Sunday, April 19, 2015

Don't Frack me BRO

PNN 4/19 - Don't Frack me BRO

7:01 - 7:09 - RWS
7:10 - 7:16 - UNSUNG
7:17 - 7:30 - Mark Pafford
7:30 - 8pm - Brook Hines
8:01 - 8:21pm - Karen Dwyer
8:22 - 8:38pm - Jennifer Hecker
8:39 - 9:00pm - Richard Silvestri 

1. GYRO vs  BURNIN UP - either way... Unmentionable
When 64 yr old Vietnam Vet John Constantino burned himself to death on the DC Mall in October of 2013 I couldn’t stop thinking about this man and his act. Who was he? What compelled him? What was his life’s story? What were his political views, his life’s station, etc?  I wanted to write a blog then but didn’t. “Tax The 1%”
The police captain on the scene who addressed the news cameras eerily avoided the question, mumbling that it was “something about social justice,” as if he were annoyed to address any specifics. So, we know nothing else. Not even a name was given. A dog run over by car might have gotten more respect and news coverage than this unknown man.
What kind of a society have we become? A man decides to commit suicide as an act of political courage, and is dismissed by both the police and media as unworthy of further examination?
When a man in Tunisia set himself on fire in protest of the draconian taxation and intimidating police enforcement of the state (not unlike in Ferguson and most American racially and financially-motivated policing toward Black Americans) it led to the Arab Spring.
How would Americans react if these stories were given a full airing on the news?How many could relate to the sheer despair, his plea in addressing squarely the plight of economic inequality, or the implicit message that our present an economic system has a savage inhumanity as its core feature, and that feature grinds people down in the most undignified of ways and that the rich must stop gaming the system and pay their fair share? Our media chose to look the other way in speculation about any of these salient truths.
 It is not unclear that these two men brought their grievances to DC and in spectacular fashion attempted to connect with our deepest consciences.  
John Constantino was a 64 yr old Vietnam Veteran living in Mount Laurel, N.J. when he came to DC to kill himself. His family declined to comment, choosing instead to release a stiff statement through a lawyer saying only that he had mental problems, as if that would suffice to explain his planned act away.  
Of these issues the two addressed we continue to bury our heads in the sand about. Wall St gets bigger and more intoxicated with greed and power. Their omnipresence exerts a dark cloud over all of our lives with respect to pretty much every facet of our lives, including student loans, consumer debt, fortified positions in the real estate and financial markets, and the fact that our electoral politics are officially an auction completely hijacked by their unopposed position as the highest bidders. Now we have the ostentatious spectacle HRC’s Presidency, already anointed by the Power Elite brokers. The whole charade is a mockery to anyone with a sense of morality, dignity and righteousness. This is not democracy. It’s plutocracy. The man with the Tax the 1% sign was saying something most people deeply resonate with: the current system of unbridled capitalism, concentrating wealth in the hands of the very few, is manifestly unfair and is destroying the lives of too many.

2. Fracking Bills Action Required
Fracking regulation bills have moved through the House and Senate in a manner we could not predict!  

That's why Jim and I wrote this article.  
Anyone that understands what fracking is would be opposed to it in Florida. Anyone else supporting it is benefiting from our vulnerable natural resources.

This is a dire statewide issue for Florida's water and must be stopped with solidarity on all water fronts throughout the state. 

Please consider, while it may not happen directly underneath the ground we stand on, it will happen underneath the ground our neighbors live on, unless we can stop it now before it gets rooted through regulations. And we all know, under us is our water, all of our fresh water supply.

Senator Richter, bill sponsor, has been saying that we cannot stop technology, we must regulate it.  Not true, we can stop a technology that has been known to cause harm throughout the world; there is no such thing as safe fracking.  We already have laws, rules and mandates in place that protect our water and land resources and we will use them until fracking is banned outright in Florida.  Clean Water act of 1972, Florida Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act (United States). 

Last committee meeting (  Government Appropriations)   is on Tuesday to make a decision on whether or not fracking regulations should move forward and be voted on by the entire Senate (and House).

I will be there, will you stand with me, stop regulations and work to ban fracking outright in Florida.

Sign the petition and make phone calls or write emails.

 Call additional influential people on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Meeting on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 in Tallahassee.

SW Florida Conservancy

Congress just introduced a troubling "fast track" bill that would trade away clean air and water while increasing gas exports and fracking. Under fast track, environmentally destructive trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) are rushed through Congress with no oversight or accountability.
We've been down this road before. More than 20 years ago, Congress fast-tracked the approval of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).1 The climate impact of NAFTA has been enormous -- it empowered corporate polluters to challenge environmental protections, boosted destructive mining in Mexico, and contributed to the rise of Canada's toxic tar sands industry. The TPP represents more of the same.
The TPP is often referred to as "NAFTA on steroids." This massive trade pact, being negotiated behind closed doors by a dozen countries, would cover roughly 40 percent of the world's economy. The climate impact of an agreement this large cannot be underestimated.
If approved, the agreement would open the floodgates to even more fracking

Just today, a bill was introduced in Congress that would fast track the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — attempting to further limit public input on this massive, pro-big business trade deal. 

The TPP is being called NAFTA on steroids and has been negotiated in secret since 2008 among some of the world's most powerful corporations. But leaked documents have revealed just how terrible this trade deal is, including a key provision that would allow companies to sue local governments over democratically enacted laws that they claim hurt their profits.¹ 

That means that if the TPP goes through, local initiatives like GMO labeling laws and fracking bans could be challenged in international trade courts. 

Pro-big business trade deals like the TPP are designed to boost the profits of multinational corporations, but they do so at the expense of the working class, our environment and our democratic rights. And while Big Business and Wall Street banks have been writing the deal behind closed doors, our elected representatives and the public have been shut out.

4. Adoption Restrictions too!

Hi everybody! In another shocking turn of events the Senate has decided to hear the Indiana-style Adoption Discrimination bill after all Monday at 1PM in Senate Rules

While it is true that the House and Senate have now both passed a bill repealing the 1977 ban on gay adoption (a bill that still has not been signed by the governor), anti-gay extremists now view this bill as an opportunity to reintroduce discrimination into the adoption process.

Please help us call and email Senators on the list below. They are getting pressured by their base to support this measure. If passed, even with the repeal of the gay adoption ban which has not been enforced since 2010, our child welfare crisis will get worse at the expense of Florida’s vulnerable children. ‘


Carlos Guillermo Smith
Public Policy Specialist
404-934-4944 mobile

5. Hilary the Newly Patented POPULIST
NEW & IMPROVED - What's Warren thinking?
Politico talked to some of Hillary’s “former” constituents on Wall Street about the “populist” rhetoric now coming from the former Senator from New York. Hillary has even gone so far as to praise Wall Street’s main nemesis, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), as a “progressive champion.” But Wall Street isn’t worried. They know she’s just saying what she needs to say to get elected.  - WHO WHAT WHY


6 POLLUTED RACISM - They told Prof. Tyrone Hayes
Its just that Minorities tend to choose economically blighted areas to LIVE!

7. BRAIN's CHEAP & POOR and oh yeah under nourished under stimulated and culturally poor too 
Why do poorer children consistently lag behind their richer peers? Neuroscientists studying the achievement gap found that the brains of children in families earning less than $25,000 per year had surface areas 6% percent smaller than those whose families earned $150,000 or more. They scored lower on cognitive tests, too. So, instead of blaming “failed teachers” and “failed schools,” maybe it’s time to blame afailed economic system that denies the poor kids basic requirements necessary for proper physical development and growth.

show their sacred places to uncle sam

9. BP LIES - Activists Tied
Cherri Foytlin and other New Orleanians and other activists go to BP HQ in Houston and are arrested

too dangerous for ROBOTS!
via Japan Times / April 11, 2015 / A remote-controlled robot inserted to survey the inside of the No. 1 reactor at the damaged Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has stopped functioning, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.
As a first step in the utility’s effort to remove melted nuclear fuel from the bottom of the unit’s primary containment vessel, the shape-shifting robot was sent in Friday morning to find the exact location of the highly radioactive debris.
Set to cover some 20 meters of the first floor on the first day, the robot began its trip at around 11:20 a.m. but halted at around 2:10 p.m. after completing two-thirds of the route, Tepco said.
The utility said footage from the robot’s camera shows it passed an opening leading to the vessel’s basement, where the molten fuel is believed to have ended up after the core meltdowns occurred after the March 2011 quake and tsunami.

11. West Coast Fisheries Closed

NY Times, Apr 15, 2015 (emphasis added): [Regulators] approved an emergency closure of commercial sardine fishing off Oregon, Washington and California… Earlier this week, the council shut down the next sardine season… [R]evised estimates of sardine populations… found the fish were declining in numbers faster than earlier believed… [Stocks are] much lower than estimated last year… The reasons are not well-understood.
Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting, April 13, 2015: Ben Enticknap, Oceana senior scientist (1:08:00 in) — “We’ve seen a significant change in recruitment [Recruitment: The number of new young fish that enter a population]. There’s been practically no recruitment in recent years, and this was not expected.”
Undercurrent News, Apr 14, 2015: [A]ccording to the report on the emergency action from the PFMC… “the total stock biomass of Pacific sardine is declining as a result of poor recruitment“… [A California Wetfish Producers Association official said] “little recruitment was observed in 2011-2014.”
Oregonian, Apr 13, 2015: Pacific coast sardines are facing a population collapse so severe[fishing] will be shut down… [The] downward spiral in spite of favorable water conditions has ocean-watchers worried there’s more to this collapse than cyclical population trends. “There are a lot of weird things happening out there, and we’re not quite sure why they aren’t responding the way they should,” said Kevin Hill, a NOAA Fisheries biologist… Fishery managers are adding it to a list of baffling circumstances off the West Coast… NOAA surveys indicate very few juvenile fish made it through their first year. “The population isn’t replacing itself,” Hill said.
SFist, Apr 14, 2015: [T]he population appears decimated… As the Council writes, “temperatures in the Southern California Bight have risen in the past two years, but we haven’t seen an increase in young sardines”… Sardines typically spawn in warmer waters, with cold water decreasing their numbers.
SF Chronicle, Apr 14, 2015: Sardine population collapses… [There's] evidence stocks are going through the same kind of collapse [seen in the 1950s]… The sardine population along the West Coast has collapsed… Causes of crisis — A lack of spawning… was blamed for the decline… Severedownturn… things recently took a turn for the worse… because of a lack of spawning due to poor ocean conditions in 2014… The collapse this year is the latest in a series of alarming die-offs, sicknesses and population declines in the ocean ecosystem along the West Coast. Anchovies… have also declined [due to] a lack of zooplankton… Record numbers of starving sea lions… Brown pelicans, too, have suffered from mass reproductive failures and are turning up sick and dead… Strange diseases have also been proliferating in the sea…
Monterey Herald, Apr 13, 2015: For the first time in 30 years [sardine fishing] will be banned.
KPCC, Apr 1, 2015: The first time that sardine fishing has been banned since federal management of the fishery began… Many are worried a… catastrophic crash is happening.

TUNE IN Sunday at 7pm (Eastern)
Listen in as PNN's News Director Rick Spisak brings you the latest FRACKING FACTS direct from the leaders of the ANTI-FRACKING ACTIVISTS fighting to protect our water resources. While the legislature is distracted cashing checks, and the regulators charged with protecting our water are asleep at the switch.
Mark Pafford D. Minority Leader [District 86]  in the Florida House give us his Legislative report with two weeks remaining in the session
Jennifer Hecker Director of Natural Resource Policy of the Conservency of Southwest Florida  gives us a Legislative Update
Dr. Karen Dwyer of the StoneCrab Alliance gives the news about the SETBACK at the Collier County Commission - PROTESTORS SILENCED
Richard Silvestri VP of the Treasure Coast Progressive Alliance talks about the GRASSROOTS response to inattentive Legislators and Sonambulistic regulators, who never saw a spill that could worry them or a polluter that deserved a serious looking into.
A special appearance of Brook Hines who will give us her Report and Tallahassee Update
Tune in Sunday at 7pm

E.G. VILLIANATOS Author of Poisoned Spring

Sunday, April 12, 2015

PNN No April Fool/n

PNN 4-12-15
Emine Dilek
Denis Campbell
Wendy Lynn Lee

0.  John Oliver  - the publics idea of a Privacy Debate (The Dick Pic Debate)

1. Fracking Far Out
New Federal Fracking Rules Rely on FracFocus Even as EPA Research Highlights Site's Flaws

It's a classic case of the government's left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing. Days after the Bureau of Land Management issued new federal rules for fracking on federal land, relying heavily on an industry-run site called FracFocus, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a study mainly noteworthy for the shortcomings of the site that it revealed.
More than 70 percent of the chemical disclosure statements that drillers posted on FracFocus between January 2011 and February 2013 were missing key information because drillers labeled that data “confidential business information,” the EPA reported.

