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    April 25, 2014
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
     I suppose we can say that this piece directly below is slightly encouraging because it was written by someone in a thoroughly loyal-opposition bureaucracy in DC.  So as people within the US mainstream wake up to just how dire our climate emergency in fact is, maybe there’ll be some last-minute attempt to deal with it.
     On the other hand, the article is based on the latest quaint crap from the tightly-controlled UN and thus readers have not the slightest opportunity to learn anything at all about Arctic methane expulsions or about chemtrails.  So any last-minute effort would be futile because so poorly focused.
                                                                     Power to the Flora,
                                                                     Keith Lampe, Ro-Non-So-Te, Ponderosa Pine

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 by Foreign Policy In Focus

Earth: Game Over?


We’re in the middle of a sixth mass extinction, and this will be the first one—

and possibly the last—we will witness as human beings.

Video games usually provide you with multiple lives. If you step on a landmine or get hit by an assassin, you get another chance. Even if such virtual reincarnation is not built into the rules of the game, you can always reboot and start over again. You can try again hundreds of times until you get it right. This formula applies to first-person shooter games as well as simulation exercises like SimEarth. The real Earth offers a similar kind of reboot. Catastrophe has hit our planet at least five times, as Elizabeth Kolbert explains in her new book, The Sixth Extinction. During each of these preceding wipeouts, the planet recovered, though many of the life forms residing in the seas or on land were not so fortunate (“many” is actually an understatement—more than 99 percent of all species died out in these cataclysms). As Kolbert points out, we are in the middle of a sixth such world-altering event, and this will be the first—and possibly the last—extinction that we will witness as human beings. The planet and its hardier denizens may soldier on, but for us it will be game over. A subset of environmentalists is already preparing for the end game. In the latest New York Times Magazine, Paul Kingsnorth—the author of the manifesto Uncivilization—confesses that he has given up trying to save the planet. He rejects false hopes. “You look at every trend that environmentalists like me have been trying to stop for 50 years,” he says, “and every single thing had gotten worse.” He’s heading to the wilderness of Ireland to grow his own food, homeschool his kids, and prepare for the difficult days ahead. Survivalism: it’s not just for right-wing wackos any more. Meanwhile, the rest of us are still trying to figure out how to avert disaster. The United Nations recently released another in its series of reports on climate change. This one tries to put a price tag on what we need to do over the next 15-20 years to stop the global mercury from rising. To implement the recommendations of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), governments must dramatically increase their investments in low-carbon energy sources. Each year, governments will have to spend an additional $147 billion on such renewable sources of energy as solar and wind power. On top of that, governments need to put $336 billion each year into greater energy efficiency in public and private infrastructure. If we follow all the IPCC recommendations, we can expect to save about $30 billion from eliminating subsidies to industries in the dirty energy sectors. That still leaves an annual bill of more than $450 billion. This is probably a lowball figure, given the commitment that the industrialized world has made to help the developing world continue to grow economically without expanding its carbon footprint. This figure aclimatlso doesn’t cover current climate change costs associated with extreme weather events, droughts in food-growing areas, the preservation of coastal areas, and other catastrophes in the making. The bill for upgrading U.S. infrastructure alone will run into hundreds of billions of dollars each year. If you’re planning to remodel your kitchen, you’re supposed to get a couple of different estimates. So, with a task as large as saving the world, it’s probably wise to check in with a couple other sources. But those looking for salvation on the cheap are going to be disappointed. The International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization connected to the OECD, estimates that the world needs to invest a trillion dollars into clean energy—every year between now and 2050. Then there was the Stern Commission report on the economics of climate change that came out in 2006. At the time, Nicholas Stern estimated that stabilizing the current level of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere would require an investment of 1 percent of global GDP, which at the time was a little more than $300 billion. He revised that up to about $600 billion a couple years later, though nowadays he’s talking more in the trillion-dollar range as well. Of course, these costs should be compared to the price tag for not addressing climate change quickly and resolutely. This, Stern estimated, would add up to 20 percent of global GDP. At some point, of course, we will hit a tipping point at which no amount of money can turn back the clock. Where will the money come from? A “climate security” tax on military spending would make sense, forcing governments to turn swords into windmill blades. We’re currently wasting over $1.7 trillion a year on the enormous potlatch otherwise known as the global military budget. Another “simple” answer is to not only remove subsidies from dirty energy but to tax it as well. In this way, governments discourage the use of coal and oil and raise the revenue necessary to invest in clean technologies. It seems an elegant solution, except that the energy companies and their political representatives have bitterly fought against carbon taxes. In 2011, the Labor government in Australia pushed through a carbon tax and established a $10-billion “green bank” to support sustainable energy projects. That hasn’t lasted long. The new center-right government has vowed to repeal the tax, but the Australian parliament has so far turned back the government’s repeal effort. Denmark offers a less fractious alternative. The country is currently planning to unshackle itself completely from fossil fuels by 2050. And it plans to do that without relying on nuclear power. The country has invested heavily in wind power, and last year, for the first time, wind supplied more than 50 percent of the country’s energy consumption for an entire month. How much will this 40-year transition cost? The estimate is roughly 1 percent of the country’s GDP. By the end, Denmark will have cut its carbon emissions by 80 percent. The Denmark model requires a few caveats. The entire scheme involves significant investment in new technologies and infrastructure upgrades. It also depends on a critical variable—the increasing cost of fossil fuels. If oil and gas and coal remain cheap, capital will not flow into the new technologies. In other words, the possibility of the earth burning up is not sufficient to concentrate our minds and mobilize our efforts. It comes down to a pocketbook issue. Only astronomical prices at the gas pump will force us to change our behavior, individually and collectively. We could wait for the market to push up these prices, but that will likely be too late. Instead, we need to artificially raise the costs of fossil fuels, and that brings us back to some form of carbon tax. Another part of that strategy would be to leave some of that ancient, liquefied plant and animal matter in the ground and at the bottom of the ocean, forgoing deep sea drilling, refusing to rip up forests for the treasures beneath, and leaving the tar sands be. But perhaps the most important caveat is this: Denmark will only succeed if we are all on board. We don’t have the luxury of sitting back, seeing if the calculations involved in Denmark’s fossil-free scenario work out, and then following suit if we like the results. By that time, it would be too late. As with our individual lives, there is no reset button for the human race (Noah’s flood notwithstanding). Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska put it well in her poem “Nothing Twice” (translation by Stanislaw Baranczak and Clare Cavanagh): Nothing can ever happen twice. In consequence, the sorry fact is That we arrive here improvised And leave without the chance to practice Even if there is no one dumber, If you’re the planet’s biggest dunce, You can’t repeat the class in summer: This course is only offered once. If humanity fails this particular science class, we’re done. It doesn’t matter whether we’re straight-A students from Denmark or flunkards like congressional climate change denier James Inhofe. We won’t be given another chance at the global joystick. Earth: game over. For us at least.
John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, DC.
by William Thomas
That’s not smoke you’re smelling. This ship is unsinkable. This building cannot collapse. Wireless radiation is perfectly safe. Those persistent lines in the sky are normal jet trails. Go back to sleep, the party, the mall, your screens, your microwaves, your office. Everything’s good.
Until it isn’t.
Call them “Denialists”. Whenever calamity threatens they appear, sowing dissonance and disaster through denial and distraction. You’ll find them at the head of every lynch mob stringing up any Paul Revere daring to sound a warning. Calving ice sheets, dying oceans, super typhoons – three if by sea!
Not so much.
They’ve hurt a lot of people over the centuries with their crackpot commentaries. Now, bolstered by bullheaded beliefs and powerful corporate agendas, protected by the impenetrable shield of righteousness, and financed with enough bankster loot to buy whorish “scientists”, sophisticated “spin doctors” and the nightly “news”, the Denialists are courting worldwide calamity.
These are not the nattering nabobs you want slapping switches on the bridge of the starship Enterprise as disaster looms. Or dissing damage control onboard a spaceship protected by a paper-thin atmosphere as she hurtles at 67,642 miles per hour through the freezing irradiated vacuum of deep space on the precarious sunward edge of the Goldilocks Zone.
Especially not while our bonny blue space colony is foundering on the implacable reefs of complacency and geophysics. It’s all there in the fossil record and ice core data. And your front yard.
But who’s keeping track? A Bush aide presented the Denialist position while lambasting a veteran New York Times reporter for focusing on “discernible reality”. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he crowed. “We’re an empire now… we create our own reality.” [New York Times Oct 17/04]
Good luck with that.
PUT THIS IN YOUR PIPELINE AND SMOKE IT “The biggest problem with the catastrophic, anthropogenic, global warming fantasy i4s that it is… already delaying the Keystone Pipeline,” frets Peter Ferrara, stepping nimbly from the Conservative Spectator to the Republican One-Percenter’s Forbes. Ferrara fingers last year’s Economist, which baldly asserted, “Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. [Forbes Feb 24/1; Economist Mar 30/13]
Denialists love to show minus seasonal dips in upward-trending temperatures. Ferrara’s accompanying graph averages annual temperature variations over 209 months – not the actual temperatures.
David Demming, a professor of arts and sciences at the University of Oklahoma bought the fleeting -0.1°C winter dips depicted on this goofy graph. “The mean global temperature has not risen in 17 years and has been slowly falling for approximately the past 10 years,” Demming deduced. [Washington Times Jan 16/14]
Demming dismissed the telltale 0.35°C total average global temperature rise over the last 40 years. But he understood cold tootsies.
“At the end of the first week in January, a brutal spell of cold weather settled over most of the country. Multiple cold-temperature records were shattered across the country. Some sites experienced frigid conditions not seen since the 19th century,” Demming accurately notes. “Temperatures in Chicago were so cold that a polar bear at the Lincoln Park Zoo had to be taken inside.” [Washington Times Jan 16/14]
Denialists consistently confuse short-term regional weather with long-term global climate trends. Even as temperatures dipped below -40°F in Minnesota and many parts of the Deep South deeply shivered in single digits, that same January (2014) saw global average land and sea temperatures jump 1.2°F above the 20th century average. Despite the geoengineers.
 “In a warming world, how can it be so bitterly cold?” asks
“We see more evidence that we will continue to have cold air outbreaks as the climate continues to warm,” answers Deke Arndt, a scientist at the National Climatic Data Center. But while North America’s northeastern seaboard was registering a “brutal” winter, brutal warming continued in South America, Africa, Europe, the Indian Ocean, central Asia, Australia and the western Pacific. This January’s high temperature for Fairbanks, Alaska averaged more than 16°F higher than old normal highs. [ Feb 22/14]
“In our familiar climate, the polar jet stream flowed mostly west to east… separating cold dry Arctic air from lower latitude warmer moist air. In our present climate, the jet stream waviness has greatly increased and eastward average speed has decreased,” Sam Carana explains. “In early January there were only two troughs over North America and central Asia and two crests over Europe and the Pacific up through Alaska and the Bering Strait. The troughs had temperatures 20 degrees C cooler than normal, while the crests had temperatures 20 degrees C warmer than normal.” He’s talking 68°F swings from longstanding baselines. [Arctic News Jan/04]
Carana’s numbers are actual readouts. Other numbers are more malleable. Five years ago, Denialists like Peter Ferrara were claiming “no net increase in global temperature for the past 30 years – or maybe even a slight decline.”
At that time, former British Government policy adviser Christopher Moncton was obtusely advising, “Global warming stopped 10 years ago. It hasn’t gotten warmer since 1998. We’re actually in a period,” he added, “of global cooling.” [Spectator Mar/09] The Denialists had their mantra. And the geoengineers stepped up their climate confusion.
SUNSTROKE Ascribing this unsubstantiated “global cooling” to ever-handy “sun spot cycles”, “variations in solar magnetic fields” and “the flux of cosmic rays,” Ferrara’s Forbe’s piece hit the gas as trespassed thresholds receded in our rear-view mirror. Go back to your couch and your coma, he soothed. “The now extended trend of no global warming is not turning around any time soon.” [Forbes Feb 24/14]
But slight solar cooling does not equal Earth-wide cooling. Without the cooling influence exerted by our currently somnolent sun, global warming would already be at runaway velocity. Global rates of extinction already are.
Instead of entering an overdue ice age, Earth’s sun-nudged glacial cycle is “being overridden by human activities, especially burning fossil fuels,” explains Mark McCaffrey, programs and policy director at the National Center for Science Education in California. Yarns about global cooling “are convenient for people to trot out and wave around,” he adds. But they miss the point.
The point, Scientific American observes, is that “human activity” – the burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, and widespread use of nitrogen-based industrial farming chemicals – “is having a massive influence. We are in the midst of this giant geoengineering experiment.” [Scientific American Jan 10/14]
Actually two geoengineering experiments. The intentional airborne efforts are only making matters worse by continuing to veil the true extent of pent-up warming hidden in previous global emissions.
As “global cooling” flash-freezes susceptible minds, Wyoming has become the first state to block new science standards. Why? Because the revised standards would require students to understand climate change. [Wyoming Star-Tribune Mar 14/14; Truthout Apr 10/14]
Meanwhile, severe drought and record winter heat have forced Oregon’s Mount Ashland Ski area to remain closed for its entire season this “winter”. [NPR Mar 15/14]
BIG GULP Denialists insist that it doesn’t matter how much heat-trapping CO2 we pour into our space colony’s closed recirculating atmosphere because Mother Ocean obligingly swallows half of it. They never explain how turning the ocean into an oxygen-starved acid bath incapable of supporting life will turn out any better than it did last time, when almost every living organism ashore and afloat was killed. As in “extinct”.
(Pteropod at right dissolves in 45 days.)
An ocean made acidic by carbon absorbs less carbon. Now add warmer weather driving stronger winds making bigger waves. This is exposing deeper layers of water already saturated with carbon and unable to absorb much more from the atmosphere. This is not good news.
ICECAPADES “It is true that the extent of sea ice at the North Pole is slightly below the 30-year average,” Demming half-admitted. As he spoke in January 2014, “almost the entire Arctic region was experiencing huge
temperature anomalies – up to 36F above normal,” Sam Carana reported. [Washington Times Jan 16/14; Arctic News Jan/14]
Spreading icy mush does not equal a recovering ice sheet. By March 2014, “slight melting” became a curious characterization of Arctic sea ice volume, which satellites showed at the 2nd lowest extent on record. Andy Lee Robinson is already calling this unprecedented winter meltdown, the Arctic Death Spiral.
