Monday, April 30, 2012

This column brings up some very good points

By Cenk Uygur

I was at the White House Correspondents' Dinner last night. And I loved 85% of it. This makes me somewhat of a hypocrite because I often criticize a lot of the people in that room, and I especially single out the chuminess of the press with the government.

Now, I justify my participation in this bacchanal event by saying two things. I am a spy for our audience -- it's important to know how these things work at a minimum. And it's important to have conversations with folks in DC because you never know what you might get out of it and what you might learn. I promise you that these are 100% true. But nonetheless, it doesn't justify me enjoying it so much.

But by the end of tonight I was feeling uneasy. I came home and tried to figure out why. My unease was first triggered by seeing Gen. David Petraeus there. He was in full uniform, but it wasn't the standard green one you see on TV, it was a reddish formal one. He reminded me of the Roman centurions. But it wasn't just that.

Then I saw Gen. Odierno in the same centurion outfit. There was a circle of admirers waiting to shake his hand. Then I remembered that Gen. Petraeus is now the head of the CIA. Does that mean he is no longer in the Armed Forces? Or is he a general and the head of a civilian branch of the government at the same time? Does anyone know? Does anyone care?

I guess it was one thing to see the politicians mingling with the press. I can get beyond that, if it was for just one night. But it churned my stomach to see the press so chummy with the guys who run the war machine. That's not some liberal, anti-military spiel. We need a military, obviously. But shouldn't the press be the most vigilant in their watchdog duties with these guys?

I guess Washington finds that concern weirdly out of place and I seemed to be the only one in the building worried about it (of course we don't know if that's the case, but people seemed to be thrilled to be talking to them).

Then the president spoke at the dinner itself. He was brilliant. It was genuinely funny. It was better than any stand up I have seen in awhile. At every joke and smile, he seemed like the most likeable guy in the world. Here's the problem -- I kept thinking about the drone strikes. I know, I am the world's biggest downer (and hypocrite to boot for laughing at the jokes and generally enjoying the night).

I kept thinking how could that nice guy be the one who just ordered "signature" drone strikes where we bomb people without even knowing who they are. If you don't know about this program, I know that it seems unbelievable, but it's absolutely true. In Yemen and Pakistan, we can order drone strikes without having any idea who the target is or who the people we are firing at are. The kinds of strikes where we know who we're bombing are now called "personality" strikes. Isn't it amazing that they have a word for that?

We are now allowed to execute U.S. citizens abroad without a trial. Attorney General Holder calls this "due process without judicial process." That chills me to my bones. Yet the marching band played on. And the centurions were warmly greeted.

When I got home, I put it all together and realized what was bothering me. It's one thing to have this event be the aberration and be the one time of the year where the watchdogs let down their guard and have civil, polite and even friendly conversations with the people they cover. Again, I would really enjoy that. But the over-chumminess of the White House Correspondents' Dinner is not the exception, it's now the rule.

We smile at the generals. We laugh at the president's jokes. And the war machine hums on. I know some Americans have gotten really numb to it, some even enjoy and celebrate it. But people do actually die in far away countries like Yemen. Does the fact that they are just from Yemen make them any less human? Did the civilians killed in those strikes have it coming? Did they think our jokes were really funny tonight?

Let me be the asshole downer one more time. Imagine if we magically transported one of those Yemeni families whose kids were killed in a "signature" strike to the event tonight. Imagine how shocked or saddened they would be at our vast, vast indifference. It was such a nice party and everyone had such a good time, without a second thought.

Now, you can pick any injustice in the world and make a big stink out of it on a night like this to ruin everyone's fun. And in some way that doesn't seem fair. But I guess I was looking for some indication of a recognition that this was a one time exception and that tomorrow morning we would go back to the hard questions about Yemen and dead civilians. But how many of you think that's going to happen?


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Obama's Biggest Problem

April 30, 2012

Obama’s Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy

Could Imperil Reelection Hopes, Experts Say

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report) – In the first term in office, President Barack Obama has broken with a tradition established over the previous eight years through his controversial use of complete sentences, political observers say.

New polls indicate that millions of Americans are put off by the President’s unorthodox verbal tic, which has Mr. Obama employing grammatically correct sentences virtually every time he opens his mouth.

Mr. Obama’s decision to use complete sentences in his public pronouncements, as well as his insistence on the correct pronunciation of the word “nuclear,” has harmed his reelection hopes among millions of voters who find his unusual speaking style unfamiliar and bizarre.

According to presidential historian Davis Logsdon of the University of Minnesota, after eight years of George W. Bush many Americans find it “alienating” to have a President who speaks English as if it were his first language.

“Every time Obama opens his mouth, his subjects and verbs are in agreement,” says Mr. Logsdon.  “If he keeps it up, he is running the risk of sounding like an elitist.”

The historian said that if Mr. Obama insists on using complete sentences in his speeches, on Election Day the public may find itself saying, “Okay, subject, predicate, subject predicate – we get it, stop showing off.”

Elsewhere, consumers who believed that Nutella was nutritious have won a $3.05 million lawsuit, the highest award ever paid to morons

What would Lincoln say about the GOP today? He wouldn't recognize it.

Sure wish we had Abraham Lincoln in the Republican party today!  But, the truth is, if he were alive today, he would definitely be a Democrat!

EXCERPT: the Republicans unite behind Mitt Romney, Lincoln would caution against allowing the conservatives to upset the apple cart come convention time. Polls show the majority of Americans disagree with the Tea Party ideals, and Lincoln knew it is the majority to whom politicians are responsible.

