PNN - 8/18/13
RWS …………………………. 7:00 pm
Luis Cuevas………..……. 7:16 pm
Edwin Enciso ……….…. 7:32 pm
Daisy Baez …………….. 8:01 pm
Annette Taddeo-Goldstein 8:17 pm
Isabel Vincent ………….. 8:46 pm
1. John Kerry hammers democracy and takes a poke at "We The People" who are thoroughly fed up.
Speaking to State Department personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil, on Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that "this little thing called the Internet makes it much harder to govern."
What is interesting is that most of the media has not even so much as questioned Kerry or insisted he go into more detail about this remark which is a direct attack on democracy.
Obviously, Kerry and Obama and the Democrats and the Republicans are arrogantly insisting that they have the right to run the government according to Wall Street's dictate without any input into the decision-making process from "we the people."
If we look at how the Democrats and Republicans run their own political parties we get a clue about how they want to run the government--- by manipulation and scheming in order to control people and movements completely free from any form of real citizen participation, transparency and oversight and without any consideration for democracy, the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights or the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
It is the epitome of hypocrisy that we have the United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, trotting the globe "on our dime" lamenting efforts of citizens to participate in their governments as all these other Wall Street bribed politicians, the mainstream corporate controlled media and the over-paid capitalist Sooth-sayers/pundits along with the muddle-headed middle class "intellectual" supporters of Obama all boasting to the world that the United States is the world's greatest bastion of democracy.
Talk about "irony."
2. These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation's other findings include:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
3. The spotlight on animal rights in CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) is typically focused on cramped spaces and blatantly inhumane treatment. But some scientists, farmers and veterinarians are talking about another form of animal abuse: stuffing animals with feed grown from genetically engineered crops drenched in glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's RoundUp.
What they've uncovered should give us all pause. Because the symptoms veterinarians and researchers have observed in animals are not unlike many of the chronic, and increasingly prevalent, health problems plaguing humans today. Digestive disorders. Damaged organs. Infertility. Weak immune systems. Chronic depression.
"We've got a real mess," says Dr. Art Dunham, an Iowa veterinarian who has treated farm animals for several decades. Dunham is a staunch believer that GMO crops are wreaking havoc with the health of animals and humans. His daughter, Leah Dunham, who tagged along with her father on many a farm visit over the years, recently wrote America's Two-Headed Pig. Drawing on her father's clinical notes, and the work of scientists like Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus in plant pathology at Purdue University, Leah Dunham outlines some of the ways in which humans are adding to the suffering of farm animals by feeding them a glyphosate-tainted, GMO diet.
Leah Dunham would like to see the CAFO model drastically overhauled or abandoned. Her father believes it's more realistic to tackle the issue of GMO feed without attacking CAFOs. But father and daughter agree that the problems associated with today's industrial agriculture model extend beyond the health and well-being of animals. Leah Dunham wrote:
My father has pored over thousands of research papers in attempts to remedy the underlying causes of the illnesses described in this book. His work has embodied a commitment to healthy lands, creatures, and farms, as well as the hard work necessary to sustain them. After years of listening to him talk about his attempts to solve reoccurring health problems, I realized that most people don't have a clue as to how modern disease complexities affect farm animals. We both hope that this book will help all medical professionals, farmers, and consumers better address the true roots of various medical conditions, including nutrient deficiencies, clostridial infections, diabetes, and Parkinsons disease.
Leah Dunham says consumers are alarmed by news reports that focus on outbreaks of food-borne illnesses. But most are unaware that industrial GMO crops are "damaging our health in other, far more insidious ways - among them, by damaging the health of animals raised for food."
Here are a few examples, from America's Two-Headed Pig, of how Art and Leah Dunham believe genetically modified feeds, and particularly glyphosate, inflict suffering on farm animals.
In his many years of practice, Art Dunham hadn't seen a single case of manganese deficiency in the herds he treated. But that changed in about 2000, when he started seeing more and more calves being born with skeletal deformities - a symptom of a manganese-deficient diet. Initially skeptical, Dunham experimented by adding manganese to the calves' diets. Their health improved. His hunch was confirmed when lab results on some of the dead calves' livers revealed little or no manganese.
