PressWatch: destroying corporate mind control
The local bus service is, like many municipal services across the US, facing loss of revenue. It's interesting to me to see how the shortfall is handled—so far, service is being reduced at the same time that prices are raised. The bus service is an essential element of the economy, so one might think that if there was a Federal effort to 'prime the pump,' buses would be one of the first things to receive Federal aid. But we do not live in an era of such rationality, and instead, trillions of dollars have been created to shore up the banking industry. They're doing great, by the way. They aren't restoring money to the economy by loaning out those free dollars, but they're getting paid in a big way: record bonuses and salaries. The only category that can compete for that level of trillion-dollar giveaways is the imperial war industry. One may truthfully say that the US is owned by bankers and war profiteers.
Imagine we lived in a society that protected itself instead of its parasites. That would be interesting on many levels, but if I may return to the example of bus service, imagine that billions had been spent across the nation to hire additional bus drivers at living wages. In the Portland metropolitan area, for example, night bus service could be restored. That would mean not only that the hired drivers would be able to afford housing, but night life could return to the city. Once restaurants and manufacturers could be certain of twenty-four-hour service, the local economy might naturally grow. Let's say, for example, you wanted a space to manufacture your new solar energy product at a machine shop, but couldn't find financing to build your own. You could instead lease the night shift at an existing facility, and your workers could take the bus home at two AM without a problem. Naturally it would be tempting for all-night restaurants to open somewhere to feed those hungry workers, thereby increasing economic activity in that sector. I'd say that the increased electric usage would boost the economy too, but that would be false in our case—the money goes to creditors of Enron, who own PGE. Too bad we turned down all those efforts to create a public utility district.
I mean, we are living in an historic era in which the super-rich are given so much money that it has to essentially be printed—of course it's electronic credit instead these days, but there's no difference effectively. But when the working person who creates the wealth in the first place needs something as basic as transportation and health care, the printing press shuts down. I say fire 'em up, and print up some wages.
None of this will happen, not just because we are ruled and guarded by the parasite class, but because they have colonized our minds to the point that we can't imagine how to defend ourselves. So instead of presenting community-oriented ideas, we turn against each other. I recently saw a letter in the local monopoly chain daily newspaper criticizing the bus service for providing optical benefits to drivers. The letter said that drivers could get some sort of fancy tennis-specific eyeglasses for free. I know that to be false—the optical benefit in that case is quite basic—but if our minds were not colonized, we would be glad to know that drivers of twenty-ton vehicles could see well, and we would demand such basic benefits for everyone, rather than whine jealously that someone else gets eye care.
The radio commentator Jim Hightower calls this situation “let's you and him fight.” It's a pitifully degraded state of anti-community. I suggest we win the fight for revolution in our minds first, so that we can get out into the political forum and start demanding rationality and fairness for everyone.
The ninth anniversary of the hijackings and coordinated detonations is coming up, the anniversary of our shameful plunge into torturing fascism. It's hard to imagine that a nation that can discard Newton's Law of Conservation of Momentum for the sake of an official conspiracy theory can make a comeback into rationality, but there's no choice but to keep plugging away. The idea that Building Seven at the World Trade Center vaporized because of a minor fire is so silly that, when the incinerator door closes on me and the flames shrivel my lips away from my teeth, you can be sure that I'll be laughing. Unless we have a revolution by then, in which case I'll be laughing great gusting flames of glee.
August 30, 2010 |
The U.S. state of Mississippi recently reopened all of its fishing areas. The problem is that commercial shrimpers refuse to trawl because they fear the toxicity of the waters and marine life due to the BP oil disaster.
"We come out and catch all our Mississippi oysters right here," James "Catfish" Miller, a commercial shrimper in Mississippi, said in an interview. Pointing to the area in the Mississippi Sound from his shrimp boat, he added, "It's the only place in Mississippi to catch oysters, and there is oil and dispersants all over the top of it."
On Aug. 6, Mississippi's Department of Marine Resources (DMR) and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, in coordination with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ordered the reopening of all Mississippi territorial waters to all commercial and recreational finfish and shrimp fishing activities that were part of the precautionary closures following the BP oil rig disaster in April. At least five million barrels flowed into the Gulf before the well was shut earlier this month.
