The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) – the corporate lobbyist in Washington, D.C. for the disintegrating atomic power industry – doesn’t have to worry about repercussions from the negative impacts of nuclear power. For nuclear power is a government/taxpayer-guaranteed boondoggle whose staggering costs, incurred and deferred, are absorbed by American taxpayers via a supine government regulatory and subsidy apparatus.
So if you go to work at the NEI and you read about the absence of any permanent radioactive waste storage site, no problem, the government/taxpayers are responsible for transporting and safeguarding that lethal garbage for centuries.
If liberal society is to survive the rise of the Godwacks, we need to start by calling them what they are
Since George Bush’s reelection, the Christian nutjobs have mounted an assault on my block. In the five years I’ve lived in this neighborhood I’ve never had so much as one Jehovah’s Witness knock at the door. But last Saturday morning my neighbor Tinka-the-wool-weaver called to warn of approaching Bible thumpers working the doorbells on my side of the street. Sure enough, out the window were two women in long skirts with bad Bible hairdos headed my way. "Incoming Jesus freaks at nine o’clock high!" I yelled to my wife. We jumped back into bed and let 'em pound on the door and drop tracts in the mailbox while Barb read the Washington Post and I caught another 20 zees.
Here’s a dirty little secret you won’t see in the daily papers: corporations conduct espionage against US nonprofit organizations without fear of being brought to justice.
Yes, that means using a great array of spycraft and snoopery, including planned electronic surveillance, wiretapping, information warfare, infiltration, dumpster diving and so much more.
The evidence abounds.
Asignificant systemic change is now a mathematical fact. Corruption, greed and economic inequality have reached a peak tipping point. Due to the consolidation of wealth, the majority of the population cannot generate enough income to keep up with the cost of living. In the present economy, under current government policy, 70% of the population is now sentenced to an impoverished existence.
Let’s take an in-depth look at the evidence.
“Hillary works for Goldman Sachs and likes war, otherwise I like Hillary,” a former Bill Clinton aide told me sardonically. First, he was referring to her cushy relationships with top Wall Street barons and her $200,000 speeches with the criminal enterprise known as Goldman Sachs, which played a part in crashing the U.S. economy in 2008 and burdening taxpayers with costly bailouts. Second, he was calling attention to her war hawkish foreign policy.
Last week, Hillary-The-Hawk emerged, once again, with comments to The Atlantic attacking Obama for being weak and not having an organized foreign policy. She was calling Obama weak despite his heavy hand in droning, bombing and intervening during his Presidency. While Obama is often wrong, he is hardly a pacifist commander. It’s a small wonder that since 2008, Hillary-The-Hawk has been generally described as, in the words of the New York Times journalist Mark Landler, “more hawkish than Mr. Obama.”
Russia is consistently portrayed in the Western media as the “aggressor” amid the ongoing Ukrainian conflict, however, it is clear through overt moves by NATO’s proxy regime in Kiev, that attempts are being made to intentionally provoke, not defend against Moscow’s ire.
The New York Times, in a recent article admits that the military campaign Kiev is carrying out against its own citizens in eastern Ukraine is overt brutality carried out by literal flag-waving Nazis, with the all but stated goal of provoking a Russian invasion.
During Cold War One those of us in the American radical left were often placed in the position where we had to defend the Soviet Union because the US government was using that country as a battering ram against us. Now we sometimes have to defend Russia because it may be the last best hope of stopping TETATW (The Empire That Ate The World). Yes, during Cold War One we knew enough about Stalin, the show trials, and the gulags. But we also knew about US foreign policy.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Albert Einstein
As the world struggles with how to deal with the slow motion apocalypse of global climate change it becomes more and more apparent that we are trapped in “the kind of thinking” that got us here. While I don’t want to wear out Einstein’s quotability his other little piece of wisdom that we need to keep top of mind is this:
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”
Our failure of imagination regarding the ever-increasing production and use of fossil fuels will, over time, kill billions of us and irreversibly change all life on the planet.
In June, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) published a report, War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing, which provides a chilling account of the role of the US military in arming “paramilitary police” squads throughout the country.
SWAT teams are now routinely deployed for regular police work—including the serving of warrants for nonviolent offenses. Raids by SWAT teams, typically carried out in the dead of night, often involve the use of military stun grenades, the wanton destruction of property, the killing of household pets, and, with increasing regularity, the deaths of “suspects” and their family members, including children. More than one hundred and twenty such raids take place in America every day.