Lincoln would also be appalled by all modern legislative assaults on human and civil rights. He would equate all recent attempts by various states ranging from denying civil rights for gays, to telling women what they could or could not do with their bodies, and repudiation of equal pay for equal work, as ill-disguised attempts to subjugate minorities and women.

Any form of subjugation was intolerable to Lincoln.

Prior to the Civil War, he warned Southern Democrats of their attitudes in promoting and maintaining slavery. 

“[They] deny his manhood; deny, or dwarf to insignificance, the wrong of his bondage; so far as possible, crush all sympathy for him, and cultivate and execute hatred and disgust against him and call the indefinite outspreading of his bondage ‘a sacred right of self-government,'" Lincoln said, according to Fehrenbacher. 

Further, Lincoln said of any black slave woman, it was “her natural right to eat the bread she earns with her own hands without asking leave of any one else, she is my equal, and the equal of all others." He would consider any limitation on civil rights, human rights, or legislation subjecting any citizen to “second-class” status just as loathsome today as it was then.

Finally, Lincoln would advise Republicans to start working with each other instead of engaging in endless bickering, as well as returning to the negotiating table with the Democrats.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Easy way to get rid of women who are raped in the military

Call them crazy and give them a psychiatric discharge...

Military injustice.  Karma will come back on the men who raped -- and the men who dismissed the women and their charges against the rapists--and then fired the women from the military!  Disgusting tactics -- typical of the cult that the military really is.

Endangered Awa Tribe in Brazil: They're killing us!

Please watch the video.  What more can be said about this atrocity, one of so many taking place on our planet today? Unbridled greed and power are the ruination of everything!  Please sign the petition to save these poor people and their forest culture. 


How dangerous is the Radioactive wave heading toward the U.S. from Fukushima?

Especially important for west coasters who are in the direct line of radiation wave from Fukushima:  See video:

Better to know than not to know -- there are precautions that can be taken to reduce the effects of the radiation.  Adding Miso, seaweed and french green clay to the diet are just a few of the options.  Read this column by a doctor, recommending protective foods, herbs, vitamins, etc.:

and this one, which is a bit easier to read in black-and-white print:


In condemning the nuns, has Pope Benedict gone too far?

The nuns are helping the poor and suffering.  Pope Benedict Ratzinger, with his coverup of pedophilia/rape of children by priests and continuation of the ban on contraception, is causing more poverty and suffering in the world. Which of these, the nuns or the pope, do you think should prevail in our world?

The return of the Catholic Church to the 14th century under this ultra-conservative, heartless Pope, after the fresh breeze introduced into the Church by liberal/progressive Pope John in 1960, will hasten the demise of Roman Catholicism.  In its present form, under its present Pope, it deserves to be relegated to the dustbins of time.  The end of the Papacy was predicted by St. Malachy, a prophetic visionary of the church, back in the 12th century, when his visions showed him the series of Popes to come, up until the last and final one which, by St. Malachy's number, will be the next pope after Benedict.  Interesting stuff...  you can read more about St. Malachy's predictions, if interested, at:


World is ignoring most important lesson from Fukushima disaster

And...what else is new?  Nuclear power enthusiasts will continue to be enthusiastic about nuclear power, insisting it is "safe" and we should build more plants. Just as they insist we should "Drill, baby, drill" ignoring the oil spill disasters.  Lessons are not easily learned by the majority on planet Earth.  Which is why, if we continue to be unheeding of the dangerous direction we are heading, we will be an extinct species. Sooner, rather than later, at the rate we are going.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Excellent column of truth about the right wing crazies

The Right-Wing Bully Machine

By Eugene Robinson

WASHINGTON -- Not all overheated political rhetoric is alike. Delusional right-wing crazy talk -- the kind of ranting we've heard recently from washed-up rock star Ted Nugent and tea party-backed Rep. Allen West -- is a special kind of poison that cannot be safely ignored.

Let me be clear: I'm saying that the extreme language we hear from the far right is qualitatively different from the extreme language we hear from the far left -- and far more damaging to the ties that bind us as a nation. Tut-tutting that both sides should tone it down is meaningless. For all intents and purposes, one side is the problem.

Believe me, I would prefer not to dignify the ravings of Nugent or West by commenting on them. Nugent seems to be motivated by paranoia; West, perhaps by cynical calculation. It would be satisfying to withhold the attention they seek, but this is not an option. The only effective way to deal with bullies is to confront them.

Nugent, who delivered his foaming-at-the-mouth peroration at a National Rifle Association convention, earned a visit from the Secret Service with his promise that "if Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year."

That might or might not constitute an actual threat to the president of the United States. More chilling, to me, was the way his audience of gun enthusiasts applauded in agreement as Nugent compared the Obama administration to a bunch of "coyotes in your living room" who deserve to be shot. Nugent ended by exhorting his listeners: "We are Braveheart. We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November. Am I -- any questions?"

No, I think he made himself quite clear.

Violent metaphors aside, the nub of Nugent's argument -- and I use the word advisedly -- was this: "If you can't go home and get everybody in your lives to clean house in this vile, evil, America-hating administration, I don't even know what you're made of."

Vile? Evil? America-hating? Nugent doesn't just characterize those with different political views as misguided or wrong. He seeks to paint them as alien and anti-American -- as enemies of this nation, rather than as citizens with whom he disagrees. In a subsequent interview, Nugent called Nancy Pelosi a "sub-human scoundrel" and referred to liberals as cockroaches to "stomp" in November.

This is what distinguishes the flame-throwers of the far right from those of the far left. Nugent and his ilk seek to deny their political opponents the very right to believe in a different philosophy. Agree with me, he says, or be stomped.

