment intended to allow it to evade Iranian air defenses in order to reach and destroy the Fordow nuclear enrichment complex, which is buried under a mountain near the Iranian city of Qom. […]

The improvements are meant to address U.S. and Israeli concerns that Fordow couldn’t be destroyed from the air. […] Fordow has long been thought to be a target that would be difficult if not impossible for the U.S. to destroy with conventional weapons. (WSJ, May 3, 2013)

The official explanation for the possible use of the MOP bomb is that Israel does not have the military capabilities within its own weapons arsenal to permanently disable Iran’s nuclear facilities:

“U.S. officials see development of the weapon as critical to convincing Israel that the U.S. has the ability to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear bomb if diplomacy fails, and also that Israel’s military can’t do that on its own.” (op cit)

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George Washington
Washingtons Blog/Global Research
Sat, 13 Apr 2013 13:22 CDT
financial elites

© unknown


Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky, the Wall Street Journal and many others say that our entire economy is a Ponzi scheme.

Former Reagan budget director David Stockton just agreed:

So did a top Russian con artist and mathematician.

Even the New York Times‘ business page asked, “Was [the] whole economy a Ponzi scheme?

In fact – as we’ve noted for 4 years (and here and here) – the banking system is entirely insolvent. And so are most countries. The whole notion of one country bailing out another country is a farce at this point. The whole system is insolvent.

As we noted last year: Nobel economist Joe Stiglitz pointed out the Ponzi scheme nature of the whole bailout discussion:

Europe’s plan to lend money to Spain to heal some of its banks may not work because the government and the country’s lenders will in effect be propping each other up, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said.

“The system … is the Spanish government bails out Spanish banks, and Spanish banks bail out the Spanish government,” Stiglitz said in an interview.


It’s voodoo economics,” Stiglitz said in an interview on Friday, before the weekend deal to help Spain and its banks was sealed. “It is not going to work and it’s not working.”

[The same is true of every other nation.]

Credit Suisse’s William Porter writes:

“Portugal cannot rescue Greece, Spain cannot rescue Portugal, Italy cannot rescue Spain (as is surely about to become all too abundantly clear), France cannot rescue Italy, but Germany can rescue France.” Or, the credit of the EFSF/ESM, if called upon to provide funds in large size, either calls upon the credit of Germany, or fails; i.e, it seems to us that it probably cannot fund to the extent needed to save the credit of one (and probably imminently two) countries that had hitherto been considered “too big so save” without joint and several guarantees.***

As Nouriel Roubini wrote in February:

[For] problems of that magnitude, there simply are not enough resources – governmental or super-sovereign – to go around.

As Roubini wrote in February:

“We have decided to socialize the private losses of the banking system.


Roubini believes that further attempts at intervention have only increased the magnitude of the problems with sovereign debt. He says, “Now you have a bunch of super sovereigns – the IMF, the EU, the eurozone – bailing out these sovereigns.”

Essentially, the super-sovereigns underwrite sovereign debt – increasing the scale and concentrating the problems.

Roubini characterizes super-sovereign intervention as merely kicking the can down the road.

He says wryly: “There’s not going to be anyone coming from Mars or the moon to bail out the IMF or the Eurozone.” [Others have made the same point.]

But, despite the paper shuffling of debt at the national level – and at the level of supranational entities – reality ultimately intervenes: “So at some point you need restructuring. At some point you need the creditors of the banks to take a hit – otherwise you put all this debt on the balance sheet of government. And then you break the back of government – and then government is insolvent.”

Peak Demographics?

Indeed, population may be the biggest ponzi scheme of all. Specifically – as we’ve pointed out for years – rapidly-aging populations in the developed world will exert a big drag on the economy.

The Global Mail notes:

Half the world, including almost all the developed world, now is reproducing at below replacement level. A generation from now, according to United Nations Population Division projections, less than a quarter of the world’s women – most of them in Africa and south Asia – will be reproducing at above replacement rate. And those UN forecasts are probably on the high side, for reasons we’ll come to later.

And as the birth rate has plunged in developed nations, and the native-born population has begun to shrink and rapidly age, governments and business have sought to make up the numbers by importing people to prop up their economies. It’s all they know how to do, for our economic system is, at its base, a giant Ponzi scheme, dependent on ever more people producing and consuming ever more stuff.

But what happens if that all stops? What happens when you get an ageing, shrinking population that consumes less?

“The answer to that question is that we don’t know because it’s never happened before,” says Peter McDonald, professor of demography and director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University.