For years Stephen Harper often seemed at war with his own government, so consistently critical were reviews by its various independent oversight agencies. It seems that at least one “independent” body, the Parliamentary Budget Office, is now a little more PMO-friendly. A recent report from the PBO’s new chief Jean-Denis Fréchette declared that thanks to the incredible generosity of the federal government, “Canadians” have an extra $30 billion in their pockets — money “saved” due to Conservative tax cuts. The figure includes reductions in personal income tax of $17.1 billion and the federal share of revenue loss GST/HST of $13.3 billion.
That’s almost $1,000 per person.
Isn’t that nice.
Richard Clarke, the former counterterrorism official, has recently come out suggesting that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld should be charged with war crimes. Unfortunately, media outlets reporting this story have failed to examine Clarke’s long relationship to Cheney and Rumsfeld and his record of having prevented the capture of Osama bin Laden. These omissions highlight that, although Cheney and Rumsfeld undoubtedly are guilty of post-9/11 war crimes, suspicions that they helped create the pretext for those crimes go unreported.
We Have an Anti-imperialist Obligation to the People of Haiti
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the UN’s military occupation of Haiti. This article was first published February 9, 2014.
We are coming upon the 10th anniversary of the February 29, 2004 coup in Haiti that was orchestrated by imperialism against the labouring classes and the democratically elected government of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. According to journalist and writer Yves Engler:
On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 2003, Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government organized the “Ottawa Initiative on Haiti” to discuss that country’s future. No Haitian officials were invited to this assembly where high-level US, Canadian and French officials decided that Haiti’s elected president “must go”, the dreaded army should be recreated and that the country would be put under a Kosovo-like UN trusteeship.
The federal government, that is Stephen Harper, is expected to announce its long anticipated decision on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline sometime in June. The decision could well determine whether or not the Conservatives can win the 2015 election.
The momentum of opposition to the pipeline — and perhaps more importantly to the hundreds of supertankers that would move tar sands bitumen to Asia — is clearly growing in both B.C. and the rest of Canada. This makes Harper’s absolute dedication to the oil industry, and his dogged commitment to the pipeline in particular, tantamount to a suicide pact. This is a pipeline that will never be built. It is already dead. But don’t assume Harper sees that. His decision, as many of them are, will be a war between his highly touted strategic genius and his narcissistic impulses — revealed by a pattern of rejecting defeat until reality can no longer be denied.
Wall Street’s big banks and their financial networks that collapsed the U.S. economy in 2008-2009, were saved with huge bailouts by the taxpayers, but these Wall Street Gamblers are still paid huge money and are again creeping toward reckless misbehavior. Their corporate crime wave strip-mined the economy for young workers, threw them on the unemployment rolls and helped make possible a low-wage economy that is draining away their ability to afford basic housing, goods, and services.
Meanwhile, Wall Street is declaring huge bonuses for their executive plutocrats, none of whom have been prosecuted and sent to jail for these systemic devastations of other peoples’ money, the looting of pensions and destruction of jobs.
So, what do we have here? In Libya, in Syria, and elsewhere the United States has been on the same side as the al-Qaeda types. But not in Ukraine. That’s the good news. The bad news is that in Ukraine the United States is on the same side as the neo-Nazi types, who – taking time off from parading around with their swastika-like symbols and calling for the death of Jews, Russians and Communists – on May 2 burned down a trade-union building in Odessa, killing scores of people and sending hundreds to hospital; many of the victims were beaten or shot when they tried to flee the flames and smoke; ambulances were blocked from reaching the wounded. Try and find an American mainstream media entity that has made a serious attempt to capture the horror. 1
Scattered All Over Japan
We reported in May 2011 that authorities knew – within days or weeks - that all 3 active Fukushima nuclear reactors had melted down, but covered up that fact for months.
The next month, we reported that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse: nuclear melt-throughs, where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground. At the time, this was described as:
The worst possibility in a nuclear accident.
Bred for meanness
“There are some things so disgusting that only a white man would be willing to do them.” -- Walter Wildshoe, Coeur d’Alene Indian
Many years ago I worked at an industrial hog farm owned by the Coeur d’Alene Indian tribe in northern Idaho. The place stank of the dead and rotting brood sows we chopped out of farrowing crates -- bred to death in the drive for pork production. And it stank of the massive ponds that held millions of gallons of hog feces and rotting baby pigs, and every square inch was poisoned by the pesticides used to kill insects that hogs attract and the antibiotics fed to hogs from hundred pound sacks. The Coeur d’Alene Indians refused to suffer those kinds of conditions; they wouldn’t even manage the place. They contracted it out. As my friend Walter Wildshoe said: “Only a white man would work there.”
