Sunday, September 29, 2013

SECRET TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) UPDATE


PNN's News Director Rick Spisak & 
Special Guest Co-Host  Luis A. Cuevas of PROGRESSIVE PUSH

Congressman Alan Grayson

Terry Day  - MOVE-ON's TPP - Point-man for Florida 

Marjorie Holt Conservation Chair Sierra Club - Environmental Aspect of TPP

Jerry Waxman - Journalist

1. Fukushima Daiichi underwater fences breached

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says underwater barriers in the facility's port have been breached. The so-called silt fences are intended to prevent the spread of radioactive materials.

Tokyo Electric Power Company officials said on Thursday they found damage in the curtain-like barriers near the intake canals of the No. 5 and 6 reactors.

The silt fences are to stop contaminated sea-bed soil from near the damaged No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 reactors polluting water near the still-intact No. 5 and 6 reactors.

TEPCO is investigating the accident's cause. It plans to repair the fences once high waves triggered by an approaching typhoon subside.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority instructed the power company to measure radiation levels in the sea near the No. 5 and 6 reactors.

The underwater barriers were also damaged in April. TEPCO officials attributed the cause to high waves.

Asahi Shimbun, September 27, 2013: Highly radioactive water accumulating in underground tunnels at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is spreading to the surrounding soil, according to new data. Radioactive substances of 400,000 becquerels per liter were found in water samples from a well [...] TEPCO said it detected radioactive materials that emit beta rays, including strontium [...] According to TEPCO, the unusually high radioactivity levels were discovered in water sampled from a well it had recently dug on the seaward side between the No. 1 and No. 2 reactor buildings. [...]
TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi NPS Prompt Report, Sept. 26, 2013: We would like to announce the measurement results of cesium and all β in the water taken from the groundwater observation hole No.1-16 (on the mountain side of No.1-3 where former observation was performed) located on the east of the Units 1-4 Turbine Buildings, sampled for the first time today on September 26. [...] Cesium-137: 2.1Bq/L [...] All-β: 400,000Bq/L [...] We will continue sampling, analyzing, and monitoring the situation.

Fukushima Voice, Sept. 27, 2013: [...] September 18, 2013, the Japan Meteorological Agency scientist, Michio Aoyama, told the audience at the IAEA 2013 Scientific Forum [...] that 60 GBq of Cesium-137 & Strontium-90 directly go out to the ocean outside of the Fukushima Daiichi port daily [900 billion of Cs-137 per month and 900 billion of Sr-90 per month], contradicting the Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s words [...] Unit 5 and 6 take up the Fukushima Daiichi port water for cooling and release the contaminated effluent north of the port, directly into the Pacific [...] [Aoyama] had his research censored by the government [...] his team was deprived of funding to check environmental radioactivity almost immediately after the accident and ordered not to take any measurements. [...] Then Aoyama was told not to release [...] that the Fukushima oceanic contamination was several orders of magnitude higher than that from the past nuclear testing and at least one order of magnitude higher than the contamination in Black Sea and Baltic Sea due to the 1986 Chernobyl accident. His superior said to take this part out [...] Aoyama could not publish this study due to the Meteorological Agency not giving him permission. [...]

National Geographic, August 13, 2013: Jota Kanda, an oceanographer at Toyko University of Marine Science and Technology, calculated that the plant is leaking 0.3 terabecquerels [300 billion becquerels] of cesium-137 per month

New Scientist, August 23, 2013: Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts says the Kanda estimate [of leakage into the sea from Fukushima Daiichi] is probably the best he is aware of, and closely matches figures released on 21 August by Tepco, of 0.1 to 0.6 TBq [100 billion to 600 billion] per month for caesium-137 and 0.1 to 0.3 [100 billion to 300 billion] for strontium.