“This month, the sea ice will reach its highest volume, which may well be the lowest volume on record for April,” Sam Carana predicts. “There is a chance that there will be no ice left whatsoever later this year.” [Arctic News Apr 8/14]
An ice-free Arctic Ocean is currently taking place 30 years ahead of “worst-case” projections, which consistently ignore amplifying feedbacks. Among more than a dozen self-reinforcing events now occurring in the high Arctic, the shallow Arctic Ocean is quickly heating up from increased exposure to sunlight, and hotter ocean currents flowing in from both ends.
Release of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean will warm up the Arctic even further, triggering even more methane releases, as well as heatwaves, wildfires and further feedbacks, in a spiral of runaway warming that can only lead to starvation, destruction and extinction at massive scale across the globe. [Arctic News Apr 8/14]
Who really believes that kicking an increasingly oscillating climate with stepped-up geoengineering can contribute anything more than further instability?
“NO FURTHER WARMING” Denialist hot air isn’t helping. Prof. Judith Curry has somehow remained head of climate science at the Georgia Institute of Technology after stating flatly, “The flat trend in global surface temperatures may continue for another decade or two.” [Spectator Mar 09]
 After all, Ferrara finishes with a contemporary flourish, Britain’s Met Office “conceded in December,
2012 that there would be no further warming at least through 2017.” [Forbes Feb 24/14] A curious assertion, since Met Office figures actually show that most years between 2013 and 2017 will most likely be hotter than those of the hottest year on record.
But after slightly scaling back these temperature projections because of an inexplicable uptick in sunlight-scattering aerosol emissions, the Met Office blew it by going public. Instantly, the Cooling Crazies were proclaiming this “proof” that global warming had stopped.
You wouldn’t want these folks filling your bathtub. As anyone who has successfully done so knows, turning down the taps only slows the rate of increase. Temperatures are still rising steeply. The tub will still overflow. British forecasters still stand by their longer-term projections that anticipate significant warming throughout this Last Chance Century. [Observer Jan 13/13]
But don’t listen to them.
“Despite what these liars tell you, the tide of scientific opinion is now turning against the idea that mankind is making a significant contribution to changes in global temperature,” Dr. David Evans dissembles. Current data “establishes indisputably that global warming is not a fact today,” Ferrara fulminates.
“Indisputably” must mean “widely challenged” in Denialese, since according to NASA, “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.” [Global Research July 23/09; NASA]
Another champion of confusion, sellout Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore recently told an appreciative Senate committee, “There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years.”
Minor warming indeed!
TURNING UP THE HEAT NASA’s ground-level temperature readings are the ones to watch. Especially at sea, which includes most of this planet. “From Germany in the west to Yakutia in the east and from China in the south and on up to the North Pole,” Sam Carana points out, NASA’s Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index, March 2014 was the third hottest March on record with temperatures as much as 46F above usual averages.”
Greenland recorded its highest temperature ever in 2013 – a balmy 79°F on July 30. As the glacial melting and splashing accelerate, more than three Chesapeake Bays’ worth of freshwater are already melting off that doomsday isle every year. [Washington Post Sept 10/13; Truthout Apr 10/14]
In Siberia, winter is now summer. By early April 2014, sections of Siberia were sweltering at 70°F. This is propelling fire outbreaks to an “ominous” early start, one-and- a-half months ahead of the now-obsolete “fire season”.
According to “very concerned Russian officials,” more than 2,000 hectares were already burning “on ground that should be frozen solid.” [Arctic News Mar/14]
Despite decades of alleged “cooling” – and at least 16 years of “sun shield” aerosol spraying – the World Meteorological Organization reports that 13 of the warmest years on record have occurred in the past 14 years.
As the agency’s secretary-general, Michel Jarraud observes, “Every decade has been warmer than the preceding one over the last 40 years. In other words, the decade 2001-2010 was warmer than the ’90s, which in turn were warmer than the ’80s, which were warmer than the ’70s. All the best models were used for this study,” he adds. “It is not possible to reproduce these heat waves in the models if you don’t take into account human influence.” [WMO Report 2013]
Human influences like Patrick Moore.
The Oil Mafia’s paid political puppets nodded enthusiastically in their Senate hearing room as Moore went to insist, “Today, we live in an unusually cold period in the history of life on Earth and there is no reason to believe that a warmer climate would be anything but beneficial for humans and the majority of other species.” [Global Climate Scam Feb 26/14]
Remarkably, the room did not erupt in knee-slapping woo-haws as Moore pointed to the Heartland Institute’s signed confession of group insanity. Climate Change Reconsidered II laboriously concludes that any warming human fossil-fools will someday trigger “is likely to be modest and cause no net harm to the global environment or to human well-being.” [Spectator Mar 09]
No doubt this will be welcome news for officials in Wichita Falls, who in their fourth year of Texas- size drought are awaiting state regulatory approval to recycle effluent from their wastewater treatment plant so that parched residents can drink “potty water.” [Star-Telegram Mar 14/14; Truthout Apr 10/14]
As falls Wichita…
GOING HUNGRY Heck, add Heartland’s 50 “top scientists”… “The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere that has occurred due to human emissions has actually increased agricultural growth and output.”
Such long-disproven happy talk will not be well received in Brazil, where after nine successive years of the most persistent drought in 500 years, impacts to farming are being categorized as “extreme”.
The more CO2 = more food myth should bring a grim smile to Putin’s puss, as the Russian wheat harvest continues its rapid spiral from an annual 61 million metric tons in 2009 to just 38 in 2012. With CO2-driven warming escalating drought, floods, cyclones and fires throughout the US, South America, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Africa, Europe and China, widespread crop failures are forcing countries like Russia to “curtail or cut off grain exports” reports the US Geological Survey. [US Geological Survey Jan 14/11; Robert Scribbler Apr 14/14]
Tell me your bread and tortilla (and beef) prices are not hostage to geoengineering and climate change.
THE GALLUPING HERD Back on the River De-Nile, the most recent Gallup poll has found that 7 in 10 U.S. citizens “believe” that human-induced climate shift will not seriously impact their lives. Six in 10 believe that the story of 950-year-old Noah is literally true.
But reality bats last. Wild temperature swings of 72°F within a day or two wreak havoc on fraying infrastructure as old rail tracks bearing heavy tar sands trains, pipelines bulging with even more crude,
and concrete highways throughout the American South expand and contract… and crack. [Arctic News Jan/14]
So much for wishful thinking. Assembled by a special panel of more than 240 real scientists, the latest draft of the U.S. Government-commissioned National Climate Assessment reveals that the USA is already reeling under simultaneous impacts from the global warming Denialists insist is not happening. The cause of rising temperatures and their attendant mayhem “is due primarily to human activities, predominantly the burning of fossil fuel,” the report concludes.
Portending even more disruptive impacts to North American lives, the National Climate Assessment uses the words “threat” and “disrupt” (and variations) 318 times. After smacking themselves repeatedly over the head with this 1,146 page catalogue of documented doom, “readers will be under no illusions about what is happening to our planet,” the Observer wryly suggests. [Observer Jan 13/13]
As persistent drought deepens across orchards and farmlands in California and the American Southwest, the Las Vegas Sun is already reporting “higher food prices, water bills and utility rates, greater wildfire risk, shrinking communities, fewer jobs and weakening economies” as cascading climate crises collide with the “beliefs” of millions of U.S. citizens. [Las Vegas Sun Mar 30/14]
Going down is not going down well in Denial Land. “Open dialogue, based on facts, is not seen as something of inherent value. It may, in fact, create doubt, which undercuts faith,” explains Ron Suskind in the New York Times. [New York Times Oct 17/04]
Pushing back reality-based reality, President O-bomb-a could soon enact a law requiring federal weather agencies supplying data to weather networks across the nation to focus more on predicting storms and less on studying and reporting the climate changes driving these storms. Of course, without factoring in the source of rising temperatures driving weather – and countervailing geoengineering efforts – it will be impossible to accurately predict the resulting weather. [New York Times Mar 17/14; Truthout Apr 10/14]
COOLING DROUGHTS? Combine increasingly frantic attempts at climate engineering with a fragmented jetstream, and the results are costly, if not downright deadly.
Despite 15, 17, 10 or 30 years of rumoured global cooling, “more than 70% of the West – a zone spreading across 15 states – is experiencing some form of abnormal dryness or drought, with 11 drought-affected western and central states designated as primary natural disaster areas by the Agriculture Department,” the Las Vegas Sun sums up. Dipping a third intake straw into rapidly dropping Lake Mead will cost at least $817 million and hasten its demise. The panicky scheme to divert groundwater from rural Nevada into Las Vegas mouths and lawns will run another $3 billion. [Las Vegas Sun Mar 30/14]
With snowpack in the Sierra Nevada at just 12% of its annual average, and with 2013 notching up California’s driest year on record, it’s conceivable that even more finned, feathered, furred and two- legged lives will be impacted.
Having missed all those cooling calls, Gov. Jerry Brown has “declared a drought emergency, imploring residents to cut water use,” reports Dahr Jamail. California’s central valley farmland, critical to the U.S. supply of fruit and vegetables, “appears to be on its last legs.”
The State Water Project has already announced “zero water allocation” to 25 million people and 750,000 acres of farmland,” the Sun adds, as deepening drought “threatens to cripple California’s $44.7 billion agricultural industry, cutting yields and sending food prices soaring.” [Truthout Apr 10/14]
Can you say, impact?
It might be time to ask how many Californians have fallen for the global warming “hoax”. Or how much the “Solar Radiation Management” efforts they’re constantly seeing overhead are contributing to further climate disruption.
MELTDOWN Pedal to the metal, here’s where we’re hurtling with the banksters and Big Oil at the wheel:
The American Association for the Advancement of Science warns, “The rate of climate change now may be as fast as any extended warming period over the past 65 million years, and it is projected to accelerate in the coming decades.”
Their latest report describes the risk “of abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes in the Earth’s climate system with massively disruptive impacts” – including “large scale collapse of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, collapse of part of the Gulf Stream, loss of the Amazon rain forest, die-off of coral reefs, and mass extinctions.” [Guardian Mar 18/14]
In 20 years or less, Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya and the tallest peaks in Africa will be bare rock, devoid of ice and snow. This will impact more than postcard sales.
While the Denialists rail against reality, polar amplification is in “very high gear” writes Robert Scribbler. Thing is, sea ice reflects up to 70% of incoming solar energy; thick sea ice covered with snow reflects as much as 90%. But when that ice melts, the cradle will fall – exposed dark open ocean waters reflect only 6% of the incoming solar radiation. [NSIDC]
It absorbs the rest.
Yet another new NASA study shows the melt season for Arctic sea ice is lengthening by several days each decade, allowing the Arctic Ocean to absorb enough additional solar radiation to melt as much as four feet of the Arctic ice cap’s thickness in some places. [NASA Apr 1/14]
While President O-bomb-a remains intent on starting wars with Russia and China, an even bigger conflict has already started. In Earth vs. Everyone Else, our spacecraft’s interlinked ocean and atmosphere are not “warming”. They are “heating up fast”. “Climate change” is no longer a game- changing threat. “Climate Shift” exacerbated by atmospheric geoengineering could be the game-ender.
PICK-A-NUMBER Denialists insist, “A warming of even 3 degrees C in the next 100 years would, on balance, be beneficial to humans.” [Spectator Mar/09]
“A rise of around 3°C could be extremely damaging,” The Economist’s scientific sources rebut. As for waiting another 100 years to experience drastic effects from climate engineering and climate
shift, fugitaboutit.
“People alive today could live to see a 4C rise,” warns Richard Betts, head of climate impacts at the Hadley Centre Met Office. A 4° C rise over pre-industrial levels, Hadley scientists suspect, could dry up water supplies for half the world’s population, wipe out half of animal and plant species, and swamp low-lying coasts. (Not too shabby, considering the Denialists’ “no further warming, no net harm” scenario.) The Arctic and western and southern Africa could experience warming up to 10°C, the Met Office mentions. [Guardian Sept 27/09]
Writing for Global Policy, Michael Jennings concludes that “a suite of amplifying feedback mechanisms, such as massive methane leaks from the sub-sea Arctic Ocean, have engaged and are probably unstoppable.” During a follow-up radio interview, Jennings admitted that “Earth’s climate is already beyond the worst scenarios.” [Global Policy Sept 3/12; Ecoshock Radio Mar/14]
NASA’s numbers corroborate Jennings’ jeremiad, showing that Earth’s long-term warming is continuing to pace worst-case scenarios. “All the evidence now agrees that future warming is likely to be towards the high end of our estimates,” says NASA climatologist Drew Shindell. Look for an average global temperature increase of 9°F by the end of this Last Chance Century. [NASA Press Release Mar/14]
A Nature study on climate sensitivity has independently confirmed that we are headed toward a “most- likely warming of roughly 9°F above current temperatures – 11°F above preindustrial temperatures – by 2100.” [Nature Jan 1/14]
The last time our space colony was 11°F hotter, “There were snakes the size of yellow school buses in the Amazon,” observes Guy McPherson, Professor Emeritus of Evolutionary Biology, Natural Resources And Ecology at U. of Arizona. “The largest mammal was the size of a shrew. And the rise in temperature occurred over thousands of years, not decades. I doubt mammals survive – and certainly not large-bodied mammals.”
This figure could be obsolete. A National Center for Atmospheric Research study has just “found that carbon dioxide may have at least twice the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate.” This means that current emission rates may lead to a species- frying 61° F rise by the end of the century.
McPherson fearsomely continues: “Rapid rise to 4C eliminates all or nearly all plankton in the ocean, along with a majority of land plants. The latter cannot keep up with rapid change. The former will be acidified out of existence. At 16C (61F), your guess is as good as mine. But humans will not be involved.” [Truthout Apr 10/14]
Cinch up your lifejackets. Moisture is set to return big time as that vast pool of hot water moving across from the Western Pacific continues to surface like the sea-monster it is off the Mexico-U.S. coast.
The emergence of a Super-El Niño later this year could see extraordinarily intense rainfall, causing major floods, more landslides, misery, starvation, deaths and denial as still more topsoil is washed away from dust-dry croplands and charred forests. Some are already referring to “Ark Storm-like” conditions.
Without the ark.
25.04.2014, 20:13, Ann Fillmore <>:
4/25/14 Fri early morning, west coast US – You could spend an hour looking into this satellite image and finding stuff WRONG. Very wrong. There are chemtrails all over southern Calif. There is a giant chemtrail thing off shore, perhaps several of them. There are chemical ‘trails’ all through the white ‘moisture’ / clouds. And the HAARP!!  Basically the wet stuff is just going round and round over us, dropping chemicals all over. I remember when I was a child my mom would collect rain water to use as a hair rinse because it made my hair so soft.  After being in the rain yesterday my hair was a total fright wig until I washed it. SYMPTOMS FROM BEING IN THE RAIN: Exhaustion as if you have mononucleousis, ‘strep’ throat (which is really thrush – a fungal infection), muscle pain, your ears feel like they’re being pulled inside out, you have to pee a lot and you feel nauseous. Yippee.


