Sunday, November 24, 2013

PNN - November Notables

PNN - 11/24/13

Kelly Martin
William Rankin CFO Candidate
Citizen Clean Water Summit

2013 Earth First! Film Fest
Three days of new and classic films from the front lines of the global ecological resistance
Location: Friends’ Quaker Meeting House, 823 North A Street, Lake Worth, FL
Nov 29 - Dec 1

Thursday December 5, 2 p.m. 
National Day of Action: Delivery of our Social Security advocacy message
Florida Senator Bill Nelson is a member of the Senate Budget Committee. That committee is meeting NOW and might consider such drastic measures as:
·        Cuts to Social Security
·        Raising Medicare beneficiary costs
·        Reducing Medicaid funding
Senator Nelson’s West Palm Beach office
413 Clematis St. #210
WPB, FL 33401
RSVP Midge Dosch - 561 301 4676


1. Dump It in the Ocean: TEPCO's Plan for Radioactive Fukushima Water
'There's no risk to public health and safety,' pronounces consultant working for the nuclear plant's owner

A nuclear expert helping with the clean-up at the crisis-stricken Fukushima plant has joined a chorus of voices saying that all the accumulating radioactive waste water must eventually be dumped into the ocean.

Speaking with Australia's ABC, Dale Klein, former head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and current head of the Nuclear Reform Monitoring Committee hired by plant operator TEPCO, described the situation at the plant as "challenging."

Massive amounts of radioactive water used to cool the reactors continue to build up daily in hastily built storage tanks, some which have already leaked, creating an unsustainable scenario.

Eventually, Klein told ABC, that water must be treated to reduce its radioactivity and then dumped into he ocean.

"At the end of the day, when the water is discharged, it will be released in a way that it's diluted," he said.

"So there's no risk to public health and safety. But it's an emotional issue."

More mishaps at Fukushima, like when a rat chewed wiring and caused a power outage, are likely to come, Klein warned.

"I think we will see more of those. When you look at that site, it's massive," he said.

"It's a big site and it's not unusual to have other things like that," he told ABC.

Klein's comments that the waste water will head to the ocean echo those that Lake Barrett, a former NRC official who also serves on TEPCO's committee, offered in an op-ed in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in September.

Barrett wrote that

    Spending billions and billions of yen on building tanks to try to capture almost every drop of water on the site is unsustainable, wasteful, and counterproductive. Such a program cannot continue indefinitely. [...]

    I see no realistic alternative to a program that cleans up water with improved processing systems so it meets very protective Japanese release standards and then, after public discussion, conducts an independently confirmed, controlled release to the sea.

Also among those calling for the water to be dumped into the ocean is Shunichi Tanaka, head of Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority, who said in September, "I'm afraid that it is unavoidable to dump or release the water into the sea."

Meanwhile at the crippled nuclear plant, workers this week began a risky yet pressing operation to remove over 1300 fuel rods from Reactor 4.

Explaining why the removal is dangerous yet must be done, nuclear expert Dr. Arjun Makhijani told The Real News Network's Jaisal Noor:

    Now, the spent fuel pool number four at Fukushima, which is in question currently, has the most spent fuel of any of the damaged reactors. And the building itself is damaged. And if it is left there, there may be another earthquake. And if the spent fuel pool is destroyed in the next earthquake, there could be a much more severe environmental catastrophe than there was in 2011, in some ways, because the long-lived radioactive material in the spent fuel is more than what was emitted during that accident. I'm talking about long-lived material—cesium, strontium, and so on.

    So I believe it is very important to empty spent fuel pool number four especially and put that spent fuel in safer storage.

    Look, there's no low-risk solution to this problem. Leaving it there is a significant risk, and removing it also involves significant risks. The spent fuel may be difficult to dislodge because it's no longer in its proper original position. The fuel rods may break, and the fuel may wind up at the bottom of the reactor in the spent fuel pool. There may be an accident of criticality. I haven't examined their plans in detail, but I do think it is very essential to remove this spent fuel, because in my judgment, the bigger danger is leaving it there and waiting for the earthquake to happen. [...]

    These pools are sitting high up in the building, and above them there are cranes that move above the spent fuel pools and reactors that transfer fresh fuel into the reactor and used fuel out of the reactor into a pool. So these are pretty heavy pieces of equipment. And those frames were destroyed, along, you know, with the building infrastructure on which they were constructed. So they've had to build a whole new basically impromptu infrastructure to handle this spent fuel that—one hopes that is as precise as the other one, but it's doubtful whether it can replicate the precision of the old, original crane, which could go back and forth above the pool. But it is—you know, they have actually built some kind of a structure, protective structure, not like the original containment. And they also have built a new crane and remote handling for the fuel.

2. us house passes bill
The US House passed Wednesday two bills that would demand a $5,000 filing fee for any individual that wanted to hold an official protest of a drilling project, and that would give the feds less authority nationwide over hydraulic fracking rules.

HR 1965, the Federal Lands Jobs and Energy Security Act, imposes a $5,000 fee for anyone wishing to file for an official protest of a proposed drilling project. An amendment to the bill offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) that would have clarified the fee to make sure it was not in violation of First Amendment rights was defeated.

In addition, the bill would allow for automatic approval of onshore drilling permits should the US Department of Interior (DOI) take over 60 days to act on an application. DOI would also be required to begin commercial leasing for development of oil shale - not to be confused with “shale oil” - which is rock that must be heated to about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit to yield crude oil.

The controversial practice has been largely nonexistent in the US since the days of President Herbert Hoover, who prohibited leasing federal lands for oil shale, “the dirtiest fuel on the planet,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. The oil shale process “takes a large amount of energy and money, as well as 3-5 barrels of water per barrel of oil produced, a dangerous issue in the parched West,” according to Jessica Goad of the Center for American Progress’ Public Lands Project. 

Large tracts of land - especially in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming - hold deposits of oil shale. The bill would require the federal government to open up 10 leases of its land in 2014 for research and demonstration projects, with further developments by 2016.

The House passed the measure, sponsored by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), by a vote of 228 to 192, with seven Democrats supporting it and only one Republican in opposition.

The other bill - HR 2728, the Protecting States’ Rights to Promote American Energy Security Act - would put more authority of hydraulic fracking in the hands of states that already have rules on the practice. Unless a state has yet to set guidelines on fracking, DOI would have no authority over whether companies disclose what chemicals they use in fracking fluid, whether water from fracked wells is polluted or whether anyone can request public hearings regarding fracking permit applications.

The bill passed the House by a vote of 235 to 187, as 12 Democrats supported it and only two Republicans did not.

Hydraulic fracking is the highly-controversial process of injecting water, sand and various chemicals into layers of rock in hopes of releasing oil and gas deep underground. The practice is opposed worldwide, as shown by global protests against fracking in October, for its damning environmental impacts. 

Supporters say it brings jobs and opportunities for energy independence, though detractors have pointed to exaggerated employment claims. Multiple reports have found any jobs created by fracking usually go to established, already-employed oil industry workers from places like Texas rather than local citizens.

Meanwhile, more money is being thrown at the US political class to support fracking, representing the rising popularity of it among energy companies. Calculations released Wednesday by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics Washington show fracking industry contributions to congressional campaigns went up 231 percent from 2004 to 2012 in districts and states where fracking has occurred.

The two bills have little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate. Even if it did, President Obama has stated he would veto the legislation should it get that far.