(naked capitalism)
I got this e-mail from a law school professor this evening:
wtf is with Eric Holder personally meeting with Jaimie Dimon? Since when do other targets of investigations get such access and solicitude? Do you think any AG would have met with Michael Milken when he was being investigated? Unreal.
It should be no surprise by now to see the degree to which Administration officials toady and scrape to the banks. Oh yes, you’ll witness the occasional stern word in public from Obama and his minions to maintain the appearance that that they operate independently of their financial lords and masters. But Holder has been so absent from any meaningful action that it’s surprising to see him pretend to play a hands-on role. I’d was certain he had forgotten how to practice law, since his main job seemed to be acting as propagandist for Team Obama enforcement theater.
In case you wondered what the indignation was about, here’s a Washington Post recap:
The sage of Wall Street journeyed to Washington on Thursday, but Jamie Dimon’s visit was unlike any the JPMorgan Chase chief has made before.
Dimon sought a meeting with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. in an urgent bid to dispose of multiple government investigations into the bank’s conduct leading up to the financial crisisand avoid criminal charges. The deal that Dimon discussed with Holder would involve paying the government at least $11 billion, the biggest settlement a single company has ever undertaken, according to several people familiar with the negotiations…
For Holder, 62, meanwhile, a landmark settlement with JPMorgan could help quiet criticism that the Justice Department has failed to hold Wall Street accountable for sparking the housing market’s crash and the ensuing recession. Holder was criticized by lawmakers and consumer advocates this year for saying that some banks had become too big to prosecute.
“Sage of Wall Street”? Ready the barf bag. The most lofty title Dimon has been given before it “titan” which is acceptable, if cloying, given JP Morgan’s size. But “sage of Wall Street” has heretofore been limited to Warren Buffett, who has not only his investment record but his cagey corn pone to legitimate that label. “Sage” connotes wisdom above all, and Dimon’s conduct during and after the Whale affair was anything but.
But the more disturbing bit is the Administration’s high odds of jumping on what I suspect is a JP Morgan PR line, that touting this settlement as “the largest evah” will give Holder & Co. some sort of newfound credibility. Even the WaPo isn’t buying it:
Even at $11 billion or more, the bank would be paying just a fraction of the damage it wreaked on mortgage investors, government agencies and homeowners. And a deal might ensure that no senior executives go to jail, which some experts say would let Wall Street avoid full responsibility.
Comparing the past settlements to the pending JP Morgan deal is like comparing apples to stinky fruit. The next biggest one was for a single abuse, that of GlaxoSmithKline for selling antidepressants illegally. This settlement, by contrast, even though it involves only one product, covers a swathe of bad conduct across three institutions: Bear, WaMu, and JP Morgan. And it also includes the monster Fannie and Freddie putback liability. All the banks that had large subprime businesses are going to stump up large payments to put those claims to bed. By going out early and wrapping other outstanding litigation into the mix, the Morgan bank makes the settlement look more serious than it really is.
In addition, JP Morgan has managed to promulgate the myth it was less deeply involved in the mortgage business because it perceived the risks and stayed away. Not true. For instance, it was rumored in February 2007 that Dimon was sniffing around Bear as a possible acquisition. Several correspondents wrote today of how eager JP Morgan was to increase its participation in the CDO business (mind you, I’ve heard this repeatedly over the years from insiders). From one message:
I had JPM CDO salesmen banging down my door in 2006 and early 2007. They wanted to do more, but didn’t have the staff, assets etc. They didn’t miss out on CDO carnage because of good risk management. They just weren’t that good at it.
So let’s understand what Dimon’s confab with Holder was likely about (the JP Morgan chief also brought his general counsel and bank regulatory uberlawyer Rodg Cohen). The subtext of the article was that Dimon was pressing for a deal to be done quickly. Why the urgency? Well, one has to wonder how much Dimon is effectively appearing in a personal versus an executive capacity. It would be, um, inappropriate to conflate the two discussions, but it’s not hard to imagine that Dimon thought a personal meeting with Holder, showing what an impressive figure he is, could only work in his favor (it isn’t only Dimon who is impressed with his own impressiveness; journalists like Andrew Ross Sorkin and Gillian Tett, who uncharacteristically looks to have been swayed by being embedded at JP Morgan, have also fawned over him). Remember, the CFTC has not settled its Whale charges, and it might unearth some further violations or facts that make JP Morgan top brass look even worse. The DoJ (through its Southern District of New York office) has charged two JP Morgan traders. It isn’t clear whether it will succeed in getting either one extradited, but if it did, you can be sure they prosecutors would be seeing if they could get them to cop a plea bargain to implicate more senior management.
Thus it’s nuts for the DoJ to enter into any settlement that includes JP Morgan executives as individuals until it sees how the pending cases play out. And recall that we’ve already said even before the $920 million settlement that Dimon was a clear-cut case for a criminal Sarbanes Oxley prosecution. The information in the SEC’s order only strengthens our view (mind you, that does not mean we think in a nanosecond that Dimon will be charged criminally. But that threat could be used to force long-overdue corporate governance changes and if more damaging evidence were to surface, a timetable for Dimon’s departure).
But the flip side is that the negotiations supposedly included the question of whether the bank would be charged criminally. That sort of move has not been all that well received, since past criminal settlements have involved only subsidiaries (having a parent or critically important sub admit to criminal conduct would bar quite a few customers from doing business with it, and that’s widely viewed as a nuclear option and thus unusable in practice). And JP Morgan may be playing “don’t throw us in the briar patch,” acting as if it is extremely loath to admit to criminal charges at a subsidiary level when it hopes that that sort of sanction will buy the Administration enough PR points so as to make it less eager to pursue individuals to the maximum extent.
Holder indirectly acknowledged that issue. The Washington Post again:
The discussion centered partly on whether the bank could avoid criminal prosecution if it paid the fine and whether it would have to admit guilt. Asked about the negotiations in an unrelated news conference, Holder acknowledged the meeting but snapped at a reporter who suggested that “prison time” was not part of the talks. “You weren’t in the room when I said I was talking to them,” Holder said.
Mind you, the Financial Times makes the meeting sound more like normal commercial haggling. If so, why did Dimon press to make a personal appearance? From the pink paper:
Mr Dimon’s trip to Washington followed Mr Holder personally rejecting a previous offer to resolve the matters as being too low. Talks were rekindled after the US threatened on Tuesday to sue the bank…
JPMorgan is arguing over the extent to which it should be responsible for the actions of Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual, both institutions that the bank bought during the crisis with the encouragement of the government.
The bank has said in disclosures to investors that it “believes it has no remaining exposure related to loans” sold to Fannie and Freddie. Mr Dimon has suggested it is not fair to punish the bank for past allegations of the two companies.
Yves again. The only reason one might normally use to legitimate a meeting like this, is if talks between the two sides has become so acrimonious that the principals needed to meet. But that makes no sense with Dimon represented by the best lawyers money can buy, who happen also to be much cooler headed than he is, both in general and by virtue of not having to negotiate for themselves.
So the good news is Jamie is actually breaking a sweat. The bad news is the Administration has signaled how accommodating it is likely to be through the unseemly act of giving him an audience.

3. Breaking: Investment Chapter of TPP Leaks for All to Read

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, a secretive trade agreement between several countries, has had one of its chapters leak. One of the major concerns that arose from this leak is that the TPP threatens to re-write large portions of American law.

If you ever needed any evidence that the TPP was way more than just a complete redesign of copyright law, this was certainly one leak worth checking out. Public Citizen apparently got their hands on the investment chapter of TPP. We are aware of the copyright chapter leak, and now this chapter leaks. This is apparently the 12th chapter which should tell you how much is being covered. We’re not sure what is contained in the other 10 chapters or if there are even more chapters after this. In any event, this chapter has raised alarm bells by those publishing the document:

    “The outrageous stuff in this leaked text may well be why U.S. trade officials have been so extremely secretive about these past two years of TPP negotiations,” said Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “Via closed-door negotiations, U.S. officials are rewriting swaths of U.S. law that have nothing to do with trade and in a move that will infuriate left and right alike have agreed to submit the U.S. government to the jurisdiction of foreign tribunals that can order unlimited payments of our tax dollars to foreign corporations that don’t want to comply with the same laws our domestic firms do.”

    Although the TPP has been branded a “trade” agreement, the leaked text of the pact’s Investment Chapter shows that the TPP would:

    - limit how U.S. federal and state officials could regulate foreign firms operating within U.S. boundaries, with requirements to provide them greater rights than domestic firms;

    - extend the incentives for U.S. firms to offshore investment and jobs to lower-wage countries;

    - establish a two-track legal system that gives foreign firms new rights to skirt U.S. courts and laws, directly sue the U.S. government before foreign tribunals and demand compensation for financial, health, environmental, land use and other laws they claim undermine their TPP privileges; and

    - allow foreign firms to demand compensation for the costs of complying with U.S. financial or environmental regulations that apply equally to domestic and foreign firms.


    The leak also reveals that:

    - Australia has refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the “investor-state” private corporate enforcement foreign tribunal system;

    - U.S. negotiators are alone in seeking to expand this extra-judicial enforcement system to allow the use of foreign tribunals to enforce contracts that foreign investors may have with a government for government procurement or to operate utilities contracts and even related to concessions for natural resources on federal lands;

    - Other countries are proposing safeguards for financial regulation and limits to the corporate tribunals that the U.S. has not supported.

We took a look through this chapter looking for anything related to intellectual property or technology related content. There was actually some provisions related to intellectual property related matters and those provisions seem to say that the whole idea of an international tribunal system does not apply to intellectual property related topics. So, there are exceptions to what is covered by this international tribunal system that works on its own set of rules.

All this, of course, doesn’t mean that this chapter doesn’t have political ramifications. Far from it as far as I can tell. The idea of corporations now being able to operate on their own laws and skirt domestic laws can be a rather disturbing thought, let alone be something that is actively being drafted. If I’m reading this chapter right (and, I should emphasize I’m not an expert in business), then this could allow some corporations to be literally above the law because they can say, “while we are in your country, we don’t have to abide by any of your rules because we abide by a different set of rules.” Sounds pretty scary to me anyway.

4. GOOGLE, FACEBOOK, YELP - Climb into ALEC's Killing Machine
Union-busting, fighting Obamacare, backing the Stand Your Ground laws that led to Trayvon Martin’s death, denying the proof of climate change… there’s nothing the American Legislative Exchange Council won’t stoop to.
The public outcry against ALEC has caused nearly fifty corporations to drop out over the past several months. But now Facebook, Google and Yelp are looking to reverse that trend. The companies recently joined the group responsible for some of the most egregious anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-poor, and anti-minority legislation in the past decade. Now, we need to raise an outcry to show them that getting in bed with ALEC is unacceptable, before all the hard work over the past year is undone.