Posted by  Chemtrail EvidenceFeaturedFeatured Videos Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014


Dutch’s weather modification research confirmed by CBS NEWS — SCALAR WEATHER MODIFICATION PROVED — DUAL BEAMS CAUSE INSTANT STORMS April 21, 2014, 4:40 PM

This is an amazing public disclosure.  Link below from CBS News. SCALAR wave interferometry confirmed to induce plasma at a distance from the transmitter.  Done using lasers. What did I just say? It is now confirmed that by using two beams interacting with each other, energy can be created at a distance. The 1st beam strips electrons in the atmosphere, creating a plasma bubble (filament) , 2nd beam pulsing into bubble, pumping it up. The 2nd beam can also control / move the plasma bubble once it is formed. The controlled plasma bubble “filament” then generates CCN (cloud condensation nuclei / raindrops). Even more simply put, crossing two beams causes particles, which form into rain.   The area can be moved to wherever the beams are targeted. ____ This quote (to me) is the highlight of the article… proving the hypothesis correct, that frequency weather modification can occur via pumping an area to the point of creating plasma, which then produces a weather event  (i.e. HAARP rings / RADAR pulses). “Previous work done by other researchers have led to some type of “electrical event” in clouds — raising an added risk of a lightning strike when seeding clouds with lasers, according to the researchers. “What would be nice is to have a sneaky way which allows us to produce an arbitrary long ‘filament extension cable.’ It turns out that if you wrap a large, low intensity, doughnut-like ‘dress’ beam around the filament and slowly move it inward, you can provide this arbitrary extension,” Mills said in a statement.” _____

“For many Americans who wished they could change the weather — whether it be in the Northeast during this past winter or in drought-stricken California — researchers may have found a way to aim a high-energy laser beam into clouds to make it rain or trigger lightning. The existence of condensation, storms and lightning are all due to the presence of large amounts of static electricity in the clouds. Researchers from the University of Central Florida and the University of Arizona say that a laser beam could activate those large amounts of static electricity and create storms on demand. By surrounding a beam with another beam that will act as an energy reservoir, the central beam will be sustained for greater distances than previously possible. The secondary beam will refuel and help to prevent the dissipation of the primary beam, which would break down quickly on its own. Although lasers can already travel great distances, it behaves differently than usual, collapsing inward on itself when a laser beam becomes intense enough, according to Matthew Mills, a graduate student at the UFC Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers. “The collapse becomes so intense that electrons in the air’s oxygen and nitrogen are ripped off creating plasma — basically a soup of electrons,”Mills explained in a statement. Afterwards, the plasma tries to spread the beam back out — causing an internal struggle between collapsing and spreading — what’s known as “filamentation.” This process in turn creates a light string that lasts only until the beam disperses. “Because a filament creates excited electrons in its wake as it moves, it artificially seeds the conditions necessary for rain and lightning to occur,” Mills explained. Previous work done by other researchers have led to some type of “electrical event” in clouds — raising an added risk of a lightning strike when seeding clouds with lasers, according to the researchers. “What would be nice is to have a sneaky way which allows us to produce an arbitrary long ‘filament extension cable.’ It turns out that if you wrap a large, low intensity, doughnut-like ‘dress’ beam around the filament and slowly move it inward, you can provide this arbitrary extension,” Mills said in a statement. “Since we have control over the length of a filament with our method, one could seed the conditions needed for a rainstorm from afar. Ultimately, you could artificially control the rain and lightning over a large expanse with such ideas.” Future applications of this method could be used in long distance sensors or in spectrometers for chemical makeups. “This work could ultimately lead to ultra-long optically induced filaments or plasma channels that are otherwise impossible to establish under normal conditions,” Demetrios Christodoulides, a professor that is working with the graduate students on the project, said in a statement. Using this method, Mills, along with fellow graduate researcher Ali Miri, have extended the pulse seven-fold — from just under a foot to around seven feet. Still, they’re not done yet, with hopes to extend the filament even further. Development of the technology was funded by the Department of Defense and the researchers’ findings were published in the journal Nature Photonics. ______

This diagram shows how the process works. _______ Maybe it would be better to hear it explained DIRECTLY by Lt. Col. Thomas Bearden in his original explanation from the 1980s. He is proved correct now. Dutchsinse confirmed on Scalar RADAR , weather… by dutchsinse ______ Here are real life examples caught on RADAR of the SCALAR interference effect in the United States: ____ The US Navy did this same experiment in 2013 using ONLY frequency .  Using the HAARP (IRI in Alaska), and RADAR. They created a plasma bubble in the atmosphere, sustained it for over and hour, and were able to ‘pulse / pump’ the plasma , and control the multiple KM wide bubble once it was fully formed. Curious how frequency can be used to control the weather? Watch the playlist here as well:


Chemtrails in the Sky in San Luis Obispo

By Bob Banner
April 25, 2014

I live in San Luis Obispo and went for a walk this morning (Monday, April 21) at 9 a.m. (at 8 a.m. it was a blue sky), and by the time I finished my walk the sky was already filled with chemtrails. I could still see three or four planes spraying their aerosol near sunrise and imagining that thousands of people would look up and see what they would interpret as passenger planes simply emitting exhaust. And that saddens me. At about 10:30 a.m., that blue sky turned into a milky haze and what is traditionally called a “heavy spray day” from the chemtrail researchers and activists. I do what I do to alert people, make them aware of certain conditions, policies dictated by corporate interests, have people investigate on their own — sites, articles, video trailers, speeches at the United Nations, excerpts from documentaries, whistleblower presentations — and when I showed two films including dinner recently, the total amount of people seeing those films was 35, mostly women who are very concerned about how in the early morning a sky that is clearly blue and within a couple of hours can turn to a milky haze. They want answers. The word “concern” is important, and I wish to refer to it occasionally throughout this blog. I also realize we are inundated with issues that have stressed perhaps to the maximum point of human capacity — acquiring data about the collapse of various systems and the emotional makeup to even take in any more concerns. Is it possible that we have reached our limit of what we can become aware of? Is there a point where we simple exclaim, “OK, enough already!” I do what I do, we all do what we do. I have various email lists that include thousands of email addresses, including the media, to alert people to the many “causes” that happen to be on my radar at the time, or a new interest or passion that a friend manages to entice me to become aware of. I try to distill certain information to give people enough to create a pause in their usual day-to-day concerns. I also understand that they/we are inundated with normal day to day activities:  like loving a spouse, feeding and housing and giving tenderness and love to their children amid the plethora of car payments, utility bills, insurance (car, home, health, teeth), ad nauseam. It almost appears like a conspiracy to keep many of us locked down and simply deal with money matters so we are not too concerned about what’s happening to people outside of our immediate concern. But through it all, people do get involved in understanding important things like GMOs in our food. They will sign petitions that come across their computer screens or iPads or iPhones, understanding that they ought not to eat junk food (some are even talking about the old wise saying “let thy food be thy medicine”) and learning about Fukushima contamination, gardening with permaculture techniques, drought situations, financial takeovers, more pipeline legal hanky panicky are all read from sources that we respect. But to return to chemtrails, or to use the more scientific term “geo-engineering,” that criss-crossing of trails in the sky that expand to become that milky haziness that you may see in the sky orchestrated and planned from airplanes spewing out aluminum particulates, barium, boron and other chemicals with the intention to reflect the solar rays back into space to give us some more time against intensifying climate change. And if you turned me off or have tuned me out so far I’d highly recommend that you read the report by the IPCC about how it is recommending that chemtrail/geo-engineering keep going with their spray, since they feel that it appears to be a viable way to curb climate change in comparison with the non-events at the various climate change global summits that often times simply do nothing (click here for details). Just a note about the ridicule factor. Perhaps my mind has hardened over the decades but now I’m used to it. At one time I took all sorts of ridicule as personal attacks. I now take them in stride and in a way I’d better be able to take the ridicule since I have this rather strange proclivity toward studying and reporting on the unusual edges around consensus reality. You may call them fringes, but it all depends on how expansive and inclusive your mind can be. And especially in light of growing concern over more devastation, I sense that I personally need to go to and become more acquainted with those edges or fringes in order to find some real solutions since consensus reality is really not offering many viable solutions, unless they are forced to. As Einstein has said: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” I don’t think he declared any methodology how t shift that consciousness so we could absorb the solutions or even allow them into our consciousness. Water catchment 20 years ago was considered fringe and now our city is giving people credit for installing water catchment devices. Eco-communities were fringe and now more and more people are aware of them and actually we have in this county two cohousing communities that have emerged decades ago and are doing quite well. Permaculture was at one time fringe and now very recently people are applying their strategies and techniques for their shelter, waste, water and garden areas in more harmony with nature rather than forcing an alien system on a natural system. And community groups are now speaking of mulching, using waste for food production, using mycelia (mushrooms) to assist the soil, water catchment and a plethora of ideas now current that were once considered strange. Even green burials are now being discussed in wider circles rather than the popular and almost obscene process to eliminate the deceased body with pollutants and the incredible waste of energy. (Visit our calendar since we will be screening a film called A Will for the Woods on May 22.) And on and on. Some pioneering researchers are dropping other environmental concerns and focusing on chemtrails since they feel its more important than all the other ones. Even if we clean up other areas, if the government is in  cahoots with spraying the sky under the guise of aiding in the climate change fiasco and no one is investigating them then what good are all the other concerns. It’s not just a matter of adding these chemicals to the soil after they fall from doing their work in the sky but also blocking the sun’s rays that are creating more vitamin D deficiencies (click here), as well as going deeper into the rabbit hole of weather modification (see Monsanto’s recent acquisition of a weather modification company for $1 billion (click here). There is obviously a war out there (as well as internally). With all of the stresses of our speedy lives in the developed world, how do we choose how to spend our time on issues that are important to us: signing petitions, joining and supporting various political or environmental organizations, speaking out, organizing new alternative currency models, SlowMoney, Bioneers, writing letters to the editors, buying food that is certified organic (but if it’s being sprayed from above with particulates that are affecting our food, what can we do?). “What can we do?” always seems to be the next question when challenged by some serious accusations or from a new emerging issue. Noam Chomsky once remarked in a documentary interview that he always had requests from the developed world as to what to do, while in the developing world he always heard from people who always knew what to do. Why is that?