It would be one thing if this sort of vicious intolerance came only from aging rockers whose brains may have been scrambled by all those high-decibel performances. But it comes, too, from an elected member of the House of Representatives.

At a town hall meeting last week in Palm City, Fla., West was asked how many Marxists there are in Congress. He replied, "I believe there's about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party who are members of the Communist Party."

That is, of course, a bald-faced lie. There are no communists in Congress. What makes the lie even worse is West's subsequent declaration that he stands by his words because he was referring to the 80-member Congressional Progressive Caucus, which West considers a branch of the Comintern.

"There is a very thin line between communism, progressivism, Marxism, socialism," West claimed this week. "It's about nationalizing production. It's about creating and expanding the welfare state. It's about this idea of social and economic justice. You hear that being played out now with fairness, fair share, economic equality."

West can't really believe this nonsense. What he's trying to do is delegitimize the entire stream of progressive thought that has run wide and deep through American history since the nation's founding. Disagree with his views, West insists, and you're not just a political opponent, you're a godless Marxist.

There is no symmetry here. The far left may hurl insults at the right, but doesn't scream "fascism" whenever a Republican proposes privatizing Medicare.

So this is what I want to know: Mitt Romney, do you agree with your prominent endorser, Ted Nugent, that the Obama administration is evil and hates America? House Speaker John Boehner, do you agree with your star freshman West that "78 to 81" of your colleagues are card-carrying communists?

Speak up, gentlemen, I didn't hear you.


How Liberal is Obama--really?

Watch this short clip from Bill Moyers show:

It's very true that liberalism is beaten down in any President elected as a liberal.  Our society today does not allow liberal ideas/ideals to flourish--or even get a foothold.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Some very interesting health innovations--i.e., how does it feel to be 70?

Plus "Take a walk with a doc" -- etc., etc. These innovations are meant to increase empathy for others through virtual experience.  An article worth reading!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

I have a problem with Mitt Romney

Who is this man, anyway?
By Governor Jennifer Granholm

I have a problem with Mitt Romney. And it's a big problem -- one that extends beyond our ideological differences. Here's what fundamentally disturbs me about Romney's character:

It's not even that he's misstated facts, if they were just truly misstatements. Part of what really bugs me is that he's carefully scripted and controlled, and still he has outright pants-on-fire lied more than any recent serious presidential contender, by a significant factor.

Added to the serial lying is not just that he's flip-flopped; everyone knows that. It's that he has flip-flopped on core issues like being pro-choice or pro-life -- deep, fundamental values issues, all for the purpose of getting elected, nothing more.

What emerges from this composite picture of lying and flip-flopping and position-contortion is a man who has no core.

A hollow man.

A man without deep, longstanding conviction.

A calculating man who will lie, who will change positions as he changes his venue, who will say anything, do anything, who is ruthless about winning in a way that makes him seem empty inside.

So the real question is: What does this man stand for? Why does he even want to be president? Where is his true vision, his core? Does he even have one?

Where do you fit into his picture of success?

My big concern is that Mitt Romney wants to become president for no other reason than because there's a possibility he can win. And you're not in that vision, I'm afraid.


Want the truth about Republicans? Look at Chris Christie

Chris Christie: The heartless, smug, bullying embodiment of the Republican Party today

EXCERPT: Republicans: They'll steal your wallet, then lecture you on the immorality of walking around without cash in your pocket.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth...

Meanwhile unemployment claims jumped last week, underscoring the bad news in March's job numbers and the urgency of more Federal assistance to combat unemployment.

The ranks of today's unemployed include record-high percentages of young people, aging workers, long-term unemployed, minority workers, and others -- and they're especially high in New Jersey, a state that is performing more poorly than the rest of the country under Christie's leadership. But Christie didn't offer a message of support or an oath to support them and work to grow our economy.

No, Christie offered a different message to the unemployed: It's your fault. You're just a bunch of lazy couch potatoes who think you're "entitled" -- entitled to the job you're not being offered, entitled to the unemployment insurance that's running out, entitled to the cuts in Medicare and Social Security we have planned for you. You're entitled entitled entitled ...

GOP to America: Drop Dead

Christie's message -- the Republican message -- is that you're the problem. You stopped dreaming or striving. The unemployed factory worker who's applied to three jobs a day until there was nowhere else to apply has stopped dreaming. The unemployed single mom who can't find a job, and can't move elsewhere in search of work because she's underwater on her house, has stopped striving. The Trenton warehouse worker who's been turned away from job after job because he's too "old" at 45 is "sitting on a couch waiting for his next government check."

What about the people who fund Chris Christie and his party, the lawbreaking bankers and environment despoilers? Apparently they displayed their "hard work and honor and ingenuity" by gambling with our mortgages and being bailed out by our tax money.

Talk Talk

Take a look at Chris Christie. Take a good look. He's not just a member of the Republican Party. He is the Republican Party. Mitt Romney may be more courteous and civil, but if you pull off his mask you'll see Chris Christie's face. And whenever the Republican Party "cuts the crap" and reveals itself, that's the face you'll see -- that of a selfish, arrogant, heartless lackey for corporate greed and personal excess.

Ya wanna have a "conversation" with us, Mr. Governor? Anytime.We're not hard to find. You can find us on the unemployment lines. Or working two jobs for wages that never go up. Or paying an inflated mortgage every month because the bank's corrupt appraiser overstated our mortgage. Or struggling with breathing difficulties because environmental rules were "relaxed" to let a polluter move into our neighborhood.