Demand Facebook, Google and Yelp drop their ALEC membership now.

5. Take Over Bldg
by Kevin Zeese

Washington, DC – This afternoon, September 23rd, protesters concerned about the looming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) covered the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative with banners calling for a democratic process and a release of the treaty’s text. The group, which included members of, Backbone Campaign, Veterans for Peace, CODEPINK, and Earth First!, say that the TPP will have vast consequences for U.S. laws, workers rights, the environment and many other aspects of life.

We decided to expose these secret negotiations by going right to their national office and plastering the Office of the US Trade Representative with messages that let them and the public know what they are doing. We took over their office building today, and plan to continue to escalate tactics in Congress and wherever we see opportunities to expose the TPP, stop the undermining of democracy through Fast Track and have a real debate over whether the US wants rigged trade for big transnational corporations or fair trade that puts people and the planet before profits.
So far, the TPP has been drafted with an unprecedented degree of secrecy. While information has been kept from the public more than 600 corporate advisers have access to the treaty’s text – including companies such as Halliburton, Monsanto, Walmart, and Chevron. The Obama administration has kept the TPP classified, making it the first-ever classification of a trade agreement. In addition to denying public access to its text, the president has urged Congress to use Fast Track to pass the treaty. Fast Track would limit congressional consideration of the text to a quick up or down vote and give President Obama the power to sign and negotiate the treaty. This turns the Constitution on its head as the Commerce Clause authorizes Congress to “regulate commerce among nations” not the president.”
Seven advocates dressed as workers attached four massive banners to the front and side of the US Trade Representative’s office. Banners read “Transparency: Release the Text,” “Democracy, not Corporatocracy,” “Corporate Coup against the People and Planet” and “Flush The”  Other activists at the front of the building held a large 15 foot tall sign that said: “Trading Away People’s Lives and the Planet’s Future.”  They were able to cover the building in banners and hold this un-permitted protest and negotiate doing so without anyone getting arrested, in fact one activist who had been held in handcuffs was even released.
Margaret Flowers, MD, who dressed as a workman to attach a sign to the front of the US Trade Representative said that “the TPP will undermine health care systems, make pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices more expensive and therefore increase pain and suffering and even cost people their lives.” Flowers an advocate for a national health care plan that treats health care as a human right rather than a commodity warned that “The TPP will undermine the excellent single payer health care systems in Japan, Australia and New Zealand and make it more difficult for the United States to put in place a single payer system — which is what most Americans and doctors want to see.”
The protesters join Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN), Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC), and many others who are opposing Fast Track and calling for the text’s immediate release. Earlier this summer, Rep. Grayson stated that, “this, more than anything, shows the abuse of the classified information system,” calling the treaty an “assault on democratic government.” Sen. Warren noted in her letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, “if transparency would lead to widespread public opposition to a trade agreement then that trade agreement should not be the policy of the United States.”   Groups of Republicans and Democrats are beginning to speak out against Fast Track, the lack of transparency and the TPP.  Just as the war against Syria was stopped by a cross-partisan coalition, such a coalition can stop the TPP. Indeed 14 trade agreements have not become law in the last ten years because of citizen opposition preventing countries from reaching agreement.
An agreement that will empower corporations to dominate every aspect of our lives — food, water, health care, wages, jobs, Internet and more — should be debated openly and transparently.  The United States is supposed to be a democracy; acting in secret to create the largest trade agreement in history makes a mockery of democracy.  Minimizing the checks and balances between the Congress and president undermines the Constitution.  And, giving away U.S. sovereignty to transnational corporations is the opposite of a country of, by and for the people.
While the full content of the treaty remains unknown, public opposition to what little has been leaked is growing. We are confident the TPP can be stopped, if people know what is in  the agreement. They are keeping this agreement secret because they know its contents are so unpopular. People remember the negative impact of NAFTA, the TPP is NAFTA on steroids and will do great damage to working people all over the world as well as to the environment.
A new report from the Center for Economic Policy and Research finds that the TPP will produce small economic growth of only 1/10th of 1 percent per year, but it will hurt working Americans as 90 percent of workers will see their income reduced as a result of the TPP. Unions including the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO and Teamsters have raised serious concerns about the TPP’s impact on working families, and doctors have also highlighted consequences for access to healthcare and life-saving medicines.
Resistance is not limited to the U.S. alone. Other members of the treaty, including Japan and Malaysia, have seen significant public demonstrations in opposition to the agreement, while the lead negotiator from Chile, Rodrigo Contreras, resigned earlier this year citing concerns that the treaty would restrict Chile’s ability to shape public policies, control financial institutions and address issues of health, education, and development.
One protester from, who locked himself to Margaret Flowers on top of the building’s scaffolding, has firsthand experience with how transnational corporations control and design free trade agreements like these. Steven Bray decided to quit his job after his former employer, Caterpillar, sent the entire company a link to an automated message in support of the U.S.-Colombian Free Trade Agreement. “When I learned how many of my coworkers responded without actually considering the text and its potential consequences, I couldn’t stand it. This made the voice of one CEO sound like the voice of 10,000.” The Colombia trade agreement has had a serious negative effect on farmers and workers in Colombia and has resulted in massive nationwide protests.
Protesters promised to escalate their tactics if President Obama continues to undermine the Constitution, transparency, and democracy. On Tuesday, the protesters will crash a Fast Track train into Congress after driving it across the city from the US Chamber of Commerce at 11 AM.

In May of 2013, the Pew Charitable Trusts released a report that sounded a frightening alarm. Titled “Retirement Security Across Generations” and widely cited throughout the national media, the study found that a lack of retirement savings, less guaranteed pension income and the economic downturn have collectively exposed the next generation of Americans “to the real possibility of downward mobility in retirement.”
Summing up the study’s implicit push to stabilize Americans’ retirement future, a Pew official declared that lawmakers must focus on creating policies that help workers “make up for these losses and prepare for the future.”
Pew’s analysis, though eye-opening, was not particularly controversial. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, conservative Martin Morse Wooster acknowledges that the Pew Trusts are “treated as benign truth-tellers, so high-minded as to be beyond politics” – and the call to shore up Americans’ retirement security, indeed, upheld the organization’s promise
to “generate objective data.” Based on indisputable evidence, it proved that the country’s move away from guaranteed pension income – and states’ willingness to raid worker pension plans to finance massive corporate subsidies – will have disastrous consequences.
What was surprising was the fact that at the same time one branch of Pew was rightly sounding this moderate non-ideological alarm to shore up retirement security, and Pew’s Economic Development Tax Incentives Project was warning of states’ wasteful tax subsidies, a more political branch of the organization was working in tandem with controversial Enron billionaire John Arnold to begin championing an ideologically driven plan to make the retirement problem far worse.