Dunham was confused. A diet of corn, soybean meal and hay should contain enough manganese for hogs, dairy and beef cattle. But it started to make more sense when he came across a study conducted in 2007 by Dr. Huber. Huber found that by spraying manganese on soybeans 10-14 days after the soybeans were sprayed with glyphosate, farmers could increase crop yields. Why? Huber postulated that the glyphosate caused some crops to become manganese-deficient because it was binding to nutrients in the soil and plants. Crops sprayed with glyphosate were less able to metabolize the nutrients needed for proper plant function, which made the plants susceptible to disease.
4. Two US senators on the intelligence committee said on Friday that thousands of annual violations by the National Security Agency on its own restrictions were "the tip of the iceberg."
"The executive branch has now confirmed that the rules, regulations and court-imposed standards for protecting the privacy of Americans' have been violated thousands of times each year," said senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, two leading critics of bulk surveillance, who responded Friday to a Washington Post story based on documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
"We have previously said that the violations of these laws and rules were more serious than had been acknowledged, and we believe Americans should know that this confirmation is just the tip of a larger iceberg."
On July 31, Wyden, backed by Udall, vaguely warned other senators in a floor speech that the NSA and the director of national intelligence were substantively misleading legislators by describing improperly collected data as a matter of innocent and anodyne human or technical errors.
In keeping with their typically cautious pattern when discussing classified information, Wyden and Udall did not provide details about their claimed "iceberg" of surveillance malfeasance. But they hinted that the public still lacks an adequate understanding of the NSA's powers to collect data on Americans under its controversial interpretation of the Patriot Act.
"We believe the public deserves to know more about the violations of the secret court orders that have authorized the bulk collection of Americans' phone and email records under the Patriot Act," Wyden and Udall said.
"The public should also be told more about why the Fisa court has said that the executive branch's implementation of section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has circumvented the spirit of the law, particularly since the executive branch has declined to address this concern."
In October 2011, the Fisa court secretly ruled that an NSA collection effort violated the fourth amendment, a fact first disclosed last year by Wyden. The Post disclosed the effort involved diverting international communications via fiberoptic cables inside the US into a "repository."
Shortly before Wyden and Udall hinted at even broader NSA violations of its surveillance authorities, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee came to the NSA's defense.
Senator Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, said the majority of "compliance incidents" are "unintentional and do not involve any inappropriate surveillance of Americans."
"The large majority of NSA's so-called 'compliance incidents' are called 'roaming' incidents, in which the NSA is collecting the phone or electronic communications of a non-American outside the United States, and that person then enters the United States," Feinstein said.
"The NSA generally won't know that the person has traveled to the United States. As the laws and rules governing NSA surveillance require different procedures once someone enters the U.S.—generally to require a specific FISA court order—NSA will cite this as a 'compliance incident,' and either cease the surveillance or obtain the required FISA court order."
Feinstein's counterpart in the House of Representatives, Mike Rogers of Michigan, issued a similar defense of the NSA.
"The disclosed documents demonstrate that there was no intentional and willful violation of the law and that the NSA is not collecting the email and telephone traffic of all Americans, as previously reported," Rogers said.
"Congress and the court have put in place auditing, reporting, and compliance requirements to help ensure that the executive branch, the Congress, and the court each have insight into how the authorities granted to the NSA are used. As a result, even the inadvertent and unintentional errors are documented.
"We demand these reviews so the NSA can constantly improve and correct any technical missteps that may impact Americans. The committee has been apprised of previous incidents, takes seriously each one, and uses the oversight and compliance regime to provide us insight into these operations and whether further adjustments must be made.
5. After months of in-fighting, the beleaguered Oregon Republican Party elected a new chairman last weekend. His name is Art Robinson, and he wants to sprinkle radioactive waste from airplanes to build up our resistance to degenerative illnesses. Robinson, who unsuccessfully ran for Congress against progressive Rep. Peter DeFazio in 2010 and 2012, took over after the previous chair resigned in advance of a recall campaign over her alleged financial mismanagement.