Started a Facebook Page

After I focused on investigating a peculiar non-cold cough that I experienced and after some simple Google research it led me to chemtrails, coughing without having a cold was a symptom of many people who were claiming that it had to do with the overhead chemtrails. I put the information on my facebook wall and within days my wall got so inundated with resources and articles and video clips from “friends” that I decided to create a separate Facebook group that was entirely focused on chemtrails in SLO County. Now after a month it has increased to more than 300 people who are signed in to learn more. When it came time to show the second film about chemtrails called LOOK UP! a number of us asked the APCD (Air Pollution Control District) to discover what they could tell us as well as inviting them to come to our film/dinner gathering. They simply told us that they don’t investigate what comes from the sky and that was that. And no one from the APCD accepted our invitation to our film gathering to answer questions. To learn more or simply see what the concern is all about, look up, get curious and band together with others who are also trying to figure this out. Please join the Facebook page. Also the group is having a booth (No. 50) at the Earth Day festivities in SLO. See the information flier we created by clicking here. — Bob Banner is publisher of online and screens films nearly 10 times a month in SLO county and elsewhere, and provides a space where people can communicate their feelings, ideas and activities amidst the myriad of different edgy films. He can be reached at or 805.762.4848. The opinions expressed are his own. Source:


Fukushima Didn’t Just Suffer Three Meltdowns… The Nuclear Core Has Finally Been Found… Scattered All Over Japan

It Also Suffered “Melt-Throughs” and “Melt-Outs”

Global Research, April 25, 2014
We reported in May 2011 that authorities knew – within days or weeks –  thatall 3 active Fukushima nuclear reactors had melted down, but covered up that fact for months. The next month, we reported that Fukushima’s reactors had actually suffered something much worse: nuclear melt-throughs, where the nuclear fuel melted through the containment vessels and into the ground.  At the time, this was described as: The worst possibility in a nuclear accident. But now, it turns out that some of the Fukushima reactors have suffered even a more extreme type of damage: melt-OUTS. By way of background, we’ve noted periodically that scientists have no idea where the cores of the nuclear reactors are. And that highly radioactive black “dirt” has been found all over Japan. It turns out that the highly radioactive black substances are likely remnants of the core. The Journals Environmental Science & Technology and Journal of Environmental Radioactivity both found (hat tip EneNews) that the highly radioactive black substances match fuel from the core of the Fukushima reactors. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission agrees. Indeed, “hot particles” with extremely high levels of radiation – 7 billion40 billion , and even40 billion billion Bq/kg – have been found all over the Fukushima region, and hundreds of miles away … in Tokyo. Let’s put this in perspective.  The Atlantic notes:

Japanese regulations required nuclear waste with 100 or more bq/kg of Cesium to be monitored and disposed of in specialized containers. *** The new government limit for material headed for landfills is 8000 bq/kg, 80 times the pre-Fukushima limit.

So the hottest hot particle found so far is million billion times greater than the current government limits of what can be put in a landfill. In other words, the core of at least one of the Fukushima reactors has finally been found … scattered all over Japan. Nothing like this has ever before happened before.

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 by Common Dreams

‘David Against Nuclear Goliaths’: Nation Wages Legal Fight ‘for All Humanity’

Marshall Islands, still plagued by U.S. nuclear bomb testing, says 9 nuclear nations must abide by non-proliferation, disarm

– Andrea Germanos, staff writer
In an unprecedented legal action, the small Pacific nation and former U.S. nuclear testing site of the Marshall Islands has filed lawsuits “on behalf of all humanity” at the International Court of Justice against the U.S. and 8 other nations for their “flagrant denial of human justice” by failing to work towards nuclear disarmament. The nations cited by the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) are the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France and China — all parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well as nuclear-armed Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea — which are not parties to the NPT but which the challenge says are “bound by customary international law.” In addition to the suits filed Thursday in The Hague against the 9 nations, an additional suit specifically calling out the United States was filed in U.S. Federal District Court. A campaign site launched with the suits to garner support for the action explains that the RMI “knows firsthand the horror and consequences of living in a world with nuclear weapons.” Between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. used the RMI as a testing ground for the equivalent of 1.5 Hiroshima bombs detonated daily during the 12 year-year period. The testing included the detonation of the infamous Castle Bravo, which was 1,000 times larger than the bomb the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima. As journalist and writer Robert Koehler noted:

Not only did we expose many thousands of [Marshall Islanders] to ghastly — often lethal — levels of radiation with 67 nuclear blasts, with glaring evidence that at least some of the exposure was intentional, done for the purpose of studying the effects of radiation on human guinea pigs; not only did we wreck the Marshall Islanders’ way of life and pristine paradise, creating a nation of internal refugees confined to a Western-style slum on the island of Ebeye; not only did we cower, as a nation, from any real responsibility for what our fallout did to these people, settling our genocidal debt to them with $150 million “for all claims, past, present and future”; but also, throughout our dealing with them as nuclear conquistadors, we displayed a racism so profound, so cold-blooded, its exposure must forever shatter the myth of American exceptionalism.

“Our people have suffered the catastrophic and irreparable damage of these weapons, and we vow to fight so that no one else on earth will ever again experience these atrocities,” stated Marshall Islands Foreign Minister Tony de Brum. “The continued existence of nuclear weapons and the terrible risk they pose to the world threatens us all.” To address this global threat, the suits seek no compensation but rather that the courts order the nations to fulfill their disarmament obligations as laid out over four decades ago by the Article VI of the NPT:

Each of the Parties to the Treaty undertakes to pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.

With the legal challenge, “this small island nation is standing up against 9 of the most powerful countries on the planet,” writes David Krieger, President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a U.S.-based organization supporting the lawsuits, and consultant with the RMI legal team. “It is ‘David’ against the nuclear 9 ‘Goliaths.’ Its field of nonviolent battle is the courtroom.” “After 46 years with no negotiations in sight, it is time to end this madness,” Krieger added in a statement. “The Marshall Islands is saying enough is enough. It is taking a bold and courageous stand on behalf of all humanity.”

April 25, 2014

How Monsanto Annihilated a Paradise and Turned It Into an Island of Illness

Joe Martino Activist PostA beautiful island in Hawaii called Molokai has been subject to biotech giant Monsanto for some time now, and the results of Monsanto’s actions on the island is beginning to show very dark conclusions. The residents of the island of Molokai seem to be getting sicker and sicker as Monsanto continually carries out their actions near villages on the island. Some are suggesting the island has become a laboratory and the islanders are the lab rats being tested. Although not enough study has been done to find out why the rates of illness, cancer, asthma and diabetes are suddenly rising greatly on the island, many believe the evidence is anecdotal and seen when you observe the people. Monsanto leased 1850 acres of land on the island of Molokai to grow their Bt corn crops. The very fact they are merely leasing the land already raises the question as to whether or not they know the land will become of low quality once they are finished with it. The Bt toxin Monsanto uses is engineered into corn to allow farmers easy control over pests without spraying as much pesticides. Only there seems to be growing evidence that this Bt toxin is a threat to human health. Although The State Health Department has stated they feel the farming practices are safe, nearby residents are not happy about what’s going on and strongly feel Monsanto’s practices are causing harm and illness to those especially close to where Monsanto is spraying. Many in the area are beginning to do the research and are connecting the dots that the recent rise in illnesses is directly related to what Monsanto’s Bt toxin and Glyphosate has been known to cause.

This isn’t the first time residents of cities or villages near Monsanto farming territories have stood up with concern after they had noticed increased health issues once Monsanto had moved in. Farmers in Argentina  had also raised their concerns and people in India raised awareness about not only the health effects but the potential damages to the environment. In France farmer Paul Francois won his court case against Monsanto as the courts found Monsanto was guilty of chemical poisoning. A report published by Thanal, an environmental organization based in Kerala, India, stated that Monsanto’s glyphosate causes both health and environmental issues. Something the WHO and other organizations have  denied for years. [1]

As the acute toxicity – reflected in the WHO classification of glyphosate is low, it has long been promoted as safe. However, recent evidence shows substantial adverse health and environmental effects, especially of the formulated products… Recent experiences and studies show a wide range of long-term adverse health effects, again mostly related to formulated products, such as leukemia and other cancers, skin diseases, and birth defects, gastrointestinal problems, and alterations to the central nervous system. Other findings link glyphosate and especially formulations with affecting embryo development, damage cells and DNA, and interrupting the hormone system.

As more independent and integral studies take place, more evidence is piling up to show the dangers associated with GMOs. Even respected names such as David Suzuki has raised his concerns about GMOs claiming that humanity is part of “a massive experiment” when it comes to GMOs. Sayer Ji of Green Med Info also linked evidence between breast cancer and RoundUp, one of Monsanto’s most popular pesticides.[2]

An alarming new study finds that glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weedkiller, is estrogenic and drives breast cancer cell proliferation in the parts-per-trillion range.

What’s happening in Molokai has happened in many other areas of the world and is not something that can continue if we want to have safe food and a healthy environment. GMO crops are being banned in many areas around the world but North America still lacks the political integrity to make the move. The annual March Against Monsanto is set to take place on May 24th, 2014. A tradition that has already done so much for raising awareness about GMOs and the dangers associated with them. Many believe the March Against Monsanto helped to stop the Monsanto Protection Act, a bill passed by Obama that would protect Monsanto from being able to be charged for any health or environmental damages they cause. Let’s raise some awareness and continue to work to stop Monsanto. You can also begin by growing some of your own food! You don’t even need a garden! Sources: [1]–Glyphosate-14236639.pdf [2]


Wall Street Greed and the Corrupt Global Banking Cartel: Too Big to Prosecute? Not for a California Jury

Global Research, April 23, 2014
Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates.  Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel? United States Attorney General Eric Holder has declared that the too-big-to-fail Wall Street banks are too big to prosecute.  But an outraged California jury might have different ideas. As noted in the California legal newspaper The Daily Journal:

California juries are not bashful – they have been known to render massive punitive damages awards that dwarf the award of compensatory (actual) damages. For example, in one securities fraud case jurors awarded $5.7 million in compensatory damages and $165 million in punitive damages. . . . And in a tobacco case with $5.5 million in compensatory damages, the jury awarded $3 billion in punitive damages . . . .

The question, then, is how to get Wall Street banks before a California jury. How about charging them with common law fraud and breach of contract?  That’s what the FDIC just did in its massive 24-count civil suit for damages for LIBOR manipulation, filed in March 2014 against sixteen of the world’s largest banks, including the three largest US banks – JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup. LIBOR (the London Interbank Offering Rate) is the benchmark rate at which banks themselves can borrow. It is a crucial rate involved in over $400 trillion in derivatives called interest-rate swaps, and it is set by the sixteen private megabanks behind closed doors. The biggest victims of interest-rate swaps have been local governments, universities, pension funds, and other public entities. The banks have made renegotiating these deals prohibitively expensive, and renegotiation itself is an inadequate remedy. It is the equivalent of the grocer giving you an extra potato when you catch him cheating on the scales. A legal action for fraud is a more fitting and effective remedy. Fraud is grounds both for rescission (calling off the deal) as well as restitution (damages), and in appropriate cases punitive damages. Trapped in a Fraud Nationally, municipalities and other large non-profits are thought to have as much as $300 billion in outstanding swap contracts based on LIBOR, deals in which they are trapped due to prohibitive termination fees. According to a 2010 report by the SEIU(Service Employees International Union):

The overall effect is staggering. Banks are estimated to have collected as much as $28 billion in termination fees alone from state and local governments over the past two years. This does not even begin to account for the outsized net payments that state and local governments are now making to the banks. . . . While the press have reported numerous stories of cities like Detroit, caught with high termination payments, the reality is there are hundreds (maybe even thousands) more cities, counties, utility districts, school districts and state governments with swap agreements [that] are causing cash strapped local and city governments to pay millions of dollars in unneeded fees directly to Wall Street.