“We’re certainly operating a Ponzi scheme in Australia,” says Dr Bob Birrell, an economist and migration expert from Monash University.

“Our growth is predicated on extra numbers… [and] more of our activity is going into city building and people servicing, which do not directly produce many goods that can be traded in overseas markets.


Half the world is facing the problem of low fertility, and Australia, with its massive program of importing people, is providing an extreme example of one approach to the conundrum.

In a nutshell, the problem is this: lower fertility rates mean older, less innovative and productive workforces. More importantly to the Ponzi economic order, older, stable or declining populations consume less. So growth requires either importing people, or exporting stuff, or a combination of the two. Orthodox economics simply can’t cope otherwise.

Europe as a whole has been reproducing at well below replacement rate for close to 40 years. The last period for which UN data showed Europe’s total fertility rate above the replacement rate was 1970-75.

Europe’s contemporary demographics give new meaning to the descriptor ‘the old world’. The continent’s average person is over 40 now. By 2050, if things continue on trend, the average European will be 45.7. If one takes the UN’s “low variant” projection, he/she will be over 50 years of age.

And the low variant now looks closer to the mark. Fertility rates had actually rebounded a little over recent years, the result of a bit of “catch-up” after a shift over several previous decades in which women delayed child-bearing. But the European recession has set fertility rates plunging again.


© Jamie Ferguson/The Global Mail

The recession’s effects will likely linger for decades, in lower rates of earnings and savings, and also in reduced fertility.


Last year, Forbes magazine, that most reliable voice of the economic orthodoxy, laid the blame for Europe’s economic decline squarely on its citizens’ failure to reproduce in adequate numbers, in an article headlined What’s Really Behind Europe’s Decline? It’s The Birth Rates, Stupid.

The Forbes piece was unequivocal: the biggest threat to the European Union was its low fertility rate.


The piece ended with a dire warning that unless Club Med managed to induce people to have more babies, catastrophic economic consequences would flow for all of Europe and maybe the world.


As Thomas Sobotka, one of the authors of a 2011 study on population trends by the Vienna Institute of Demography, told the Guardian newspaper, massive cuts in social spending would only exacerbate the problem.

“This may prolong the fertility impact of the recent recession well beyond its end. It could lead to a double-dip fertility decline,” he said.

But when it comes to fertility declines, Asia takes the cake.

Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, and most importantly China currently all have fertility rates lower than those of Europe.


China’s and Korea’s are about to start falling, if they haven’t already.

“I’m pretty pessimistic about the east-Asian situation,” says McDonald. “I think those countries find it very difficult move in the right direction of supporting work and family, in particular, reducing work hours.

“We are now talking about some 30 per cent of Japanese women not getting married.”

“I saw a couple of people from the Japanese government give a paper recently, essentially accepting this as an inevitability – a low birth rate forever,” he says.

It’s the same all over Asia.


Hong Kong has a birth rate of 1.09, which is on track to see its population almost halve in a generation. Taiwan is at 1.10; China, 1.55; Thailand, 1.66; Vietnam, 1.89. Even Indonesia’s fertility is just above replacement rate, at 2.23, and is falling fast. Malaysia and the Philippines are still growing pretty quickly, as are the south-Asian countries, which may give them a competitive edge for a few decades – and a growing export industry of people. But it is not projected to last more than a few decades.

Let’s return to America. The United States also is reproducing at below replacement rate, and its birthrate has declined sharply in recent years.


The US birth rate not only fell to its lowest level ever in 2011, but the greatest decline was among immigrant women.


In the longer term, the world will have to adjust its economic system to cope with the novel concept of less. Fewer people, less consumption, lowered need for resources, energy, housing, roads, you name it.

Indeed, smart curmudgeons like Jeremy Granthan and Chris Martensen think that we have not only “peak” demographics, but also peak resources.

There’s HOPE

The above is admittedly depressing. But the reality is that there’s hope.

We can have a very bright future, indeed … if we switch from the status quo to something smarter. For example, see this and this.

For example, we can cut out the middlemen in the banking and political realms … and prosper.

And as we’ve previously noted about energy:

The current paradigm is that energy is produced expensively by governments or large corporations through gigantic projects using enormous amounts of money, materials and manpower. Because energy can only be produced by the big boys, we the people must bow our heads to the powers-that-be. We must pay a lot of our hard-earned money to buy electricity from them, and we can’t question the methods or results of their energy production.

Our life will become much better when we begin to understand that energy is all around us – as an ocean of electromagnetic forces and as a byproduct of other processes in the form of heat, pressure, etc. – and all we need do is learn how to harvest it.


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