But Miller, along with many other commercial shrimpers, refuses to trawl.
Miller took this reporter out on his shrimp boat, along with commercial shrimper Mark Stewart, and Jonathan Henderson of the Gulf Restoration Network, an environmental group working to document and alleviate the effects of BP's oil disaster.
The goal was to prove to the public that their fishing grounds are contaminated with both oil and dispersants. Their method was simple – they tied an absorbent rag to a weighted hook, dropped it overboard for a short duration of time, then pulled it up to find the results. The rags were covered in a brown oily substance that the fishermen identified as a mix of BP's crude oil and toxic dispersants.
Miller and Stewart, who were both in BP's Vessels of Opportunity programme and were trained in identifying oil and dispersants, have been accused by some members of Mississippi's state government of lying about their findings.
"Why would we lie about oil and dispersant in our waters, when our livelihoods depend on our being able to fish here?" Miller asked IPS. "I want this to be cleaned up so we can get back to how we used to live. But it doesn't make sense for us or anyone else to fish if our waters are toxified. I don't know why people are angry at us for speaking the truth. We're not the ones who put the oil in the water."
This reporter watched Miller and Stewart conduct eight tests in various places around Mississippi Sound. One of them was less than a quarter mile from the mouth of Pass Christian Harbor, and another was less than one mile from a public beach. Every single test found the absorbent rags stained with brown oil.
During an earlier test round, the two fishermen brought out scientist Dr. Ed Cake of Gulf Environmental Associates.
Dr. Cake wrote of the experience: "When the vessel was stopped for sampling, small, 0.5- to 1.0-inch-diameter bubbles would periodically rise to the surface and shortly thereafter they would pop leaving a small oil sheen. According to the fishermen, several of BP's Vessels-of- Opportunity (Carolina Skiffs with tanks of dispersants [Corexit?]) were hand spraying in Mississippi Sound off the Pass Christian Harbor in prior days/nights. It appears to this observer that the dispersants are still in the area and are continuing to react with oil in the waters off Pass Christian Harbor."
OTTAWA, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- A massive iceberg in Greenland has sparked a scientific debate over its threat to shipping and possible links to global warming.
The largest iceberg in almost five decades split from Greenland's Petermann Glacier last Friday and is drifting towards the Arctic Ocean.
A University of Delaware researcher said the ice island, about 30 kms long and 10 kms wide, is four times the size of Manhattan. The last time the Arctic lost such a large chunk of ice was in 1962.
While it is drifting slowly, it is now a constant reminder of the massive maritime tragedy which sank the once-thought unsinkable Titanic passenger liner in 1912.
Some experts worry the iceberg, which is too huge to be stopped, will pose a danger to oil platforms and shipping lanes, while others think the danger is not that immediate.
Researchers are trying to draw up the trajectory of the floating iceberg. They say it is drifting toward the Nares Strait which separates Greenland's northwestern coast and Canada's Ellsemere Island.
Trudy Wohlleben, a Canadian Ice Service forecaster who first discovered the ice-split on satellite images, said the ice island is likely to break down into smaller chunks before it reaches shipping lanes and could even become lodged in a channel or stuck to land.
But she also warned that these fragments could also be very big, considering the size of the ice island.
It would take one or two years for the the big bloc of ice to reach the Canadian coast, she said.
The newly born ice island has also been used as further proof of global warming, as many parts of the world are now being grilled by unprecedented heatwaves.
Temperatures have risen by more than 2.5 degrees Celsius since 1970 in the Arctic. The Arctic sea ice cover in June was at the lowest level since records began in 1979, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Petermann Glacier is one of the two largest remaining glaciers in Greenland that terminate in floating shelves. The glacier connects the great Greenland ice sheet directly with the ocean.
The new ice island has an area of at least 100 square miles and a thickness up to half the height of the Empire State Building.
North Korea's Ambassador to Cuba, Kwon Sung Chol, has warned that his country would use its nuclear arsenal if attacked by either the United States or South Korea.
"If Washington and Seoul try to create a conflict on the Korean Peninsula, we will respond with a holy war on the basis of our nuclear deterrent forces," Xinhua quoted Kwon, as saying at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the DPRK.