House Democrats opposed to the bills decried voting on such measures that have no chance of becoming law. “The galleries are empty, the floor is empty, because we’re not doing anything,” Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) said Wednesday on the House floor. “And it’s not because we don’t have a lot of things to do.”

“I won’t apologize for any action that’s been taken by the majority of this house to try to reign in the excesses of this administration,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said in response. 

3. Erik Prince on NPR - no rebuttal

4. Florida locks up more people than 
    the brutal communist government of Cuba

5. Polishing our Apples - in secret of course
Now they're engineering our apples!
It's just not natural for food to look like this

Only the biotech industry could make an apple act like junk

Don't let biotech mess with our apples!

You've seen the stories, maybe on the Internet, maybe on your local news. It's a gross curiosity: someone shows off junk food that they claim they've had for 40 years, but it looks like it was made yesterday. These stories give us all the creeps, because it's just not natural for food not to decay. You should feel the same way about genetically engineered (GE) apples — these "Arctic" apples won't turn brown when you cut them up!

Apples are great just the way they are; there's no reason for biotech companies to change them. Browning is nature's way of showing how fresh an apple slice is. A little browning never hurt anyone, and a lot of browning is a sign that an apple slice is getting old... unless GE apples get approved.

If that happens, you won't be able to tell just by looking at an apple how fresh it is, and because GE apples aren't labeled, you won't have the option to avoid them. Tell the USDA that non-browning apples are just unnatural, and you don't want them at your grocery store.

There's more wrong with this Arctic apple than its unnatural good looks. The creators of this apple used a controversial new engineering technique to silence the gene responsible for browning. Unfortunately, changing DNA isn't that simple — different genes within an organism interact in ways that are hard to predict, so you can't just flip off a gene like a switch without side effects. In the case of the GE apple, the browning gene is also tied to the apple tree's natural defenses against pests. The USDA simply hasn't done enough research to know what effect that could have on the plants themselves and on people who eat the apples.

The GE apple is steadily moving along its path to approval, but it's seriously controversial. Even some major food companies, like Gerber and McDonald's, have already said that they won't use the GE apple. We need to show the USDA that the public — that's you — overwhelmingly opposes this freakish fruit. Can you add your voice to the growing outcry against GE apples?

6. Zombie Politics & Casino Capitalism
    on the Bill Moyers Show - from TruthOut|-henry-giroux-zombie-politics-and-casino-capitalism

This week on Moyers & Company, author and scholar Henry Giroux explains how our political system has turned people into zombies – “people who are basically so caught up with surviving that they become like the walking dead — they lose their sense of agency, they lose their homes, they lose their jobs.”

Also on the broadcast, Bill looks at Birth of the Living Dead, a mesmerizing new documentary that examines the singular time in which the classic 1968 film Night of the Living Dead was shot – when civil unrest and violence gave the nation nightmares and zombies were a metaphor for a troubled and distressed American public.

HENRY GIROUX: What's at stake here is not just the fact that you have rich people who now control the economy and all the commanding institutions of society. What you have is basically a transgression against the very basic ideals of democracy. I mean, it's hard to imagine life beyond capitalism. You know, it's easier to imagine the death of the planet than it is to imagine the death of capitalism.

BILL MOYERS: Welcome. A very wise teacher once told us, “If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.” Then he gave us some of his favorite examples. You think of language differently, he said, if you think of “words pregnant with celestial fire.” Or “words that weep and tears that speak.” Of course, the heart doesn’t physically separate into pieces when we lose someone we love, but “a broken heart” conveys the depth of loss. And if I say you are the “apple of my eye”, you know how special you are in my sight. In other words, metaphors cleanse the lens of perception and give us a fresh take on reality. In other words.

Recently I read a book and saw a film that opened my eyes to see differently the crisis of our times, and the metaphor used by both was, believe it or not, zombies. You heard me right, zombies. More on the film later, but this is the book: “Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism”. Talk about “connecting the dots” -- read this, and the headlines of the day will, I think, arrange themselves differently in your head -- threading together ideas and experiences to reveal a pattern. The skillful weaver is Henry Giroux, a scholar, teacher and social critic with seemingly tireless energy and a broad range of interests. Here are just a few of his books: America's Education Deficit and the War on Youth, Twilight of the Social, Youth in a Suspect Society, Neoliberalism's War on Higher Education.

Henry Giroux is the son of working class parents in Rhode Island who now holds the Global TV Network Chair in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University in Canada. Henry Giroux, welcome.

7. US Court Denies Halt on Pipeline Set to Replace Keystone XL Northern Half

The ever-wise Yogi Berra once quipped "It's like déjà vu all over again," a truism applicable to a recent huge decision handed down by the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. 
That 600-mile long, 600,000 barrels per day proposed line runs from Flanagan, Illinois - located in the north central part of the state - down to Cushing, Oklahoma, dubbed the "pipeline crossroads of the world." The proposed 694-mile, 700,000 barrels per day proposed Transcanada Keystone XL northern half also runs to Cushing from Alberta, Canada and requires U.S. State Department approval, along with President Barack Obama's approval. 
Because Flanagan South is not a border-crossing line, it doesn't require the State Department or Obama's approval. If Keystone XL's northern half's permit is denied, Flanagan South - along with Enbridge's proposal to expand itsAlberta Clipper pipeline, approved by Obama's State Department during Congress' recess in August 2009 - would make up that half of the pipeline's capacity and then some. 
At issue in the District Court was the legality of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issuing a Nationwide Permit 12 to shove through the Flanagan South (much like the Appeals Court case covered here on DeSmogBlog just weeks ago with Transcanada's Keystone XL's southern half, rebranded the "Gulf Coast Pipeline Project" by Transcanada). 
Sierra Club and NWF argued for an injunction - or halt - in constructing and pumping tar sands through Flanagan South until the legality of issuing a Nationwide Permit 12 is decided, an issue still awaiting the decision of Judge Jackson. Like the Keystone XL southern half case, Nationwide Permit 12 was used instead of going through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
by Steve Horn

8. MORE MORE MORE - Snowden's latest release says they wanted MORE!
from New York Times
fficials at the National Security Agency, intent on maintaining its dominance in intelligence collection, pledged last year to push to expand its surveillance powers, according to a top-secret strategy document.
In a February 2012 paper laying out the four-year strategy for the N.S.A.'s signals intelligence operations, which include the agency's eavesdropping and communications data collection around the world, agency officials set an objective to "aggressively pursue legal authorities and a policy framework mapped more fully to the information age."
Written as an agency mission statement with broad goals, the five-page document said that existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as "the golden age of Sigint," or signals intelligence. "The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.'s mission," the document concluded.

New underwater footage inside Unit 3 pool shows fuel rack covered in rubble
Die-offs of mammals, birds, reptiles in Western U.S. — “So many diseases afflicting such a wide variety of animals” — Names out of sci-fi thriller: hemorrhagic disease, sylvatic plague — Studies now underway to find out why
Billings Gazette
llings Gazette, Nov. 18, 2013: Jared Jansen [...] said, he and his father, Mike, have seen up to 100 dead deer at a time along the Musselshell River. [...] die-offs have whittled the once hardy deer herds down to a handful [...] “I’ve only seen three does this year. [...] It used to be when I was haying along the river, early in the morning, I’d see 200 to 500 head in the meadows.” [...] The names sound like something out of a science fiction thriller: epizootic hemorrhagic disease, sylvatic plague, bluetongue, brucellosis, chytrid, chronic wasting disease [...] Yet the all-too-real afflictions threaten to reduce the populations of wild mammals, birds and reptiles across Montana, Wyoming and other regions [...] “There is a general consensus among scientists that we are seeing more disease,” said Jonathan Sleeman, director of the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wis. [...] so many diseases afflicting such a wide variety of animals [...] A study is being conducted in northwestern Montana to examine the possible causes [...]