All of these entities could have damage claims for fraud, breach of contract and rescission; and that is true whether or not they negotiated directly with one of the LIBOR-rigging banks. To understand why, it is necessary to understand how swaps work. As explained in my last article here, interest-rate swaps are sold to parties who have taken out loans at variable interest rates, as insurance against rising rates. The most common swap is one where counterparty A (a university, municipal government, etc.) pays a fixed rate to counterparty B (the bank), while receiving from B a floating rate indexed to a reference rate such as LIBOR. If interest rates go up, the municipality gets paid more on the swap contract, offsetting its rising borrowing costs. If interest rates go down, the municipality owes money to the bank on the swap, but that extra charge is offset by the falling interest rate on its variable rate loan. The result is to fix borrowing costs at the lower variable rate. At least, that is how they are supposed to work. The catch is that the swap is a separate financial agreement – essentially an ongoing bet on interest rates. The borrower owes both the interest onits variable rate loan and what it must pay on its separate swap deal. And the benchmarks for the two rates don’t necessarily track each other. The rate owed on the debt is based on something called the SIFMA municipal bond index.  The rate owed by the bank is based on the privately-fixed LIBOR rate. As noted by Stephen Gandel on CNNMoney, when the rate-setting banks started manipulating LIBOR, the two rates decoupled, sometimes radically. Public entities wound up paying substantially more than the fixed rate they had bargained for – a failure of consideration constituting breach of contract. Breach of contract is grounds for rescission and damages. Pain and Suffering in California The SEIU report noted that no one has yet completely categorized all the outstanding swap deals entered into by local and state governments.  But in a sampling of swaps within California, involving ten cities and counties (San Francisco, Corcoran, Los Angeles, Menlo Park, Oakland, Oxnard, Pittsburgh, Richmond, Riverside, and Sacramento), one community college district, one utility district, one transportation authority, and the state itself, the collective tab was $365 million in swap payments annually, with total termination fees exceeding $1 billion. Omitted from the sample was the University of California system, which alone is reported to have lost tens of millions of dollars on interest-rate swaps. According to an article in the Orange County Register on February 24, 2014, the swaps now cost the university system an estimated $6 million a year. University accountants estimate that the 10-campus system will lose as much as $136 million over the next 34 years if it remains locked into the deals, losses that would be reduced only if interest rates started to rise. According to the article:

Already officials have been forced to unwind a contract at UC Davis, requiring the university to pay $9 million in termination fees and other costs to several banks. That sum would have covered the tuition and fees of 682 undergraduates for a year. The university is facing the losses at a time when it is under tremendous financial stress. Administrators have tripled the cost of tuition and fees in the past 10 years, but still can’t cover escalating expenses. Class sizes have increased. Families have been angered by the rising price of attending the university, which has left students in deeper debt.

Peter Taylor, the university’s Chief Financial Officer, defended the swaps, saying he was confident that interest rates would rise in coming years, reversing what the deals have lost. But for that to be true, rates would have to rise by multiples that would drive interest on the soaring federal debt to prohibitive levels, something the Federal Reserve is not likely to allow. The Revolving Door The UC’s dilemma is explored in a report titled “Swapping Our Future: How Students and Taxpayers Are Funding Risky UC Borrowing and Wall Street Profits.” The authors, a group called Public Sociologists of Berkeley, say that two factors were responsible for the precipitous decline in interest rates that drove up UC’s relative borrowing costs. One was the move by the Federal Reserve to push interest rates to record lows in order to stabilize the largest banks. The other was the illegal effort by major banks to manipulate LIBOR, which indexes interest rates on most bonds issued by UC. Why, asked the authors, has UC’s management not tried to renegotiate the deals? They pointed to the revolving door between management and Wall Street. Unlike in earlier years, current and former business and finance executives now play a prominent role on the UC Board of Regents. They include Chief Financial Officer Taylor, who walked through the revolving door from Lehman Brothers, where he was a top banker in Lehman’s municipal finance business in 2007. That was when the bank sold the university a swap related to debt at UCLA that has now become the source of its biggest swap losses. The university hired Taylor for his $400,000-a-year position in 2009, and he has continued to sign contracts for swaps on its behalf since. Investigative reporter Peter Byrne notes that the UC regent’s investment committee controls $53 billion in Wall Street investments, and that historically it has been plagued by self-dealing. Byrne writes:

Several very wealthy, politically powerful men are fixtures on the regent’s investment committee, including Richard C. Blum (Wall Streeter, war contractor, and husband of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein), and Paul Wachter (Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s long-time business partner and financial advisor). The probability of conflicts of interest inside this committee—as it moves billions of dollars between public and private companies and investment banks—is enormous.

Blum’s firm Blum Capital is also an adviser to CalPERS, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, which also got caught in the LIBOR-rigging scandal. “Once again,” said CalPERS Chief Investment Officer Joseph Dear of the LIBOR-rigging, “the financial services industry demonstrated that it cannot be trusted to make decisions in the long-term interests of investors.” If the financial services industry cannot be trusted, it needs to be replaced with something that can be. Remedies The Public Sociologists of Berkeley recommend renegotiation of the onerous interest rate swaps, which could save up to $200 million for the UC system; and evaluation of the university’s legal options concerning the manipulation of LIBOR. As demonstrated in the new FDIC suit, those options include not just renegotiating on better terms but rescission and damages for fraud and breach of contract. These are remedies that could be sought by local governments and public entities across the state and the nation. The larger question is why our state and local governments continue to do business with a corrupt global banking cartel. There is an alternative. They could set up their own publicly-owned banks, on the model of the state-owned Bank of North Dakota. Fraud could be avoided, profits could be recaptured, and interest could become a much-needed source of public revenue. Credit could become a public utility, dispensed as needed to benefit local residents and local economies.


Unelected Kiev Regime Begins Killing Spree in Eastern Ukraine

Deadly clashes broke out as the unelected regime occupying Kiev attempted to restart what it is calling “anti-terror” operations in eastern Ukraine where anti-fascist protesters have begun rising up. Several have been killed during clashes in the eastern Ukrainian town of Slavyansk where Kiev has set armored vehicles and helicopter gunships upon its own population.

The Western media continues to refer to those opposing the unelected regime in Kiev as “pro-Russian,” and continues to insist that the uprising in the east is either backed by Moscow or in fact, being carried out directly by Russians operating in Ukrainian territory. However, the US and EU have failed categorically to prove such claims with evidence, and have since been caught circulating falsified images and news in attempts to bolster their claims.

The current regime in Kiev came to power at the height of the so-called “Euromaidan” protests where admittedly armed

    Neo-Nazi militants seized power, ransacking the headquarters of their political opponents and driving out the elected
    government of President Viktor Yanukovych. While the armed, violent seizure of power was initially covered up by the
    Western media, the BBC itself would later admit in a short video report that indeed armed Neo-Nazi militants spearheaded 
    the coup.

The nature of the regime in Kiev is also being papered over by the Western media, covering up the fact that the two main opposition parties that seized power, Svoboda and “Fatherland,” are in fact led by a collection of Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites. In a desperate attempt to cover up this lack of legitimacy, the West has sent many high level officials including a leading US Senator and the US Vice President to Kiev to lend both political and material support. The latest visit by Vice President Joseph Biden appears to have been timed specifically to help coordinate a renewed push into eastern Ukraine, after Ukrainian troops surrendered en masse last week – refusing to carry out operations against their fellow countrymen. Reports indicate that Kiev has now turned to fanatical ultra-right militant groups in an attempt to put down growing unrest against the unelected regime. The Voice of Russia reported in its article, “Ukrainian Right Sector says it will join crackdown on pro-federalization protesters,” that:

The ultranationalist Ukrainian Right Sector movement said Thursday members of organization will join paramilitary units currently being formed to crackdown on pro-federalization protests in eastern Ukraine. The movement said in a statement on its website that its members will join so-called “battalions of territorial defense” and military units.

Right Sector was an important force at the Euromaidan protests that began in November in Kiev. Its members were notorious for using clubs, Molotov cocktails, and firearms against Ukrainian police during the protests, and for wearing Nazi-inspired insignia.

West’s Hypocrisy: Libya vs. Ukraine

The use of fanatical, irregular forces, armored vehicles, and aircraft including warplanes and helicopter gunships, signifies an escalation of violence by Kiev against its own people through the use of clearly disproportionate force aimed at terrorizing the population. That the United States and European Union have spent the past 3 years engaged in what they called the “responsibility to protect” in both Libya and Syria, and are now backing a regime that is arraying military forces against its own people, marks a new low in both the impartial application of “international law” and the perceived legitimacy of the Western nations now increasingly involved in Ukraine’s political crisis. In March of 2011, US President Barack Obama said the following regarding America’s military intervention in Libya (emphasis added):

In the face of the world’s condemnation, Qaddafi chose to escalate his attacks, launching a military campaign against the Libyan people. Innocent people were targeted for killing. Hospitals and ambulances were attacked. Journalists were arrested, sexually assaulted, and killed. Supplies of food and fuel were choked off. Water for hundreds of thousands of people in Misurata was shut off. Cities and towns were shelled, mosques were destroyed, and apartment buildings reduced to rubble. Military jets and helicopter gunships were unleashed upon people who had no means to defend themselves against assaults from the air. Confronted by this brutal repression and a looming humanitarian crisis, I ordered warships into the Mediterranean. European allies declared their willingness to commit resources to stop the killing. The Libyan opposition and the Arab League appealed to the world to save lives in Libya. And so at my direction, America led an effort with our allies at the United Nations Security Council to pass a historic resolution that authorized a no-fly zone to stop the regime’s attacks from the air, and further authorized all necessary measures to protect the Libyan people.

Of course, years before the “Arab Spring” in 2011, regime change in Libya was a long-standing geopolitical goal of the West. The charges President Obama made in his speech regarding the situation in Libya were based on intentionally falsified evidence exposed by the very so-called “human rights” organization who fabricated them. Worse yet, those “innocent people” President Obama cited in his 2011 speech were later confirmed to be heavily armed militants from the US State Department designated terrorist organization, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – Al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise who would later, with NATO backing, travel to fight in Syria as well. As heavy weapons are now being turned against the Ukrainian people by the unelected regime in Kiev – led by literal Neo-Nazis, bigots, racists, and anti-Semites – the US and EU through NATO have signaled their full unflinching support for Kiev, going as far as offering weapons, training, and the backing by NATO troops of Kiev’s so-called “anti-terror” operations now unfolding tentatively in eastern Ukraine. NATO troops have been deployed to nearby Poland while naval forces have been shifting into the Black and Baltic seas, all an attempt to pressure Russia. Paradoxically, NATO is helping Kiev do in reality what it falsely accused Libya of doing in 2011 – before applying sanctions, a no-fly zone, and eventually full spectrum bombardment of Libya while it armed and funded proxy militant forces on the ground to overthrow the government. NATO’s overt contradiction undermines its perceived authority and endangers further its already strained legitimacy. As NATO’s failure and deceit continues to come to light in Libya, Syria, and Afghanistan, its ability to project its power and execute its agenda across Eastern Europe is becoming increasingly tenuous. By pursing an already unpopular conflict in Ukraine, NATO and its individual member nations are only further diminishing their international influence – ensuring failure elsewhere and the further acceleration of an apparent, irreversible decline across the West. The West Has Already Lost in Ukraine Ukraine, like the rest of Eastern Europe, was meant to be peeled away from its traditional place within Russia’s sphere of cultural, historical, economic and strategic influence, and added to a growing collection of EU and NATO member states that are forming the basis of the West’s encirclement and containment of both Russia and China. With the people of Crimea choosing to rejoin Russia and with unrest spreading across eastern Ukraine, the notion of a “united” Ukraine shifting West is unlikely if not indefinitely impossible. What is left for the West is to perpetually destabilize Ukraine, denying Russia a stable and beneficial relationship with its neighbor. However, this strategy hinges on keeping a useful and obedient regime in power in Kiev – a feat likewise unlikely if not impossible. The regime is sitting on a seat of power still warm after the departure of President Yanukovych, who despite being ousted from power, is playing a continuing role in countering the new regime’s occupation of the Ukrainian capital. Additionally, the abhorrent nature of the new regime is exposed through its daily actions and as an increasingly astute global public dig into its past. This, coupled with a looming economic catastrophe that will be compounded by the regime’s very willing cooperation and capitation to IMF-proposed austerity measures, will ensure whatever little support it does have will quickly melt away. Many see NATO and their client regime in Kiev’s actions in eastern Ukraine and along Russia’s borders elsewhere as an attempt to provoke Moscow into acting first – justifying a wider conflict. For Russia and the anti-fascists in eastern and southern Ukraine, patience to weather these provocations will eventually lead to the self-inflicted collapse of the regime in Kiev, and a reunited Ukraine standing stronger still with its eastern neighbors.