This Pew-Arnold partnership began informally in 2011 and 2012 when both organizations marshaled resources to try to set the stage for retirement benefit cuts in California, Florida, Rhode Island and Kansas. With legislative success in three of those four states, Pew and Arnold created a formal partnership in late 2012 that targeted another three states, Arizona, Kentucky and Montana.
This formal partnership continues today, with the organizations issuing joint reports and conducting joint legislative briefings advocating cuts to guaranteed retirement income. It is widely expected that this partnership will continue working in these same states and potentially expand operations into Colorado, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and Nevada.
Should an Enron Executive Be Dictating Public Pension Policy?
In the lead-up to his anti-pension partnership with Pew, Arnold’s most relevant connection to pensions and retirement security came from working at Enron – a company whose collapse destroyed its own workers’ pensions and helped to damage the financial stability of public pension funds across America. Indeed, as the New York Times reported, “The rapid decline of the Enron Corporation devastated its employees’ retirement plan.” Meanwhile, in a separate story, the newspaper noted that “across the United States, pension funds for union members, teachers, government employees and other workers have lost more than $1.5 billion because of the sharp decline in their Enron holdings.”
In light of Arnold’s corporate pedigree, it’s no surprise that, rather than “laying the foundation for effective government solutions,” as Pew’s mission promises, the Pew-Arnold partnership has been a campaign to reduce guaranteed retirement income for pensioners. As Marketwatch reported in 2013, Pew and Arnold are “advocat(ing) for cash balance plans.” They are advocating for 401(k)-style defined contribution plans as well.
Like President George W. Bush’s proposal to radically alter Social Security, many of these plans would transform stable public pension funds into individualized accounts. They also most often reduce millions of Americans’ guaranteed retirement benefits. In many cases, they would also increase expenses for taxpayers and enrich Wall Street hedge fund managers.
A Pension-Cutting Movement That Ignores Data
These pension-slashing initiatives are part of a larger movement that aims to reduce or eliminate guaranteed retirement income for public workers. Leading this movement under the euphemistic guise of “reform,” Pew’s Public Sector Retirement Systems Project and the Arnold Foundation are trying to distract attention from what McClatchy Newspapers documented: namely, that “there’s simply no evidence that state pensions are the current burden to public finances that their critics claim.”
Rather than acknowledge that truth, Pew and Arnold have successfully manufactured the perception of crisis – which has prompted demands for dramatic action. Pew and Arnold have consequently helped shape those general demands into specific efforts to cut guaranteed retirement income – all while downplaying (or altogether omitting) any discussion of the possibility of raising revenue through, for instance, ending taxpayer-funded corporate subsidies and so-called tax expenditures.
This deceptive message persists, even though these annual subsidies are typically far larger than the annual pension shortfalls. Indeed, to advocate cuts in retirement benefits, Pew and Arnold cite a 30-year, $1.38 trillion pension gap – a $46 billion annual shortfall. Yet, they rarely ever mention that, as the New York Times reports, “states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies” in the form of subsidies and tax expenditures.
Such an insidiously selective message is eerily reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher’s infamous “There Is No Alternative” framing. It suggests that harming millions of middle-class workers is the only way forward – and that states shouldn’t dare consider raising pension-fund revenue by eliminating corporate subsidies. Thanks to Pew, Arnold and other groups, this has now become the dominant argument even though the amount state and local governments now spend on such wasteful handouts is far greater than the pension shortfalls.
Perhaps the most famous illustration of the pervasiveness of this deceptive argument comes from Detroit. When the city recently declared bankruptcy, much of the media and political narrative around the fiasco simply assumed that public pension liabilities are the problem. Few noted that both Detroit and the state of Michigan have for years been spending hundreds of millions of dollars on wasteful corporate subsidies. Worse, the very same political leaders pleading poverty to demand cuts to municipal pensions were simultaneously promising to spend more than a quarter-billion taxpayer dollars on a professional hockey arena.
But as outrageous as the blame-the-pensioners mythology from Detroit is, it is the same misleading mythology that is now driving public policy in states across America.
In Rhode Island, the state government slashed guaranteed pension benefits while handing $75 million to a retired professional baseball player for his failed video game scheme.
In Kentucky, the state government slashed pension benefits while continuing to spend $1.4 billion on tax expenditures.
In Kansas, the state government slashed guaranteed pension benefits despite being lambasted by a watchdog group for its penchant for spending huge money on corporate welfare “megadeals.”
In each of these states and many others now debating pension “reform,” Pew and Arnold have colluded to shape a narrative that suggests cutting public pension benefits is the only viable path forward. This, despite the fact that a) cutting wasteful corporate welfare could raise enough revenues to prevent such cuts; b) the pension “reform” proposals from Pew and Arnold could end up costing more than simply shoring up the existing system; and c) pension expenditures are typically more reliable methods of economic stimulus than corporate welfare.
Those inconvenient facts have been ignored in the political debate over pensions. Thanks to the combination of Pew’s well-known brand and Arnold’s vast resources, the pension-slashing movement’s extremist message has been able to dominate the political discourse in states throughout America.
The result is a skewed national conversation about state budgets – one in which middle-class public sector workers are increasingly asked to assume all the financial sacrifice for balancing the government books, and corporations and the wealthy are exempted from any sacrifice whatsoever.
A Microcosmic Story for the Citizens United Age
This is the story not merely of two nonprofits nor merely of one set of economic issues – it is a microcosmic tale of how in the Citizens United age, politically motivated billionaires can quietly implement an ideological agenda in local communities across the country.
Operating in state legislatures far away from the national media spotlight, these billionaires can launder their ideological agenda through seemingly nonpartisan foundations, with devastating legislative consequences for millions of taxpayers and families. And as the battle over America’s retirement proves, it isn’t just the infamous Koch brothers at work anymore.
In this particularly important fight over pensions, Arnold is leveraging his Enron fortune and his ties to top Republican activists to forge a powerful partnership with Pew. Having already spent at least $10 million on his crusade to cut retirement benefits, Arnold’s partnership with Pew is now driving and distorting the legislative debate over public pensions in at least seven states – and has helped enact huge cuts to retirement benefits in many of them.
With other billionaires now reportedly following Arnold’s lead and investing in the campaign to cut public workers’ retirement benefits, the Pew-Arnold plot is poised to expand into every state in America. Indeed, as Institutional Investor reports, “From Blackstone Group co-founder Peter Peterson to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, some of the wealthiest Americans are beginning to pay increasing attention to this issue,” meaning that pensioners will “have to get used to billionaires brandishing checkbooks” in their political crusade to cut retiree benefits.
The Corporate Bait-and-Switch
The goals of the plot against pensions are both straightforward and deceptive. On the surface, the primary objective is to convert traditional defined-benefit pension funds that guarantee retirement income into riskier, costlier schemes that reduce benefits and income guarantees, and subject taxpayers and millions of workers’ retirement funds to Enron’s casino-style economics.
At the same time, waging a high-profile fight for such an objective also simultaneously helps achieve the conservative movement’s larger goal of protecting profligate corporate subsidies.
The bait-and-switch at work is simple: The plot forwards the illusion that state budget problems are driven by pension benefits rather than by the far more expensive and wasteful corporate subsidies that states have been doling out for years. That ends up 1) focusing state budget debates on benefit-slashing proposals, and therefore 2) downplaying proposals that would raise revenue to shore up existing retirement systems. The result is that the Pew-Arnold initiative at once helps the right’s ideological crusade against traditional pensions and helps billionaires and the business lobby preserve corporations’ huge state tax subsidies.
In bequeathing its brand to an Enron billionaire and embracing this campaign, Pew is being steered back toward its ultraconservative roots. In the process, the retirement security of millions of Americans is being jeopardized.