Feel free to grab some of your rich Republican pals and walk up to anyone of us. Just interrupt whatever we're doing so you can explain to us why the problems we're having are our fault and not yours. Feel free to tell us that it's our laziness and moral laxity that cost us our jobs, and not your greed and mendacity. Go right ahead.

You'll find yourselves in a conversation, all right -- a conversation about you.


Thursday, April 12, 2012 could be really, really bad, esp. on West Coast

This is from an excellent source, the Canadian website of Global Research (they have led the 9/11 Truth fight from the beginning and have expert contributors to the site in all areas of concern on this beleaguered planet!!). 


Global Research, April 9, 2012

Washington's Blog

Global Research Editor's Note

This detailed report by our Contributor Washington Blog must be read very carefully.

The World is at a critical crossroads. The Fukushima disaster in Japan has brought to the forefront the dangers of Worldwide nuclear radiation. The crisis in Japan has been described as "a nuclear war without a war". 

Nuclear radiation --which threatens life on planet earth-- is not front page news in comparison to the most insignificant issues of public concern, including the local level crime scene or the tabloid gossip reports on Hollywood celebrities.  

The implications of this report must be understood. Public opinion worldwide must be informed so that meaningful actions can be taken without delay in support of the Japanese teams. 

Spread the word. Forward this report far and wide. Post it on Facebook. 

It is essential to put pressure at all levels of government, nationally and internationally to take all actions necessary to avert an impending catastrophe, which in a very real sense threatens the future of humanity.    

Michel Chossudovsky, April 9, 2012

For further background analysis, see


Fukushima: A Nuclear War without a War: The Unspoken Crisis of Worldwide Nuclear Radiation

- by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky - 2012-01-25

GR ONLINE READER. The dumping of highly radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean constitutes a potential trigger to a process of global radioactive contamination... Eventually all major regions of the World will be affected.


"Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel). It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet." (Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy)

The Greatest Single Threat to Humanity: Fuel Pool Number 4

We noted days after the Japanese earthquake that the biggest threat was from the spent fuel rods in the fuel pool at Fukushima unit number 4, and not from the reactors themselves. See this and this.We noted in February:

Scientists say that there is a 70% chance of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hitting Fukushima this year, and a 98% chance within the next 3 years.

Given that nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that an earthquake of 7.0 or larger could cause the entire fuel pool structure collapse, it is urgent that everything humanly possible is done to stabilize the structure housing the fuel pools at reactor number 4.

Tepco is doing some construction at the building … it is a race against time under very difficult circumstances, and hopefully Tepco will win.

As AP points out:

The structural integrity of the damaged Unit 4 reactor building has long been a major concern among experts because a collapse of its spent
fuel cooling pool could cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns.


Gundersen (who used to build spent fuel pools) explains that there is no protection surrounding the radioactive fuel in the pools. He warns that – if the fuel pools at reactor 4 collapse due to an earthquake – people should get out of Japan, and residents of the West Coast of America and Canada should shut all of their windows and stay inside for a while.

The fuel pool number 4 is apparently not in great shape, and there have already been countless earthquakes near the Fukushima region since the 9.0 earthquake last March.

Germany's ZDF tv quotes nuclear engineer Yukitero Naka as saying:

If another earthquake occurs then the building [number 4] could collapse and another chain reaction could very likely occur.

(Unit 4 contains plutonium as well as other radioactive wastes.)

Mainchi reported on Monday:

The storage pool in the No. 4 reactor building has a total of 1,535 fuel rods, or 460 tons of nuclear fuel, in it. The 7-story building itself has suffered great damage, with the storage pool barely intact on the building's third and fourth floors. The roof has been blown away.
If the storage pool breaks and runs dry, the nuclear fuel inside will overheat and explode, causing a massive amount of radioactive substances to spread over a wide area. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and French nuclear energy company Areva have warned about this risk.

A report released in February by the Independent Investigation Commission on the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident stated that the storage pool of the plant's No. 4 reactor has clearly been shown to be "the weakest link" in the parallel, chain-reaction crises of the nuclear disaster. The worse-case scenario drawn up by the government includes not only the collapse of the No. 4 reactor pool, but the disintegration of spent fuel rods from all the plant's other reactors. If this were to happen, residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area would be forced to evacuate.

Former Minister of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Sumio Mabuchi, who was appointed to the post of then Prime Minister Naoto Kan's advisor on the nuclear disaster immediately after its outbreak, proposed the injection of concrete from below the No. 4 reactor to the bottom of the storage pool, Chernobyl-style.


"Because sea water was being pumped into the reactor, the soundness of the structure (concrete corrosion and deterioration) was questionable. There also were doubts about the calculations made on earthquake resistance as well," said one government source familiar with what took place at the time. "[F]uel rod removal will take three years. Will the structure remain standing for that long?

Asahi noted last month that
- if Unit 4 pool gets a crack from an earthquake and leaks, it would be the end for Tokyo.

Kevin Kamps said last month:

Unit 4 storage pool… The entire building is listing including the pool. What they have is steel jacks underneath the pool to try to keep the floor from falling out or the pool from flipping over.If that cooling water supply is lost, it will be just a few hours at most before that waste is on fire. 135 tons outside of any radioactive containment. They would be direct releases into the environment. 100% of cesium-137 could be released to the environment.

Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura – whose praises have been sung by Mikhail Gorbachev, U.S. Ambassadors Stephen Bosworth and Glenn Olds, and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State and Goldman Sachs co-chair John C. Whitehead – notes:

The unit suffered enormous damage during the tsunami—a hydrogen explosion blew the roof off, leaving the highly radioactive fuel pool exposed to the open air. If another high level earthquake hits the area, the building will certainly collapse. Japanese and American meteorologists have predicted that such a strong earthquake is indeed likely to hit this year.