10. Cris Costello
      Regional Organizing Representative
      Sierra Club
      2815 Proctor Road
      Sarasota, FL 34231-6443
      Office:  941-922-2900
      Cell:  941-914-0421 

11. 90% of the way to Qualify the Water & Land Conservation Amendment 
      for the November 2014 Ballot

 I'm delighted to report to you that we are 90% of the way to qualifying the Water and Land Conservation Amendment for the November 2014 ballot!

This is a huge achievement, and it is all because of the tireless commitment of volunteers and supporters like you. Together, we're creating the largest dedicated funding source for water and land conservation and restoration in the country.

With only 12 days remaining to gather signatures, we can't afford to slow down now! We are counting on everyone who has already invested time and energy in this campaign to dig a little deeper for just a little while longer. We must be bold. We must be brave. And we must be quick.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

PNN - Standing on their Shoulders - those who came before us...

New Mercury Media Presents
11/17/13  -  PNN's "On Their Shoulders"

Joining News Directors Rick Spisak  and his guests

Luis Cuevas Executive Director of Progressive Push
Karen Welzel  Board of Directors, Democratic Progressive Caucus/Florida
Jerry Waxman Journalist
Tony Franscetta Union Organizer
Walter Barash Author & Activist
Frank Day Democratic Chair
Shawna Vercher  Journalist & Activist

Many of us, knew older activists who stood protecting our Liberty, standing for Human Rights, and Peace for decades and decades back to that troublesome rabble rouser Thomas Paine. Who was it that touched your life, who reminded you we have a responsibility to our friends and our neighbors. Before we heard the call to fight the good fight, before we joined the FRAY.

Live Sunday 7pm (Eastern time) or ANY-time
Each Week we present the voices of Progressive Activists working everyday to build a better world.

Keep in Mind the Universe is 13 billion yrs old / The Earth is 4 billion years old

Lee Camp Equator and Shell
Elizabeth Warren filibuster Abuse

1. Apple admits, ‘iPhone 5s Fingerprint Database To Be Shared With NSA’
Now-a-days, Apple is famous in the markets because its new iPhone 5S has a Fingerprint Sensor (Touch ID) as a security feature—everyone is getting amazed with that feature and eager to use. That Fingerprint scanner has been hacked already by German Hackers group ‘CCC’ but one more thing to concern about that—’will Apple share that Fingerprint database with NSA’ and the answer is YES. Tim Richardson, District Manager of Apple’s North America Marketing Department admits about the sharing of Database with NSA, he said to Jane M. Agni (A freelance writer in
See more at:

2. N.Y. Fed Asks Court to Dismiss Fired Goldman Examiner’s Lawsuit

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York has asked a judge to throw out a lawsuit by a former bank examiner who says she was dismissed after finding fault with Goldman Sachs’ conflict-of-interest policies.

ProPublica reported the allegations last month by Carmen Segarra, who the New York Fed had assigned to examine aspects of Goldman Sachs in November 2011. She was fired seven months later.

In its motion to dismiss Segarra’s lawsuit, the Fed disputed that she is a whistleblower and characterized what transpired as “a non-actionable disagreement between a supervised employee and more senior colleagues over how to interpret a Federal Reserve policy.”

Segarra had been hired as part of an effort by the New York Federal Reserve to comply with new authority it received from Congress to monitor so-called Too-Big-to-Fail financial institutions. The Fed recruited experts to act as “risk specialists” to examine different aspects of these complex firms.

Segarra, who previously had worked in some of the nation’s largest banks, was tasked with examining legal and compliance functions at Goldman. Her supervisors told her specifically to look at whether Goldman was compliant with Fed guidance that the bank had a firm-wide conflict of interest policy, according to her Oct. 10 complaint.

At the time, Goldman had been buffeted by allegations in media reports and lawsuits over how it handled conflicts of interest. Segarra determined that Goldman did not have such a firm-wide policy. Although her fellow legal and compliance specialists working at the other banks agreed with her findings, however, the Fed’s senior official onsite at Goldman, Michael Silva, ultimately did not, according to her complaint.

Silva and his deputy, Michael Koh, tried to convince Segarra to change her findings, the lawsuit says. Three business days after sending an email to them explaining that the evidence she had gathered made it impossible for her to change her conclusions, Silva fired her. Before being escorted from the building, Silva told her he had lost confidence in her ability to follow directions and not to jump to conclusions, Segarra says.

Segarra’s suit in U.S. District Court names as defendants the New York Fed, Silva, Koh and her direct supervisor, Johnathan Kim. She alleged wrongful termination, breach of employment contract and that the defendants interfered with protected conduct she was exercising as a bank examiner.

Segarra’s lawsuit cites a federal law that allows bank examiners to sue for wrongful termination if they are fired for providing information regarding “any possible violation of any law or regulation, gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.”

In its motion to dismiss, the New York Fed said that Segarra worked “at will” and so there could be no “breach of contract.” It also said that she was fired for cause and that the guidance she was told to use to examine Goldman was advisory and not a regulation, so the bank could therefore not be in violation. It further argued that since some of the information Segarra used to make her determination came from Goldman, she technically did not “provide” it to the Fed.

In its filing, the Fed cited a Code of Conduct policy and a 2011 Business Standards Committee Report as evidence that Goldman had a firm-wide policy governing conflicts of interest policy. Goldman, which is not a defendant in Segarra’s lawsuit, has said that it has such a policy.

“She rushed to judgments that even her own evidence refuted,” the New York Fed’s motion said.

The 2011 Business Standards Committee Report the Fed cited mentions plans to update and provide to all employees a conflict–of-interest policy but does not detail policies or procedures. As for it its code of conduct, Segarra told ProPublica that Goldman itself did not believe it constituted a conflict of interest policy since it did not provide it to regulators as such.

“My direct management and some of my peers did not think Goldman's Code of Conduct was a conflicts-of-interest policy,” she told ProPublica in an interview. “Policies in banks are actually pretty standardized documents, with clear titles and content directly related to the title/purpose of the document, written in a language meant to be understood by every employee at every level.”

Segarra’s attorney, Linda Stengel, disputed the Fed’s contention that her client is not a whistleblower.  “Obviously, Carmen is a whistleblower, and obviously, her work as a bank examiner is protected conduct,” said Stengle. “Those conclusions are simple common sense to most everyone, except FRBNY, apparently.”

Segarra’s complaint asked for reinstatement, back pay, compensation for lost benefits and damages.  The Fed’s motion rejected reinstatement or damages, contending that Segarra “misappropriated and published confidential supervisory information” as exhibits in her lawsuit.

3. Banking on Irony
from Hightower

while the FBI, IRS, and the judicial establishment went all out to nail the bank defrauder, they allow big-time Wall Street crooks who defraud us to escape prosecution, much less jail. High-flying bankers systematically commit serial acts of blatant fraud, bilking millions of people out of billions of dollars, but they keep their positions, paychecks, perks, and prestige – free to bilk again.