7. NSA Reportedly Uses Data To Chart Americans' Social Ties
Efforts by the National Security Agency to track potential suspects and find connections between them have led the agency to collate its reams of data with information drawn from sources that include GPS locators and Facebook profiles, according to . The newspaper cites documents provided by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contract worker, as well as interview with officials.
"The agency can augment the communications data with material from public, commercial and other sources, including bank codes, insurance information, Facebook profiles, passenger manifests, voter registration rolls and GPS location information," the newspaper says, "as well as property records and unspecified tax data, according to the documents."
The alleged practice is part of a broad attempt to use mountains of data to track and find connections among potential suspects. It could, for instance, determine patterns of behavior or determine when two people were in the same location or traveled together.
An NSA spokeswoman tells the Times, "All data queries must include a foreign intelligence justification, period."
But citing an internal NSA memo from 2011, the Times reports that the "large-scale graph analysis" of metadata like that described in the documents can be done without verifying the "foreignness" of every e-mail address or phone number.
The newspaper also cites NSA documents that describe a catch-all database called Mainway, into which a large number of phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other data flow.
"An internal N.S.A. bulletin, for example, noted that in 2011 Mainway was taking in 700 million phone records per day," the Times reports. "In August 2011, it began receiving an additional 1.1 billion cellphone records daily from an unnamed American service provider," according to the report."
The allegations about the NSA program comes days after four senators introduced legislation that targets the NSA's practice of collecting Americans' phone records in bulk, as the Wednesday.
After the Times report emerged Saturday, the American Civil Liberties Union responded by questioning the agency's rationale for its surveillance in the U.S.
"This report confirms what whistleblowers have been saying for years: the NSA has been monitoring virtually every aspect of Americans' lives – their communications, their associations, even their locations," ACLU Deputy Legal Director Jameel Jaffer said of the actions described in the Times report. "The NSA apparently believes it can conduct this surveillance because 30 years ago the Supreme Court upheld the government's warrantless collection of basic information about a criminal suspect's telephone calls over the course of a single day."

NRC Withholding Documents Confirming Risks to One-Third of U.S. Nuclear Plants

PEER Press release
For Immediate Release: Aug 15, 2013
Posted on Aug 15, 2013 | Tags: NRC

Washington, DC — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is wrongfully withholding reports about dam failure leading to inundation of reactors, as well as protests from its own engineers about its failure to address this risk facing nearly three dozen U.S. nuclear facilities, according to a federal lawsuit filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). As with the 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan's Fukushima Dai-chi facility, flooding could cause core meltdowns with catastrophic consequences.

Many of the documents at issue concern South Carolina’s Oconee Nuclear Station, where the NRC has known for more than two decades that failure of a dam ten miles upriver from the plant would swamp the plant’s three reactors and their cooling equipment. In that event, the reactor would go to core damage in less than 10 hours. Within three days, the flooded reactor would release its fission products into the atmosphere. This is comparable to what took place at Fukushima when it was hit by an earthquake followed by a tsunami. The tsunami’s monster ocean waves duplicated the effect of a dam-break flood.

The risks at Oconee are not unique, however. Comparable flood threats from upstream dams exist at dozens of plants such as Watts Bar in Tennessee, Prairie Island in Minnesota and the Fort Calhoun Station in Nebraska. These flood-vulnerable facilities represent approximately one-third of the country’s entire reactor-based electric generation capacity.

In the middle of the last decade, the NRC began removing material on dam failure inundation from public circulation. Recently, some of the agency’s own engineers objected to this after-the-fact secrecy, as well as NRC’s lack of action in making utility operators undertake plant modifications or mitigation measures.

As its stated reason for cloaking its scientific reports on inundation risk and related documents, the NRC is invoking a law enforcement exemption in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) usually reserved for shielding the identity of confidential informants.

“We strongly disagree that the NRC has a plausible basis for withholding this material and will vigorously pursue full release,” stated PEER Counsel Kathryn Douglass who filed the complaint today in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “This is not an academic point as these inundation accidents could make large swaths of the country uninhabitable for at least a century.”

According to NRC calculations, the odds of the dam near the Oconee plant failing at some point over the next 22 years are much higher than were the odds of an earthquake-induced tsunami causing a meltdown at the Fukushima plant. In fact, NRC assessments conclude “a Jocassee Dam failure is a credible event.”

The NRC has no direct control over the operations of these upstream dams. Ironically, the agencies which do have operational control over dams – the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of Homeland Security – have all consented to the release of the material that NRC has chosen to keep hidden.

“It is no secret that water flows downhill,” Douglass added. “This case is about the NRC shielding its negligence from public view.”

9. internet limiting by $$$$
The big providers don’t want to do that, though, so instead they are trying to figure out ways to charge customers more for what they already pay for. And the amounts they are charging are exorbitant. For instance, Verizon Wireless’ HomeFusion service has a top tier of $120 a month for 30 GB, with a $10 charge for every gigabyte over that. Since, as the article notes, Netflix can take up to 700 MB for an hour of streaming, that cap will get blown through pretty quickly. And it’s completely inadequate for the next generation of video: you can forget about streaming a movie that takes 45 to 60 GB.

The reason they are doing this is because they want to do away with net neutrality. If lots of their customers are getting data from site A then site A is a problem. If only they didn’t have to connect their customers to it, or maybe if they could charge the site a premium! And that’s where usage based broadband pricing comes in. If Verizon succeeds against the FCC and net neutrality is gutted, web site owners face the prospect of being charged extra by providers for the privilege of delivering content to customers.
We are already seeing a version of that as providers make deals to serve certain content free of data cap usage. And when you’re on a plan that has a 30 GB per month cap with $1 for every GB over, that’s a pretty big deal. It begins to make sense to confine yourself to those sites that your ISP doesn’t count against your cap just to make sure you don’t accidentally blow through it. Of course, some take a more sanguine view:

10. internet limiting by $$$$
      we are 33rd in available web speed to consumers

11. After NSA Court Hearing, Government Must Unseal Documents by December 20

A federal judge ordered the government to unseal more documents concerning the NSA spying programs by December 20, 2013. The judge issued the ruling in EFF's lawsuit, Jewel v. NSA, which began in 2008 over the NSA spying program initiated by the Bush Administration, which continues to this day.
In light of the declassifications inspired by the June leaks, Judge Jeffrey White ordered the government to unseal any declassified material, like exhibits, declarations, and other ex parte submissions that the government had previously submitted to the court under seal.
In response, the government asked that it only release a new declaration. The Department of Justice lawyers reasoned that reviewing the material submitted since the case began in 2008 would be a heavy burden. We objected, noting that recently declassified documents have shown that the government had submitted misleading material to the court overseeing the spying, called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court).
Judge White denied the government's request, noting that the government had the resources to carry out such a review. He also noted that there should be a "fulsome" record for the court, the public, and the plaintiffs to draw from. The judge also set a briefing schedule on the procedural issues that it wanted resolved before turning to the critical question—whether the spying program is legal and constitutional.
We look forward to the government's submissions and will be reporting on them when they are released.