"Our government will strive for the denuclearisation of the peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace as the beginning of the reunification process of the two Koreas," he added.
He further warned that despite facing obstacles from the United States and South Korea, North Korea would achieve reunification with the support of peace-loving peoples, like Cubans.
Referring to the sinking of South Korean warship 'Cheonan' in March, Kwon urged the people of North Korea and Cuba to strengthen support and solidarity between the two nations.
Kwon also thanked former Cuban President Fidel Castro for his public warning on the incident that it could unleash a major conflict in the area.
"His articles are an encouragement to our people, who fight against the imperialism," the DPRK diplomat said.
Earlier, South Korea blamed North Korea for the sinking of 'Cheonan', but the latter rejected the accusation and proposed to send an inspection group to the south to verify the evidence. Seoul, however, rejected that proposal. (ANI)
Just months ago, 57 out of 57 economists surveyed predicted that the economy would avoid a double dip recession. Now they're not so sure. Stock market gains have been wiped out and the S&P 500 has dropped 14 percent from its high in April. All of the main economic indicators are testing new lows. The so-called "soft patch" is looking like another hard landing. The fear is palpable. On Thursday, the Dow slipped another 74 points by the end of the session. It could have been worse. The markets have been holding on by their fingernails hoping that Bernanke will bail them out. But it's going to take more than the usual promise of low interest rates for an "extended period" to boost enthusiasm. Wall Street is looking for the "big fix", a trillion dollar resumption of the Fed's bond purchasing program (QE) to pump up flaccid asset prices, electro-shock demand, and raise consumer inflation expectations. The big banks and the brokerage houses want Bernanke to rout the Cassandras and the gloomsters and pump some adrenalin into sluggish indexes. The Fed chairman promised to help.....but not just yet, which is why the markets continue to seesaw.
Bernanke takes the threat of deflation seriously. His earlier speeches laid out a deflation-fighting strategy that is so radical it would shock the public and Wall Street alike. Here's an excerpt from a speech he gave in 2002 which illustrates the Fed boss's willingness to move heaven and earth to fend off the scourge of pernicious deflation:
Ben Bernanke: “My thesis here is that cooperation between the monetary and fiscal authorities in Japan could help solve the problems that each policymaker faces on its own. Consider for example a tax cut for households and businesses that is explicitly coupled with incremental BOJ purchases of government debt – so that the tax cut is in effect financed by money creation. Moreover, assume that the Bank of Japan has made a commitment, by announcing a price-level target, to reflate the economy, so that much or all of the increase in the money stock is viewed as permanent.
Under this plan, the BOJ’s balance sheet is protected by the bond conversion program, and the government’s concerns about its outstanding stock of debt are mitigated because increases in its debt are purchased by the BOJ rather than sold to the private sector. Moreover, consumers and businesses should be willing to spend rather than save the bulk of their tax cut: They have extra cash on hand, but – because the BOJ purchased government debt in the amount of the tax cut – no current or future debt service burden has been created to imply increased future taxes.
Essentially, monetary and fiscal policies together have increased the nominal wealth of the household sector, which will increase nominal spending and hence prices....from a fiscal perspective, the policy would almost certainly be stabilizing, in the sense of reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio....
Potential roles for monetary-fiscal cooperation are not limited to BOJ support of tax cuts. BOJ purchases of government debt could also support spending programs, to facilitate industrial restructuring, for example. The BOJ’s purchases would mitigate the effect of the new spending on the burden of debt and future interest payments perceived by households, which should reduce the offset from decreased consumption. More generally, by replacing interest-bearing debt with money, BOJ purchases of government debt lower current deficits and interest burdens and thus the public’s expectations of future tax obligations." (Some Thoughts on Monetary Policy in Japan, Governor Ben S. Bernanke, The Federal Reserve Board Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2003)
Yikes! This is monetization writ large. Anyone who thought Bernanke lacked cohones should reread this passage. The Fed chair is prepared to launch the most radical intervention in history, monetary Shock and Awe. But will the bewhiskered professor be able to persuade congress to follow his lead, after all, the fiscal component is critical to the program's success. They're two spokes on the same wheel. Here's how (I imagine) it would work: Congress passes emergency legislation to suspend the payroll tax for two years stuffing hundreds of billions instantly into the pockets of struggling consumers. The Fed makes up the difference by purchasing an equal amount of long-term Treasuries keeping the yields low while the economy resets, employment rises, asset prices balloon, and markets soar. As the economy accelerates, the dollar steadily loses ground triggering a sharp increase in exports and sparking a viscous trade war with foreign trading partners. Then......it's anyone's guess? Either Bernanke's "nuclear option" succeeds in resuscitating the comatose economy or foreign holders of dollars and dollar-backed assets dump their gargantuan trove of US loot in a pile and set it ablaze. It's all a roll of the dice.