On average, drillers reported using a mix of 14 different chemicals at each well site. At sites where information was withheld, an average of five chemicals were not named.

In fact, FracFocus allowed drillers to conceal the identity of more than one out of every ten chemicals whose use was “disclosed” on the site, EPA researchers found.

This made it impossible for EPA's researchers, who received over 39,000 disclosure statements from FracFocus in March 2013 and published their study two years later, to definitively say what chemicals drillers used most often, how much of each chemical was injected underground, or even to simply create a list of all the chemicals used at the wells.

“The project database is an incomplete picture of all hydraulic fracturing due to … the omission of information on CBI [confidential business information] ingredients from disclosures, and invalid or erroneous information created during the development of the database or found in the original disclosures,” EPA noted in a fact sheet about the research.

All told, the EPA was able to identify 692 different chemicals — including hydrochloric acid, methanol and diesel fuel — that were used during fracking. But that number is almost certainly incomplete, EPA researchers said, in part because over 129,000 individual ingredient records were labeled secret.
The gaps immediately drew the ire of environmental groups.

“The fracking industry is hiding a lot of information about the chemicals they are using in our communities,” Kate Kiely, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Bloomberg. “Even without that information, it is clear that there is widespread use of dangerous chemicals.”

Just seven days before EPA's results were released, the Bureau of Land Management announced new rules intended to manage fracking on over 247 million acres of public land managed by the federal government and the 700 million acres for which the government owned mineral rights as of 2013.
The BLM's newly-minted chemical disclosure rules are built around FracFocus, allowing drillers to make required reports through the industry-backed website.
Data, data, everywhere…

EPA researchers ran up against a major stumbling block in crunching numbers based on FracFocus' data, an issue that some warn may continue to cause problems even as the Bureau of Land Management adopts FracFocus as the mechanism for tracking fracking chemicals used on federal public lands.
FracFocus stored the information drillers provided in separate .pdf files for each disclosure, and every .pdf form can be different if drillers decide to edit the formatting. This meant that EPA researchers needed to spend enormous amounts of time simply transferring each bit of information into a spreadsheet, and then going back and making sure that each bit of information was in the proper place.

Some open-government advocates say that the BLM's reliance on FracFocus runs contrary to an executive order issued by President Obama that pledged to make data from the government “easy to find, accessible, and usable” by requiring it to be “machine-readable” — essentially in a format that lets researchers access it.

“Besides the fact that this decision flouts the President’s own Executive Order #13642 on Open Data, why are we so concerned about how the government manages fracking data?” David Manthos, Communications Director of the environmental organization SkyTruth wrote in a blog posting about the BLMrules. “The reason is because this decision will deprive property and homeowners, scientists, decision-makers, emergency responders, healthcare professionals, and the general public of effective access to information that is vital to investigating the environmental, social, and public health impacts of modern oil and gas drilling.”

FracFocus has promised to upgrade its site, having already done so once since it provided EPA researchers with the raw materials for their study. But SkyTruth's Manthos remains skeptical.

“I'm concerned that BLM is basing their decision on vague promises, and will have no leverage or authority to control the timetable, implementation, or functionality of these improvements,” he said.

For a while, Mr. Manthos' organization tackled the tedious task of scraping data from the FracFocus site and importing it into spreadsheets so researchers could use it. But in 2013, their work came to an abrupt halt when FracFocus froze SkyTruth's access to the site.

“There was a little error message that was coming out saying, ‘Hey, you’re sending too many requests. You’re being blocked for 24 hours,’” SkyTruth's Paul Woods explained to StateImpact last year. “Then, they block you for 48 hours and then they block you forever.”

SkyTruth is not the only organization to find fault with FracFocus. In 2013, astudy published by Harvard University's Environmental Law Program gave the site a failing grade, noting that it “has limited quality assurance procedures” because “FracFocus staff does not review submissions” uploaded by drillers.
The BLM's new rules also allow drillers, not regulators, to decide when a chemical should be considered secret as they upload their disclosures to FracFocus.

“These trade secret provisions are much weaker than many states and ignore the advice of a Department of Energy advisory panel which unanimously recommended that 'any trade secret exemptions permitted by BLM in its regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal lands include a rigorous process of claiming trade secret exemptions and robust trade secret verification and challenge mechanisms,'” the NRDC's Amy Mall wrote in response to the new rules.

The relative laxity of the BLM's new rules has done little to deter protest from the oil and gas industry, who see the rules as chipping away at state-level oversight of the shale drilling rush.

“Under the strong environmental stewardship of state regulators, hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have opened up a new era of energy security, job growth, and economic strength,” API Director Erik Milito said in a statement. “A duplicative layer of new federal regulation is unnecessary, and we urge theBLM to work carefully with the states to minimize costs and delays created by the new rule to ensure that public lands can still be a source of job creation and economic growth.”

Already, battles over the BLM's new rules are headed into the courthouse.
Two industry groups, the Independent Petroleum Association for America and the Western Energy Alliance, have filed lawsuits claiming that the BLM's rules overreach federal authority, as has the state of Wyoming. Environmental organizations have suggested that the rules could also be vulnerable to a challenge under the National Environmental Policy Act.

“The bottom line is,” the NRDC's Amy Mall told The Dallas Morning News, “these rules fail to protect the nation’s public lands — home to our last wild places, and sources of drinking water for millions of people.”

2. RoundUp invasive & Ubiquidous
Reuters) - 
U.S. consumer groups, scientists and food companies are testing substances ranging from breakfast cereal to breast milk for residues of the world's most widely used herbicide on rising concerns over its possible links to disease.
The focus is on glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup. Testing has increased in the last two years, but scientists say requests spiked after a World Health Organization research unit said last month it was classifying glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans."

"The requests keep coming in," said Ben Winkler, laboratory manager at Microbe Inotech Laboratories in St. Louis. The commercial lab has received three to four requests a week to test foods and other substances for glyphosate residues. In prior years, it received only three to four requests annually, according to its records.

"Some people want to stay out in front of this. Nobody knows what it means yet, but a lot of people are testing," said Winkler.

Microbe has handled recent requests for glyphosate residue testing from small food companies, an advocacy group testing baby formula and a group of doctors who want to test patients' urine for glyphosate residues, said Winkler. The firms and doctors do not want their identities published.

Abraxis LLC, a Warminster, Pennsylvania-based diagnostics company, has also seen a "measurable increase" in glyphosate testing, said Abraxis partner Dave Deardorff.

Monsanto Co, the maker of Roundup, on April 1 posted a blog seeking to reassure consumers and others about glyphosate residues.
"According to physicians and other food safety experts, the mere presence of a chemical itself is not a human health hazard. It is the amount, or dose, that matters," Monsanto senior toxicologist Kimberly Hodge-Bell said in the blog. Trace amounts are not unsafe, she stated.

Company spokeswoman Charla Lord said last week that further questions could be directed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

There are numerous studies that have determined glyphosate to be safe, but several others have linked it to human health ailments. Critics say they fear that glyphosate is so pervasive in the environment that extended exposure even to trace amounts can be harmful.

Tests by Abraxis found glyphosate residues in 41 of 69 honey samples and in 10 of 28 soy sauces; Microbe tests detected glyphosate in three of 18 breast milk samples and in six of 40 infant formula samples.
North Dakota State University agronomist Joel Ransom reported to the U.S. Wheat Quality Council in February that tests he ordered showed traces of glyphosate in several U.S. and Canadian flour samples.

4. Citizen Empowerment - Needs your help - Click to endorse

5. Chelsea Manning thanks you for your support
Amnesty International has shared Chelsea Manning’s thank you note to them- and to all her supporters who have taken action:
I wanted to thank all of you so very much for your actions of support and solidarity.
I understand that over 200,000 actions were taken – that’s absolutely incredible!
...My days here are busy and very routine. I work at a vocational wood shop during the week – about the same number of hours as a full-time job. I am taking college correspondence courses for a bachelor’s degree...
Click here to read more of Chelsea Manning's thank you!
With Warm Regards,

6. Vancouver Oil Spill Shows Why Trans Mountain Pipeline Should Not Be Built
British Columbian officials on Friday criticized the Canadian government's response to an oil spill in the waters around Vancouver, calling into question plans for new crude oil export pipelines in the Pacific Coast province.
Nearly 3,000 liters of oil spilled after an anchored bulk carrier began leaking bunker fuel in English Bay, just west of Vancouver's downtown core, on Wednesday.

Officials in the province said the coast guard responded but was slow to contain the slick, which spread towards beaches. They said the federal agency failed to notify the cities of Vancouver and West Vancouver until early Thursday, delaying public safety warnings by more than 12 hours.

"It took them six hours to get booms in place ... in the busiest port in Canada where they have all the resources," British Columbia's Premier Christy Clark told reporters.

"There will not be any expansion of heavy oil movement out of this port or any other port in British Columbia until we get world-class spill response, period."
Federal Industry Minister James Moore said it was "highly inappropriate" to criticize the response while the clean-up was unfinished.

Canadian regulators are weighing Kinder Morgan's plan to expand its Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver, which would dramatically increase the number of oil tankers traveling through the Burrard Inlet each month.
The project is opposed by environmental groups and some residents, who worry about the impact of a major spill.

A separate pipeline to carry crude from the Alberta oil sands to a port in northern British Columbia has been conditionally approved by federal regulators, though the province says the project has not yet met their standards.

The perception that the federal government bungled the spill response could prove politically damaging for the ruling Conservatives, who had hoped to make inroads in British Columbia in a federal election later this year.
A senior Canadian Coast Guard official said the agency did not initially realize how serious the spill was. Once it saw the magnitude, via aerial views, it took 3 -1/2 hours to place the booms.

"You don't contain 80 percent of a spill inside 36 hours and call that inadequate. I will not accept that definition," Roger Girouard said at a news conference.
The owners of the MV Marathassa, which was in Vancouver to pick up grain, will be on the hook for clean-up costs, the province said.

7. Drilling Company Owner Gets 28 Months In Prison For Dumping Fracking Waste Into River

The owner of a small Ohio oil and gas drilling company who ordered his employees to dump tens of thousands of gallons of fracking waste into a tributary of the Mahoning River was sentenced to 28 months of prison on Tuesday, according to a Cleveland Plain Dealer report.

U.S. District Judge Donald Nugent also ordered 64-year-old Benedict Lupo, owner of Hardrock Excavating LLC, to pay $25,000 for unlawful discharge of pollutants under the U.S. Clean Water Act. Lupo pleaded guilty to the charges in March, admitting to having his employees dump fracking wastewater into the Mahoning River tributary 33 times.

According to the Dealer, the wastewaster consisted of “saltwater brine and a slurry of toxic oil-based drilling mud, containing benzene, toluene and other hazardous pollutants.” The recurring pollution had a devastating effect on the creek’s ecosystem, according to assistant U.S. attorney Brad Beeson.

“Even the most pollution-tolerant organisms, such as nymphs and cadis flies, were not present,” Beeson said in a court document. “The creek was essentially dead.”

The pollution ultimately flowed into the Mahoning River, which is a source of public drinking water for the cities of Newton Falls and Sebring — a combined population of more than 9,000.

Lupo has publicly apologized to both residents of the Mahoning Valley and his family for the dumping, citing his deteriorating health as a reason for his actions. He suffers from chronic pain and diabetes, and has to have dialysis treatments daily, according to the Dealer.

“If this was 20 years ago, [the dumping] probably would have never happened,” Lupo said.

Lupo’s attorneys attempted to get Lupo out of his prison sentence because of his health, and instead put him on home detention, saying jail would be equivalent to “the death penalty.” But Nugent would not reconsider, citing the fact that Lupo had instructed his employees to lie about dumping the waste.

“Ben Lupo put his own interests ahead of everyone else’s, and he deserved to face a severe penalty for his actions,” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said. “The recent water crisis in Toledo is a grave reminder of how important it is to protect our waterways.”