12. House passes GOP plan for $39B cut in food stamps

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told USA TODAY’s Capital Download on Thursday that Democrats are not opposed to food stamp cuts.

    “I’m certain that we could embrace as House Democrats some measure of cuts,” she said. “I mean, every program can benefit from some savings.” But the first go-round the Republicans’ proposed cut was $20 billion. Then they passed an amendment that was $31.4 billion. And now that still isn’t good enough for the Tea Partiers. Now we’re at $40 billion. What they’re saying is that in America it’s OK for people to go hungry.

13. The seagrass is gone, the fish are gone, the birds are gone…” 

This is how Jonnie Swann, my friend and longtime Audubon member, described the conditions in the Indian River Lagoon. She asked me what can be done to turn around the devastation from billions of gallons of polluted water that had been flushed into the fragile estuary. 

Behind her home there is a small dock that leads to a remarkable view of the river – historically lush seagrass meadows, clear water, fish and crabs below and pelicans and Osprey above - a view of what makes Florida such a special place - a place worth protecting.

Her words are still with me, “What can we do?”

I promised her that Audubon’s staff and volunteer leaders are hard at work turning this crisis around – stopping the discharges of polluted water. To get action, we all have to work together to rally the public. Decision-makers need to know that we all care.

Sunday, September 22, 2013



(T) Candidate Obama (1min.)
(T) Helen Caldicott (5min.)
(T) Korean News  (1min.)
(T) Jessica Lowe-Minor: …………7:17 - 7:20pm
League of Women Voters: discuss an upcoming event
(T) Zack Kaldveer: ………………..7:21 - 7:40pm
Consumer Organics -  talks about the GMO Labeling Case in WA
(T) Mark Perry: ……………………7:41 - 7:52pm
Executive Director Florida Oceanographic
(T) Alexis Meyer: …………………7:53 - 8:07pm
Everglades Habitat
Drew Martin: ………………………8:08 - 8:30pm
Soil and Water Board
Barry Silver:……………………….8:30pm - 9:55pm 
Environmental Activist
Anita Stewart
Gwen Holden Barry


Reuters: An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 5.8 struck Fukushima Prefecture in Japan early Friday morning, Kyodo reported, quoting the Japan Meteorological Agency. [...] U.S. Geological Survey said on its website that the earthquake’s magnitude was 5.3. [...]
Wall Street Journal: A moderately strong earthquake hit northern Japan early Friday in the region of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but there was no immediate damage to the crippled facility and no reports of other damage in the area. Japan’s Meteorological Agency said the 2:25 a.m. quake had a magnitude of 5.8 [...]
AFP: Quake rocks Japan’s Fukushima [...] The Japan Meteorological Agency, which put the quake at magnitude 5.8, said no tsunami warning had been issued. The tremor caused buildings to shake in the capital Tokyo, 175km away, an AFP reporter there said. [...]
Wall Street Journal’s MarketWatch: A strong earthquake with a preliminary magnitude 5.8 struck Fukushima Prefecture early Friday morning but no tsunami warning has been issued, the Japan Meteorological Agency said, the Kyodo news service reported. [...]

2. RALPH NADER - has said
Here are several suggestions that the president should consider and evaluate, given his firsthand experience with the devastating aftermath of an unrestrained financial industry. These are all elements of the financial collapse that have not been adequately addressed, rectified or acknowledged by the self-styled "Hope and Change" president.
• Our country has a systemic tax problem -- big corporations are not paying their fair share. Here's a startling fact -- one address in the Cayman Islands is the legal address of thousands of corporate subsidiaries of U.S. companies. A not-so-secret secret, this practice of utilizing offshore tax havens is often a perfectly legal ruse to avoid paying anything to Uncle Sam. Bank of America received $20 billion dollars from the bailout in 2009. They now have about $17.2 billion stored away in offshore tax havens where the federal government cannot touch it.
Even more troubling, some of these giant corporations receive a hefty tax benefit from the federal government on top of their tax avoidance. For instance, in the years 2008-2010, General Electric made over $7 billion in U.S. profit, paid nothing in federal tax, and then took in $5 billion extra from the United States treasury. Why is the U.S. government giving out billions of dollars to hugely successful and profitable companies and asking nothing in return?
It is thanks to crafty corporate tax accountants and attorneys who make their living discovering and taking advantage of every loophole in the tax code. President Obama -- why are big corporations allowed to use our public roads and other crucial infrastructures for free to make their billions without contributing anything back? Why is raising the revenue needed for essential public services left to the small taxpayers?
• American CEO's are the highest paid in the world. In 1980, American CEO pay was, on average, 42 times greater than that of the average worker. As of 2011, corporate CEOs make 340 times more than the average worker -- eight times as much!

3. Congress Insults the Poor and bows to Monsanto
by Patty Lovera from Food and Water Watch
Thursday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to cut almost $40 billion over ten years from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the main food assistance program that used to be called food stamps. The bill passed 217-210, largely along party lines, although 15 Republicans joined Democrats in voting against it. The New York Times editorial board captured what the vote means pretty well with the headline “Another Insult to the Poor,” since the cuts passed by the House would kick an estimated 3.8 million people out of the program next year. 
Thursday’s vote completed the House’s work on its version of the Farm Bill – mostly. They still need to finish some procedural steps to combine yesterday’s nutrition cut bill with the farm policy portions of the bill passed earlier in the summer. After that is figured out, the Senate and House can start the conference committee process to reconcile their different versions of the Farm Bill.
And there is a lot for the conference committee to figure out. The biggest is the SNAP program. The Senate bill cut $4 billion from SNAP, while the House bill cut almost $40 billion. This is a huge sticking point and Senate Democrats have vowed not to accept a cut that large and the President has threatened to veto any bill with such a cut. This issue alone will make it hard for the conference process to be completed.
The clock is ticking – the current farm bill (which was passed as quickie extension at the end of last year’s drama over the “fiscal cliff”) expires at the end of the month. And between now and then, Congress also has to deal with the small matter of keeping the federal government running past October 1, when the federal budget expires.
The House passed its version of a “continuing resolution” yesterday (Friday) with a vote of 230 to 189 to extend the current budgets until Dec. 15. The CR is getting a lot of headlines because House Republicans used it to try and block the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (also known as health care reform or Obamacare). However, the CR also contains some really bad food policy “riders.”
The first stops USDA from enforcing contract fairness rules for contract poultry growers, allowing big chicken companies to continue to treat them unfairly. Food & Water Watch and hundreds of farm groups worked to include these vital provisions in the 2008 Farm Bill to protect farmers from unfair and deceptive practices by meatpacking and poultry companies.
The other rider is a giveaway to genetically engineered seed companies that would allow the continued planting of genetically engineered crops even when a court finds they were approved illegally. This provision unnecessarily interferes with the judicial review process and picked up the well-deserved nickname of the “Monsanto Protection Act” because it weakens the already inadequate review process for GE crops.
So with the terrible House CR to reconcile, Congress’s plate is full for the next 10 days, which leads many Farm Bill watchers to predict that, for the second year in a row, Congress will let the Farm Bill expire and try to deal with it later this fall.