WTNT32 KNHC 021456
HURRICANE EARL ADVISORY NUMBER 33
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL072010
1100 AM EDT THU SEP 02 2010
...DANGEROUS HURRICANE EARL HEADING FOR THE OUTER BANKS OF NORTH
CAROLINA...HURRICANE WARNINGS ISSUED FOR PORTIONS OF
SUMMARY OF 1100 AM EDT...1500 UTC...INFORMATION
ABOUT 300 MI...485 KM S OF CAPE HATTERAS NORTH CAROLINA
ABOUT 765 MI...1230 KM SSW OF NANTUCKET MASSACHUSETTS
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...140 MPH...220 KM/HR
PRESENT MOVEMENT...N OR 355 DEGREES AT 18 MPH...30 KM/HR
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...932 MB...27.52 INCHES
WATCHES AND WARNINGS
CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY...
A HURRICANE WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR THE COAST OF MASSACHUSETTS
FROM WESTPORT EASTWARD AROUND CAPE COD TO HULL INCLUDING
MARTHAS VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET ISLAND.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FROM NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT
TO WEST OF WESTPORT...INCLUDING BLOCK ISLAND.
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT...
A HURRICANE WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA NORTHEASTWARD TO THE NORTH
CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER INCLUDING THE PAMLICO AND ALBEMARLE
* WESTPORT MASSACHUSETTS EASTWARD AROUND CAPE COD TO HULL INCLUDING
MARTHAS VINEYARD AND NANTUCKET ISLAND
A HURRICANE WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO CAPE HENLOPEN
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* CAPE FEAR TO WEST OF BOGUE INLET NORTH CAROLINA.
* NORTH OF THE NORTH CAROLINA/VIRGINIA BORDER TO SANDY HOOK NEW
JERSEY...INCLUDING DELAWARE BAY SOUTH OF SLAUGHTER BEACH AND THE
CHESAPEAKE BAY SOUTH OF NEW POINT COMFORT.
* THE EASTERN PORTION OF LONG ISLAND NEW YORK FROM FIRE ISLAND INLET
TO PORT JEFFERSON HARBOR.
* NEW HAVEN CONNECTICUT TO WEST OF WESTPORT MASSACHUSETTS...
INCLUDING BLOCK ISLAND.
A TROPICAL STORM WATCH IS IN EFFECT FOR...
* NORTH OF HULL MASSACHUSETTS TO EASTPORT MAINE.
* THE COAST OF NOVA SCOTIA FROM PORT MAITLAND TO MEDWAY HARBOUR.
* THE COAST OF LONG ISLAND WEST OF FIRE ISLAND INLET AND PORT
FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA IN THE UNITED
STATES...INCLUDING POSSIBLE INLAND WATCHES AND WARNINGS...PLEASE
MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR LOCAL NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
FORECAST OFFICE. FOR STORM INFORMATION SPECIFIC TO YOUR AREA OUTSIDE
THE UNITED STATES...PLEASE MONITOR PRODUCTS ISSUED BY YOUR NATIONAL
DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK
AT 1100 AM EDT...1500 UTC...THE EYE OF HURRICANE EARL WAS LOCATED
NEAR LATITUDE 30.9 NORTH...LONGITUDE 74.8 WEST. EARL IS NOW MOVING
TOWARD THE NORTH NEAR 18 MPH...30 KM/HR. A TURN TOWARD THE
NORTH-NORTHEAST WITH AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED ON
FRIDAY. ON THE FORECAST TRACK...THE CENTER OF EARL WILL PASS NEAR
THE NORTH CAROLINA OUTER BANKS TONIGHT...AND APPROACH SOUTHEASTERN
NEW ENGLAND FRIDAY NIGHT.