The meltdown and unprecedented release of radiation that would ensue is the worst case scenario that then-
Prime Minister Kan and other former officials have discussed in the past months. He warned during his speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos that such an accident would force the evacuation of the 35 million people in Tokyo, close half of Japan and compromise the nation's sovereignty. Such a humanitarian and environmental catastrophe is unimaginable. Hiroshi Tasaka, a nuclear engineer and special adviser to Prime Minister Kan immediately following the crisis, said the crisis "just opened Pandora's Box."

The current Japanese government has not yet mentioned the looming disaster, ostensibly to not incite panic in the public. Nevertheless, action must be taken quickly. This website over the last year has published a running commentary from scientists explaining why Reactor 4 must be stabilized immediately, who might be able to accomplish such a task, and why the situation has largely gone unnoticed. We believe an independent, international team of structural engineers and other advisers must be assembled and deployed immediately. Mounting public pressure would force the Japanese government to take action. We hope these resources are helpful in educating the public about the crisis that we face.

As the eminent German physicist Dr. Hans-Peter Durr said ten months ago, if the spent fuel pool spills, we will be in a situation where science never imagined we could be.

Matsumura was told that if the fuel pool at unit 4 collapses or the water spills out, so much radiation will spew out for 50 years that no one will be able to approach Fukushima:

Even more dramatically, Matsumura writes:

Japan's former Ambassador to Switzerland, Mr. Mitsuhei Murata, was invited to speak at the Public Hearing of the Budgetary Committee of the House of Councilors on March 22, 2012, on the Fukushima nuclear power plants accident. Before the Committee, Ambassador Murata strongly stated that if the crippled building of reactor unit 4—with 1,535 fuel rods in the spent fuel pool 100 feet (30 meters) above the ground—collapses, not only will it cause a shutdown of all six reactors but will also affect the common spent fuel pool containing 6,375 fuel rods, located some 50 meters from reactor 4. In both cases the radioactive rods are not protected by a containment vessel; dangerously, they are open to the air. This would certainly cause a global catastrophe like we have never before experienced. He stressed that the responsibility of Japan to the rest of the world is immeasurable. Such a catastrophe would affect us all for centuries. Ambassador Murata informed us that the total numbers of the spent fuel rods at the Fukushima Daiichi site excluding the rods in the pressure vessel is 11,421 (396+615+566+1,535+994+940+6375).

I asked top spent-fuel pools expert Mr. Robert Alvarez, former Senior Policy Adviser to the Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for National Security and the Environment at the U.S. Department of Energy, for an explanation of the potential impact of the 11,421 rods.

I received an astounding response from Mr. Alvarez [updated 4/5/12]:
In recent times, more information about the spent fuel situation at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site has become known. It is my understanding that of the 1,532 spent fuel assemblies in reactor No. 304 assemblies are fresh and unirradiated. This then leaves 1,231 irradiated spent fuel rods in pool No. 4, which contain roughly 37 million curies (~1.4E+18 Becquerel) of long-lived radioactivity. The No. 4 pool is about 100 feet above ground, is structurally damaged and is exposed to the open elements. If an earthquake or other event were to cause this pool to drain this could result in a catastrophic radiological fire involving nearly 10 times the amount of Cs-137 released by the Chernobyl accident.

The infrastructure to safely remove this material was destroyed as it was at the other three reactors. Spent reactor fuel cannot be simply lifted into the air by a crane as if it were routine cargo. In order to prevent severe radiation exposures, fires and possible explosions, it must be transferred at all times in water and heavily shielded structures into dry casks.. As this has never been done before, the removal of the spent fuel from the pools at the damaged Fukushima-Dai-Ichi reactors will require a major and time-consuming re-construction effort and will be charting in unknown waters. Despite the enormous destruction cased at the Da–Ichi site, dry casks holding a smaller amount of spent fuel appear to be unscathed.

Based on U.S. Energy Department data, assuming a total of 11,138 spent fuel assemblies are being stored at the Dai-Ichi site, nearly all, which is in pools. They contain roughly 336 million curies (~1.2 E+19 Bq) of long-lived radioactivity. About 134 million curies is Cesium-137 — roughly 85 times the amount of Cs-137 released at the Chernobyl accident as estimated by the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection (NCRP). The total spent reactor fuel inventory at the Fukushima-Daichi site contains nearly half of the total amount of Cs-137 estimated by the NCRP to have been released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, Chernobyl, and world-wide reprocessing plants (~270 million curies or ~9.9 E+18 Becquerel).

It is important for the public to understand that reactors that have been operating for decades, such as those at the Fukushima-Dai-Ichi site have generated some of the largest concentrations of radioactivity on the planet.

Many of our readers might find it difficult to appreciate the actual meaning of the figure, yet we can grasp what 85 times more Cesium-137 than the Chernobyl would mean. It would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.

There was a Nuclear Security Summit Conference in Seoul on March 26 and 27, and Ambassador Murata and I made a concerted effort to find someone to inform the participants from 54 nations of the potential global catastrophe of reactor unit 4. We asked several participants to share the idea of an Independent Assessment team comprised of a broad group of international experts to deal with this urgent issue.

I would like to introduce Ambassador Murata's letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to convey this urgent message and also his letter to Japan's Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda for Japanese readers. He emphasized in the statement that we should bring human wisdom to tackle this unprecedented challenge.

Ambassador Murata's letter says:

It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on NO.4 reactor. This is confirmed by most reliable experts like Dr. Arnie Gundersen or Dr. Fumiaki Koide.