“Most Significant Public Health Crisis in Modern World History”
The nuclear disaster in Fukushima which followed in the wake of the 3/11 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami has given rise to one of the most significant public health crises in modern world history, with profound implications for how nuclear energy is perceived. This paper analyzes the most dire phase of the Fukushima nuclear crisis, showing how the level of risk was assessed by nuclear experts and state-level actors who worked largely out of view of public scrutiny. In addition to examining how the accident progression in the reactors was addressed and conveyed to the general public, the paper addresses how the exclusionary zones were determined by Japanese and foreign governments in Japan.
The European Commission is assessing how it should augment its nuclear disaster insurance. Ingmar Schumacher calls for full transparency of insurance costs in the cost-benefit evaluation of the nuclear industry.
The continuing nuclear disaster at Fukushima has concentrated minds on the risks of nuclear catastrope in Europe - all the more so as estimates of Fukushima's cost rise towards a giddying US$500 billion.
And so it is that the European Commission is considering whether, and how, it should amend the insurance of nuclear power plants on European territory. In the event of the unthinkable taking place in a European reactor, who will pay the cost?
The TPP trade deal would expand a system of corporate rights and private courts that threaten progress on some of our most urgent environmental issues, writes Thomas McDonagh.
In January 15th last, Wikileaks revealed the proposed environmental chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement.
This massive trade deal, despite its implications for sensitive policy areas such as access to medicines and food safety across North America, Peru, Chile, Australia, Japan and beyond had, until recently, been kept far away from the public spotlight.
Negotiations take place behind closed doors and not even public representatives from the countries involved have access to the negotiating text.
From Japan to America
Last month, the ruling Japanese coalition parties quickly rammed through Parliament a state secrets law. We Americans better take notice.
Under its provisions the government alone decides what are state secrets and any civil servants who divulge any “secrets” can be jailed for up to 10 years. Journalists caught in the web of this vaguely defined law can be jailed for up to 5 years.
Government officials have been upset at the constant disclosures of their laxity by regulatory officials before and after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in 2011, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).
Costly complexity is baked into Obamacare. No health insurance system is without problems but Canadian style single-payer full Medicare for all is simple, affordable, comprehensive and universal.
In the early 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson enrolled 20 million elderly Americans into Medicare in six months. There were no websites. They did it with index cards!
Below please find 21 Ways the Canadian Health Care System is Better than Obamacare.
“U.S. hopes of winning more influence over Syria’s divided rebel movement faded Wednesday after 11 of the biggest armed factions repudiated the Western-backed political opposition coalition and announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to creating an Islamist state. The al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra, designated a terrorist organization by the United States, is the lead signatory of the new group.” 1
Pity the poor American who wants to be a good citizen, wants to understand the world and his country’s role in it, wants to believe in the War on Terrorism, wants to believe that his government seeks to do good … What is he to make of all this?
Capitalism is based on managing its inherent crises. It is also based on the need to maximise profit, beat down competitors, cut overheads and depress wages. In the 1960s and 70s, in the face of increasing competition from abroad, the US began to outsource manufacturing production to bring down costs by using cheap foreign labour. Other countries followed suit. Even more jobs were lost through the impulse to automate. To provide a further edge, trade unions and welfare were attacked in order to suppress wages at home. Problem solved. Or was it?
The Derivatives Tsunami and the Dollar Bubble
The “fiscal cliff” is another hoax designed to shift the attention of policymakers, the media, and the attentive public, if any, from huge problems to small ones.
The fiscal cliff is automatic spending cuts and tax increases in order to reduce the deficit by an insignificant amount over ten years if Congress takes no action itself to cut spending and to raise taxes. In other words, the “fiscal cliff” is going to happen either way.
The problem from the standpoint of conventional economics with the fiscal cliff is that it amounts to a double-barrel dose of austerity delivered to a faltering and recessionary economy. Ever since John Maynard Keynes, most economists have understood that austerity is not the answer to recession or depression.
Regardless, the fiscal cliff is about small numbers compared to the Derivatives Tsunami or to bond market and dollar market bubbles.