The latest marquee Wall Streeter to admit to grand scale larceny, yet pay no personal penalty, is Jamie Dimon, honcho of JPMorgan Chase. Shareholders in Dimon's felonious operation have been socked with a record $13 billion in penalties, but not a penny comes from Jamie's pocket. Still, popping the bank for 13 Big Ones shows that the Justice Department is finally getting tough on corporate crime, right? Not exactly. JPMorgan's punishment will be softened significantly by this unannounced outrage: A corporation – unlike a person – can deduct criminal fines from its income taxes. That means we taxpayers will, in effect, cough-up some $4 billion to help America's richest bank pay for its wrongdoing.

This corporate tax scam puts the "con" in unconscionable. But We The People can shame Dimon and his bank's shareholders into paying the full price for their criminal acts. To help a grassroots coalition of citizen groups that are demanding just that, go to

"Man gets 10 years for defrauding banks," Austin American Statesman," November 3, 2013.

4. Issue Summary [center for democracy & technology]
The U.S. has engaged in ongoing mass surveillance of the world's Internet users.
In place of individualized suspicion and targeted collection required by the
ICCPR, the secret U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (“FISC”) approves bulk surveillance programs which permit the NSA to systematically collect communications data from the global data flows that transverse U.S. networks or are stored in U.S. based "cloud" service providers. The relevant publicly enacted laws do not provide adequate authority for these programs, which operate under enormous secrecy, depriving the public of critical public debate and the ability to know under what circumstances their communications may be accessed. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (“FISA”) programs are supported by secret legal interpretations, further weakening oversight. Safeguards to protect rights of people within the U.S. are inadequate under the U.S. Constitution. No safeguards are provided to non-Americans outside of the U.S. The result is a surveillance regime that violates U.S. obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

5. Malala's Book banned in Pakistan
Pakistan: debate rages over Malala book ban

"I am Malala" is accused of being against Islam and the constitution, but some prominent Pakistanis see the censoring of the book in private schools as a loss to millions of children.

“My friend told me Malala is not a Pakistani or a Muslim; her real name is Jennifer and she is a Christian,” said ten-year old Fatemah, conspiratorially. “But I don’t believe her one bit,” she added waving the book “I am Malala”. She is reading the autobiography of Malala Yousafzai, the young Pakistani girl who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban.

The rather precocious 10-year old went on to say the book “gave me something important to reflect on… That what I had always taken for granted, like education, does not come that easily for thousands.” She found Malala to be a “real hero” for standing up for what she believed in. Fatemah may just be ten but her views are reflective of the debate raging in Pakistan today, especially in the media, after the book surfaced and was subsequently banned in some private schools.

On 10 November, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF), announced the decision to ban the book from member schools for “being against the injunctions of Islam and the constitution of Pakistan”. The book will not be kept in the library of any of its schools and no co-curricular activities, including debates, will be held on it, Kashif Mirza, chairman of the APPSF told Index. Almost 25 million children, 10 million of which are girls, study at the federation’s 152,000 private school. They employ 7,250,000 teachers, 90 percent being women. The book has not officially been banned by the Pakistani government in state schools, but is not part of any school’s curriculum.
Yousafzai has been bagging one award after another internationally. In Pakistan, where the entire nation had rooted for her to win the Nobel Peace prize, the book has led to a slight dimming of that adulation. Having British award-winning journalist Christina Lamb’s name on the cover as co-author hasn’t helped. ”Lamb is reputed to be both anti-Pakistan and anti-Islam,” Mirza said.

Dr AH Nayyar, a noted educationist, said the reaction of the private school owners was that of “weak-kneed people” who are more worried about their “business interests” than what “is right and what is wrong”.

Rumana Hussain, a former principal of a private school who has written and illustrated several children’s books, finds it tragic that “the 25 million students who attend private schools in the country will not read the book. The millions who attend public schools, where the book isn’t banned but won’t be taught, bought or stocked, will not read it either.”

She lamented: “All of them will be deprived of the chance to read the account of a young Pakistani girl’s struggle for education – not only for herself but also for every Pakistani girl, every child - and get inspiration from her story.”

6. Jeremy Hammond's Sentencing Statement
Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. My name is Jeremy Hammond and I’m here to be sentenced for hacking activities carried out during my involvement with Anonymous. I have been locked up at MCC for the past 20 months and have had a lot of time to think about how I would explain my actions.

Before I begin, I want to take a moment to recognize the work of the people who have supported me. I want to thank all the lawyers and others who worked on my case: Elizabeth Fink, Susan Kellman, Sarah Kunstler, Emily Kunstler, Margaret Kunstler, and Grainne O’Neill. I also want to thank the National Lawyers Guild, the Jeremy Hammond Defense Committee and Support Network, Free Anons, the Anonymous Solidarity Network, Anarchist Black Cross, and all others who have helped me by writing a letter of support, sending me letters, attending my court dates, and spreading the word about my case. I also want to shout out my brothers and sisters behind bars and those who are still out there fighting the power.

The acts of civil disobedience and direct action that I am being sentenced for today are in line with the principles of community and equality that have guided my life. I hacked into dozens of high profile corporations and government institutions, understanding very clearly that what I was doing was against the law, and that my actions could land me back in federal prison. But I felt that I had an obligation to use my skills to expose and confront injustice—and to bring the truth to light.

Could I have achieved the same goals through legal means? I have tried everything from voting petitions to peaceful protest and have found that those in power do not want the truth to be exposed. When we speak truth to power we are ignored at best and brutally suppressed at worst. We are confronting a power structure that does not respect its own system of checks and balances, never mind the rights of it’s own citizens or the international community.
My introduction to politics was when George W. Bush stole the Presidential election in 2000, then took advantage of the waves of racism and patriotism after 9/11 to launch unprovoked imperialist wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. I took to the streets in protest naively believing our voices would be heard in Washington and we could stop the war. Instead, we were labeled as traitors, beaten, and arrested.

I have been arrested for numerous acts of civil disobedience on the streets of Chicago, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I used my computer skills to break the law in political protest. I was arrested by the FBI for hacking into the computer systems of a right-wing, pro-war group called Protest Warrior, an organization that sold racist t-shirts on their website and harassed anti-war groups. I was charged under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and the “intended loss” in my case was arbitrarily calculated by multiplying the 5000 credit cards in Protest Warrior’s database by $500, resulting in a total of $2.5 million.My sentencing guidelines were calculated on the basis of this “loss,” even though not a single credit card was used or distributed – by me or anyone else. I was sentenced to two years in prison.

While in prison I have seen for myself the ugly reality of how the criminal justice system destroys the lives of the millions of people held captive behind bars. The experience solidified my opposition to repressive forms of power and the importance of standing up for what you believe.

When I was released, I was eager to continue my involvement in struggles for social change. I didn’t want to go back to prison, so I focused on above-ground community organizing. But over time, I became frustrated with the limitations, of peaceful protest, seeing it as reformist and ineffective. The Obama administration continued the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, escalated the use of drones, and failed to close Guantanamo Bay.

Around this time, I was following the work of groups like Wikileaks and Anonymous. It was very inspiring to see the ideas of hactivism coming to fruition. I was particularly moved by the heroic actions of Chelsea Manning, who had exposed the atrocities committed by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. She took an enormous personal risk to leak this information – believing that the public had a right to know and hoping that her disclosures would be a positive step to end these abuses. It is heart-wrenching to hear about her cruel treatment in military lockup.