Robinson, who has a Ph.D. in chemistry, has marketed himself for the last three decades as an expert on everything from nuclear fallout to AIDS to climate science in the pages of a monthly newsletter, Access to Energy, which he published from his compound in the small town of Cave Junction. A quick glance at his writings, which were publicized during his ill-fated challenges to DeFazio, suggest that whatever the failings of the previous party leadership—Democrats now hold all statewide elected offices and control both houses of the state Legislature—Robinson brings with him a new set of challenges entirely.
On nuclear waste: "All we need do with nuclear waste is dilute it to a low radiation level and sprinkle it over the ocean—or even over America after hormesis is better understood and verified with respect to more diseases." And: "If we could use it to enhance our own drinking water here in Oregon, where background radiation is low, it would hormetically enhance our resistance to degenerative diseases. Alas, this would be against the law."
On climate change: "[T]here is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."
On diversity: The white-male imbalance at his alma mater, Cal Tech, Robinson argued, was due to the fact that "its applicants are weighted toward those who seek severe, difficult, total-immersion training in science—an experience few women and blacks desire."
6. Justin's Joke
According to his dad, while Justin was playing a video game "[S]omeone had said something to the effect of 'Oh you're insane, you're crazy, you're messed up in the head. To which [Justin] replied 'Oh yeah, I'm real messed up in the head, I'm going to go shoot up a school full of kids and eat their still, beating hearts,’ and the next two lines were 'lol and jk' [all sic]."
Even though it was a clear joke -- underscored by the shorthand for "laugh out loud" and "just kidding" -- a woman who saw the post reported Justin to the police. Now he's in jail for making "terroristic threats" and faces $500,000 for bail and up to 8 years in prison!
7. Marching to Scotts's House
MARCH TO GOVERNOR RICK SCOTT’S HOME
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31, 5:00 PM
Meet on the beach at Naples Fishing Pier, 25 12th Ave. S., Naples, FL 34102
March to 3150 Gordon Drive in Old Naples, Gulf of Mexico beach front
Let’s turn up the heat in a march to Governor Rick Scott’s home to stop new oil drilling in South Florida. Collier leased 115,000 acres for oil exploration to Hughes Oil, who applied for permits to set up a drill site in Golden Gate Estates — 1000 feet from family homes and adjacent to the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Western Everglades. We say, NO oil drilling in our backyards, in our panther habitats, and in our protected wetlands. If it’s legal, it shouldn’t be. New oil drilling will endanger residents, water, wetlands, and wildlife as well as contribute to environmentally damaging climate change.
By land and by sea, we’ll march and paddle from the Naples Pier to the Governor’s beachfront home. Banners and flags will spell out concerns. In the Governor’s backyard, we’ll build an oil rig to make visible why residents don’t want to live in an emergency evacuation zone, only feet from a hazardous drill site, with a 145’ oil rig. We’re calling on the Governor to tell the state to deny the permit. Closing with a candlelight vigil, we’ll invite everyone, from legislators to land barons, to partner with us in preserving South Florida. Bring a windproof candle, light stick, or cell phone set to candle mode.
Details: Facebook Preserve our Paradise, event page https://www.facebook.com/events/581706661871668/
Contact: Karen Dwyer, Ph.D. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support.
Looking forward to seeing you there,
8. NSA Backdoor - says Wyden
The previously undisclosed rule change allows NSA operatives to hunt for individual Americans' communications using their name or other identifying information. Senator Ron Wyden told the Guardian that the law provides the NSA with a loophole potentially allowing "warrantless searches for the phone calls or emails of law-abiding Americans".
The authority, approved in 2011, appears to contrast with repeated assurances from Barack Obama and senior intelligence officials to both Congress and the American public that the privacy of US citizens is protected from the NSA's dragnet surveillance programs.
The intelligence data is being gathered under Section 702 of the of the Fisa Amendments Act (FAA), which gives the NSA authority to target without warrant the communications of foreign targets, who must be non-US citizens and outside the US at the point of collection.