While it looks like Lupo will be going to prison, owners of big companies responsible for pollution rarely see jail time. BP CEO Tony Hayward isn’t facing jail time for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, nor is Shell’s CEO being personally prosecuted for the estimated 550 million gallons that have spilled in Nigeria’s Niger Delta over the past 50 years. That’s because it’s difficult in court to determine individual responsibility.

According to the Center for Public Integrity, out of thousands of cases opened since 1990, fewer than 800 Clean Air Act cases have led to fines or prison time. Almost twice as many Clean Water Act cases have been opened, and twice as many have resulted in fines or prison time.

8. Don't FRACK YOU, Don't Frack me - FRACK the Guy behind the Tree

Florida will be the next fracking state if the oil and gas industry get their way and have their carefully crafted, FDEP endorsed, legislative bills become law this session. SB 1468 and SB 1582, regulations on fracking laws.

The BAN fracking bills will have to wait till next session as the Senate and House denied them to be heard in committee this session.  

With all of your help, we are hoping for a groundswell rising to STOP oil and gas extraction by means of hydraulic and/or acid fracturing and extreme well stimulation in 2016.  This type of extraction is NOT conventional drilling.

It is a slippery slope to put in place regulatory bills on fracturing when we, in Florida, really need to ban the practice outright. While, there are no regulations whatsoever at this moment, the question the legislators are answering for the constituents is  whether to put these bad bills into law and have some regulations verse no regulations? These laws are useless for protection of our water supply, they are ripe with confidentiality in favor of the industry.  

I have attended many meetings during the past few weeks and I am here to say there are many more questions than answers and they are moving these bills forward anyway.  Our question is why not wait one more year to work to BAN it outright?  

The only amendment that is acceptable is to have a moratorium and a 3 year study must be added to SB 1468. 

Here is the latest action that we need your help with in Tallahassee. Please call, write or attend the meeting (we do not know the date and time, yet).

For the love of all of north Florida, when this thing comes, they will not be coming to cities, they will target rural areas, go miles deep and wide and risk our quality of life (noise, traffic, air pollution, 24/7) and our Floridan aquifer, our drinking water and our water for our natural systems.

EPA reports:  30,000 up to 7.2 million gallons per frack job, wastewater is contaminated forever, 692 unique chemicals such as additives, base fluids, proppants and kerosene, methanol and hydrochloric acid are used in this process and the industry has been known to withhold chemical names as a result of propriety and confidentiality. SB 1582 is written with secrecy inherent in it.

Thanks for all you do to protect Florida's waters of the state. 

9. Fuke Radiation detected on the shore of British Columbia
VICTORIA, British Columbia (AP) - Radiation from the leaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor has been detected on the shores of Vancouver Island, four years after a deadly earthquake and tsunami in Japan killed 16,000 people.

University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen said Monday that it's the first time radiation has been found on the shorelines of North America since the quake and tsunami ravaged the Japanese north coast and disabled the nuclear reactor.

Low levels of the radioactive isotope Cesium-134, which scientists say can only come from Fukushima, were found in waters collected on Feb. 19 off a dock at Ucluelet, British Columbia, about 195 miles west of Victoria, Cullen said.

Last November, the first sample containing detectable radioactivity from Fukushima was discovered about 90 miles off the coast of northern California.

Over the past 15 months, scientists and citizen volunteers have been collecting water samples at more than 60 sites along the Canadian and U.S. west coasts and in Hawaii as they've looked for traces of radioactive isotopes from Japan.
"This is the first sample that's been collected in North America with this contaminated plume of sea water, which we've seen offshore, but it's the first time we've actually seen it at the shoreline," Cullen said.

He said the arrival of radioactive water on North American shores from Japan was expected this year. The distance from Japan to Ucluelet is more than 4,700 miles.

"The levels we are seeing are so low that we don't expect there to be impacts on the health of either the marine environment or people living along the coast," Cullen said.

"We're more than a thousand-fold below even the drinking water standard in the coastal waters being sampled at this point. Those levels are much, much, much lower than what's allowable in our drinking water."
Cullen said in a statement that if a person swam for six hours each day in water with Cesium levels twice as high as those found in Ucluelet, they'd receive a radiation dose that is more than 1,000 times less than that of a single dental X-ray.
Since the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear disaster, there has been widespread concern about the potential danger posed by radioactivity from Japan crossing the Pacific Ocean.

Cullen leads a marine radioactivity monitoring network formed last August that includes scientists in Canada and the U.S., health experts, non-governmental organizations and citizens who help collect samples along the Pacific coast.
The InFORM Network, or Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring, received $630,000 in federal funds for three years through the Marine Environmental Observation Prediction and Response Network.

Research partners in the network include Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, Health Canada, the University of Ottawa, the University of British Columbia and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

10. Pakistan court says former CIA station chief will face charges over drone strike
The former head of the CIA in Pakistan should be tried for murder and waging war against the country, a high court judge ruled on Tuesday.

Criminal charges against Jonathan Banks, the former CIA station chief in Islamabad, were ordered in relation to a December 2009 attack by a US drone which reportedly killed at least three people.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the Islamabad high court also ruled charges should be brought against John A Rizzo, formerly the top CIA lawyer who gave the legal green light for drone strikes.

Banks’s name was first dragged into the public domain in 2010 when a tribesman called Karim Khan began legal action against the supposedly undercover spy chief over an attack by an unmanned aircraft on his home in North Waziristan which he said killed his brother and son.

The extraordinary unmasking of a sitting station chief forced Banks to quit his post and leave the country.

Banks went on to become the head of the Iran operations divisions at the CIA’s headquarters and currently works in the US military’s intelligence wing.
At the time, the outing of Banks sparked much speculation about how Khan and his lawyer Shahzad Akbar could possibly have known the identity of the CIA station chief. Many assumed Pakistan’s own spies leaked the name to punish the CIA at a time of fraught ties with the US.

There are few hard facts about the 2009 drone strike. The CIA never comments on an officially secret programme, and independent investigators face hurdles trying to work in North Waziristan, an area that for years was under the control of militant groups.

Press reports at the time suggested the target of the strike was the then-Taliban commander for North Waziristan, a militant called Haji Omar. Khan has always denied the claim.
With no chance of either of the two Americans travelling to Pakistan to face their day in court, the case is unlikely to go anywhere.

The issue of drone strikes has faded from public concern in Pakistan in recent years and is nothing like as prominent as it was in 2009, when the CIA campaign was running at a high tempo.

While US drone strikes have become far rarer in recent years, the relationship between Washington and Islamabad has also improved dramatically, with Pakistan lodging only pro forma protests when drone strikes do take place.

11. Oil dispersant used in Gulf Oil Spill causes lung and gill injuries to humans and aquatic animals, also identifies protective enzyme
Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham

New research suggests that Corexit EC9500A, an oil-dispersal agentl, contributes to damage to epithelium cells within the lungs of humans and gills of marine creatures. The study also identifies an enzyme that is expressed in epithelial cells across species that has protective properties against Corexit-induced damage.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

4/5/15 - Spring Round Table 

7:01pm - RWS

7:15pm  Jeannie Economos 

7:30pm  Emine Dilek Managing Editor at The Progressive Press

7:45pm Luis Cuevas

7:55pm Steve Horn

8:05pm Rob Abston

8:15pm  Round Table

8:55pm- sign off


1. Iranian Peace Framework

2. Massive Antarctic Melting (63.5F - highest on record)
The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming areas on Earth, with only some areas of the Arctic Circle experiencing faster rising temperatures. However, since Antarctica is a big place, climate change is not having a uniform impact, with some areas experiencing increases in sea ice extent. 

The warmest temperature ever recorded on the continent of Antarctica may have occurred on Tuesday, March 24, 2015, when the mercury shot up to 63.5°F (17.5°C) at Argentina's Esperanza Base on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula. According to weather records researcher Maximiliano Herrera, the previous hottest temperature recorded in Antarctica was 63.3°F (17.4°C) set just one day previously at Argentina's Marambio Base, on a small islet just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula. Prior to this week's remarkable heat wave, the hottest known temperature in Antarctica was the 62.8°F (17.1°C) recorded at Esperanza Base on April 24, 1961. (The World Meteorological Organization—WMO—has not yet certified that this week's temperatures are all-time weather records for Antarctica, though the Argentinian weather service has verified that the temperatures measured at Esperanza Base and Marambio Base were the highest ever measured at each site.) A new all-time temperature record for an entire continent is a rare event, and Weather Underground's weather historian, Christopher C. Burt, has full details

Antarctica set a new territorial heat record of 17.5°C (63.5°F) at Esperanza Base on March 24. Previous record: 17.4°C (63.3°F) at Marambio Base, set the previous day.
Equatorial Guinea set a new national heat record of 35.5°C (95.9°F) at Bata on March 17. Previous record:  35.3°C (95.5°F) at Malabo in February 1957.
Ghana tied the national record of highest temperature with 43.0°C (109.4°F)  at Navrongo on February 12.
Wallis and Futuna Territory (France) set a new territorial heat record with 35.5°C (95.9°F) on January 19 at Futuna Airport.
Samoa tied its national heat record with 36.5°C (97.7°F) on January 20 at Asau. Previously record: same location, in December 1977.

Yet in others, sea ice is decreasing, with measurable impacts on wildlife. ASOC believes that understanding climate change impacts on Antarctica is a matter of critical importance for the world and for the continent itself. - 

See more at:  Antarctic Climate


3. Actors as protestors Tea Party/Big Sugar [Land Grab?]
Sugar companies that operate on the north side of Lake Okeechobee discharge massive amounts of phosphorous from fertilizer into the lake, which has thus become horribly polluted. During the rainy season, the water gets high and threatens to break the dam and flood the surrounding area, so water managers must divert that dirty water east through the St. Lucie River and west through the Caloosahatachee. Last year, horribly polluted water killed dolphins and fish all along the rivers to both coasts, destroying local fishing and tourism economies and lowering property values. 
If the state were to buy the land south of the lake, scientists say, water could go south and the plants there would naturally filter out pollution. Environmentalists have eyed this land for decades. The state now has until October to purchase the land or the deal expires.
 This year, conservationists were especially optimistic that a deal would go through because last November, voters passed Amendment 1, which specifies that money from the documentary stamp tax — a few dollars charged when courts process paperwork lie deeds and mortgage documents — would be used for conservation. 
But now, those monies are being hijacked, say the people who campaigned for Amendment One.

In the summer of 2008, then-Gov. Charlie Crist announced a deal with U.S. Sugar to buy its land for $1.75 billion — a deal Crist likened to the establishment of Yellowstone National Park. That fall, the recession hit, and the deal was watered down. Mark Ferrulo of Progress Florida explains that in 2010, the state signed a deal to buy. "Back then, Big Sugar even touted it — like they were stepping up and doing their part by turning this land into a reservoir." Money, however, wasn't available for the state to make the purchase. Now, with Amendment 1 funds, it should be.  
"They're pulling a move like they did with the lottery money," says Ferrulo. In the late 1980s and 1990s, money from the Florida lottery was supposed to be earmarked for education. But instead of using the money to supplement existing school funding, "they took lottery money and used it for existing costs," Ferrulo says, "and to give tax breaks to corporations and other special interests. We're seeing the same thing play out with Amendment 1 — they're taking the bulk of Amendment 1 money and using it for pet projects pushed by powerful developers and other special interests for things that are not land and water conservation."   
A program called Florida Forever used to be funded at $300 million a year for conservation, but it has been gutted over the years. Amendment 1 is expected to reap $757 million. 
As the Sun Sentinel explained: 
The chance to buy the 46,800 acres stems from a 2010 land deal between U.S. Sugar and the water management district. That deal cost the district $197 million to acquire 26,800 acres from U.S. Sugar for Everglades restoration. It also gave the district a 10-year option to buy the sugar giant's remaining 153,200 acres.
Instead of buying all of that remaining land, the deal gives the district until October 2015 to buy just the 46,800 acres.
It would cost $350 million if bought at the same per-acre price as the 2010 deal, but that could increase depending on what appraisals show.