Anti-nuclear physician Dr. Helen Caldicott says that if fuel pool 4 collapses, she will evacuate her family from Boston and move them to the Southern Hemisphere. This is an especially dramatic statement given that the West Coast is much more directly in the path of Fukushima radiation than the East Coast.

Will humanity rise to the occasion, and figure out how to stabilize fuel pool number 4 before catastrophe strikes?

Or will modern civilization win a Darwin award for failing to pay attention to the real threats?


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Albert Einstein: 10 of his best quotes

Albert Einstein: 10 of his best quotes

Albert Einstein's theory about how fast the universe is expanding has been proved correct by British scientists who praised his "incredible accuracy". He was known for words and phrases and here are 10 of his best quotes.

According to Einstein nothing should be able to travel faster than light, and evidence that neutrinos were capable of doing so would have a fundamental impact on our understanding of the universe and of time 

A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.

Intellectuals solve problems; geniuses prevent them.

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it.

The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax.

I am convinced that He (God) does not play dice.

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough.

The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.

Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.

I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.


Sunday, April 08, 2012

A great column - oh so true!

Genital Politics
By Stephen Pizzo

I love watching this whole emerging "War on Women" business. You might have noticed that most of the "warriors" on the GOP side of this war are men. That's the part I like most. I mean really, think about it for a minute.

I have more insight on this than a woman would, since I am a male and, as such, have hung around most of my 66-years with other males. So I know how the "secrets" of being male...the kinda of stuff that goes on between our ears we never, EVER share with women. Hell, we don't even share them with other men. Men, after all, are not all that into the whole "sharing thing" to begin with. But some stuff is even more out of bounds than others. And that's what I'm talking about here.

First of all, men are babies. My wife is a Family Nurse Practitioner and sees male patients all day, and she confirms this, in spades. Men come in with real and imagined - almost always minor - complaints whining and demanding she fix them immediately. And that just sets the stage for the issue at hand.

First, let's admit it, men got the better deal in the whole genital/reproductive system business. That's just a biological/mechanical/hassle-free fact. Our gonads are on the outside, meaning no intrusive inspections are required. (Hell we guys want to make a break for the exam-room door at the very sight of a doctor snapping on a rubber glove!)

Then comes our part in procreation. We do our minimal part in the process, then sit around for nine months watching the consequences do things to our partner's bodies that would send us begging the nearest doctor to just put us in a coma until this science fiction-like transformation is over.

And don't even get me started on actual childbirth. I was with my wife for our two kids' births and let me tell ya, if men had to go through what I saw (and heard) the earth would be filled with one-child families, because no man in his right mind would go through that more than once. Period.

Oh, and then there's the whole menstruation business. Imagine a freshly adolescent boy getting his first period. After his mother rounded him up from the backyard where she found him screaming in terror (I'm bleeding to death.. help, I'm bleeding to death!) and doubled over with cramps, he would demand a trip to the nearest hospital for a full hysterectomy. Which of course means the human race would have died out millions of years ago.

I only mention all this because, as I noted above, most of those pushing to ditch Planned Parenthood, make abortions illegal, restrict birth control and such, are men. Sure there are women involved as well but, hey, there were Jews who collaborated with the Nazis and blacks that fought for the South during the Civil War. There's no accounting for such behavior, so I'm not even going to try. The bottom line is that the War on Women is a war being fought largely by pricks.... a pun heartily intended.

That's all I have to say about this, except for a quote from Gloria Steinem:

"If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament."

Amen Sister. Amen.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Our country has taken a dark turn and Obama hasn't changed it

Bush-Era Torture Memo Released, Raises Questions About What Has Changed And What Hasn't

By Dan Froomkin

WASHINGTON -- A six-year-old memo from within the George W. Bush administration that came to light this week acknowledges that White House-approved interrogation techniques amounted to "war crimes." The memo's release has called attention to what has changed since President Barack Obama took office, but it also raises questions about what hasn't.

The Bush White House tried to destroy every copy of the memo, written by then-State Department counselor Philip Zelikow. Zelikow examined tactics like waterboarding -- which simulates drowning -- and concluded that there was no way they were legal, domestically or internationally.

“We are unaware of any precedent in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, or any subsequent conflict for authorized, systematic interrogation practices similar to those in question here," Zelikow wrote. The memo has been obtained by George Washington University's National Security Archive and Wired's Spencer Ackerman.

On his second full day in office, President Barack Obama formally disavowed torture, banning the types of techniques Zelikow had objected to so strongly in his memo.

But while Democrats are using the memo as evidence of a new post-torture era under Obama, human rights activists, civil libertarians and opponents of excessive secrecy say they see many ways in which the country's moral compass is still askew -- and in some ways even more so than before.

"If your baseline is the Bush years, it's night and day," said Tom Blanton, director of the National Security Archive. "If your baselines are a set of first principles, as the ACLU calls for, or as us openness advocates call for, then your situation is: Is the glass half full or the glass half empty?"

Obama has refused to pursue legal action against those who may have engaged in law-breaking under his predecessor's watch -- saying he prefers to "look forward instead of looking backward." To some, this indicates there is little assurance that the U.S. won't torture again in the future.

"The administration has clearly disavowed torture, and that is an important and welcome thing," said Jameel Jaffer, a national security expert at the American Civil Liberties Union.

"But they're steadily building a framework for impunity."

When it comes to issues like warrantless surveillance, "continuity is the rule and not the exception and in fact in some very important areas this administration has gone even farther than the Bush Administration did," Jaffer said.