The communications of Americans in direct contact with foreign targets can also be collected without a warrant, and the intelligence agencies acknowledge that purely domestic communications can also be inadvertently swept into its databases. That process is known as "incidental collection" in surveillance parlance.
But this is the first evidence that the NSA has permission to search those databases for specific US individuals' communications.
A secret glossary document provided to operatives in the NSA's Special Source Operations division - which runs the Prism program and large-scale cable intercepts through corporate partnerships with technology companies - details an update to the "minimization" procedures that govern how the agency must handle the communications of US persons. That group is defined as both American citizens and foreigners located in the US.
"While the FAA 702 minimization procedures approved on 3 October 2011 now allow for use of certain United States person names and identifiers as query terms when reviewing collected FAA 702 data," the glossary states, "analysts may NOT/NOT [not repeat not] implement any USP [US persons] queries until an effective oversight process has been developed by NSA and agreed to by DOJ/ODNI [Office of the Director of National Intelligence]."
The term "identifiers" is NSA jargon for information relating to an individual, such as telephone number, email address, IP address and username as well as their name.
The document - which is undated, though metadata suggests this version was last updated in June 2012 - does not say whether the oversight process it mentions has been established or whether any searches against US person names have taken place.
Wyden, an Oregon Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, has obliquely warned for months that the NSA's retention of Americans' communications incidentally collected and its ability to search through it has been far more extensive than intelligence officials have stated publicly. Speaking this week, Wyden told the Guardian it amounts to a "backdoor search" through Americans' communications data.
"Section 702 was intended to give the government new authorities to collect the communications of individuals believed to be foreigners outside the US, but the intelligence community has been unable to tell Congress how many Americans have had their communications swept up in that collection," he said.
9. Fukushima News
Fukushima Worker: I’m worried about pressure forcing water up through cracked ground at nuclear plant — Level now rising on mountain side
Groundwater level is rising on the mountain side at last. It may be safe where they improved the ground, but the rest of the areas and the crippled roads may have the groundwater welling up.
Normally thinking, groundwater goes somewhere else if it’s stopped on the coastal line. If water has less places to go to, it makes the path through the weakened ground by the water pressure. There are a lot of cracks on the ground in Fukushima nuclear plant. That’s what I’m worried about.
* * * *
Folks desperate to beat the summer’s record heat have taken to beaches far too close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant [...]
Children warned to stay off jungle gyms or risk serious burns from super heated metal. [...]
The specter of contamination haunts would be beach goers.
Father: I do worry about radiation [...] but the data says it’s safe to go in the water again [...]
Disturbing revelations about contamination draining into the sea just 22 miles south [...]
10. News coming out of Japan these days is not good.
First, the Japanese government confirmed that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has been leaking an estimated 300 tonnes of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean each day. The leaks have apparently been going on since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused three reactors in the plant to melt down.
Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) called the situation an emergency and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called it “an urgent problem.” The consensus among independent scientists is that Tepco, the plant’s operator, is incapable of stopping the discharge into the sea, which it has kept secret for more than two years.
It was discovered after the NRA detected strontium and tritium in a monitoring well at the plant site. When found out, the company apologized.
But it gets worse.
On Aug. 14, Reuters reported that Tepco was preparing to remove 400 tonnes of “highly irradiated” spent fuel from the severely damaged Reactor Four building.
The operation, set to start in November and expected to take one year, has never been attempted on this scale and, according to nuclear experts, “is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle,” the news agency reported.
The radiation contained in the fuel pools in Reactor Four is equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, the Reuters report said.
In their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, independent scientists Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggat wrote: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”
In other words, the devastation would be worse than Chernobyl, worse than the 2011 Fukushima meltdowns, although no one can say how much worse.
The operation is necessary, however, because the chance of Fukushima being hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake was estimated last year at 98 per cent within three years. And that, according to the experts, could cause the fuel pool structure to collapse and start another chain reaction.
The seriousness of the situation cannot be overstated. It is truly a global crisis. A host of observers have called for a team of the world’s top scientists to take over the entire clean-up, especially in light of Tepco’s miserable track record of missteps and misinformation.
This week, however, Japan’s nuclear regulator approved a plan for Tepco to carry out the clean-up, expected to take 40 years and cost billions that the company said it doesn’t have.