4. New Abortion restrictions in Tallahassee 
visit twice abort once - so the poor dear, will possible take a minute and consider it before they take that SINFUL STEP


5.  Pesticide Forum - 4/17 & 18
upcoming pesticide forum
Jeannie Economos
Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator
Farmworker Association of Florida

6. ALL SHE IS DAYING - "Give Hilary a chance" - Sen. Elizabeth Warren
Now, perhaps no one (at least no one still alive) can verify the oft-rumored existence of an outright Clinton mafia, but one thing's for sure: Hillary's dynastic family is even better positioned than the Corleones for painfully twisting arms--and hardly just in figurative ways. Who'd expect less from a full-fledged clan of globally connected Bilderbergs? And who can say what really happened at last December's hushed-up private meeting between Warren and Clinton at Hillary's Washington home ? But one thing is clear: Warren now kowtows to Clinton--precisely when one would expect Warren's leverage with a credibility-challenged presidential aspirant to be at itsmax--as if she'd been threatened within an inch of her life. Her shabby, hypocritical appearance on the Todayshow, where she emphatically ruled out opposing Hillary for president, should irresistibly convince progressives that Warren and Clinton are very much part of the same hypocrisy. The mealy-mouthed hypocrisy now required of every Democrat, just as the oath of silence (omerta) is imposed on every "made" mobster.
Clearly, no one should be rebuked for refusing to run for president. Much as Warren seemed the only progressive high-profile and popular enough to defeat Wall Street heartthrob Hillary--and clearly the only one who could trump her "first woman president" card--that in no sense personally obliges her to vie for our nation's highest office. Warren demonstrably lacks ambition for highest office, as perhaps any sensible, conscientious person would, knowing both the staggering life-or-death responsibilities and the wearying, acrimonious conflict and gutter-snipe personal smears that go with the role. Even the assassination risk is far from negligible--and heightened for anyone (like Warren) espousing policies that enrage the powers that be. If we don't lack for presidential aspirants, especially from the Republican aisle, it's precisely because most candidates likely take the office's staggering responsibilities--the ones that gave Honest Abe migraines--with roughly the brooding gravitas of overgrown frat boy Dubya. And furthermore because, amidst oligarchic and Deep State stranglehold on U.S. policy , few White House wannabes intend the remotest hint of offense to the powers that be. Hillary certainly doesn't, being as deep-dyed a "made" member of the Beltway Cosa Nostra as anyone possibly could.
No, it's hardly Warren's refusal to run that should enrage progressives, but the sniveling, insult-added-to-injury manner in which she announced it. It's bad enough we're forced to hear--in, for once, a convincing refusal--that our one most plausible hope for besting Hillary the Horrible is self-sidelined, but that such frustration of our hopes should be seasoned with the nauseating advice to "give Clinton a chance and find out what she's running on" is really beyond the pale. As if we didn't already know that she's running on oligarch dollars and a staunch unwillingness to offend suppliers of the same. 
Or on a record of unapologetic hawkishness, contempt for heroic whistleblowers like Snowden, ardent promotion of fossil fuels, knee-jerk support for Israel, and obsessive secretiveness--capped by her support for ultra-secret corporate power grabs like the TPP
Or on an utter lack of personal taste for a populist economics like Warren's, matched only by a triangulating unscrupulousness willing to tell progressives anything that will help her win the presidency. Doesn't Warren fathom that only someone with "populism in the blood" and therefore hell-bent on urgent reform would dare--in an age dominated by "malefactors of great wealth"--risk incurring their hatred in the way FDR did?
 And Warren's best punishment, progressives' best way of kicking back at her spineless hypocrisy is--as with any national politician--a public shaming. 

CREDO has a brilliant petition, a more direct version of an initiative launched by Pitchforks Against Plutocracy,demanding Hillary Clinton take a stand against both the Trans-Pacific Partnership and, above all, TPP fast track. The Pitchforks initiative, hoping to exploit populist favorite Warren's leverage with credibility-challenged candidate Clinton, had readers to contact Warren, demanding that she make Clinton's denouncing the TPP the price of her support. 

Warren's Today appearance renouncing her own candidacy would have been the ideal occasion for doing so. Her sniveling failure to do so, in effect attaching zero meaningful strings to her support for Clinton--despite Clinton's likely diametrical opposition to Warren on major issues like TPP--suggests a fitting punishment. Not only should readers sign the CREDO petition, but they should flood Warren with copies of it, asking her why she failed to challenge Clinton on such a crucial issue of economics and democracy both.


7. Saudi - don't behead me... bro?
Here's a look at five things about Saudi Arabia that US officials and the establishment media are neglecting to talk about as Saudi bombs continue to drop on the people of Yemen with the support of the United States:
  1. Sharia Law runs the country.
  2. Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian dictatorship: There are no national elections, no parties, and no rights.
  3. People are publicly beheaded in the Kingdom.
  4. Human rights for Saudi women are among the worst in the world.
  5. The monarchy is a cash machine for terrorists.

8. Sailors are "Fuked"
(NaturalNews) U.S. Navy sailors exposed to radioactive fallout from the Fukushima nuclear disaster have been falling ill, even as the Defense Department insists that they were not exposed to dangerous levels of radiation. Many of the sailors have now joined in a class action lawsuit against Fukushima operators and builders Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), Toshiba, Hitachi, Ebasco and General Electric.

Even if they wanted to -- which many do not -- the sailors would be unable to sue the Navy. According to a Supreme Court ruling from the 1950s known as the Feres Doctrine, soldiers cannot sue the government for injuries resulting directly from their military service.

Mocked and attacked
On March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake and tsunami triggered multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. It was the worst nuclear disaster in history, releasing twice as much radioactive material as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

That same day, the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan was redirected to the coast of Japan to participate in relief work for tsunami survivors. When sailors from the ship later began to fall ill, Congress asked the Defense Department for a report on the issue. The Pentagon report concluded that the sailors had not been exposed to enough radiation or contaminated water to cause health effects.

Yet in the four years since the disaster, at least 500 sailors have fallen ill, and 247 of them have joined the class-action suit. The 100-page legal complaint chronicles their symptoms: an airplane mechanic suffering from unexplained muscle wasting; a woman whose baby was born ill; a sailor told his health problems must be genetic, even though his identical twin is perfectly healthy; and case after case of cancer, internal bleeding, abscesses, thyroid dysfunction and birth defects.

The defendants initially claimed that they could not be sued in a U.S. court, so plaintiffs' attorney Paul Garner asked the sailors to come to a court hearing in San Diego, to offer moral support.

Nearly all of them refused, for fear of public attack. Initial plaintiff Lindsey Cooper, for example, had already been mocked by atomic energy experts on CNN and by conservative radio hosts. Others were afraid of being perceived as anti-military, or un-American.

Powerful interests at stake
Only one plaintiff was willing to show up: Lieutenant Steve Simmons. Once a triathlon runner, Simmons fell ill a year after returning from Japan, suffering from hair loss, muscle wasting, migraines, bloody discharge and incontinence. His fingers turned yellow or even brown, and his feet have now turned dark red. He suffers from whole-body spasms and must now use a wheelchair.

He has never received a diagnosis for his problems, and sometimes he wonders if his Defense Department doctors are deliberately withholding one, so that the Department need not be held responsible. One doctor, he said, told him it would be better if he didn't know the cause of his illness.

Disturbingly, Spiegel Online reported:

Early on, [Simmons] was in a military hospital in Washington DC together with three other men who had similar symptoms, he says. They had served on nuclear-powered submarines, but they disappeared from one day to the next, and when he asked what happened to them, everyone acted as though they had never been there in the first place.

Simmons believes that the Navy meant to do good with the mission to Japan, and does not blame USS Ronald Reagan's commander, Captain Thom Burke, for what happened to him. But he is troubled by Burke's silence now, he says. He believes that Burke will not speak out about the case because he hopes to become an admiral.

"Personal, diplomatic and economic interests are all at stake," Simmons said. "They're leaving us alone. They're closing their eyes, keeping quiet and waiting for it to blow over. There are sick soldiers everywhere, many in the hospital in San Diego, or in the medical center in Hawaii. They are ordinary folks who are poorly insured, with family and kids. Loyal and scattered. Most of them don't know how to react. Those who raise their voices are denounced in the Internet for being unpatriotic. You have to put up with a lot."


9. Fukushima Noose
Cleanup crews trying to mitigate Japan's never-ending radiation crisis at Fukushima ran into more problems recently after sensors monitoring a drainage gutter detected a huge spike in radiation levels from wastewater pouring into the Pacific Ocean.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company says radiation levels were up to 70 times, or 7,000 percent, higher than normal, prompting an immediate shutdown of the drainage instrument. The first readings came around 10 a.m. local time on February 22, setting off alarms not once but twice as radiation levels spiked to extremely high levels.

"The levels of beta ray-emitting substances, such as strontium-90, measured 5,050 to 7,230 becquerels per liter of water between 10:20 a.m. and 10:50 a.m.," reported The Japan Times. "TEPCO requires radioactivity levels of groundwater at the plant discharged into the sea to remain below 5 becquerels."

TEPCO shut off leaky gutter, but radiation continued to spike throughout day
The gutter was quickly decommissioned to prevent further radiation emissions, but the leaks reportedly continued throughout the day, with radiation levels hovering between 10 and 20 times higher than normal. TEPCO says it doesn't know what caused the sudden radiation spikes.

"With emergency surveys of the plant and monitoring of other sensors, we have no reason to believe tanks storing radioactive waste water have leaked," stated a plant official to the media. "We have shut the gutter [from pouring water to the bay]. We are currently monitoring the sensors at the gutter and seeing the trend."

Multiple major leaks reported as Fukushima generates 400 tons of new radioactive waste daily
Just four days prior to the leak, the International Atomic Energy Agency congratulated TEPCO for its continued cleanup efforts at the Fukushima site. This is despite numerous other radiation leaks, some of them quite major, that have occurred in recent months at the shuttered facility.

Back in October 2013, for instance, a failed transfer of radioactive wastewater from one storage tank to another resulted in more than four tons of highly contaminated sludge being dumped into the ground. Not long before this, 300 tons of radioactive waste reportedly leaked from another nearby storage tank.

As we reported earlier in the month, a worker actually died after falling into a radioactive storage tank during a routine inspection. The 33-foot container that swallowed the man is one of many at the site that holds a portion of the 400 tons of highly radioactive water generated daily at Fukushima.


10. Fuke Noose #2
To my knowledge, Sen. Wyden is the only U.S. Senator who has actually visited the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility and warned the U.S. public about what he saw. And what did he see? A wrecked, half-collapsed building site littered with massive collections of nuclear fuel rods that now threaten the entire Northern hemisphere with a radiation apocalypse. (

When Wyden returned to the USA following the visit, he immediately issued an urgent warning, now reprinted on his website. In the watered-down language of political correctness, the warning is still quite strong. As his website says: (

Wyden's principal concern is the relocation of spent fuel rods currently being stored in unsound structures immediately adjacent to the ocean. He strongly urged the Ambassador to accept international help to prevent dangerous nuclear material from being released into the environment.

He then went on to say, in his own words: (emphasis added)

"The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance."

His website goes on to say something that should stun anyone who understands the threat of radioactive contamination of the environment:

"Wyden found that the facilities designed to house spent nuclear fuel and the reactors themselves were still in a state of disrepair and located in areas that would make them susceptible to further damage from future seismic events. The reactor buildings still contain large amounts of spent fuel -- making them a huge safety risk and the only protection from a future tsunami, Wyden observed, is a small, makeshift sea wall erected out of bags of rock."

Did you catch that last part? The only protection from a tsunami is a "makeshift sea wall erected out of bags or rock."

And to think, the fate of the world now depends on us all just "lucking out" and crossing our fingers in the hope that no earthquake or tsunami takes place before they clean up the Fukushima facility mess.

Which brings up the question: What exactly is being done to clean up the Fukushima facility mess?

In a word, nothing.

Governments play pretend
Virtually nothing is happening. All the governments involved (Japan and USA, primarily) are playing a ridiculously stupid game of pretending there is no problem. The Japanese government, for its part, has decided that instead of admitted to a radiation problem, it's easier to just tell Japanese citizens they have a mental disorder if they're concerned about radiation (

The U.S. government plays a similar mind game, raising the allowable levels of radiation exposure by thousands of times and then declaring Fukushima fallout to be suddenly safe! (

Governments, in other words, are in denial mode even while Fukushima smolders and hurls us all toward irreversible global disaster.

If Fukushima were a "terrorist," the U.S. government would stop at nothing to defeat it
What's really telling in all this is that if a "terrorist" organization were threatening the USA with the same amount of nuclear material held at Fukushima, the U.S. would take immediate and decisive action to eliminate that threat. For the record, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility has enough radioactive material to make thousands of terrorist "dirty bombs".