I thought long and hard about choosing this path again. I had to ask myself, if Chelsea Manning fell into the abysmal nightmare of prison fighting for the truth, could I in good conscience do any less, if I was able? I thought the best way to demonstrate solidarity was to continue the work of exposing and confronting corruption.

I was drawn to Anonymous because I believe in autonomous, decentralized direct action. At the time Anonymous was involved in operations in support of the Arab Spring uprisings, against censorship, and in defense of Wikileaks. I had a lot to contribute, including technical skills, and how to better articulate ideas and goals. It was an exciting time – the birth of a digital dissent movement, where the definitions and capabilities of hacktivism were being shaped.

I was especially interested in the work of the hackers of LulzSec who were breaking into some significant targets and becoming increasingly political. Around this time, I first started talking to Sabu, who was very open about the hacks he supposedly committed, and was encouraging hackers to unite and attack major government and corporate systems under the banner of Anti Security. But very early in my involvement, the other Lulzsec hackers were arrested, leaving me to break into systems and write press releases. Later, I would learn that Sabu had been the first one arrested, and that the entire time I was talking to him he was an FBI informant.

Anonymous was also involved in the early stages of Occupy Wall Street. I was regularly participating on the streets as part of Occupy Chicago and was very excited to see a worldwide mass movement against the injustices of capitalism and racism. In several short months, the “Occupations” came to an end, closed by police crackdowns and mass arrests of protestors who were kicked out of their own public parks. The repression of Anonymous and the Occupy Movement set the tone for Antisec in the following months – the majority of our hacks against police targets were in retaliation for the arrests of our comrades.
I targeted law enforcement systems because of the racism and inequality with which the criminal law is enforced. I targeted the manufacturers and distributors of military and police equipment who profit from weaponry used to advance U.S. political and economic interests abroad and to repress people at home. I targeted information security firms because they work in secret to protect government and corporate interests at the expense of individual rights, undermining and discrediting activists, journalists and other truth seekers, and spreading disinformation.

I had never even heard of Stratfor until Sabu brought it to my attention. Sabu was encouraging people to invade systems, and helping to strategize and facilitate attacks. He even provided me with vulnerabilities of targets passed on by other hackers, so it came as a great surprise when I learned that Sabu had been working with the FBI the entire time.
On December 4, 2011, Sabu was approached by another hacker who had already broken into Stratfor’s credit card database. Sabu, under the watchful eye of his government handlers, then brought the hack to Antisec by inviting this hacker to our private chatroom, where he supplied download links to the full credit card database as well as the initial vulnerability access point to Stratfor’s systems.

I spent some time researching Stratfor and reviewing the information we were given, and decided that their activities and client base made them a deserving target. I did find it ironic that Stratfor’s wealthy and powerful customer base had their credit cards used to donate to humanitarian organizations, but my main role in the attack was to retrieve Stratfor’s private email spools which is where all the dirty secrets are typically found.

It took me more than a week to gain further access into Stratfor’s internal systems, but I eventually broke into their mail server. There was so much information, we needed several servers of our own in order to transfer the emails. Sabu, who was involved with the operation at every step, offered a server, which was provided and monitored by the FBI. Over the next weeks, the emails were transferred, the credit cards were used for donations, and Stratfor’s systems were defaced and destroyed. Why the FBI would introduce us to the hacker who found the initial vulnerability and allow this hack to continue remains a mystery.

As a result of the Stratfor hack, some of the dangers of the unregulated private intelligence industry are now known. It has been revealed through Wikileaks and other journalists around the world that Stratfor maintained a worldwide network of informants that they used to engage in intrusive and possibly illegal surveillance activities on behalf of large multinational corporations.

After Stratfor, I continued to break into other targets, using a powerful “zero day exploit” allowing me administrator access to systems running the popular Plesk webhosting platform. Sabu asked me many times for access to this exploit, which I refused to give him. Without his own independent access, Sabu continued to supply me with lists of vulnerable targets. I broke into numerous websites he supplied, uploaded the stolen email accounts and databases onto Sabu’s FBI server, and handed over passwords and backdoors that enabled Sabu (and, by extension, his FBI handlers) to control these targets.

These intrusions, all of which were suggested by Sabu while cooperating with the FBI, affected thousands of domain names and consisted largely of foreign government websites, including those of XXXXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXX, XXXXXXXX, XXXXXXX and the XXXXXX XXXXXXX. In one instance, Sabu and I provided access information to hackers who went on to deface and destroy many government websites in XXXXXX. I don’t know how other information I provided to him may have been used, but I think the government’s collection and use of this data needs to be investigated.

The government celebrates my conviction and imprisonment, hoping that it will close the door on the full story. I took responsibility for my actions, by pleading guilty, but when will the government be made to answer for its crimes?
The U.S. hypes the threat of hackers in order to justify the multi billion dollar cyber security industrial complex, but it is also responsible for the same conduct it aggressively prosecutes and claims to work to prevent. The hypocrisy of “law and order” and the injustices caused by capitalism cannot be cured by institutional reform but through civil disobedience and direct action. Yes I broke the law, but I believe that sometimes laws must be broken in order to make room for change.

In the immortal word of Frederick Douglas, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”

This is not to say that I do not have any regrets. I realize that I released the personal information of innocent people who had nothing to do with the operations of the institutions I targeted. I apologize for the release of data that was harmful to individuals and irrelevant to my goals. I believe in the individual right to privacy – from government surveillance, and from actors like myself, and I appreciate the irony of my own involvement in the trampling of these rights. I am committed to working to make this world a better place for all of us. I still believe in the importance of hactivism as a form of civil disobedience, but it is time for me to move on to other ways of seeking change. My time in prison has taken a toll on my family, friends, and community. I know I am needed at home. I recognize that 7 years ago I stood before a different federal judge, facing similar charges, but this does not lessen the sincerity of what I say to you today.

It has taken a lot for me to write this, to explain my actions, knowing that doing so — honestly — could cost me more years of my life in prison. I am aware that I could get as many as 10 years, but I hope that I do not, as I believe there is so much work to be done. - STAY STRONG AND KEEP STRUGGLING!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

PNN - Polluters & their PALS, Strike Back

PNN - Polluters & their PALS, Strike Back


Luis Cuevas              7:30pm
Steve Horn                7:45pm
Rachel Kejewski       8:15pm
Will Bennington        8:43pm

1. Generous Help?
US has “kindly offered” to help Japan with the decommissioning of the Fukushima reactors and the problems with the ongoing leakages of radioactively contaminated water.
Chief Nuclear Officer Chris Crane (left) and Exelon Generation President John Young (right) welcomee U.S. Senator Barack Obama

Chief Nuclear Officer Chris Crane (left) and Exelon Generation President John Young (right) welcomee U.S. Senator Barack Obama

Is the US being the good Samaritan? Unfortunately not. Before the US will provide assistance, Japan has to sign the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage(CSC). This is an international treaty that supposedly provides an international regime on nuclear liability — the who-should-pay-for-a-nuclear-accident issue.

But the real aim of the CSC, along with other international conventions on nuclear liability, is to protect the nuclear industry. It caps the total compensation available after a nuclear accident at a level much lower than the actual costs. The companies that supply nuclear reactors and other material are exempt, they don’t have to pay anything if there is an accident. The operators of nuclear plants are the only ones accountable for paying damages but the CSC protects them too by not requiring them to have enough money or financial security to cover the costs of an accident.