Most alarming, says Jafeer, is the issue of the targeted killing of American citizens who are terrorism suspects.

Jaffer said the idea that the government can mark an American for death without any judicial oversight is something the framers of the Constitution "would have found totally foreign to the project they were engaged in."

"I think there are many Democrats out there who are quiet because they trust President Obama," Jaffer said. But, he added, "there's no doubt that the power we're giving President Obama will be available to a future president."

Jaffer noted that another way things may be worse today than during the Bush era is that at least back then, many people thought things would change dramatically once Bush left office, and that his actions wouldn't establish legal precedents.

"We didn't worry so much about that because the Bush Administration was seen as an outlier and an aberration, and the Bush precedent wouldn't have been seen as weighty," Jaffer said. By contrast, "It's not at all difficult to imagine [future presidents] citing President Obama in their defense of carrying out more targeted killings of American citizens."

"Now we're making many of these emergency powers permanent ... and bipartisan. We're enshrining these things into our permanent law."

Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, sees some good and some bad in terms of where the government stands on national security issues today. "The Obama Administration has made significant and substantial changes to counterterrorism policy as it relates to human rights and civil liberties -- for example, in their detention policies and their recognition of the limits of military power and the importance of following traditional laws of war in an armed conflict," she said.

And yet, she said: "The administration has done much less to fix the problems of too much surveillance, without enough good reasons, of too many people."

Transparency about what the administration is doing and why "is mixed," she said, with both "important disclosures and inexplicable withholdings."

Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, said he doesn't think it is all Obama's fault. He blames congressional Republicans for blocking Obama's attempts to close the Guantanamo prison, for instance, and the intelligence agencies for much of the rest.

"The intelligence agencies are at the front of the resistance," Blanton said. "They're resisting accountability for what they themselves did."

Ten months into Obama's presidency, White House Counsel Greg Craig resigned, a move some saw as a purge and grim sign for any hope that the president would keep fighting on these issues. Craig is known to have advocated strongly for Obama to hold fast to the principles that he has espoused in regards to dealing with torture suspects -- regardless of the immediate political consequences.

Where does that leave us? "I wouldn't call us an outlaw nation," Blanton said, "but I don't think we've come to terms with our gang period."


Friday, April 06, 2012

How would a conservative guns-rights person feel if this happened to his family?

I wonder how a conservative guns-rights person would feel if their own child was gunned down on his way home from a corner store, for no other reason than that the paranoid shooter was suspicious of them..and pursued them, scaring them into trying to get away from him.  And then...after the shooter killed their child, he was not arrested or charged with anything!  Yes, I wonder how that guns-rights person would feel if it were his child or grandchild who was murdered in this way.  But it was just a black kid--so it doesn't count--and doesn't matter.  And, in the eyes of conservative guns-rights people, the shooter is innocent.  He was just "doing his duty" (killing black kids)

By Eric Boehlert

Writing in Thursday's Wall Street Journal, conservative Shelby Steele announced "Two tragedies are apparent in the Trayvon Martin case." The first was that Martin had been gunned down by a neighborhood watchman. The second calamity, according to Steele, was that the "liberal media" and the "the increasingly redundant civil rights establishment" have exploited the boy's death for their own gain.

It's telling what Steele did not consider to be a tragedy in the Martin case - the fact that the man who admitted shooting the unarmed teen, George Zimmerman, hasn't been arrested or charged with a crime. Indeed, the lack of an arrest is the central reason why the Martin story erupted into national headlines in recent weeks. And yet Steele, busy bashing Martin's advocates as well as the press, raced right past that salient fact.

Steele is not alone. Within the conservative media, it's now become commonplace to pontificate about the Martin story (while often condemning civil rights activists as "race hustlers") without ever mentioning why the story became such a blockbuster; without ever mentioning that the man who shot Martin has not been charged.

That's kind of a crucial fact. Yet conservative pundits seem eager to brush it aside. That amount of obfuscation raises doubts whether they even understand the fundamentals of the Martin story, or whether they are just choosing to ignore them because they raise difficult questions about the law and race in America.

Last week Media Matters noted that Fox News' Bill O'Reilly wondered, as more and more information leaked about Martin's past, whether a "gag order" should be placed in the "case." But of course, only a judge can issue a gag order and the fact is there is no Martin legal "case" because nobody has been arrested for the crime of shooting the unarmed teenager.

And recently, National Review editor Rich Lowry complained there was a double standard with regards to which black murder victims received more media attention, and which black crime victims sparked community protest. Lowry pointed to several black-on-black crimes that he claimed had not "gin[ned] up the outrage machine" the way the "allegedly racially motivated killing" of Martin had been turned into a "cause" and a "national symbol."

What did Lowry not acknowledge in his piece about the Martin story? The fact that the boy's killer, who authorities identified at the scene, hasn't been charged with a crime.

The conservative press has now spent weeks, in full force, trying to spin away the Martin controversy. The fact that so many far-right players won't even acknowledge a key facet of the case suggests it's a story they cannot deal with honestly.


Are electro-magnetic frequencies safe for our bodies?

TV Producer Bill Day does not think that the
microwave and radio frequencies being emitted by
our wireless devices have been adequately tested for
our safe use.

Are we so in love with the incredible convenience of
this technology that we will only discover that it isn't
worth the convenience when it is too late? 



Are We Electromagnetic Radiation Guinea Pigs?

I wonder about this for our kids and grandkids especially...
they are living in an entirely different kind of world than the
one we grew up in, bombarded everywhere they go by
electro-magnetic currents in wi-fi, constantly using their laptops and cell phones, etc.
Adding Smart Meters into that mix simply cannot be good for them and us.