All that radioactive material now threatens America, but because it is subjected to random "natural" causes (earthquakes, tsunamis, etc.) instead of "terrorist" causes, the U.S. government has stupidly chosen to ignore it. It's not politically advantageous to talk about Fukushima, you see, because it doesn't fit into the false theatrical narrative of terrorists threatening America.

This leaves us all in a frustratingly idiotic catch-22, where governments refuse to address a problem that threatens the world unless and until the problem explodes in their faces, at which point it is too late to address it.

All this leads to the obvious solution for resolving the Fukushima conundrum. The way to get governments to address Fukushima is to allow the facility to be taken over by terrorists! Only then will the U.S. government consider the threat to be real, since the entire government only sees things through "terrorist glasses."

The science of denial
Of course, the real source of all this terror is the arrogance of modern science itself, which now threatens the very survival of the human race. As I recently wrote here on NaturalNews, the human race is being "suicided" in the name of science. (

Science has become a far greater threat than terrorism could ever imagine, because in the name of "science," we have been placed in the crosshairs of not just a nuclear apocalypse, but also the disastrous effects of self-replicating genetic pollution via GMOs.

"Science" has handed us antibiotic-resistant superbugs, the global pollution of crops and soils with synthetic pesticides, the death of the honey bees, and the mass poisoning of children with mercury through dentistry and vaccines (among other crimes). "Science" told us that nuclear power was safe ... yet here we are in 2012, on the verge of an event that could kill a quarter of the human population on the planet, and all the scientists can do is deny any problem exists at all.

Denial may be an effective psychological tactic in politics and poker, but unfortunately for the rest of us it does not alter the laws of physics. "Denial" does not change the 30-year half life of Cesium-137, a radioactive isotope that mimics the mineral potassium and thus is easily absorbed into food crops, poisoning the entire food supply.

Denial is not a tactic of genuine leaders; it is a last-ditch desperate ploy of the weak-minded.

We are living in the land of denial, led by elected denialists who are voted into office by working-class denialists. Denial has become our modus operandi, our fabric of fairytales. It has allowed our civilization to ride high on a global debt pyramid and it will be the harbinger of our ultimate destruction at the hands of "scientists" who promised us life but delivered us unto death.


11. Japan orders Fukushima waste to be released into ocean after worker falls into tank of radioactive water and dies

With nowhere else to put it and workers constantly being exposed to it, radiation from the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power facility in Japan has been ordered to be dumped into the ocean by Japanese regulators, according to new reports. This was just two days after a plant employee accidentally fell into one of the onsite storage tanks filled with radioactive water, resulting in his death.

According to the Star Tribune, the 55-year-old man died of multiple injuries after falling through an opening at the top of the 10-meter (33-foot) high tank. He was one of three men who was inspecting the tank at the time of the fall.

Following the incident, Japan's Nuclear Regulatory Authority met to discuss options for disposing of the radioactive waste, which continues to pose health threats at the facility. The Wall Street Journal reports that the regulatory body's chairman isn't pleased with the way the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has handled the disaster, which continues to wreak havoc.

"Tokyo Electric Power must consider whether it (storing the water) is really necessary," stated Shunichi Tanaka during a recent board meeting. "It is surely harmful if it leads to the death of workers."

Japanese regulators suggest that TEPCO start disposing of radioactive water in 2017
A draft recommendation was made at the meeting that proposes a 2017 start date for discharging the water. That proposal is expected to receive approval within the next week. More than one year ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency made the recommendation to TEPCO that it begin releasing small amounts of low-level tritium-contaminated water in a controlled manner so that it could focus on other problems at the plant.

But the power operator has yet to take action, which has resulted in massive contamination of local groundwater. Reports indicate that up to 400 tons of highly contaminated water is added to the site every day, an insurmountable level that will only make it that much worse to clean up in the future.

TEPCO's water purification process can't remove tritium; operator running out of room for storage tanks
TEPCO is currently trying to remove radioactive material from the tainted water before dumping it into the ocean. But the system it currently has in place to do this is unable to remove radioactive tritium, which is why the power operator has begun moving the water into large storage tanks onsite.

There are currently about 1,000-and-counting storage tanks at the facility, but TEPCO is quickly running out of space to add more. Besides this, TEPCO is having to continue working towards removing spent fuel rods and replacing cooling equipment to prevent further problems at the plant, which show no signs of relent.

Worker injuries increasing at Fukushima, suggesting sloppier safety measures
The plant's decommissioning process, which is expected to take several decades, currently involves some 7,000 workers laboring day and night to get things under control. Between April and November of 2014, however, there were 40 injuries at the plant compared to 12 the year prior, suggesting that safety measures are degrading.

"He was wearing a harness, but the hook was found tucked inside the harness," explained a TEPCO spokesman to reporters about the tank fall incident. "This means the harness was not being used. We are investigating whether safety measures were appropriately observed."


12. In a Win for Opponents of Mountaintop Removal, West Virginia Government Will Study Health Impacts

or decades, people in southern West Virginia have suffered from elevated rates of health problems like lung cancer, cardiovascular disease, and birth defects. In McDowell County, for example, life expectancy for females is about 73 years, approximately eight years below the national average.
Although many attribute these problems to the poverty of the region, scientists and epidemiologists have been looking at a different culprit. Beginning in 2006, more than two dozen studies have explored the possibility of a link between the region’s illnesses and mountaintop removal mining, a common term for the surface mining of coal.
For Janet Keating, executive director of the nonprofit environmental group Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, that link is a no-brainer. “Long before there were any studies, people knew that mountaintop removal mining was making them sick,” she said.
But policymakers in the state weren’t convinced. Until now, they considered the research inconclusive and continued to let coal companies practice surface mining. On March 18, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) issued a permit renewal to the South Fork Coal Company to continue surface mining at a location in Greenbrier County. Currently, the department cannot deny a permit to any applicant that meets the requirements, according to Communications Officer Kelley Gillenwater. 
But what if that policy were to change? On March 13, Randy Huffman, the secretary of the DEP, acknowledged for the first time that reviewing the existing research is necessary. Four days later, the administration of Governor Earl Ray Tomblin announced that the state would conduct an official review of those studies, under the leadership of the state Bureau for Public Health’s commissioner, Dr. Rahul Gupta.
That’s good news for those who blame the health disparities of southern West Virginia on mountaintop removal mining. It’s also good news for environmentalists worldwide, who want to see more urgency in transitioning society away from fossil fuels.
Environmentalists hope that if the review verifies the results of the studies, it could lead to a change in state policy. Some have expressed doubt about this possibility, however, given the economic and political power of the coal industry. But in a phone interview, Gupta insisted that scientific evidence would prevail: “Most of the policies about worker safety, worker health, community health, in this country over the last 150 years have come from science and data.”
Others fear the review could further reduce the already shrinking number of coal mining jobs in a region suffering economically. “In the coal communities of southern West Virginia, the coal industry is the only show in town,” said Jason Bostic, vice president of the West Virginia Coal Association. (To read about emerging solutions to the decline in coal jobs in Appalachia, start here.)
“District 12”
For many local people, these announcements have been a long time coming. “We’ve been trying and trying to get them to pay attention to these things, and it’s just time to really bring down your foot and stomp it and say, ‘You are going to pay attention to me,’” Keating said.
Keating credited the timing of the state’s decision to the publicity surrounding The People’s Foot, a rally held on March 16 in front of the DEP office in Charleston, the state capital. Multiple groups—including OVEC, Coal River Mountain Watch, and Christians for the Mountains—spent months organizing the rally, employing social media, sending postcards in the mail to supporters, and strategically locating billboards demanding that the government “Stop the Poisoning.”
“That’s pretty striking, but it’s the truth,” Keating said of the billboards. “We let them know we were coming and that we would be pretty hard to ignore.”
Speakers at the rally, such as Bo Webb of Coal River Mountain Watch, stressed the importance of the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act, or ACHE, a federal bill that would place a moratorium on new mountaintop removal permits until the federal government has completed and evaluated studies into health disparities in the region.
Daile Rois was in the crowd at the rally. She’s been an active volunteer with OVEC and other environmental groups since May 5, 2014, when the DEP issued a permit to the Korean mining company Keystone Global that would allow blasting just behind the Charleston house that has been in her family since 1966. Her friends from outside the state were worried, she said, and urged her to move.
“They kept telling us we are District 12 from The Hunger Games,” Rois said. “I refuse to accept that.”
Instead of accepting it, Rois became increasingly involved in the local environmental movement. She said the People’s Foot rally reminded her that those engaged in the fight against mountaintop removal mining were members of a community. “We were sharing stories that were heartrending, and yet there was this expectation that the time was right.”
In a phone interview, Gupta agreed that the timing was good. “The public interest is clearly present in having that unbiased analytical look at this data.”
Debating the data
Yet the validity of that data remains contested.
“I’m convinced with the research I’ve done and what I’ve seen with my own eyes that mountaintop removal mining is harmful,” said Dr. Michael Hendryx, a professor of applied health science at Indiana University. Hendryx has been researching health disparities in Appalachia since 2006 and has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles correlating exposure to mountaintop removal mining to higher rates of birth defects, mortality, cardiovascular disease, and lung cancer. In one frequently cited study of reported live births between 1996 and 2003 across Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky, Hendryx and co-author Melissa Ahern found elevated rates of birth defects including circulatory and respiratory anomalies in counties where mountaintop mining occurred.
Bostic dismissed Hendryx’s works as “health journalism, not public health epidemiology.” Born and raised in southern West Virginia, Bostic did not deny that health problems disproportionately affect rural communities where coal is the main economic base, but he attributed them to general behaviors such as poor diet and tobacco usage.
“Public health has always been a challenge in isolated areas,” Bostic remarked.
Hendryx, however, insists that he has controlled for factors such as alcohol and tobacco use, quality of prenatal care, and diet. Therefore, he says the health disparities he has encountered must be due to the increased chemical exposure, impaired water sources, and air pollutants generated by blasting and mine runoff.
He has maintained in published articles as well as interviews that mountaintop removal mining should be discontinued. He argues that the reason Bostic and others have refused to recognize the validity of his data comes down to money. “The coal industry has a tremendous financial interest in doing what they’re doing,” he said. “I have no financial interest in doing what I’m doing.”
According to Gupta, these conflicting views are “exactly why an unbiased agency from a public health perspective will be engaged in this type of work.” The researchers will include scientists from multiple agencies from different states. He stressed that public health has no agenda, either for pro-mining or for environmental groups.

13. Arrested for a miscarriage

While Indiana has been in the spotlight over its new anti-LGBT "religious freedom" law, another state controversy is brewing. On Monday, Purvi Patel became the first person in U.S. history sentenced to prison for feticide for what the state said was an attempt to end her own pregnancy. While Patel says she had a miscarriage, delivering a stillborn fetus, prosecutors accused her of taking drugs to induce an abortion, even though no drugs were found in her system. They also used a discredited test to claim the fetus was born alive. Patel was sentenced to 20 years in prison. We look at her case amidst the rising tide of anti-choice laws and the criminalization of pregnancy with Lynn Paltrow, founder and executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women.

On Monday, Purvi Patel, an Indian-American woman, became the first person in U.S. history sentenced to prison for feticide, for ending her own pregnancy. In 2013, Patel arrived at a hospital, bleeding. She told doctors she had had a miscarriage and disposed of her stillborn fetus in a trash receptacle. Under questioning by police, Patel said she had believed she was about two months pregnant. After miscarrying in the bathroom, she said she tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate the fetus, which wasn't moving. She told police, "I assumed because the baby was dead there was nothing to do." Bleeding, in shock, and not wanting her conservative Hindu parents to find out, she disposed of the fetus and went to the hospital.