‘Mutual distrust’: Ecuador ejects US military group

Published time: April 25, 2014
  Ecuador has given a group of 20 US Defense Department employees until the end of the month to quit the country. President Rafael Correa had previously said the presence of the US military in Ecuador was “scandalous” and they had “infiltrated all sectors.” Ecuador has officially requested that all 20 Defense Department employees in the US Embassy in Quito cease their activities and leave the country by the end of the month, embassy spokesman Jeffrey Weinshenker confirmed to AP. He said the embassy had received a formal letter dated April 7, alerting them to the imminent expulsion of the group. Previously, Correa attacked the US’s military presence in the Latin American country, claiming there were even more operatives. “There are about 50 of them. Who can justify this? We are now taking action accordingly,” he said in January, pledging to have them removed from the country. He added that these operatives had infiltrated all sectors of the Ecuadorian political sphere, referring to their presence as “scandalous.” Correa said that such activities have led to a climate of “tensions and mutual distrust” between the two countries. Weinshenker has defended the US presence in Ecuador, maintaining that all the activities the military personnel carry out have to be approved by Ecuadorian officials. He also mentioned that Washington had donated around $7 million to the Ecuadorian government to aid in the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and human trafficking. Relations between Washington and Quito have deteriorated over the past few years. The Ecuadorian government ejected US Ambassador Heather Hodges in 2011 after WikiLeaks released a document in which she alleged that corruption in the Ecuadorian police was widespread. In addition, tensions rose between the two countries when WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted political asylum by Ecuador. Assange released a trove of classified American documents into the public sphere via the website WikiLeaks, prompting Washington to accuse him of aiding terrorists. Although the whistleblower was granted asylum, he has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for the past three years. The UK authorities have pledged to arrest Assange should he set foot outside the embassy building and extradite him to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over accusations of sexual assault. Assange fears the Swedish authorities will hand him over to the US for questioning over the leaks.

US inciting civil war in Venezuela to get its oil – Bolivia’s Morales

Published time: April 24, 2014
Washington is pushing Venezuela towards a “civil war” because it wants access to the country’s rich oil reserves, Bolivian President Evo Morales has warned. The Venezuelan government has also accused the US of fomenting a coup d’état. Addressing over 3,000 young people at a Latin American Youth Summit in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz, Morales branded the US an “empire” with its eye on Venezuelan oil wealth. Morales said that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was blameless in the recent wave of unrest in the country and accused Washington of orchestrating a civil war. “I believe [the US] are trying to incite if not a coup d’état then a civil war from their empire,” Morales said. “They are always going to sponsor internal conflict so that they can interfere and invade us to take control of our oil reserves.”
The world needs an “anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist and anti-colonial youth,” said Morales, urging Latin Americans to stand together in solidarity with Venezuela. Morales said there was no danger of a coup d’état in Bolivia since the government had ejected US Ambassador Phillip Golberg in 2008 after he was accused of collaborating in a plot to overthrow the government. Venezuela has been gripped by a wave of anti-government protests since February which has left at least 41 dead and over 600 injured. The Venezuelan government has recognized people’s right to demonstrate, but has accused foreign-backed, right-wing extremists of hijacking the protests in an attempt to oust Maduro. At present, the Maduro government is in dialogue with some of the members of the opposition movement to try and find a peaceful solution to the conflict. The opponents of the government complain that Venezuela is experiencing massive inflation and shortages of basic food products, as well as frequent power cuts.
Maduro announced last week that Venezuela was facing an “economic war” and as such his government intended to fight back with a new “offensive” to combat capitalism. He set out the main aims of the new initiative on Monday, including the encouragement of supply and production and the stabilization of prices in Venezuela. “This new economic offensive should bring prosperity to the people and the country. Neoliberalism speaks of growth, but growth for whom? For those that always had wealth, not the have-nots,” Maduro said. Maduro has previously blamed the strife in Venezuela on Washington, saying that the US is orchestrating the unrest with a view to overthrowing his government. In March, Caracas’s foreign minister, Elias Jaua, accused US Secretary of State John Kerry of inciting murder and violence in Venezuela. Washington has denied any links to the ongoing unrest and maintains the Venezuelan government is terrorizing its own people.
Published on Wednesday, April 23, 2014 by Common Dreams

Family Wins Fracking Suit in Legal Blow to Industry

Attorney: “I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore.'”

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer
In what is being called a legal blow to the fracking industry, on Tuesday a Texas family was awarded $3 million in the first ever verdict to be handed down over the negative health impacts of fracking. Bob and Lisa Parr of Wise County sued Aruba Petroleum in 2011 for shale gas drilling operations which their lawyers said “fouled the family’s 40-acre ranch property, their home and quality of life,” by sickening both them and their daughter Emma, as well as their pets and livestock. “They’re vindicated,” said Attorney David Matthews following the news of the verdict. “I’m really proud of the family that went through what they went through and said, ‘I’m not going to take it anymore. It takes guts to say, ‘I’m going to stand here and protect my family from an invasion of our right to enjoy our property.’” Though not the first suit filed against an energy company for damages related to fracking, the vast majority of those ended in settlements with plaintiffs bound to restrictive gag orders. The companies have had “an effective campaign of secrecy that protected them,” according to Earthjustice managing attorney Deborah Goldberg. As Goldberg explained toThinkProgress, in addition to the gag orders, the industry has historically dodged blame by claiming proprietary rights on the details of their operations. “A lot of the earlier tort cases [against fracking companies] were dismissed because the industry was so successful at withholding information that people couldn’t draw connections between the problems and what industry were doing,” Goldberg added. “Now studies are starting to be done, and people are beginning to realize that they can document what the impacts are going to be.” Last week, three seperate studies were released documenting the toxic impact of fracking operations. Research conducted by the Physicians Scientists & Engineers for Healthy Energy, found that fracking likely produces public health risks and “elevated levels of toxic compounds in the environment” in nearly all stages of the process. Months after fracking operations began in 2008, the Parrs began to experience negative health effects, including breathing difficulties, nausea, rashes and nosebleeds. Doctors confirmed the existence of hydrocarbon-related chemicals in Lisa’s bloodstream and their young daughter was diagnosed with asthma. Further, as ThinkProgress reports, the Parrs experienced the death of house pets and livestock, and saw “physical dwarfing” of a newborn calf. The $3 million verdict was only about 4.5 percent of the $66 million the Parrs had sought in their latest complaint, according to the details of the suit. The jury rejected the family’s claim that Aruba acted with malice. Reportedly, Aruba plans to appeal the verdict.

Turkey Cooks the Books in Syria

Seymour Hersh documents Ankara’s efforts to pull the U.S. into the Levant

Global Research, April 25, 2014

    If you had been a reader of The American Conservative magazine back in December 2011, 

    you might have learned from an article written by me that “Unmarked NATO warplanes are 
    arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering 
    weapons [to the Free Syrian Army] derived from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals…” 
    Well, it seems that the rest of the media is beginning to catch up with the old news, 
    supplemented with significant details by Sy Hersh in the latest issue of the London Review 
    of Books in an article entitled “The Red Line and the Rat Line.”

The reality is that numerous former intelligence officials, like myself, have long known most of the story surrounding the on-again off-again intervention by the United States and others in Syria, but what was needed was a Sy Hersh, with his unmatched range of contacts deep in both the Pentagon as well as at CIA and State Department, to stitch it all together with corroboration from multiple sources. In a sense it was a secret that wasn’t really very well hidden but which the mainstream media wouldn’t touch with a barge pole because it revealed that the Obama Administration, just like the Bushies who preceded it, has been actively though clandestinely conspiring to overthrow yet another government in the Middle East. One might well conclude that the White House is like the Bourbon Kings of France in that it never forgets anything but never learns anything either. The few media outlets that are willing to pick up the Syria story even now are gingerly treating it as something new, jumping in based on their own editorial biases, sometimes emphasizing the CIA and MI6 role in cooperating with the Turks to undermine Bashar al-Assad. But Hersh’s tale is only surprising if one had not been reading between the lines over the past three years, where the clandestine role of the British and American governments was evident and frequently reported on over the internet and, most particularly, in the local media in the Middle East. Far from being either rogue or deliberately deceptive, operations by the U.S. and UK intelligence services, the so-called “ratlines” feeding weapons into Syria, were fully vetted and approved by both the White House and Number 10 Downing Street. The more recent exposure of the Benghazi CIA base’s possible involvement in obtaining Libyan arms as part of the process of equipping the Syrian insurgents almost blew the lid off of the arrangement but somehow the media attention was diverted by a partisan attack on the Obama Administration over who said what and when to explain the security breakdown and the real story sank out of sight. So this is what happened, roughly speaking: the United States had been seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria since at least 2003, joining with Saudi Arabia, which had been funding efforts to destabilize his regime even earlier. Why? Because from the Saudi viewpoint Syria was an ally of Iran and was also a heretical state led by a secular government dominated by Alawite Muslims, viewed as being uncomfortably close to Shi’ites in their apostasy. From the U.S. viewpoint, the ties to Iran and reports of Syrian interference in Lebanon were a sufficient casus belli coupled with a geostrategic assessment shared with the Saudis that Syria served as the essential land bridge connecting Hezbollah in Lebanon to Iran. The subsequent Congressional Syria Accountability Acts of 2004 and 2010, like similar legislation directed against Iran, have resulted in little accountability and have instead stifled diplomacy. They punished Syria with sanctions for supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon and for its links to Tehran, making any possible improvement in relations problematical. The 2010 Act even calls for steps to bring about regime change in Damascus. The United States also engaged in a program eerily reminiscent of its recent moves to destabilize the government in Ukraine, i.e., sending in ambassadors and charges who deliberately provoked the Syrian government by meeting with opposition leaders and openly making demands for greater democracy. The last U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford spoke openly in support of the protesters while serving in Damascus in 2011. On one occasion he was pelted with tomatoes and was eventually removed over safety concerns. Lost in translation is the fact that Washington’s growing support for radical insurgency in Syria would also inevitably destabilize all its neighbors, most notably including Iraq, which has indeed been the case, making a shambles of U.S. claims that it was seeking to introduce stable democracies into the region. Some also saw irony in the fact that a few years before Washington decided al-Assad was an enemy it had been sending victims of the CIA’s rendition program to Syria, suggesting that at least some short-term and long-term strategies were on a collision course from the start, if indeed the advocates of the two policies were actually communicating with each other at all. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, whose country shared a long border with Syria and who had legitimate security concerns relating to Kurdish separatists operating out of the border region, became the proxy in the secret war for Washington and its principal European allies, the British and French. When the U.S.-Saudi supported insurgency began to heat up and turn violent, Turkey became the key front line state in pushing for aggressive action against Damascus. Erdogan miscalculated, thinking that al-Assad was on his last legs, needing only a push to force him out, and Ankara saw itself as ultimately benefiting from a weak Syria with a Turkish-controlled buffer zone along the border to keep the Kurds in check. Hersh reports how President Barack Obama had to back down from attacking Syria when the Anglo-American intelligence community informed him flatly and unambiguously that Damascus was not responsible for the poison gas attack that took place in Damascus on August 21, 2013 that was being exploited as a casus belli. The information supporting that assertion was known to many like myself who move around the fringes of the intelligence community, but the real revelation from Hersh is the depth of Turkish involvement in the incident in order to have the atrocity be exploitable as a pretext for American armed intervention, which, at that point, Erdogan strongly desired. As the use of weapons of mass destruction against civilians was one of the red lines that Obama had foolishly promoted regarding Syria Erdogan was eager to deliver just that to force the U.S.’s hand. Relying on unidentified senior U.S. intelligence sources, Hersh demonstrates how Turkey’s own preferred militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is generally regarded as an al-Qaeda affiliate, apparently used Turkish-provided chemicals and instructions to stage the attack. Is it all true? Unless one has access to the same raw information as Sy Hersh it is difficult to say with any certainty, but I believe I know who some of the sources are and they both have good access to intelligence and are reliable. Plus, the whole narrative has an undeniable plausibility, particularly if one also considers other evidence of Erdogan’s willingness to take large risks coupled with a more general Turkish underhandedness relating to Syria. On March 23rd, one week before local elections in Turkey that Erdogan feared would go badly for him, a Turkish air force F-16 shot down a Syrian Mig-23, claiming that it had strayed half a mile into Turkish airspace. The pilot who bailed out, claimed that he was attacking insurgent targets at least four miles inside the border when he was shot down, an assertion borne out by physical evidence as the plane’s remains landed inside Syria. Was Erdogan demonstrating how tough he could be just before elections? Possibly. And then there are the YouTube recordings. Three days before the election, a discussion not unlike the Victoria Nuland leak in Ukraine surfaced. A conversation between Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Hakan Fidan, the chief of the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT), included Davutoglu saying that the “Prime Minister said that in the current conjuncture of time, this attack [on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah] must be seen as an opportunity for us.” Davutoglu was clearly referring to an attack on the tomb serving as a pretext for a Turkish incursion into Syria. Fidan then declared that “I will send four men from inside Syria, if that is what it will take. I will make up a reason for war by ordering a missile attack on Turkey. We can also prepare a direct attack on the Tomb of Suleiman Shah if necessary.” The recording reveals that Ankara was considering staging a false flag attack on the tomb of Suleiman Shah, the grandfather of Osman I, the founder of the Ottoman dynasty. The tomb is in Syria but because of its historical importance has been regarded as sovereign Turkish territory, much like an Embassy, and is guarded by Turkish soldiers. So the suggestion is that Ankara was prepared to kill its own soldiers to create an incident that would have led to a broader war. Critics of Hersh claim that the Turks would be incapable of carrying out such a grand subterfuge, but I would argue that putting together some technicians, chemicals, and a couple of trucks to carry the load are well within the capability of MIT, an organization that I have worked with and whose abilities I respect. And one must regard with dismay the “tangled webs we weave,” with due credit to Bobby Burns, for what has subsequently evolved in Syria. Allies like Turkey that are willing to cook the books to bring about military action are exploiting the uncertainty of a White House that continues to search for foreign policy successes while simultaneously being unable to define any genuine American interests. Syria is far from an innocent in the ensuing mayhem, but it has become the fall guy for a whole series of failed policies. Turkey meanwhile has exploited the confusion to clamp down on dissent and to institutionalize Erdogan’s authoritarian inclinations. Ten years of American-licensed meddling combined with obliviousness to possible consequences has led to in excess of 100,000 dead Syrians and the introduction of large terrorist infrastructures into the Arab heartland, yet another foreign policy disaster in the making with no clear way out.
04.23.14 – 7:21 PM