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 140 MPH...220 KM/HR...WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. EARL IS A CATEGORY FOUR HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON
HURRICANE WIND SCALE. NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN STRENGTH IS EXPECTED
TODAY...BUT GRADUAL WEAKENING SHOULD BEGIN ON FRIDAY.
HURRICANE FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 90 MILES...150 KM...FROM
THE CENTER...AND TROPICAL STORM FORCE WINDS EXTEND OUTWARD UP TO 230
ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE IS 932 MB...27.52 INCHES.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
WINDS...TROPICAL-STORM-FORCE WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO REACH THE NORTH
CAROLINA COAST WITHIN THE WARNING AREA BY THIS AFTERNOON. EVEN IF
THE CENTER OF EARL REMAINS OFFSHORE...HURRICANE FORCE WINDS ARE
EXPECTED TO OCCUR IN THE OUTER BANKS BY TONIGHT. TROPICAL-STORM-
FORCE WINDS WILL LIKELY REACH THE COAST FROM VIRGINIA NORTHWARD TO
NEW JERSEY TONIGHT OR EARLY FRIDAY.
STORM SURGE...A DANGEROUS STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS
MUCH AS 3 TO 5 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL WITHIN BOTH HURRICANE WARNING
AREAS AND THE LOWER CHESAPEAKE BAY. ELSEWHERE WITHIN THE TROPICAL
STORM WARNING AREA...STORM SURGE WILL RAISE WATER LEVELS BY AS MUCH
AS 1 TO 3 FEET ABOVE GROUND LEVEL. NEAR THE COAST...THE SURGE WILL
BE ACCOMPANIED BY LARGE AND DESTRUCTIVE WAVES.
RAINFALL...ACCUMULATIONS OF 2 TO 4 INCHES...WITH ISOLATED
MAXIMUM AMOUNTS OF 6 INCHES...ARE EXPECTED OVER PORTIONS OF EASTERN
NORTH CAROLINA INCLUDING THE OUTER BANKS. ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 2
INCHES ARE POSSIBLE FARTHER TO THE NORTH ALONG THE IMMEDIATE
SURF...LARGE SWELLS FROM EARL WILL CONTINUE TO AFFECT THE BAHAMAS
AND THE EAST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES THROUGH FRIDAY. THESE
SWELLS WILL LIKELY CAUSE DANGEROUS SURF CONDITIONS AND RIP
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY...200 PM EDT.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...500 PM EDT.
Washington, September 1 (RHC)-- The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights have sued the Barack Obama administration over its claim to have the authority to assassinate U.S. citizens accused of terrorism links abroad.
Earlier this year, the Obama administration added the U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki to a CIA list of targets for capture or killing. Al-Awlaki is currently living in Yemen.
Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, said that "one of the dangers of the targeted killing program is that we will end up killing the wrong people." He said that at least with detention, "there’s the possibility of a court challenge or the possibility of appeal, but there’s no appeal from a drone; there’s no appeal from a death sentence after it’s imposed."
Vince Warren, executive director at the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said that if the United States were to set the precedent of going around the world and killing people that the U.S. thinks are suspects, "that would be setting probably one of the most dangerous precedents out there" because there would be nothing to stop other countries from targetting its own citizens in the United States.
Washington, September 1 (RHC)-- New figures released in Washington show that U.S. banks reduced lending last quarter while seeing their highest profit jump in three years. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation reported Tuesday that bank profits were up 21 percent to nearly $22 billion dollars.
The report shows that lending by U.S. banks over the same period fell 1.3 percent, or about $96 billion dollars. The exception was community banks or credit banks, which slightly increased lending.
Stockholm, September 1 (RHC)-- The environmental group Greenpeace has blocked an off-shore drilling operation near Greenland. On Tuesday, four activists boarded and locked themselves to an oil rig owned by the company Cairn Energy.
The environmental activists say they have enough supplies and are prepared to remain aboard the rig for several days. They say that off-shore drilling in the Arctic is very dangerous and that Cairn should be stopped from further oil drilling.
Greenpeace says it’s hoping to disrupt Cairn’s operations before a winter deadline to complete its Arctic drilling.