Health officials in B.C. assure us that there is nothing to worry about from radioactive water pouring daily into the Pacific. It is, after all, a big ocean.
But the danger of “radiological disaster” from Reactor Four is real. For the Japanese it’s a living nightmare, and for the west coast of North America, it is a legitimate threat.
If we had a responsible government, we would be told about the risks from Reactor Four. People could take measures to protect themselves and their families in the event that an earthquake or blunder by Tepco caused the unspeakable to occur.
But as far as our government is concerned, Canadians just can’t handle the truth.
11. WEST COAST PETITION
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- CA)
Senator Ron Wyden (D- OR) Senator Jeff Merkley (D- OR)
Senator Maria Cantwell (D - WA) Senator Patty Murray (D- WA)
Senator Mark Begich (D- AK) Senator Lisa Murkowski (R- AK)
Senator Mazie Hirono (D- HI) Senator Brian Schatz (D- HI
US Senate switchboard:
Dear West Coast Senators:
We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the radiation danger from the ongoing disaster at the Japanese nuclear complex at Fukushima-Daiichi. We are asking you to conduct a thorough investigation of the continuing damage to West Coast states, and the potential danger of another catastrophe.
This would include a detailed inspection of the facility by a team of experts who are independent of the nuclear industry, as well as ongoing monitoring of West Coast and Hawaii water, air and food for radiation. We are especially concerned about making sure the site is safe in case of another huge earthquake, which is not unlikely.
Another big concern is pollution of the Pacific Ocean from ongoing discharge of radioactive water from the plant. Already, radioactive fish are migrating to the West Coast. Mammals at the top of the oceanic food chain are exhibiting strange symptoms, such as the epidemic of sea lion strandings in California.
We appreciate Senator Wyden's visit to the site in April 2012, and his subsequent letter of concern to appropriate officials. Evidently there has been no followup. The danger is being ignored. Your investigation would bring much needed attention.
Although the initial meltdown of three reactors, from the earthquake/tsunami of March 11, 2011, occurred over 2 years ago, the complex is still highly unstable, and leaking radiation constantly into the air and water. The Pacific Ocean is more and more contaminated. West Coast marine mammals are dying by the thousands, and West Coast babies are sick. The FDA is not testing food for radiation, although many fish are contaminated, and there have been reports of milk, mushrooms, seaweed being radioactive. Nor is the air along the coast being checked by official agencies.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which runs the facility, has admitted that the disaster was caused by negligence on their part, yet they continue to be in charge of the containment/cleanup process. There are serious mishaps almost daily: pipes break, rats chew through wires and cause power outages, pumps break, containment tanks leak radioactive water into the environment, huge beams fall into fuel pools, etc.
So far, they have been handled, but if any of these problems gets out of control, there will be another nuclear explosion, the facility will have to be abandoned altogether, and the reactor cores and spent fuel pools will emit so much radiation that the West Coast might have to be evacuated. Another 8.0-9.0 earthquake could have the same result, and there are many earthquakes in the region of magnitude 6.0 -7.0.
Meanwhile, TEPCO is secretive, severely limiting access to the complex by journalists and by any experts who are not beholden to the nuclear industry. TEPCO has been accused of doctoring photos and videos to hide cracks in the aging concrete buildings and containment tanks. The workers are overexposed to radiation, underpaid, and must be rotated out after a few months, to be replaced by others with little experience of the facility.
The Japanese government has been accused of lying about the radiation in the area and health problems, and seems more concerned with declaring “normalcy” and safeguarding the nuclear industry than with safeguarding the health and safety of the people.
The financial drain on TEPCO and the Japanese is huge. They are responding to emergencies, dealing with health problems, coping with radioactive fisheries and produce, compensating victims, and working on the daunting task of dismantling the spent fuel pools, which are the most vulnerable to radioactive fire and explosions.
This is an international problem. Many say it is THE most dangerous situation on the planet at this time. It especially affects the residents of West Coast states. Your investigation is urgently needed, to shed light, bring attention, and help find technical and financial solutions.