Our New Gilded Age: Homeless Man Died of Cold Hunkered In Portable Toilet In the Richest Greediest Country in the World

by Abby Zimet
Police in Detroit have not yet identified a homeless man who died of exposure while trying to stay warm locked inside a portable toilet he had insulated with trash. The homeless man trying to stay warm locked inside a portable toilet – whose story horribly mirrors a death a few years ago in an abandoned warehouse, pictured on the front – died in an America of grotesquely and untenably rising inequality, according to “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” a much-touted, Marxist-flavored, exquisitely argued book by (non-Marxist)French economist Thomas Piketty that has just hit #1 on Amazon. Perhaps it has struck a chord because it makes its arguments for greater equity in America so soundly, or perhaps it’s simply that many people, seeing what’s become of our nation and the part the 1% have played in that transformation, believe a homeless man dying of the cold in a toilet is obscene. Which, obviously, it is.
April 24, 2014

Phoenix VA Scheme Exposed: 40 Veterans on “Secret Waiting List” Died While Waiting for Care

Lily Dane Activist PostLong waiting times for appointments have led to the deaths of at least 40 veterans who were patients at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System. Many of those veterans were placed on a “secret waiting list” that was part of a scheme designed to hide how long patients actually had to wait for appointments. An estimated 1,400 to 1,600 veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor. A recently retired top VA doctor and other high-level sources helped CNN expose the scheme:

Dr. Sam Foote just retired after spending 24 years with the VA system in Phoenix. The veteran doctor told CNN in an exclusive interview that the Phoenix VA works off two lists for patient appointments:

There’s an “official” list that’s shared with officials in Washington and shows the VA has been providing timely appointments, which Foote calls a sham list. And then there’s the real list that’s hidden from outsiders, where wait times can last more than a year.

“The scheme was deliberately put in place to avoid the VA’s own internal rules,” said Foote in Phoenix. “They developed the secret waiting list,” said Foote, a respected local physician.

Foote said the VA requires its hospitals to provide timely care to patients, usually within 14 – 30 days. He said evidence was shredded in order to hide the long list of veterans waiting for care. VA officials also told staff not to schedule appointments in the computer system:

“They enter information into the computer and do a screen capture hard copy printout. They then do not save what was put into the computer so there’s no record that you were ever here.”

That hard copy, if you will, that has the patient demographic information is then taken and placed onto a secret electronic waiting list, and then the data that is on that paper is shredded.”

So the only record that you have ever been there requesting care was on that secret list. And they wouldn’t take you off that secret list until you had an appointment time that was less than 14 days so it would give the appearance that they were improving greatly the waiting times, when in fact they were not.”

Foote said the wait times that were reported to authorities in Washington were completely made up:

“So then when they did that, they would report to Washington, ‘Oh yeah. We’re makin’ our appointments within — within 10 days, within the 14-day frame,’ when in reality it had been six, nine, in some cases 21 months.”

CNN also reported that emails they obtained show that Phoenix VA Director Sharon Helman knew about the secret list and the actual wait times, and even defended its use to her staff. Foote has sent letters to officials at the VA Office of the Inspector General to report the secret electronic waiting list and the large number of veterans who died waiting for care. He and other sources told CNN that the IG has interviewed them about the scheme. U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee in Washington chairman, Rep. Jeff Miller, has been investigating delays in care at veterans hospitals. Congress has now ordered all records in Phoenix be preserved for an upcoming investigation. Here is the CNN report, which includes an interview with family members of Navy veteran Thomas Breen, who died of stage four bladder cancer while waiting on the secret list for an appointment: Will these problems start to be seen outside of the VA system once Obamacare is in full swing? It’s hard to believe things like this are happening in America, and many fear that it is going to get much, much worse since the passing of the Affordable “Care” Act.

Published on Thursday, April 24, 2014 by The Guardian

This Bill Isn’t Just Anti-Mother – It’s Anti-Poor, Anti-Family, Anti-Doctor

Mothers of color and poor women stand to lose the most from a law that would turn pregnant drug users into criminals. But the whole system stands to fail

There is dangerous legislation sitting on the desk of my governor, Bill Haslam, and if he doesn’t veto it in the next few days, pregnant mothers of color and poor mothers could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of using illegal drugs. As a black woman and a mother working to support the human rights of other black women, women and girls of color, as well as poor women here in Tennessee, I find SB1391, which passed both chambers of the state legislature here recently, to be another direct assault on our bodies by politicians. But the bill is, on a more basic level, counterproductive to what Tennessee touts as its primary investment: families. The legislation fails to support the right of low-income mothers – especially from communities of color – to regain custody of their infants and their older children, since low-income women have the fewest resources to navigate court systems or the child welfare bureaucracy. To be clear: the women most impacted by SB1391 have the least access to healthcare in a state which has rejected the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there may be another reason a bipartisan group of legislators opposed the bill: the possibility that mothers may abort pregnancies to avoid jail time. But who are we kidding here? I am not convinced that the health and well-being of poor children born to poor mothers is a priority in the Tennessee legislature, especially when mothers suffering with addiction and poverty don’t yet have clearly defined plans to be reunited with their children – or sustain themselves and their families. There is no clear plan in place to cut down on the bill’s punitive measures for mothers attempting to re-enter the already low-paying job force or access affordable housing. It’s all too easy for politicians to demonize a mother before we get to the root causes of her lived experiences. And it is too easy still for many in our state – and others – to impose a rational point of view on an irrational situation. What we know is that drug addiction is a physical and mental-health condition which, if monitored by capable medical professionals, is often manageable and, at best, curable. So why are Tennessee lawmakers so unwilling to trust doctors? Neither the legal community nor legislators themselves should ever usurp the responsibility of making any medical decisions – on behalf of anyone. It was the responsibility of both the sponsors of this legislation and district attorneys state-wide to consult with those trained to support mothers through prenatal care services and mothers struggling with addiction. Multiple medical associations and counseling services, as well as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Other Addiction Services, opposed SB1391 as the dangerous threat it is. These doctors stressed that any such law would continue a frightening trend of women who fail to seek out prenatal care – 23% of pregnant women in Tennessee receive none at all, and the trend is more common among women of color. A 2009 review by the National Institutes of Health found that 30% of women in a study failed to get prenatal care because of substance abuse problems. Now, Tennessee advocates and clinicians working hard to reduce the high rates of infant mortality – and persons living with undetected HIV – will have even more difficult work to do. Indeed, this kind of bill is a barrier to preventative measures already in place. This is the kind of law that would ultimately destroy lives.

Drug addiction isn’t a choice – it is a health problem, and jail is not the cure. Supporting the long-term sustainability of all Tennessee families is a better solution. It is time for Governor Haslam to choose on behalf of families, not another unsettling precedent.
Published on Friday, April 25, 2014 by Common Dreams

Neoliberalism, the Left, and the Politics of Pachamama

Natural Resource Extraction vs. Indigenous Rights and the Environment in Latin America