Prosecutors would later accuse Patel of taking drugs to try to end her pregnancy, based on text messages to a friend where she discussed buying the drugs online. But no evidence of abortion drugs was found in her body. The prosecutors also used a discredited "float test" to claim Purvi Patel's fetus, which they said was between 25 and 28 weeks, was born alive. So, in addition to feticide, Patel was charged and convicted of "neglect of a dependent." On Monday, a judge sentenced Patel to serve 20 years in prison. In total, her sentences actually add up to 41 years, but will be served but will be served concurrently, with 10 years suspended.
The sentencing comes amidst a growing, ongoing crackdown on reproductive rights. According to RH Reality Check, lawmakers in states across the country have introduced at least 235 bills to restrict abortion in 2015 alone. To talk more about this issue we are joined here in New York by Lynn Paltrow, Founder and Executive Director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women. 
Well, Purvi Patel is an amazing example of the fact that it's not just reproductive rights that are under attack, it is the personhood of people who can get pregnant, that this case demonstrates that we are not going back to some — going through some time warp to a time before Roe, that women's pregnancies are now becoming the subject of policing, prosecution, and severe sentences in an age of mass incarceration. So, here's a woman who goes to the hospital for help because she has a miscarriage, and ends up being sentenced to jail for 20 years. They charge her with feticide, and originally people were very confused. It's like, how can you be charged with both feticide and neglect of a dependent because feticide is understood as causing the death of a fetus, but the prosecutors says, in Indiana, no, our law means any deliberate attempt by a woman to terminate her own pregnancy is a crime. It didn't succeed, so we convinced — they then used —- deliberately used a invalid scientific test to convince the jury that the baby had been born alive and neglected. So, here you have -—

What is unique is the judge allowed this case to go forward in spite of a motion to dismiss, in spite — rejected an amicus brief that we prepare on behalf of numerous health groups. Thirty-eight states have feticide laws. Many of them — most of them explicitly say what they all were passed — how they were all passed, which is, they were all past or amended in the wake of violence against pregnant women, with the promise that it would protect pregnant women and so-called unborn children from violence. In fact, in many states, as my research with Jeanne Flavin has shown, it has been used to arrest woman who delayed having Cesarean surgery. A woman in Iowa who fell down a flight of stairs while she was pregnant was arrested for attempted feticide. Indiana's law is somewhat different from other states, but it is not really about the language of the statute, it's about the commitment of the prosecutors and the state to use it as a mechanism for depriving pregnant women of their human rights.


Thursday, Indigenous leaders in the Ecuadorean amazon denounced the presence of agents from the Chevron oil company in their territories, whom they believe were there to sow divisions within their communities.

Rural workers and indigenous peoples are currently facing off with Chevron in court, seeking to collect US$9.5 Billion in compensation for environmental damage caused by the company. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled earlier this month that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined the U.S.-based oil company Chevron should be upheld.
Humberto Piaguaje, a coordinator with the Union of Persons Affected by Texaco Operations (UDAPT), said the agents from the U.S. oil-giant were suspected of offering money or benefits to community members in exchange for their signature on a form.
“In the past there was a similar case, where the people were lied to, they would offer them money and they would ask them to sign a document, which was then used against these very same communities,” said Piaguaje.
His comments were echoed by Luz Casangua, the president of affected persons from Campo Joya de los Sachas.
“In 1993 a group of persons also came, pretending to be technical experts, first they said they were going to look at the contamination and we showed them, then they started to ask us how much we wanted to end the case,” said Sachas. “We realized they were infiltrators and we got organized so that they could not enter (our) communities.”
Pablo Fajardo, the lawyer representing the affected communities, said that the fact Chevron was up to its old tricks was a sign of desperation and that the company's “lies are being brought to light.”
Despite the ruling by the Ecuadorean Supreme Court and the CIJ, Chevron refuses to pay. Because pulled out its assets from Ecuador, the plaintiffs are seeking to seize the company's assets in other jurisdictions. The Supreme Court of Canada heard arguments in December 2014 and is set to decide soon if Canada is an appropriate jurisdiction for the case.


The document listing the criteria, known as the “Spot Referral Report,” is not classified, but it has been closely held by TSA and has not been previously released. A copy was provided to The Intercept by a source concerned about the quality of the program.
The checklist ranges from the mind-numbingly obvious, like “appears to be in disguise,” which is worth three points, to the downright dubious, like a bobbing Adam’s apple. Many indicators, like “trembling” and “arriving late for flight,” appear to confirm allegations that the program picks out signs and emotions that are common to many people who fly.
A TSA spokesperson declined to comment on the criteria obtained by The Intercept. “Behavior detection, which is just one element of the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) efforts to mitigate threats against the traveling public, is vital to TSA’s layered approach to deter, detect and disrupt individuals who pose a threat to aviation,” a spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Since its introduction in 2007, the SPOT program has attracted controversy for the lack of science supporting it. In 2013, the Government Accountability Office found that there was no evidence to back up the idea that “behavioral indicators … can be used to identify persons who may pose a risk to aviation security.” After analyzing hundreds of scientific studies, the GAO concluded that “the human ability to accurately identify deceptive behavior based on behavioral indicators is the same as or slightly better than chance.”
The inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security found in 2013 that TSA had failed to evaluate SPOT, and “cannot ensure that passengers at United States airports are screened objectively, show that the program is cost-effective, or reasonably justify the program’s expansion.”
Despite those concerns, TSA has trained and deployed thousands of Behavior Detection Officers, and the program has cost more than $900 million since it began in 2007, according to the GAO.
The 92-point checklist listed in the “Spot Referral Report” is divided into various categories with a point score for each. Those categories include a preliminary “observation and behavior analysis,” and then those passengers pulled over for additional inspection are scored based on two more categories: whether they have “unusual items,” like almanacs and “numerous prepaid calling cards or cell phones,” and a final category for “signs of deception,” which include “covers mouth with hand when speaking” and “fast eye blink rate.
Points can also be deducted from someone’s score based on observations about the traveler that make him or her less likely, in TSA’s eyes, to be a terrorist. For example, “apparent” married couples, if both people are over 55, have two points deducted off their score. Women over the age of 55 have one pointed deducted; for men, the point deduction doesn’t come until they reach 65.
Last week, the ACLU sued TSA to obtain records related to its behavior detection programs, alleging that they lead to racial profiling. The lawsuit is based on a Freedom of Information Act request the ACLU filed last November asking for numerous documents related to the program, including the scientific justification for the program, changes to the list of behavior indicators, materials used to train officers and screen passengers, and what happens to the information collected on travelers.
“The TSA has insisted on keeping documents about SPOT secret, but the agency can’t hide the fact that there’s no evidence the program works,” said Hugh Handeyside, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project, in a statement announcing the lawsuit.
Being on the lookout for suspicious behavior is a “common sense approach” that is used by law enforcement, according to TSA. “No single behavior alone will cause a traveler to be referred to additional screening or will result in a call to a law enforcement officer (LEO),” the agency said in its emailed statement. “Officers are trained and audited to ensure referrals for additional screening are based only on observable behaviors and not race or ethnicity.”
One former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who asked not to be identified, said that SPOT indicators are used by law enforcement to justify pulling aside anyone officers find suspicious, rather than acting as an actual checklist for specific indicators. “The SPOT sheet was designed in such a way that virtually every passenger will exhibit multiple ‘behaviors’ that can be assigned a SPOT sheet value,” the former manager said.
The signs of deception and fear “are ridiculous,” the source continued. “These are just ‘catch all’ behaviors to justify BDO interaction with a passenger. A license to harass.”
The observations of a TSA screener or a Behavior Detection Officer shouldn’t be the basis for referring someone to law enforcement. “The program is flawed and unnecessarily delays and harasses travelers. Taxpayer dollars would be better spent funding real police at TSA checkpoints,” the former manager said.
A second former Behavior Detection Officer manager, who also asked not to be identified, told The Intercept that the program suffers from lack of science and simple inconsistency, with every airport training its officers differently. “The SPOT program is bullshit,” the manager told The Intercept. “Complete bullshit.”


By Bill Black, the author of The Best Way to Rob a Bank is to Own One and an associate professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Jointly published with New Economic Perspectives
HSBC got a sweetheart deal from the Obama administration. It laundered vast amounts of money for Mexico’s murderous Sinaloa cartel, helped bust sanctions for terrorists and mass murderers, and did not cooperate with the investigation. The U.S. Attorney in charge of the case, Loretta Lynch, refused to prosecute any of the HSBC bankers or even sue them individually. Instead, there was a pathetic non-prosecution agreement limited to HSBC. Lynch is accused of not contacting either of the primary whistleblowers in the case. The failure to contact one of the whistleblowers has already blown up in Lynch’s face as it became public a few months ago that the governments of the U.S. and Europe were provided many years ago with data on HSBC’s Swiss affiliate that show it was helping terrorists, genocidal leaders, the most violent drug gangs, and tens of thousands of wealthy people evade taxes. Lynch failed to bring that case or use any of the invaluable data provided by the whistleblower who copied the files from the Swiss bank.
Now comes word that, like Standard Chartered, HSBC is failing to abide even by the pathetic sweetheart deal Lynch gifted HSBC’s criminal managers with. In the case of Standard Chartered, NY authorities came down on Standard Chartered with at least one foot on the neck. Lynch is made of considerably less stern stuff. She failed even to do the most obvious move of extending the agreement with HSBC. The New York Times tells the tale in DealBook’s trademark incoherent fashion.
The filing represents a subtle yet important shift for the Justice Department, which until now has largely applauded HSBC’s efforts since reaching the deferred-prosecution agreement and paying $1.9 billion to the federal authorities. While commending HSBC for continuing “to act in good faith to meet the requirements of the D.P.A.,” prosecutors highlighted times when bank employees resisted the overhaul.
DealBook, of course, is not so impolite as to mention that the two clauses of the second sentence are contradictory and that HSBC is acting in bad faith and violating even the sweetheart agreement. HSBC’s violations were a heaven sent opportunity for Lynch to undo the massive embarrassment of the shameful deal she gave HSBC – one of the world’s largest and most destructive criminal enterprises. She could use the “watchdog” report damning HSBC to state the reality – HSBC’s managers have acted in bad faith and violated the deal that would have got them off with no real prosecution. Lynch could now prosecute HSBC and its senior managers for all the frauds – including the vast frauds she missed last time because of her failure to talk with the whistleblowers. And the chances of that happening closely approach zero because Obama chose Lynch to continue Holder’s shameful policies of refusing to prosecute bankers rather than change those policies.
In fairness, DealBook’s incoherence appears to reflect Lynch’s incoherence in her HSBC filing. Consider the (unintentional) humor resident in the DealBook’s description of her filing.
Her filing, alternating between praise and concern, reflects dueling messages from the Justice Department. Coming at a time when prosecutors are grappling with repeat offenses on Wall Street, the filing underscores the Justice Department’s efforts to stem the pattern of corporate recidivism.
Notice the disastrous admissions tucked into the convoluted paragraph. Holder’s refusal to prosecute the bankers has led to “repeat offenses on Wall Street.” Ponder that which DealBook religiously refuses to ponder – if fraudulent bankers find they grow wealthy from the “sure thing” of fraud with no risk of prosecution or even being sued, why wouldn’t they respond with “repeat offenses” that would create a “pattern of corporate recidivism?” DealBook is very sympathetic to Holder and Lynch. They are portrayed as “grappling” with the thorny problem that because senior bankers realize that under Holder and Lynch they can grow wealthy and powerful by leading “repeat offenses” they will do so even though they promise “dad” (Holder) or “mom” (Lynch) that they’ll never do it again. (DealBook hates to use the “f” word to describe elite bankers’ frauds.)
As DealBook (hilariously) portrays the matter, Holder and Lynch “grapple” with this intractable and apparently inconceivable (in the Princess Bride sense of the word made famous by Vizzini) problem that the elite bankers keep on committing massive felonies helping terrorists and the world’s most violent drug gangs even after they look Holder and Lynch (dad and mom) straight in the eyes and solemnly promise to never hit their little brother and steal his toy truck again. Five minutes later, dad and mom hear a smack followed by the little brother breaking into tears and find big brother with little brother’s toy truck. Big brother, of course, solemnly says he never hit his little brother and the truck in his hand is not his little brother’s truck. Big brother, being sophisticated, even pleads in the alternative that if he is holding little brother’s truck it is because little brother gave him the truck. Except, that we’re not talking about toy trucks, but senior bank officers knowingly funding mass murder and terrorism.
Here’s a hint to dad and mom if we presume for the sake of analysis that Holder and Lynch actually wished to “stem the pattern of corporate recidivism.” Put the senior officers in prison for at least a decade. Have the OCC and the NY State authorities yank HSBC’s (and Standard Chartered’s licenses to do business in the U.S.). If they cannot operate profitability without the license have the UK put them in receivership on a Friday, replace the managers with honest, skilled managers, and open the bank (complete with renewed U.S. licenses) on Monday. Then sue and bring enforcement actions against any culpable officers to “clawback” their compensation.
We had no problem with recidivism when we got the Department of Justice (DOJ) to bring the S&L prosecutions. To my knowledge, of the over 1000 felony convictions in S&L cases designated as “major” by the DOJ, no senior S&L crook that we convicted played any material role in leading the three fraud epidemics that drove the 2008 financial crisis. The truth is that Holder and Lynch are taking no meaningful efforts against what even DealBook now admits is “the pattern of corporate recidivism” by our most elite bankers. The only thing they “grapple” with is the bad publicity arising from the stench of that “pattern” of the most despicable and harmful elite financial frauds in history.
There can be no more incriminating indictment of the Nation’s leading federal prosecutors than the fact that even the sycophantic DealBook admits that on Holder and Lynch’s watch a “pattern” of recurrent frauds by our most elite CEOs has emerged – and those frauds commonly involve profiting from the banks aiding the funding of mass murderers. The administration has managed to turn into reality all those bad novels they sell in airport book stores that describe networks of criminal elite bankers financing terrorists, drug gangs, and venal and brutal kleptocrats with impunity from the laws.