Think about how we were told at one time that smoking was not harmful.
Think about how we were told that nuclear plants would be "perfectly safe."
Now doctors are sounding an alarm about the rising occurrence of brain tumors in kids all over the world.
(See Katie Couric interview today at: )
Mainstream news, of course, never gives the whole picture--they are ruled by the corporations, don't forget. But there are disturbing parts of
this interview that come through, even though the doctor is one of those "I don't believe they're dangerous" types--we saw them by the hundreds
in the days when ads proclaimed "more doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette."  The AMA is the last to admit that anything that makes $$$
is dangerous to our health.  Think about it.

Many scientists and doctors are now cautioning about the use of cell phones next
to your head, which is why bluetooths are being more commonly seen.
But what can protect us from Smart Meters that are attached to all the
homes in our neighborhood?  If everyone were made aware of the
dangers of these things and would opt out from their use, that would
be one less daily zapping that we and our kids would be receiving.


Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Warning about Smart Meters

Very important to protect ourselves and our kids from all this electro-magnetic frequency radiation!  Please read/watch the following and opt out from Smart Meters!



Smart Meter Radiation Risks

Are Smart Meters health hazards? Smart Meter radiation emissions are both greater in volume and more frequent than PG&E admits, according to more and more independent EMF specialists measuring them. And consumers are getting concerned.

What Are Smart Meters?

Smart Meters are electric and gas meter reading devices being installed all over the US as a first step in creating a national smart grid. Designed to enhance energy efficiency and make widespread adoption of renewable energy easier, Smart Meters are radio transmitters that communicate data from homes and businesses to the gas and electric company through a matrix of radio signals. They allow people to measure and monitor their own energy consumption in order to reduce it.

Controversy about Smart Meters

Large groups of citizens are complaining that their Smart Meters are over-billing them. Public meetings are being held over the country to discuss this, and many cities have come out in favor of a smart Meter moratorium until the issue is resolved.

Smart Meters Health Risks

But now there are growing numbers of activists who are protesting against Smart Meters for another reason. They contend that the radio frequency (RF) Smart Meters emit is harmful to human health. People living with the meters are claiming mild to severe symptoms that are all over the board: Concentration and memory problems, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, headaches, sleep disruptions, nausea, anxiety and behavioral problems in children.

People are especially concerned about certain groups who are vulnerable to Smart Meter health risks, such as children (who absorb radiation at a greater rate than adults), electrosensitive people, people with  pacemakers, and chronically ill people whose immune systems are compromised.

Unclear Answers about Smart Meter Radiation Levels

PG&E seems to be unable to give consistent, believable answers about either how frequently Smart Meter radiation is emitted—or what the peak power is of the radiation signal at certain distances. Some representative say the meters transmit RF six times a day; others, once an hour. Independent RF specialists have measured them every 45 seconds, or even twice in a minute.

As for peak power of Smart Meter radiation signals, there is even more confusion. PG&E maintains that the RF transmissions are well within FCC standards, that they transmit data for only a fraction of a second and are far weaker than other everyday radio frequency emitters, such as cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi.

Putting aside for a moment the debate over the safety of even these “everyday” RF emitters, there’s reason to doubt these assurances from PG&E that Smart Meters are safer than these other devices. Independent environmental EMF consultants have found that peak pulses are far greater in intensity than the “average pulse” that many utility companies claim—sometimes up to 1000 times more powerful than a cell phone.(1) Because of the skewed and inaccurate way in which they figure the number of pulses per minutes, their figures of an “average” pulse is greatly reduced.

Indeed, assurances of utility companies are reminiscent of promises that have been made over the years by plastics and chemical manufacturers who initially claimed that what they were producing was safe.

Thermal and Non-Thermal Effects of Smart Meter Radiation

But aside from any of this, what’s important to understand is that the FCC safety standards are based only on thermal effects of radiation, meaning: How high can radiation go before the body tissues start cooking? Research has shown that the thermal effects of microwave radiation are not the only effects to be worried about. There are also non-thermal effects of RF that are very concerning.

One of the most informative reports written on the subject is the Bioinitiative Report of 2007. Authored by 15 scientists, researchers and health policy professionals, this report clearly documents evidence that numerous health problems are created by exposure to RF, including DNA breakage and cancer—and this, at levels far below the FCC standards. The report is recognized by the European Parliament, the European Environment Agency, and the Breast Cancer Fund, among others.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Toxicology Program have also studied the effects RF on human health. Their updated results are that, among other things, RF can significantly increase the risk of a glioma, a deadly brain tumor.

Building biologist Diana Schultz tests homes for potentially harmful radiation, and she said what she finds radiating from these digital smart meters can put you at risk.
"Smart meters are emitting electromagnetic radiation that we can't see, can't smell, can't feel," Schultz said.
Florida power companies got hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government to install smart meters, but these devices have created a storm of controversy across the nation.
Critics said they expose you to around-the-clock electromagnetic radiation that can be linked to cancer and other health problems.  (READ MORE AT: )

AND, AS IF THE HEALTH ISSUES AREN'T BAD ENOUGH, Large groups of citizens are complaining that their Smart Meters are over-billing them. Public meetings are being held over the country to discuss this, and many cities have come out in favor of a smart Meter moratorium until the issue is resolved.  READ MORE at:


Fwd: Another awareness warning to add to your and your kids' list

Lyme Disease is Increasing because of Global Warming:

I have 2 friends with Lyme disease -- and it isn't fun.  One of them almost died because of it last year.  This is something to read up on -- and watch the educational film Under Our Skin online at:

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