From the beginning of the use of nuclear power 60 years ago, the nuclear industry has been protected from paying the full costs of its failures. Governments have created a system that protects the profits of companies while those who suffer from nuclear disasters end up paying the costs. The world’s big reactor sellers, such as GE, Hitachi and Toshiba, pay nothing if there is a disaster at one of the reactors they sell.

Fukushima is a cruel example of this unfair practise. GE designed the Fukushima reactors and built them along with Hitachi and Toshiba. Yet these companies are not being held accountable to cover the costs of the mess their reactors created. It’s taxpayers who end up bailing out the nuclear industry.

Even worse: the now nationalised Fukushima operator TEPCO just booked its first profitssince the Fukushima disaster: $1.44 billion. At the same time, TEPCO has said it won’t pay the costs for decontamination work in areas around the Fukushima plant that will likely exceed $30 billion. Sounds fishy to me…

Fracking outfit Range Resources slapped Texas homeowner Steve Lipsky with a $3 million defamation suit to bully him into silence about his polluted water but Lipsky is fighting back. Lipsky is a wealthy man, not used to being bullied, but the frackers think they can use their control of the state of Texas to bulldoze him. They have bought off the Texas Railroad Commission that supposedly regulates fracking in Texas, and intimidated the USEPA into inaction so they don't intend to let minor matters like safe drinking water, private property rights and the first Amendment get in the way of their pursuit of profits.
On October 10, 2013, the Fort Worth Court of Appeals ruled that Range Resources could move forward with their defamation suit against Lipsky, based in part on accusations that Lipsky is misleading the public about being able to set his water on fire
In 2010 the EPA issued an emergency order over Lipsky's contaminated water, but then retracted the order a little over a year later with no justification. An AP investigation discovered that Range had successfully pressured the EPA into submission. Although the EPA had water chemistry measurements that showed Lipsky's water was dangerously polluted, the EPA withheld the evidence and vacated the emergency order, apparently for political reasons. The EPA's actions left Lipsky vulnerable to Range's SLAPP suit.
At first, the Environmental Protection Agency believed the situation was so serious that it issued a rare emergency order in late 2010 that said at least two homeowners were in immediate danger from a well saturated with flammable methane. More than a year later, the agency rescinded its mandate and refused to explain why.
Now a confidential report obtained by The Associated Press and interviews with company representatives show that the EPA had scientific evidence against the driller, Range Resources, but changed course after the company threatened not to cooperate with a national study into a common form of drilling called hydraulic fracturing. Regulators set aside an analysis that concluded the drilling could have been to blame for the contamination.
For Steve Lipsky, the EPA decision seemed to ignore the dangers in his well, which he says contains so much methane that the gas in water pouring out of a garden hose can be ignited.
"I just can't believe that an agency that knows the truth about something like that, or has evidence like this, wouldn't use it," said Lipsky, who fears he will have to abandon his dream home in an upscale neighborhood of Weatherford.
Because the EPA backed off the case, the Texas Railroad Commission, a regulator completely captured by the oil and gas industry it supposedly regulates, was able to hold a kangaroo court proceeding to present the appearance that Range Resources was the second coming of Snow White minus the seven dwarfs. Range was then in a position to try to silence its critics with the help of a Rush Limbaugh-loving judge.
This didn't stop the Railroad Commission - a regulatory agency that governs all things oil and gas related in Texas - from holding their own hearings that cleared Range Resources, based on evidence provided by the company. The EPA chose not to participate nor did the Lipskys since both were only given ten days to prepare, making a fair hearing improbable.
Range Resources spent millions of dollars putting on a one-sided case for the Railroad Commission, attacking all of the EPA's findings. Dr. Geoffrey Thyne, who conducted the testing for the EPA, reviewed the Railroad Commissions' findings that cleared Range Resources. He wrote:  "My conclusion, that the gas well could be the source of methane in the (Lipsky) water well, was based on the chemical and isotopic data. After reviewing the Range presentation to the Texas RRC my opinion is unchanged."
The Lipskys sued Range Resources after the EPA named the company the party responsible for contaminating the well. The family was promptly counter-sued by Range Resources for defamation.
The presiding judge, Trey Loftin, dismissed the Lipskys' claims, citing lack of jurisdiction, but allowed Range’s defamation suit to proceed.
However, Bloomberg news uncovered a campaign flier that showed that Judge Loftin had an ethics problem in the case.
With aspects of the case still pending in his courtroom, Judge Trey Loftin sent fliers to voters saying he forced the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to back down.
Loftin, who is campaigning to keep his state judgeship in a county west of Dallas, also sent out materials with the image of talk show host Rush Limbaugh, who credited the judge’s ruling in favor of driller Range Resources Corp. (RRC), based in Fort Worth, Texas, for getting the EPA to reverse course.
According to Kossack TexasSharon, who has obtained a report from a firewalled investigation, Range Resources has been submitting bogus results to the EPAto cover up large-scale water contamination in Lipsky's development.
   Bryce Payne, a soil scientist hired by Perdue’s neighbor as part of the area’s long-running water contamination case, says the contamination in the area is much bigger than Perdue’s one high reading. He says EPA has accepted “bogus” test results from Range and its contractors for Perdue’s water well and 17 more belonging to her neighbors.
    The results submitted to EPA by Range, he said, include contradictory data. One set shows acceptably low levels of methane in most of the water wells, while the other shows that those low levels can’t be correct.
In September 2013, tests showed gas coming out of Lipsky's water well measuring 162,000 parts per million (ppm). 50,000 ppm is considered a level for potential explosion. Air samples taken directly from the water well headspace vent showed levels exceeding 900,000 parts per million. Several residents alerted the Railroad Commission of new high-test levels, prompting the agency to reopen its investigation.
Apparently Range's owners think they can get away with all of this because they own the state of Texas and have intimidated the EPA into silence. Clearly, they have captured the Texas Railroad Commission and the state of Texas.
Television news reporters have found communications that show Range Resources failed to cement a well to prevent contamination from gas bearing layers below from flowing up to the domestic water supplies that Lipsky and his neighbors used. The Texas Railroad Commission knew the cause of the contamination, but then denied the contamination existed happened in the official proceedings.
In a review of Railroad Commission records, News 8 discovered correspondence between Range Resources and state regulators in which the driller agreed it had a problem. In response to that 2010 violation, Range proposed to fix its wellhead pressure problem by "circulating the cement to the surface."
Range added, "this work is to eliminate any chance that gas could be migrating from any zone" down below.
“It tells me that they waited over a year to actually realize they should have cemented to surface and realize that apparently they knew they had a problem,” Lipsky said.
But Range Resources never added the cement down well. No repairs were ever made, and the violation for gas pressure on the wellhead was later dropped by the Railroad Commission, which went on to rule that Range was not responsible for the flames coming out of the Lipsky water well.
The state also says the well is in full compliance with the law.
Despite the evidence that the fix is in, Lipsky isn't giving up. Perhaps it's because he's a wealthy conservative who still believes that the system works for people like him. Perhaps it's because he still believes that the government will protect private property rights against pillaging by large corrupt corporations. Perhaps it's because he has invested millions into his luxurious property. However, there's a chance that Lipsky is learning that his millions are small change to the oil and gas industry and they intend to destroy him and anyone who has the courage to try to stop their depredation.
Steve Lipsky is now working with attorney Brent M. Rosenthal, who is preparing to petition for a writ of mandamus in the Texas Supreme Court asking to dismiss Range's remaining claims for defamation and business disparagement against Steven Lipsky.
"I will assert," Rosenthal says, " as I have before the Fort Worth Court of Appeals, that Range's claims are meritless and threaten the exercise of First Amendment rights by Steve Lipsky and anyone else who speaks out on issues of public concern.  I hope that organizations fighting for first amendment rights and social justice, as well as those involved in the environmental movement, will be concerned about the case and will work to persuade the courts to reject claims like Range's claim against the Lipskys.