By Edward Harrison of Credit Writedowns
Matt Taibbi is one of the few commentators in the mainstream media who is not worried about ‘access’ and has, therefore, been free to write much more critically about the economic crisis and reform efforts on Wall Street.
His first piece was a polemic against Goldman Sachs, which triggered a backlash against the venerated Wall Street firm due to its incestuous relationship with Washington.  Afterwards, he took on health care reform. Now, he is taking on the Obama Administration and its status quo bias. I have an excerpt below and a link to the full article. But, first, let me say a few words.
As you probably know, I have been quite disappointed with this Administration’s leadership on financial reform. While I think they ‘get it,’ it is plain they lack either the courage or conviction to put forward a set of ideas that gets at the heart of what caused this crisis. 
It was clear to many by this time last year that the President may not have been serious about reform when he picked Tim Geithner and Larry Summers as the leaders of his economic team.  As smart and qualified as these two are, they are rightfully seen as allied with Wall Street and the anti-regulatory movement. 
At a minimum, the picks of Geithner and Summers were a signal to Wall Street that the Obama Administration would be friendly to their interests. It is sort of like Ronald Reagan going to Philadelphia, Mississippi as a first stop in the 1980 election campaign to let southerners know that he was friendly to their interests.
I reserved judgment because one has to judge based on actions. But last November I did ask Is Obama really “Change we can believe in?” because his Administration was being stacked with Washington insiders and agents of the status quo.
Since that time it is obvious that two things have occurred as a result of this ‘Washington insider’ bias.  First, there has been no real reform. Insiders are likely to defend the status quo for the simple reason that they and those with whom they associate are the ones who represent the status quo in the first place. What happens when a company is nationalized or declared bankrupt is instructive; here, new management must be installed to prevent the old management from covering up past mistakes or perpetuating errors that led to the firms demise. The same is true in government.
That no ‘real’ reform was coming was obvious, even by June when I wrote a brief note on the fake reform agenda. It is even more obvious with the passage of time and the lack of any substantive reform in health care.
Second, Obama’s stacking his administration with insiders has been very detrimental to his party. I imagine he did this as a way to overcome any worries about his own inexperience and to break with what was seen as a major factor in Bill Clinton’s initial failings. While I am an independent, I still have enough political antennae to know that taking established politicians out of incumbent positions (Joe Biden, Janet Napolitano, Hillary Clinton, Rahm Emanuel, Kathleen Sebelius or Tim Kaine) jeopardizes their seat.  So, the strategy of stacking his administration has not only created a status quo bias, but it has also weakened his party.
That’s it. I’ve said my piece.  Here is the Taibbi excerpt now. I don’t agree with everything Taibbi says and his tone is a lot more apoplectic than mine; but that is mostly stylistic. On the major point – that the Obama Administration is more of the same – he is right.
Here he talks about the Citi bailout
“Just look at the timeline of the Citigroup deal," says one leading Democratic consultant. "Just look at it. It’s fucking amazing. Amazing! And nobody said a thing about it."
Barack Obama was still just the president-elect when it happened, but the revolting and inexcusable $306 billion bailout that Citigroup received was the first major act of his presidency. In order to grasp the full horror of what took place, however, one needs to go back a few weeks before the actual bailout — to November 5th, 2008, the day after Obama’s election.
That was the day the jubilant Obama campaign announced its transition team. Though many of the names were familiar — former Bill Clinton chief of staff John Podesta, long-time Obama confidante Valerie Jarrett — the list was most notable for who was not on it, especially on the economic side. Austan Goolsbee, a University of Chicago economist who had served as one of Obama’s chief advisers during the campaign, didn’t make the cut. Neither did Karen Kornbluh, who had served as Obama’s policy director and was instrumental in crafting the Democratic Party’s platform. Both had emphasized populist themes during the campaign: Kornbluh was known for pushing Democrats to focus on the plight of the poor and middle class, while Goolsbee was an aggressive critic of Wall Street, declaring that AIG executives should receive "a Nobel Prize — for evil."
But come November 5th, both were banished from Obama’s inner circle — and replaced with a group of Wall Street bankers. Leading the search for the president’s new economic team was his close friend and Harvard Law classmate Michael Froman, a high-ranking executive at Citigroup. During the campaign, Froman had emerged as one of Obama’s biggest fundraisers, bundling $200,000 in contributions and introducing the candidate to a host of heavy hitters — chief among them his mentor Bob Rubin, the former co-chairman of Goldman Sachs who served as Treasury secretary under Bill Clinton. Froman had served as chief of staff to Rubin at Treasury, and had followed his boss when Rubin left the Clinton administration to serve as a senior counselor to Citigroup (a massive new financial conglomerate created by deregulatory moves pushed through by Rubin himself).
Incredibly, Froman did not resign from the bank when he went to work for Obama: He remained in the employ of Citigroup for two more months, even as he helped appoint the very people who would shape the future of his own firm. And to help him pick Obama’s economic team, Froman brought in none other than Jamie Rubin, a former Clinton diplomat who happens to be Bob Rubin’s son. At the time, Jamie’s dad was still earning roughly $15 million a year working for Citigroup, which was in the midst of a collapse brought on in part because Rubin had pushed the bank to invest heavily in mortgage-backed CDOs and other risky instruments.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting. It’s three weeks after the election. You have a lame-duck president in George W. Bush — still nominally in charge, but in reality already halfway to the golf-and-O’Doul’s portion of his career and more than happy to vacate the scene. Left to deal with the still-reeling economy are lame-duck Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, a former head of Goldman Sachs, and New York Fed chief Timothy Geithner, who served under Bob Rubin in the Clinton White House. Running Obama’s economic team are a still-employed Citigroup executive and the son of another Citigroup executive, who himself joined Obama’s transition team that same month.
So on November 23rd, 2008, a deal is announced in which the government will bail out Rubin’s messes at Citigroup with a massive buffet of taxpayer-funded cash and guarantees. It is a terrible deal for the government, almost universally panned by all serious economists, an outrage to anyone who pays taxes. Under the deal, the bank gets $20 billion in cash, on top of the $25 billion it had already received just weeks before as part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. But that’s just the appetizer. The government also agrees to charge taxpayers for up to $277 billion in losses on troubled Citi assets, many of them those toxic CDOs that Rubin had pushed Citi to invest in. No Citi executives are replaced, and few restrictions are placed on their compensation. It’s the sweetheart deal of the century, putting generations of working-stiff taxpayers on the hook to pay off Bob Rubin’s fuck-up-rich tenure at Citi. "If you had any doubts at all about the primacy of Wall Street over Main Street," former labor secretary Robert Reich declares when the bailout is announced, "your doubts should be laid to rest."
It is bad enough that one of Bob Rubin’s former protégés from the Clinton years, the New York Fed chief Geithner, is intimately involved in the negotiations, which unsurprisingly leave the Federal Reserve massively exposed to future Citi losses. But the real stunner comes only hours after the bailout deal is struck, when the Obama transition team makes a cheerful announcement: Timothy Geithner is going to be Barack Obama’s Treasury secretary!
Geithner, in other words, is hired to head the U.S. Treasury by an executive from Citigroup — Michael Froman — before the ink is even dry on a massive government giveaway to Citigroup that Geithner himself was instrumental in delivering. In the annals of brazen political swindles, this one has to go in the all-time Fuck-the-Optics Hall of Fame.
Wall Street loved the Citi bailout and the Geithner nomination so much that the Dow immediately posted its biggest two-day jump since 1987, rising 11.8 percent. Citi shares jumped 58 percent in a single day, and JP Morgan Chase, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley soared more than 20 percent, as Wall Street embraced the news that the government’s bailout generosity would not die with George W. Bush and Hank Paulson. "Geithner assures a smooth transition between the Bush administration and that of Obama, because he’s already co-managing what’s happening now," observed Stephen Leeb, president of Leeb Capital Management.
Taibbi assumes intent and damns the actors as a result. He writes as if Froman and Geithner openly colluded in some way to favour Citi. But you don’t need to prove intent, you only need to prove motive. I don’t care if Froman or Geithner ‘intended’ to favour Citi over other institutions; I care whether they were mentally predisposed to helping Citi and other large institutions at the expense of others because they ascribed unwarranted and disproportionate importance to them. Unfortunately, cognitive regulatory capture leads to crony capitalism just as outright corruption would do.
There is a lot more at the link below.
Obama’s Big Sellout – Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone


Although there is no shortage of victims of the financial crisis, one group that has generally been missed is the middle aged and elderly. Yes, there are reports of people in their 40s and 50s moving in with their children or other relatives, but for the most part, this cohort does not get much attention.
Yet it isn’t hard to see how grim their prospects are. Many thought they’d be employed at decent jobs through age 65 and are un or underemployed. And those still working full time are often victims of downward mobility, and have lost a well paying job and are now working at a lower pay level. If you don’t have a decent level of earnings, you can’t save much or at all. These pressures come against a backdrop of loss of wealth due to plunges in home prices and to a lesser degree, financial investments. And that’s before we get to pension fund whackage and plans to “reform” Social Security and Medicare.
Some mainstream media outlets took note of an AARP study that found that the group that had the highest rate of foreclosures was the 75 and older cohort. And remember, these are people who retired after a period when unemployment was relatively low and the stock market delivered attractive returns.
While people who are under financial stress don’t much in the way of options, I see more and more people of modest and better means planning on becoming expats to make their retirement incomes go further. San Miguel, Mexico, was long a destination for older Californians who wanted to stretch their retirement dollar. A once well off jewelry dealer (the “trade” has been in desperate shape for over a decade) planned to move to Buenos Aires, but his situation decayed too quickly for him to exit. Costa Rica is apparently popular with economic emigrants. And I’ve now heard two mentions of Thailand in the last three weeks. One came a reader who told me how his Abyssinian/Manx cat Precious had been trained to stay on a porch, except when he unwisely tried chasing roadrunners and foxes. His e-mail had this sad postscript:
Without going into a rant … we live in rural Clark County, NV outside Las Vegas, and are in that group of former middle class folks that have lost it all … having invested our life savings in this property (peak month Jul, 2006) we have not been able to sell. To view the place Precious and I were behind the fox, go to the home’s website and see the view from the “Perch” seating area. We gave up selling. We have it for rent with option to buy. We hang on but face BK or foreclosure like so many others. When we leave we are moving out of the country. At 65, unemployed since 2007 in a small town, and with a disabled wife, there is no starting over here. We will be able to save more than half my small government pension/her social security in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I am not bitter, but I no longer believe in capitalism or democracy as I once did; not the way they are being practiced now.

Those who are approaching retirement age and have the time, energy, and financial headroom would do much better to get out of Dodge. America ranks badly on pretty much every social indicator, which means that moving to what is nominally a third world county isn’t just a step up in terms of spending power but often in overall quality of life. Thus we are likely to see another sort of hollowing out take place: the lower income and wealthy elderly will remain here, while more in between who have the resources and energy will depart. We already have the economic-oriented literature depicting retirees as a burden. Imagine what a middle class exodus in this age group will do for the political and economic position of the aged.