Tons of cesium-tainted wood chips found near Japan’s biggest lake
Radioactive cesium has been found on an estimated 200 to 300 tons of wood chips that were left months ago near Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture, prefectural officials said.
Samples of the chips show a reading of up to 3,000 becquerels per kilogram, the officials said Tuesday. [...]
The Shiga government started an investigation to determine where the chips came from. They were found in the dry bed of the Kamo River in Takashima and other locations near the lake, officials said. [...]
“The site is an estuary leading to Lake Biwa, and leaving (the chips) there without permission is extremely malicious. We will deal with the matter strictly,” Gov. Yukiko Kada said.

Recent disclosures of tons of radioactive water from the damaged Fukushima reactors spilling into the ocean are just the latest evidence of the continuing incompetence of the Japanese utility, TEPCO. The announcement that the Japanese government will step in is also not reassuring since it was the Japanese government that failed to regulate the utility for decades. But, bad as it is, the current contamination of the ocean should be the least of our worries. The radioactive poisons are expected to form a plume that will be carried by currents to coast of North America. But the effects will be small, adding an unfortunate bit to our background radiation. Fish swimming through the plume will be affected, but we can avoid eating them.
Much more serious is the danger that the spent fuel rod pool at the top of the nuclear plant number four will collapse in a storm or an earthquake, or in a failed attempt to carefully remove each of the 1,535 rods and safely transport them to the common storage pool 50 meters away. Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.
Fukushima is just the latest episode in a dangerous dance with radiation that has been going on for 68 years. Since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945 we have repeatedly let loose plutonium and other radioactive substances on our planet, and authorities have repeatedly denied or trivialized their dangers. The authorities include national governments (the U.S., Japan, the Soviet Union/ Russia, England, France and Germany); the worldwide nuclear power industry; and some scientists both in and outside of these governments and the nuclear power industry. Denials and trivialization have continued with Fukushima. (Documentation of the following observations can be found in my piece in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, upon which this article is based.) (Perrow 2013)
In 1945, shortly after the bombing of two Japanese cities, the New York Times headline read: "Survey Rules Out Nagasaki Dangers"; soon after the 2011 Fukushima disaster it read "Experts Foresee No Detectable Health Impact from Fukushima Radiation." In between these two we had experts reassuring us about the nuclear bomb tests, plutonium plant disasters at Windscale in northern England and Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountains, and the nuclear power plant accidents at Three Mile Island in the United States and Chernobyl in what is now Ukraine, as well as the normal operation of nuclear power plants.

Initially the U.S. Government denied that low-level radiation experienced by thousands of Japanese people in and near the two cities was dangerous. In 1953, the newly formed Atomic Energy Commission insisted that low-level exposure to radiation "can be continued indefinitely without any detectable bodily change." Biologists and other scientists took exception to this, and a 1956 report by the National Academy of Scientists, examining data from Japan and from residents of the Marshall Islands exposed to nuclear test fallout, successfully established that all radiation was harmful.

The Atomic Energy Commission then promoted a statistical or population approach that minimized the danger: the damage would be so small that it would hardly be detectable in a large population and could be due to any number of other causes. Nevertheless, the Radiation Research Foundation detected it in 1,900 excess deaths among the Japanese exposed to the two bombs. (The Department of Homeland Security estimated only 430 cancer deaths).

Besides the uproar about the worldwide fallout from testing nuclear weapons, another problem with nuclear fission soon emerged: a fire in a British plant making plutonium for nuclear weapons sent radioactive material over a large area of Cumbria, resulting in an estimated 240 premature cancer deaths, though the link is still disputed. The event was not made public and no evacuations were ordered. Also kept secret, for over 25 years, was a much larger explosion and fire, also in 1957, at the Chelyabinsk nuclear weapons processing plant in the eastern Ural Mountains of the Soviet Union. One estimate is that 272,000 people were irradiated; lakes and streams were contaminated; 7,500 people were evacuated; and some areas still are uninhabitable. The CIA knew of it immediately, but they too kept it secret. If a plutonium plant could do that much damage it would be a powerful argument for not building nuclear weapons.
Powerful arguments were needed, due to the fallout from the fallout from bombs and tests. Peaceful use became the mantra. Project Plowshares, initiated in 1958, conducted 27 "peaceful nuclear explosions" from 1961 until the costs as well as public pressure from unforeseen consequences ended the program in 1975. The Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission indicated Plowshares' close relationship to the increasing opposition to nuclear weapons, saying that peaceful applications of nuclear explosives would "create a climate of world opinion that is more favorable to weapons development and tests" (emphasis supplied). A Pentagon official was equally blunt, saying in 1953, "The atomic bomb will be accepted far more readily if at the same time atomic energy is being used for constructive ends." The minutes of a National Security Council in 1953 spoke of destroying the taboo associated with nuclear weapons and "dissipating" the feeling that we could not use an A-bomb.
More useful than peaceful nuclear explosions were nuclear power plants, which would produce the plutonium necessary for atomic weapons as well as legitimating them. Nuclear power plants, the daughter of the weapons program -- actually its "bad seed" --f was born and soon saw first fruit with the1979 Three Mile Island accident. Increases in cancer were found but the Columbia University study declared that the level of radiation from TMI was too low to have caused them, and the "stress" hypothesis made its first appearance as the explanation for rises in cancer. Another university study disputed this, arguing that radiation caused the increase, and since a victim suit was involved, it went to a Federal judge who ruled in favor of stress. A third, larger study found "slight" increases in cancer mortality and increased risk breast and other cancers, but found "no consistent evidence" of a "significant impact." Indeed, it would be hard to find such an impact when so many other things can cause cancer, and it is so widespread. Indeed, since stress can cause it, there is ample ambiguity that can be mobilized to defend nuclear power plants.
Ambiguity was mobilized by the Soviet Union after the 1987 Chernobyl disaster. Medical studies by Russian scientists were suppressed, and doctors were told not to use the designation of leukemia in health reports. Only after a few years had elapsed did any serious studies acknowledge that the radiation was serious. The Soviet Union forcefully argued that the large drops in life expectancy in the affected areas were due to not just stress, but lifestyle changes. 