3. Range Resources escalates mafia style tactics
by TXSHARON on JULY 21, 2011
This is the kind of hubris that takes down empires and sinks giant ships.

Range is suing Steve Lipsky who has the contaminated water in Parker County and Alisa Rich who initially tested his water and found it was contaminated with methane, benzene and some other toxins.

Get this: Range claims they were already working with the Texas Railroad Commission and they were doing an investigation. FOR FOUR MONTHS the Texas Railroad Commission investigated while the homeowners had water in their home that would light on fire. FOR FOUR MONTHS!

Range claims Lipsky and Rich “conspired” to get the EPA to intervene. Nah!!! Why would they do that when we have the Texas Railroad Commission?

In its counterclaim filed Thursday in state district court in Parker County, Fort Worth-based Range contends that it has spent more than $3 million to defend itself and suffered “significant harm to its well-deserved reputation as a high-quality driller and operator” in the Barnett Shale. LINK

Raise your hand if you think Range Resources has a “well-deserved reputation as a high-quality driller and operator.” Anybody? Oh wait, is that you Ed? Oh, and there’s that certain S-T reporter who does love him some Range. Anybody else? Yeah, that’s what I thought. I laughed like a hyena when I read that. I’m still laughing. Allen Stewart, Lipsky’s attorney “called the countersuit’s claims a ‘far-fetched fairy tale.’”

I’d say Range Resources’ reputation matches perfectly with the Texas Railroad Commission’s reputation. They’re two peas…

I would like to volunteer my services to Stewart. I have dozens of videos and hundreds of photos that show how Range Resources likes to cut corners at every opportunity and has total disregard for people who live in the Gas Patch and the rules and laws they are supposed to follow. I bet I can round up dozens of witnesses who will testify under oath that nothing Lipsky or Rich could ever do harmed the reputation of Range Resources. They did that themselves a long time ago.

I know the Texas court system is largely owned by the Big Gas Mafia but I hope they dismiss this case as frivolous.

4. BP GULF GUSHER - Increases Flesh Eating Bacteria
The Alabama Gulf Coast attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year, and since the 2010 BP Oil Spill, tens of thousands of tar balls.

A couple hundred miles away at Auburn University, Dr. Cova Arias, a professor of aquatic microbiology, conducts research on the often-deadly and sometimes flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio Vulnificus. Arias’ research at Auburn, and through the school’s lab at Dauphin Island, has focused on Vibrio’s impact on the oyster industry which was brought to a standstill three years ago by the BP Oil Spill. In 2010, out of curiosity, Arias set out to discover if Vibrio were present in the post-spill tar balls washing up on the Alabama and Mississippi coasts. She was highly surprised by what she found.
“What was clear to us was that the tar balls contain a lot of Vibrio Vulnificus,” said Arias.
Arias can show an observer Vibrio in the lab as it appears as a ring on the top of the solution in a test tube. Vibrio is not something, though, that a person can see in the water, sand, or tar balls.
But, Arias’ research shows it there, especially in the tar balls, in big numbers.

According to Dr. Arias’ studies, there were ten times more vibrio vulnificus bacteria in tar balls than in the surrounding sand, and 100 times more than in the surrounding water.

“In general, (the tar balls) are like a magnet for bacteria,” said Arias. Arias’ theory is that Vibrio feeds on the microbes that are breaking down the tar. She and researchers looked at tar balls that washed in to the same areas they had previously studied so they could therefore make valid comparisons to before the oil spill.  “What we also found was in water, the numbers were about ten times higher than the numbers that have reported before from that area,” said Arias So the water alone had ten times as much Vibrio as before the oil spill, and the tar balls themselves had 100-times more Vibrio than the water.

Dr. John Vande Waa , an infectious disease specialist at the University of South Alabama Medical Center in Mobile says a person can get Vibrio two ways, by eating infected seafood, usually raw oysters, or by being in infected waters, either salt water or brackish. In this form, Vibrio is a fast-acting flesh-eating bacteria.

“The destruction in arms and legs, the flesh eating component, it’s two parts ,” said Vande Waa. “One is that the organism itself can destroy the tissues. The other is sepsis. The bacteria is in their bloodstream, it affects all the organs. Within my own experience of cases, the mortality has been approaching 40-50 percent.”

When entering through the skin, Vibrio is contracted thru some sort of cut or abrasion. The young or old, or someone with a compromised immune system, is more likely to get Vibrio.

Dr. Vande Waa says exposure to Vibrio should be taken seriously by everyone in marine environments, due to the random, but deadly, nature of bacteria.
“It can be very little exposure,” he said. “Just the wrong place at the wrong time.”
It’s not a way anyone would want to die.

“I hope and pray to God I never have to see something like that again in my life,” said David Cox. His stepfather Wayne Anderson of Irvington was killed by Vibrio in September.

Anderson was a life-long fisherman. It was something in the water where he spent his life that took his life. Cox says it started as a small bump on Anderson’s leg.
“It spread very quickly,” said Cox. “The pain was unbearable. You could just see the redness getting darker, the blisters getting bigger.” Anderson was dead in less than 48 hours.

“He wasn’t one to complain about pain and to see him there begging for someone to do something, it was very helpless,” said Cox. “Honestly, it was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life.”
There have been almost two dozen cases of Vibrio in Alabama over the last five years, according the Alabama Department of Public health.

Florida recorded 160 Vibrio cases from 2007-20012, with 54 of them being fatal. There have been more than 30 cases in Florida this year. An Escambia County man died in October. A 43-year-old Milton woman, Tracy Lynn Ray, died on November 1st. Relatives tell News-5 she was a frequent beach goer.

Arias recommends that people at the beach not touch the tar balls with their bare skin.
“You may have micro-abrasions so you don’t even know you have a cut,” said Arias. “So, I would stay away from the tar balls.”

But the results of Arias’ research have not been widely reported. As Tropical Storm Karen last month washed in a new batch of tar balls at Orange Beach, sunbathers and beach walkers were oblivious to the dangers.

“No, not really, it doesn’t seem to be a concern,” said Mike Hadley of St. Louis Mo.
 “I don’t think that a tar ball that has sand and shells on it is going to impact my health or me enjoying the beach at all,” said another beach goer.

The bacteria-filled tar balls are an object of beach goer curiosity. “I was just looking for shells in the sand and came across it,” said Tara Hadley of St. Louis. “Just looking, I picked it up thinking it was a shell.” Martha Ellison of Prattville, walking the beach with her teenage daughter, admits to handling tar balls on a routine basis.

“Yeah. I’ve gotten them all over our fingers, stepped on them, gotten them on our feet.”
So far, there has been no documented case of someone getting the flesh-eating disease from tar balls. Still, Arias urges caution. “We don’t know if you can get infected with Vibrio Vulnificus by touching a tar ball, but the possibility is there,” she said.