Matt Taibbi, in giving a well deserved thrashing to the banking industry’s Tokyo Rose, aka New York Fed director Kathryn Wylde, said:
[S]tealing is pretty much the worst thing that a bank can do — and these banks just finished the longest and most orgiastic campaign of stealing in the history of money.
Once you read the allegations in the cases included in this post, I strongly suspect you will agree that the “ruining lives” in the headline is not an exaggeration. And as important, these two cases, with very similar fact sets, also suggest that these abuses are not mere “mistakes”. These are clearly well established practices that Chase can’t be bothered to clean up, since cleaning them up costs money and letting them continue is more profitable.
Both cases took place in Alabama. In both cases, the borrowers had made every mortgage payment on time. One was a couple with three children, the Barnetts. The second is a widow, Besty Barlow, but her husband was still alive when this ugly saga started.
In both cases, the house burned down, The borrowers both had homeowners’ insurance. In the case of the Barnetts, they promptly notified Chase, their servicer, and made one mortgage payment post the fire. Both the homeowners and the insurer, State Farm, called Chase to get a ten day payoff amount. They were told not to make the next payment, since it would be included in the payoff amount. State Farm sent as check as instructed, asked that the mortgage be paid off, and Chase cashed the check.
But Chase did not pay off the mortgage. It put the funds in a suspense account 
The Barnetts found out the mortgage had not been paid off on their own, and called Chase to get the matter corrected. Chase then proceeded to harass the Barnetts for payment, calling at home and at work. Chase then ‘fessed up that they had the money, and asked the wife, April, to send a fax instructing them to make the payoff. They didn’t, called to pressure her again, and claimed they never got the fax. April repeated the process as instructed a second time (to a different number).

Chase continued to call demanding payment and then sent a letter stating that Fannie had refused the payoff due to “past due” amounts. Chase wanted an additional $8000, which consisted of fees that were not warranted and were due solely to the failure to pay off the mortgage with the money they had.
Around this time, April, who was over four months pregnant, miscarried, and she believes the miscarriage was as a result of the stress created by Chase. And this is far from the end of the mess: the “foreclosure” was reported to the credit bureaus, which meant the Barnetts, who have three children, which has thrown a big wrench into their efforts to get back on a normal footing (more ugly details in the filing).


Some Republican Senators are having a field day, and rightly so, over the fact that Obama’s attorney general nominee, Loretta Lynch, looks to have allowed bank giant HSBC, and more important, its executives and officers, off vastly too easy in a massive money-laundering and tax evasion scheme.
The background is that Lynch, as attorney for the Eastern District of New York, led the investigation of HSBC’s money laundering for drug dealers and other unsavory types that led to a $1.9 billion settlement in 2012. That deal was pilloried by both the right and left as being too lenient given the scale of HSBC’s misdeeds.
And now it turns out the great unwashed public was kept in the dark about another set of misdeeds, that of large-scale tax evasion for the wealthy, which Lynch was aware of when she was negotiating the money-laundering deal.From the Guardian:
Lynch negotiated a controversial settlement with HSBC in 2012, after the bank admitted to facilitating money-laundering by Mexican drug cartels and helping clients evade US sanctions.
Now there are questions over why she did not also pursue HSBC over evidence that its Swiss arm helped US taxpayers hide their assets.
The secret bank files – obtained and examined in detail this week in a series of reports by the Guardian, CBS 60 Minutes and other media outlets – reveal that HSBC’s Swiss arm colluded with some high net-worth individuals to hide their assets from tax authorities across the world.
The new data, leaked by a whistleblower, was obtained by French tax authorities and shared with the US government in 2010, raising questions over why the Department of Justice has yet to take action against HSBC in the US.
US government officials have told the Guardian that investigations by the DoJ’s tax division have been continuing for five years and criminal charges against HSBC or its bankers remain a possibility..
British, French and Spanish tax authorities have publicly disclosed the number of HSBC Swiss clients investigated as a result of the leak and the total sums recovered. In total, the three countries have recovered more than $825m from taxpayers who had not declared their assets in Geneva. However, in Washington, the IRS is refusing to disclose any information about investigations or recovered assets stemming from the leak.
If you think the DoJ was entertaining filing criminal charges, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you. The only reason there actually might be some prosecutions is solely as a result of the leak and the resultant media firestorm.
Keep in mind that the Republican opponents, Judiciary Committee chairman Chuck Grassley and David Vitter, both have a history of being tough on banking issues, so they have legitimate grounds for consternation. Grassley has put a hold on Loretta Lynch’s nomination. He and Vitter, who is in contact with the whistleblower, are planning to grill Lynch over what she knew about the tax evasion charges and when she became aware of it. Democratic senator and ranking Judiciary committee member Sherrod Brown has also said he is going to push the DoJ and the IRS for answers.
But what about Democratic Senators who were so upset about the wrist slap settlement in 2012? What of this supposed bold progressive wing that we are led to believe will rescue the Democratic party from its corporate sellout ways? Even with a safe target like HSBC, party tribalism apparently takes precedence over principle when a major Presidential nomination is in play. But mind you, no one expects this contretemps to derail Lynch getting voted in, since most Republicans deem her to be acceptable. But given a chance to move the Overton window in the direction of demanding something the American public overwhelmingly wants, prosecutions of bankers, key Democrats are trying to finesse being tough on HSBC without being tough on Lynch. Again from the Guardian:
Until now, Senate Democrats have been most outspoken over the revelations. The Republican chair of the Senate banking committee, Richard Shelby, from Alabama, declined to comment when pressed by the Guardian this week….
Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic senator who was most vocal in her opposition to the 2012 settlement with HSBC, also called on prosecutors to “come down hard” on the bank if the leaked data shows it colluded with US tax evaders. However, neither senator mentioned Lynch, amid concern on the Democratic side that the HSBC revelations could derail Lynch’s confirmation.
Jeff Merkley, a Democratic senator from Oregon, also called for tough action against HSBC over tax evasion, while steering clear of any reference to Lynch. “It is time to hold HSBC fully accountable under the law for its disturbing conduct,” Merkley said. “While criminal charges are obviously a matter to be settled in the judicial system, I strongly encourage prosecutors to mount the strongest possible charges rather than going for another slap on the wrist.”
What gives? The same logic of targeting bank executives, not banks, applies with administrative action in government agencies. It was on Lynch’s watch that the critical decision of how far to take the HSBC decision was made. Once she had made the deal, it was almost certain that staff were pulled off the case and tasked to other matters. It’s not realistic to hold the current DoJ accountable for a decision made by Lynch years ago.

If the Democrats want to regain the trust and ground they lost in the 2014 midterm debacle, they need to recognize the problem is how Obama has governed and start demanding higher standards from the party. That means going into opposition when the situation warrants it. Elizabeth Warren gained stature by fighting the Administration on the so-called Cromnibus bill and on Antonio Weiss. The way to move the party is to be willing to stand against it when its position is demonstrably wrong, which sadly is way too often, and inflict costs. The objective is not to win in every case but to exert influence and make the leadership think twice before taking expedient actions.
But so far, the much-touted progressive wing seems willing to buck the Administration only on comparatively narrow issues and mid-level appointments. Most important, both parties are still in the dark as to where the facts lie with Lynch and HSBC. Perhaps she has a cogent defense, but a head in the sand approach is no way to deal with a position this important. The Democratic bank critics should grill Lynch and be prepared to withhold support if her answers are evasive or confirm the worst suspicions about her being willing to go easy on powerful corporate miscreants.


Here, Hedges laments the lack of an effective left, and blames its death on the “inability to articulate a viable socialism”. I’m not sure that was ever possible given the virulence of anti-Communism in the US through the fall of the USSR (and right after that, the Rubinites took over). Look at how Keynes was bastardized in the US (which has also had serious knock-on consequences) because an economic text that was faithful to Keynes by Lorie Tarshis was targeted by, among others, William F. Buckley. As we wrote in ECONNED:
A Canadian student of Keynes, Lorie Tarshis, published an economics textbook in 1947, The Elements of Economics, which included his interpretation of Keynes. It also suggested that markets required government support to attain full employment. It was engaging and well written, and sold well initially, but fell off quickly, the victim of an organized campaign by conservative groups to have the textbook removed. The book, and by implication Keynes, was inaccurately charged with calling for government ownership of enterprise.
Any taint of Communist leanings would damage the career of a budding academic. So aside from his refusal to accept some fundamental elements of Keynes’s construct, [Paul] Samuelson had another reason to distance himself from the General Theory. Samuelson said he was well aware of the “virulence of the attack on Tarshis” and penned his text “carefully and lawyer like” to deflect similar attacks.
Hedges also believes we can still have a radical uprising in America that would change the power dynamics. I’m at a loss to see how that happens. I’m told that protests against the then almost certain US entry into the Iraq War were very effectively tamped down in New York City, that the protestors (estimated at as many as 1 million, certainly well over 250,000) who were trying to get to the UN were barred at Second Avenue and shunted up into Harlem, resulting in a pathetic-looking crowd for broadcast consumption at the official site. And that was a decade before the 17-city paramilitary crackdown of Occupy Wall Street.
But more important, unlike Europe, massing on the street is just not how Americans do things. Large scale sustained protests have been the province only of the downtrodden (labor organizers, later the civil rights movement) and students (with issues of their own in the Vietnam war and as sympathizers to and supporters of radicals). A good American bourgeois identity and demonstrations don’t sit well together. Students are more conservative than ever, thanks to 30 years of neoliberal indoctrination, and even if those that have more idealistic impulses would sensibly be deterred by what an arrest record would do to their job prospects, particularly if they have student debt.
One other bit I believe that Hedges misses in his view that Obama is mediocre. No, Obama has done a fantastic job, just not one that will prove to have done the public well. By happenstance, Lambert flagged a 2011 essay in Aljazeera by William Robinson, Global capitalism and 21st century fascism, which describes clearly the role that Obama was meant to and has ably filled:
A neo-fascist insurgency is quite apparent in the United States. This insurgency can be traced back several decades, to the far-right mobilisation that began in the wake of the crisis of hegemony brought about by the mass struggles of the 1960s and the 1970s, especially the Black and Chicano liberation struggles and other militant movements by third world people, counter-cultural currents, and militant working class struggles.
Neo-fascist forces re-organised during the years of the George W Bush government. But my story here starts with Obama’s election.
The Obama project from the start was an effort by dominant groups to re-establish hegemony in the wake of its deterioration during the Bush years (which also involved the rise of a mass immigrant rights movement). Obama’s election was a challenge to the system at the cultural and ideological level, and has shaken up the racial/ethnic foundations upon which the US republic has always rested. However, the Obama project was never intended to challenge the socio-economic order; to the contrary; it sought to preserve and strengthen that order by reconstituting hegemony, conducting a passive revolution against mass discontent and spreading popular resistance that began to percolate in the final years of the Bush presidency.
The Italian socialist Antonio Gramsci developed the concept of passive revolution to refer to efforts by dominant groups to bring about mild change from above in order to undercut mobilisation from below for more far-reaching transformation. Integral to passive revolution is the co-option of leadership from below; its integration into the dominant project. Dominant forces in Egypt, Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Middle East and North America are attempting to carry out such a passive revolution. With regard to the immigrant rights movement in the United States – one of the most vibrant social movements in that country -moderate/mainstream Latino establishment leaders were brought into the Obama and Democratic Party fold – a classic case of passive revolution – while the mass immigrant base suffers intensified state repression.
Obama’s campaign tapped into and helped expand mass mobilisation and popular aspirations for change not seen in many years in the United States. The Obama project co-opted that brewing storm from below, channelled it into the electoral campaign, and then betrayed those aspirations, as the Democratic Party effectively demobilised the insurgency from below with more passive revolution.
Thus while Hedges is correct to point to increasing anger and dislocation in the US, I’m not optimistic that it will be channeled effectively, and if by anyone, it’s not likely to be from the deflated left. A general strike would be a galvanizing event but I don’t see how that gets done. I suspect we’ll see more and more random violence as frustrated individuals lash out. And that sort of violence will serve as the perfect pretext for more and more aggressive policing and surveillance.


22. Cruz, Rubio, Hackabee, Bush, Cristy

23. Clinton &

PNN - Progressive Round Table 4/5 7pm Eastern time


Join News Director Rick Spisak and his guests:
Jeanne Economos -  Pesticide Safety and Environmental Health Project Coordinator for the Farmworkers Association of Florida who will discuss the upcoming Pesticide Conference in Orlando 4/17 & 18th
Emine Dilek - Managing Editor at The Progressive Press  will discuss the recent Iranian Peace Framework 
Luis Cuevas - Executive Director with Progressive Push
Steve Horn -  DeSmog Blog Fellow
Rob Abston -- Executive Director PLAN / Founder of Recall Governors Now
Round Table - Our panelists will discuss the stories of the day.