The International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA), charged with both promoting nuclear power and helping make it safe, agreed, and mentioned such things as obesity, smoking, and even unprotected sex, arguing that the affected population should not be treated as "victims" but as "survivors." The count of premature deaths has varied widely, ranging from 4,000 in the contaminated areas of Ukraine, Belarus and Russia from UN agencies, while Greenpeace puts it at 200,000. We also have the controversial worldwide estimate of 985,000 from Russian scientists with access to thousands of publications from the affected regions.
Even when nuclear power plants are running normally they are expected to release some radiation, but so little as to be harmless. Numerous studies have now challenged that. When eight U.S. nuclear plants in the U.S. were closed in 1987 they provided the opportunity for a field test. Two years later strontium-90 levels in local milk declined sharply, as did birth defects and death rates of infants within 40 miles of the plants. A 2007 study of all German nuclear power plants saw childhood leukemia for children living less than 3 miles from the plants more than double, but the researchers held that the plants could not cause it because their radiation levels were so low. Similar results were found for a French study, with a similar conclusion; it could not be low-level radiation, though they had no other explanation. A meta-study published in 2007 of 136 reactor sites in seven countries, extended to include children up to age 9, found childhood leukemia increases of 14 percent to 21 percent.
Epidemiological studies of children and adults living near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will face the same obstacles as earlier studies. About 40 percent of the aging population of Japan will die of some form of cancer; how can one be sure it was not caused by one of the multiple other causes? It took decades for the effects of the atomic bombs and Chernobyl to clearly emblazon the word "CANCER" on these events. Almost all scientists finally agree that the dose effects are linear, that is, any radiation added to natural background radiation, even low-levels of radiation, is harmful. But how harmful?
University professors have declared that the health effects of Fukushima are "negligible," will cause "close to no deaths," and that much of the damage was "really psychological." Extensive and expensive follow-up on citizens from the Fukushima area, the experts say, is not worth it. There is doubt a direct link will ever be definitively made, one expert said. The head of the U.S. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, said: "There's no opportunity for conducting epidemiological studies that have any chance of success....The doses are just too low." We have heard this in 1945, at TMi, at Chernobyl, and for normally running power plants. It is surprising that respected scientists refuse to make another test of such an important null hypothesis: that there are no discernible effects of low-level radiation.

Not surprisingly, a nuclear power trade group announced shortly after the March, 2011 meltdown at Fukushima (the meltdown started with the earthquake, well before the tsunami hit), that "no health effects are expected" as a result of the events. UN agencies agree with them and the U.S. Council. The leading UN organization on the effects of radiation concluded "Radiation exposure following the nuclear accident at Fukushima-Daiichi did not cause any immediate health effects. It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers." The World Health Organization stated that while people in the United States receive about 6.5 millisieverts per year from sources including background radiation and medical procedures, only two Japanese communities had effective dose rates of 10 to 50 millisieverts, a bit more than normal.

However, other data contradict the WHO and other UN agencies. The Japanese science and technology ministry (MEXT) indicated that a child in one community would have an exposure 100 times the natural background radiation in Japan, rather than a bit more than normal. A hospital reported that more than half of the 527 children examined six months after the disaster had internal exposure to cesium-137, an isotope that poses great risk to human health. A French radiological institute found ambient dose rates 20 to 40 times that of background radiation and in the most contaminated areas the rates were even 10 times those elevated dose rates. The Institute predicts and excess cancer rate of 2 percent in the first year alone. Experts not associated with the nuclear industry or the UN agencies currently have estimated from 1,000 to 3,000 cancer deaths. Nearly two years after the disaster the WHO was still declaring that any increase in human disease "is likely to remain below detectable levels." (It is worth noting that the WHO still only releases reports on radiation impacts in consultation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.)
In March 2013, the Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey reported examining 133,000 children using new, highly sensitive ultrasound equipment. The survey found that 41 percent of the children examined had cysts of up to 2 centimeters in size and lumps measuring up to 5 millimeters on their thyroid glands, presumably from inhaled and ingested radioactive iodine. However, as we might expect from our chronicle, the survey found no cause for alarm because the cysts and lumps were too small to warrant further examination. The defense ministry also conducted an ultrasound examination of children from three other prefectures distant from Fukushima and found somewhat higher percentages of small cysts and lumps, adding to the argument that radiation was not the cause. But others point out that radiation effects would not be expected to be limited to what is designated as the contaminated area; that these cysts and lumps, signs of possible thyroid cancer, have appeared alarmingly soon after exposure; that they should be followed up since it takes a few years for cancer to show up and thyroid cancer is rare in children; and that a control group far from Japan should be tested with the same ultrasound technics.

The denial that Fukushima has any significant health impacts echoes the denials of the atomic bomb effects in 1945; the secrecy surrounding Windscale and Chelyabinsk; the studies suggesting that the fallout from Three Mile Island was, in fact, serious; and the multiple denials regarding Chernobyl (that it happened, that it was serious, and that it is still serious).
As of June, 2013, according to a report in The Japan Times, 12 of 175,499 children tested had tested positive for possible thyroid cancer, and 15 more were deemed at high risk of developing the disease. For a disease that is rare, this is high number. Meanwhile, the U.S. government is still trying to get us to ignore the bad seed. June 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy granted $1.7 million to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to address the "difficulties in gaining the broad social acceptance" of nuclear power.

A project launched on Monday aims to record properly the names and numbers of people who are killed by US drone airstrikes in Pakistan.
The website, “Naming the Dead”, is an initiative by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), a not-for-profit organisation that has won awards for its work exposing some of the realities of the covert drone wars that are being run by the US and UK militaries in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
It aims to keep as comprehensive a record as possible of the victims of drone airstrikes in Pakistan, after research revealed that only one in five of the victims of the 370 airstrikes that have taken place have been identified outside their own, often remote, communities.
At least 2,537 people are reported to have been killed by drone strikes in the country, with some estimates suggesting up to a quarter may have been civilians, although the TBIJ plans to name both civilians and militants using a mixture of media reports, court documents, academic studies and researchers on the ground.
The objective, said TBIJ deputy editor Rachel Oldroyd, is to take these deaths out of obscurity and make it easier to test statements about the nature and use of drones. US authorities have been reluctant to acknowledge any civilian deaths caused by the drone operations, which have been going on since 2006. The CIA has claimed a high rate of killings of militants, saying that strikes since May 2010 have killed more than 600 militants but no civilians. This claim is contested by experts, journalists and researchers on the ground.

Radioactive Bluefin Tuna Caught Off California Coast

Every bluefin tuna tested in the waters off California has shown to be contaminated with radiation that originated in Fukushima. Every single one.
Over a year ago, in May of 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on a Stanford University study. Daniel Madigan, a marine ecologist who led the study, was quoted as saying, “The tuna packaged it up (the radiation) and brought it across the world’s largest ocean. We were definitely surprised to see it at all and even more surprised to see it in every one we measured.”
Another member of the study group, Marine biologist Nicholas Fisher at Stony Brook University in New York State reported, “We found that absolutely every one of them had comparable concentrations of cesium 134 and cesium 137.”
That was over a year ago. The fish that were tested had relatively little exposure to the radioactive waste being dumped into the ocean following the nuclear melt-through that occurred at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March of 2011. Since that time, the flow of radioactive contaminants dumping into the ocean has continued unabated. Fish arriving at this juncture have been swimming in contaminants for all of their lives.
Radioactive cesium doesn’t sink to the sea floor, so fish swim through it and ingest it through their gills or by eating organisms that have already ingested it. It is a compound that does occur naturally in nature, however, the levels of cesium found in the tuna in 2012 had levels 3 percent higher than is usual. Measurements for this year haven’t been made available, or at least none that I have been able to find. I went looking for the effects of ingesting cesium. This is what I found:

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

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

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

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

As for me, fish is off the menu.

X.  Dolphin Mortality page
include dolphin data
Mr. Speezak,

I apologize if I spelled your name wrong. You will find a lot of information about this event on the following website:
if you have further questions once you have had a chance to review this information please contact me on Monday.

Shelley Dawicki
going to get more data send to me next week

states going to get back to me.


legalaidsociety of palm beach county - Incharge of the Navigators