BP stresses that there has been no human case of Vibrio attributed to contact with tar balls. A BP statement sent to News Five read: “The Arias study does not support a conclusion that tar balls may represent a new or important route of human exposure for Vibrio infection, or that the detection of Vibrio in tar balls would impact the overall public health risk, since there are other far more common sources of Vibrio, such as seawater and oysters.”

BP says it asked the Alabama Department of Public Health in 2012, if its beach clean-up workers were at risk. Dr. Thomas Miller, ADPH Deputy Director for Medical Affairs, replied in a letter that there was no evidence of increased cases of Vibrio since the oil spill. Miller indicated, however, that could have been a result of fewer tourists being at the beach.

Arias says the only other significant study of Vibrio and tar balls was conducted following a spill off the coast of Nigeria and showed similar results. Arias has not done any follow-up work since 2010, citing a lack of funds, but says she would like to do further research.

5.Groundwater Contamination May End the Gas-Fracking Boom 
(Scientific American)
 In Pennsylvania, the closer you live to a well used to hydraulically fracture underground shale for natural gas, the more likely it is that your drinking water is contaminated with methane. This conclusion, in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in July, is a first step in determining whether fracking in the Marcellus Shale underlying much of Pennsylvania is responsible for tainted drinking water in that region.

Robert Jackson, a chemical engineer at Duke University, found methane in 115 of 141 shallow, residential drinking-water wells. The methane concentration in homes less than one mile from a fracking well was six times higher than the concentration in homes farther away. Isotopes and traces of ethane in the methane indicated that the gas was not created by microorganisms living in groundwater but by heat and pressure thousands of feet down in the Marcellus Shale, which is where companies fracture rock to release gas that rises up a well shaft.

Most groundwater supplies are only a few hundred feet deep, but if the protective metal casing and concrete around a fracking well are leaky, methane can escape into them. The study does not prove that fracking has contaminated specific drinking-water wells, however. “I have no agenda to stop fracking,” Jackson says. He notes that drilling companies often construct wells properly. But by denying even the possibility that some wells may leak, the drilling companies have undermined their own credibility.

The next step in proving whether or not fracking has contaminated specific drinking-water wells would be to figure out whether methane in those wells came from the Marcellus Shale or other deposits. Energy companies claim that the gas can rise naturally from deep formations through rock fissures and that determining a source is therefore problematic. Yet some scientists maintain that chemical analysis of the gas can reveal whether it slowly bubbled up through thousands of feet of rock or zipped up a leaky well. Jackson is now analyzing methane samples in that way.

Another way to link a leaky fracking well to a tainted water well is to show that the earth between them provides pathways for the gas to flow. Leaky wells have to be identified first, however. Anthony Ingraffea, a fracking expert at Cornell University, is combing through the inspection reports for most of the 41,311 gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania since January 2000. Thus far, he says, it appears that “a higher percentage” of Marcellus Shale fracking wells are leaking than conventional oil and gas wells drilled into other formations. Stay tuned.

6. Fukushima Update
    Dr. Helen Caldicott, Physician: [The health survey of children in Fukushima Prefecture] found 40% have thyroid abnormalities, which is incredibly rare in pediatrics.

    Dr. Helen Caldicott in Japan (Source: OurPlanet-TV)

    Some of these children almost certainly are bound to develop cancer of the thyroid. And indeed one 12 year old boy has already been diagnosed with it. And a girl aged about 16 may have already developed cancer. They are testing her now.

    It took 5 years for the children around Chernobyl to develop cancer. These children are showing symptoms and signs that they may well develop cancer in the future, indicating that they got a really high dose of radiation, higher than at Chernobyl. [...]

    I predict we’ll see an epidemic of leukemia and cancer and congenital malformations in this exposed population over the next 70 years or longer. [...]

7. Expert confirms radioactive water on way to West Coast and arriving in next few months; Will we really be told if it’s dangerous? 

ABC Los Angeles, Nov. 7, 2013: Fukushima: In-depth look at potential fallout [...] The Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to spew radiation. It’s 5,300 miles from Los Angeles — and still not far enough. [...] Nuclear Engineer Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, confirmed that ocean currents are carrying the radioactive water to the West Coast. “There are several hundred tons of radioactive water that are pouring into the ocean at the site every day,” Makhijani said. According to a study published in the Journal Deep Sea Research 1, it will begin arriving this March. But Makhijani says there’s no need to panic. The radiation will be diluted, and levels found on the West Coast are very low and not considered dangerous… so far. But the question is, will we really know? “I think we should be doing a better monitoring of food. I don’t think the EPA and FDA are doing a good enough job,” Makhijani said. [...]

Susie Taylor for Ms. Magazine, Nov. 5, 2013: [...] I was standing in the middle of the road adjusting my camera in view of the Daichii reactor No. 2 when my friend Sonny delivered the news. International wires were buzzing with talk of Fukushima as the Japanese government revealed knowledge of a disaster far worse than imagined: 300 tons of contaminated water were surging into the Pacific Ocean every day since the tsunami broke land more than two and half years ago. I replied with a speechless stare and returned to what I was doing. [...] [Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's] administration negligently concealed information concerning the fallout of Fukushima, while continuing to endanger millions of lives as strontium-90, cesium-137 and radioiodine I-131 wreak havoc in the world’s oceans. [...] Standing in the midst of Fukushima’s fallout on that hot day in July, I had a visceral sense of the trouble at hand. Though assigned to produce a video for TIME with my partner, I couldn’t focus on work. Tears surfaced as I thought of the deserted towns we passed [...] Then I looked out to sea. Somewhere beneath the shoreline, lethal radioactive water was gushing outward [...]

Fukushima Mystery? TV: Japan expert says radiation levels in ocean too high to be explained by groundwater flow alone — Must be coming from “other contamination routes” entering Pacific — “Devastating impact” to come?

    Yoichiro Tateiwa, NHK reporter: [Professor Jota] Kanda argues government statistics don’t add up. He says a daily leakage of 300 tons doesn’t explain the current levels of radiation in the water.

    Jota Kanda, Tokyo University professor: According to my research there are now 3 gigabecquerels [3 billion becquerels] of cesium-137 flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every day. But for the 300 tons of groundwater to contain this much cesium-137, one liter of groundwater has to contain 10,000 becquerels of the radioactive isotope.

    NHK: Kanda’s research and monitoring by Tepco puts the amount of cesium-137 in the groundwater around the plant at several hundred becquerels per liter at most. He’s concluded that radioactive isotope is finding another way to get into the ocean. He’s calling on the government and Tepco to identify contamination routes other than groundwater.

    Kanda: If we focus on groundwater too much without contemplating other causes, the situation won’t be resolved. There must be routes other than groundwater that are contaminating the ocean. So what we have to do now is consider all possibilities as we figure out a solution to the problem.

    NHK: Professor Kanda says the volume of radioactive particles discharged into the ocean is much smaller than the volume released immediately after the accident. But, he says there may be other sources of contaminated water stored up inside the plant’s infrastructure. He says that water is highly contaminated, and if it gets into the ocean it will again have a devastating impact.

    See also: Japan Expert: Contamination from Fukushima

8. Chris Christy - BIG win with only 38% of voters
   outspent his opponent - 

9. What about the Republican Middle? versus the Republican fringe?

10. The Coming out party in Florida - NAN RICH - hard campaigning 
      as soon as Crist anointed out of the BOX - he appeared with Obama

11. Announced in TPM / Even local TV News ? Crist - 

12. That Snowden - has done a great service to the American Press