When I sat down to an early morning interview with Evo Morales over a decade ago in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the then-coca farmer leader and dissident congressman was drinking fresh-squeezed orange juice and ignoring the constant rings of the landline phone at his union’s office. Just a few weeks before our meeting, a nation-wide social movement demanded that Bolivia’s natural gas reserves be put under state control. How the wealth underground could benefit the poor majority above ground was on everybody’s mind. As far as his political ambitions were concerned in terms of Bolivian natural gas, Morales wanted natural resources to “construct a political instrument of liberation and unity for Latin America.” He was widely considered a popular contender for the presidency, and was clear that the indigenous politics he sought to mobilize as a leader were tied to a vision of Bolivia recovering its natural wealth for national development. “We, the indigenous people, after 500 years of resistance, are retaking power. This retaking of power is oriented towards the recovery of our own riches, our own natural resources.” That was in 2003. Two years later he was elected Bolivia’s first indigenous president. Fast forward to March of this year. It was a sunny Saturday morning in downtown La Paz, and street vendors were putting up their stalls for the day alongside a rock band that was organizing a small concert in a pedestrian walkway. I was meeting with Mama Nilda Rojas, a leader of the dissident indigenous group CONAMAQ, a confederation of Aymara and Quechua communities in the country. Rojas, along with her colleagues and family, had been persecuted by the Morales government in part for their activism against extractive industries in the country. “The indigenous territories are in resistance,” she explained, “because the open veins of Latin America are still bleeding, still covering the earth with blood. This blood is being taken away by all the extractive industries.” While Morales saw the wealth underground as a tool for liberation, Rojas saw the president as someone who was pressing forward with extractive industries – in mining, oil and gas operations – without concern for the environmental destruction and displacement of rural communities they left in their wake. How could Morales and Rojas be so at odds? Part of the answer lies in the wider conflicts between politics of extractivism among countries led by leftist governments in Latin America, and the politics of Pachamama (Mother Earth), and how indigenous movements have resisted extractivism in defense of their rights, land and the environment. Since the early 2000s a wave of leftist presidents were elected in Latin America on platforms that included using the region’s vast natural resource wealth to fund social programs, expand access to healthcare and education, redistribute wealth, empower workers, fight poverty, and build national economic sovereignty. Within this shift, the state, rather than the private sphere, has taken up a greater role in extraction to benefit wider society, rather than to simply fill the pockets of a few CEOs of multinational corporations, as had been the norm under neoliberal governments. The environmental and social costs of extraction are still present, but with a different economic vision. “Extractive activities and the export of raw materials continue as before, but are now justified with a progressive discourse,” explains Puerto Rican environmental journalist Carmelo Ruiz-Marrero. While many economies and citizens have benefitted from the state’s larger involvement in the extraction of these resources, extractivism under progressive governments, as it had under neoliberalism, still displaces rural communities, poisons water sources, kills the soil, and undermines indigenous territorial autonomy. As Argentine sociologist analyst Maristella Svampa writes, Latin American “progressivism’s practice and policies ultimately correspond to a conventional and hegemonic idea of development based on the idea of infinite progress and supposedly inexhaustible natural resources.” Buoyed by the progressive discourse and mandate of the Latin American left, this extractive trend has produced alarming results across the region. Following Argentina’s 2001-2002 crisis, the Nestor and Cristina Kirchner presidencies have worked successfully to rehabilitate Argentina’s economy, empower workers, and apply progressive economic policy to make the country more sovereign; following years of neoliberalism, where public services and state-owned enterprises were privatized, the Kirchners have put various industries under state control, and used new government revenues to fund social programs and make the country less beholden to international lenders and corporations. As a part of this shift, in 2012, the Argentine state obtained 51% control of the hydrocarbon company YPF, which was privatized in the 1990s. Last year, however, Argentina’s YPF signed a deal with Chevron to expand natural gas fracking in the country, operations set to proceed on Mapuche indigenous territory. In response, indigenous communities to be affected by the fracking took over four YPF oil rigs. “It’s not just the land they are taking,” Lautaro Nahuel, of the Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén, explained to Earth Island Journal. “All the natural life in this region is interconnected. Here, they’ll affect the Neuquén River, which is the river we drink out of.” Protests against YPF-Chevron fracking plans are ongoing in the country. Uruguayan President José “Pepe” Mujica, who has garnered international attention recently for his government’s legalization of marijuana, abortion and same sex marriage, and his offer to host released Guantanamo detainees, is moving forward with a deal with Anglo-Swiss mining group Zamin Ferrous for a major open-pit mining operation that would involve the extraction of 18 million tons of iron ore from the country over the next 12-15 years. Aside from the mining operation itself, the plan includes the construction of pipelines to ship the ore inland to the country’s Atlantic coast. Critics have pointed out that the plan would wreak havoc on the region’s biodiversity and displace local farmers. In response to the plans, a national movement is currently underway to organize a referendum to ban open pit mining in Uruguay. While Brazil’s President Luiz Lula da Silva and his successor Dilma Rousseff, both of the Workers’ Party, have helped expand the middle class in the country, and initiated successful social programs aimed at eliminating poverty and hunger, their administrations have also presided over vast economy of extractivism that leaves no place for small farmers or environmental concerns. Brazil is home the largest mining industry in the region: in 2011 it extracted more than twice the amount of minerals than all other South American nations combined, and is the world’s largest producer of soy, a GMO crop rapidly expanding across the continent with a mixture of deadly pesticides that are killing the soil, poisoning water sources, and pushing small farmers out of the countryside and into Latin America’s urban slums. Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has famously championed the environment in his country, aiding with the passage of a 2008 constitution that gave rights to nature, and beginning an initiative in 2007 to keep the oil in Ecuador’s Yasuní National Park in the ground. In exchange for not drilling the oil in this area rich in biodiversity, the plan called for international donors to contribute $3.6 billion (half of the oil’s value) to the UN’s Development Program for global programs in healthcare, education and other areas. Last August, with only $13 million donated, and $116 million more pledged, Correa announced that the initiative had failed, and that oil extraction would proceed in Yasuní. In a televised address, the president said, “The world has failed us.” Yet while Correa rightfully spoke of the obligations of wealthier nations to contribute to solving the dilemmas of the global climate crisis, at home he expanded the mining industry and criminalized indigenous movements who protested extractive industries in their territories. Under his administration, numerous indigenous leaders organizing against mining, water privatization measures, and hydrocarbon extraction have been jailed for their activism. Criminalization of indigenous activists fighting against mining in Peru has also become the norm for this mineral-rich nation. Under the presidency of Ollanta Humala, mining has boomed, and with it so have conflicts where local communities are fighting to defend land and water rights. In Bolivia, President Evo Morales has spoken widely of respecting Pachamama, fighting against the world’s climate crisis, and utilizing indigenous philosophies such as Buen Vivir (Living Well) for living in harmony with the earth. His government has enacted progressive policies in terms of creating more governmental revenue through the state management of natural resource extraction, and using that revenue for wage increases, national social programs in healthcare, pensions, education and infrastructure development. The Morales administration and his party, the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS), has also pressed forward with constitutional changes and laws that protect the environment, empower indigenous communities, and make access to basic utilities and resources a right. Yet the rhetoric and promise of many of these changes contradict the way MAS policies have played out on the ground. The government has advocated for a plan to build a major highway through the TIPNIS indigenous territory and national park. Protests against the government plans galvanized a movement for indigenous rights and environmentalism. In response, the government led brutal repression against families marching in protest of the highway in 2011. Government violence left 70 wounded; victims and their families and allies are still searching for justice. Most recently, the MAS promise of respecting Mother Earth and indigenous and small farmer rights clashed against another of its plans; the Mining Law, which was passed by the MAS-controlled congress in late March, and was on its way to the Senate, when protests against the law forced the government to suspend its passage pending more input from critics. While private cooperativist mining groups, notorious for their lack of concern for the environment and local communities impacted by mining, protested the law because it did not grant them to the right to sell their resources to foreign and private entities without sufficient government oversight, other groups with different demands have put forth their critiques. Separate from the cooperativist miners, these farmer and indigenous movement critics are more concerned with issues such as water access and the right to protest. The Mining Law gives the mining industry the right to use public water for its water-intensive and toxic operation, while disregarding the rights of rural and farming communities to that same water. Furthermore, the law criminalizes protest against mining operations, leaving those communities that would bear the brunt of the industry’s pollution and displacement without any legal recourse to defend their homes. In response to the law, a number of indigenous and small farmer organizations have taken to the streets in protest. I spoke with CONAMAQ indigenous leader Mama Nilda Rojas of her view of the Mining Law. “The Morales government has told us that it ‘will govern by listening to the bases, and that the laws will come from the bottom-up.’” But this is not what happened with the Mining Law, Rojas said, which was created without sufficient input from representatives of communities impacted the most by mining. “This is a law which criminalizes the right to protest. With this law we won’t be able to build road blockades, we won’t be able to march [against mining operations],” she explained. “We’re well aware that it was the same Evo Morales who would participate in marches and road blockades [years ago]. And so how is it that he is taking away this right to protest?” “This government has given a false discourse on an international level, defending Pachamama, defending Mother Earth,” Rojas explained, while the reality in Bolivia is quite a different story. Meanwhile, outside of Latin America, governments, activists, and social movements are looking to places like Bolivia and Ecuador as examples for overcoming capitalism and tackling climate change. The model of Yasuní, and respecting the rights of nature can and should have an impact outside of these countries, and wealthier nations and their consumers and industries based in the global north need to step up to the plate in terms of taking on the challenges of the climate crisis. In many ways, much of Latin America’s left are major improvements from their neoliberal predecessors, and have helped forge an exciting path toward alternatives that have served as inspirations across the world. Overall, they have brought countries out of the shadow of the International Monetary Fund and US-backed dictatorships, and toward a position of self-determination. For the sake of these new directions, the neoliberal right hopefully will not regain power in the region any time soon, and Washington will be unable to further meddle in an increasingly independent Latin America. Yet as the march toward progress continues in its many forms, and election years come and go, the losers of Latin America’s new left are often the same as before – the dispossessed rural communities and indigenous movements that helped pave the way to these presidents’ elections in the first place. In the name of progress, Mother Earth, Buen Vivir, and 21st century socialism, these governments are helping to poison rivers and the land, and displace, jail and kill anti-extraction activists. Solidarity that is blind to this contradiction can do a disservice to various grassroots movements struggling for a better world. If an alternative model is to succeed that truly places quality of life and respect for the environment over raising the gross domestic product and expanding consumerism, that puts sustainability over dependency on the extraction of finite raw materials, that puts the rights to small scale agriculture and indigenous territorial autonomy ahead of mining and soy companies, it will likely come from these grassroots movements. If this model is to transform the region’s wider progressive trends, these spaces of dissent and debate in indigenous, environmental and farmer movements need to be respected and amplified, not crushed and silenced. “We are on our feet, marching against extractivism,” Rojas said. “Mother Earth is tired.”

Hamas and Fatah Agree to Unity Government in Historic Deal

By Maan News Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmad said that neither side will accept the resumption of negotiations with Israel without clear guidelines, and that negotiations had stalled as a result of “Israel intransigence” and “American bias.” Continue

War Criminal Tony Blair’s ‘Why the Middle East Matters’ Speech 

By Tony Blair The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world.Continue

Blair’s Trick

By Craig Murry The greatest boost ever received by Islamic fundamentalism was the invasion of Iraq. Continue

Ten Things You Need To Know About The ‘Extremism’ Of Tony Blair

By Lindsey German & Robin Beste Tony Blair’s lack of self awareness and remorse makes him a highly dangerous individual and totally unsuited to his role as envoy for peace in the Middle East. Continue

US Military “Commemorates” Its Iraq Massacre

By Felicity Arbuthnot “Tell Them It’s the Sound of Freedom.” Continue

Lavrov: If We’re Attacked, We’ll Certainly Respond

By RT ‘‘Russian citizens being attacked is an attack against the Russian Federation,’’ Continue

Prepping for a Ukrainian Massacre

By Robert Parry Official Washington is readying the American people to view the slaughter of eastern Ukrainians as justified because they are “terrorists” and linked to the hated Russians. Continue

Putin’s Dilemma

By Mike Whitney The trouble with Washington’s Ukraine policy, is that it leaves Putin with few options.Continue

Time is Running Out for the US Dollar

By Valentin Mândrasescu  The US is trying to preemptively hurt the regional currencies and their associated economies before the US dollar loses its status as the main global currency: Continue

John Kerry, Clueless Buffoon

By Justin Raimondo In a candid moment, the US Secretary of State reveals the secret of American foreign policy.Continue

This Is How Empires Collapse

By Charles Hugh-Smith Self-serving institutions reward con-artists in leadership roles because only con-artists can mask the internal rot with happy-story PR and get away with it. Continue

They Are Watching You The National Security State and the U.S.-Mexican Border

By Todd Miller It is in the U.S. borderlands that the U.S. government’s modern expertise in creating and tracking “a marked population” was first developed and practiced. Continue

Tolstoy’s Remarkable Manifesto on Christian Anarchy and Pacifism

By Robert Higgs  Tolstoy’s views on Christianity were anything but typical. He regarded the various Christian churches as totally corrupt and as the propagators of false and spurious doctrines that only helped the dominant elites to retain their hold on political, social. Continue

Turkey Cooks the Books in Syria

By Philip Giraldi “Unmarked NATO warplanes are arriving at Turkish military bases close to Iskenderum on the Syrian border, delivering weapons [to the Free Syrian Army] derived from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenals…” Continue

It Was a US-instigated Ukrainian Coup

By Nick Wright Troops are moving, planes are flying, ships are advancing, war threats are being thrown. The governments of NATO and their media point fingers at Russia, but the provocation is fully hidden. Peace activists who should know better are buying this propaganda and spreading it.Continue

Evidence for Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Based on Shoddy Journalism

Video Assertion based on photos the U.S. government provided to NYTimes and that the newspaper has had to retract. Continue

Does Washington Want War With Russia?

By Bill Van Auken There are internal factors driving Washington to war. Social contradictions within the United States have reached a dangerous intensity. Continue

If You Can’t Tap Their Phone, How Do You Know Who To Shoot? 

Michael Hudson America’s trying to do in Ukraine what it did in Chile. It’s backing a terrorist organisation to come in and just shoot people who oppose American policyContinue

Common Sense Versus Obama’s Next War

By James Bovard America cannot afford another “trust me” war based on secret evidence. Lies subvert democracy by crippling citizens’ ability to rein in government. Continue

“Rebuilding America’s Defenses” Blueprint of the PNAC Plan for U.S. Global Hegemony

By Bette Stockbauer Some people have compared it to Hitler’s publication of Mein Kampf, which was ignored until after the war was over. Continue

This War On ‘Islamism’ Only Fuels Hatred and Violence

By Seumas Milne The neocons are back. That toxic blend of messianic warmongering abroad and McCarthyite witch-hunting at home. Continue

In Case You Missed It America Is A Bully. OK. There, I Said It! 

By Tom Feeley What is it, about the American psyche that leads us to believe that we have the right to install and support unjust, puppet governments throughout the world? Continue

Wall Street Greed: 

By Ellen Brown  Sixteen of the world’s largest banks have been caught colluding to rig global interest rates. Why are we doing business with a corrupt global banking cartel? Continue

April 24, 2014

April 23, 2014

  • County collects GPI back taxes while leaving plant untouched – …Office finalized a $58,700 auction of some of the Green Power’s equipment and tools to pay back personal property taxes. …The county was able to sell enough assets to cover the back taxes and auction costs while leaving the unfinished biofuels plant untouched. (Free Energy Blog; April 23, 2014)

Native American burial ground, village site destroyed for luxury California homes

Published time: April 25, 2014
A 4,500-year-old Native American burial ground and village site was found in California, but the contents were eventually destroyed, reburied, and paved over for construction of multimillion-dollar homes, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Archaeologists say the 300-foot-long Coast Miwok site held 600 human burials as well as tools, rare hunting materials, musical instruments, game pieces, ritualistic stone objects, animal remains, the largest collection of bear bones found in a prehistoric site in the Bay Area, and even a ceremonial condor burial that suggested the bird was kept as a pet. The remnants were quietly examined and categorized but ultimately decimated and reburied at an undisclosed location, scientists say, ahead of construction on a $55 million home development in Larkspur, California. “This was a site of considerable archaeological value,” said Dwight Simons, a consulting archaeologist who assessed bones at the site. “My estimate of bones and fragments in the entire site was easily over a million, and probably more than that. It was staggering.” Several archaeologists familiar with the site said it was the “largest, best-preserved, most ethnologically rich American Indian site found in the Bay Area in at least a century,” The Chronicle wrote. Yet the carbon-dated record in the soil of the site is now long gone. “It should have been protected,” said Jelmer Eerkens, a professor of archaeology at UC Davis who had visited the site. “The developers have the right to develop their land, but at least the information contained in the site should have been protected and samples should have been saved so that they could be studied in the future.” Who is responsible and who had the right to claim the site’s contents, though, are in high dispute. The developers say supposed tribal descendants of the Miwok did not want to grounds to be studied or picked apart. Archaeologists say the developer demanded the scientists studying the grounds operate with a nondisclosure agreement, therefore keeping the contents of and plans for the site under wraps until it was too late to protest the development’s progression. Larkspur Land 8 Owner LLC, the developer of the site, followed state rules in bringing in archaeologists and Native American monitors to study the remains before building began, they told The Chronicle. For a year and a half, Holman & Associates Archaeological Consultants was hired to analyze the site. Members of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria – designated the most likely descendants of the indigenous people – joined the researchers. They decided the findings should be removed and reburied. “The philosophy of the tribe in general is that we would like to protect our cultural resources and leave them as is,” said Nick Tipon, of the Sacred Sites Protection Committee of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria. “The notion that these cultural artifacts belong to the public is a colonial view.” The developer, the city’s planning officials, and the archaeology consulting firm all put the decision on the shoulders of the tribal leaders. “We coordinated the entire time with the tribe and the archaeological team to make sure it was a collaborative effort and that things were handled in accordance with the tribe’s wishes,” said Brian Olin, an official with a company associated with the development. Cultural sites are often asked to be protected by American Indians, while archaeologists want to collect and preserve the artifacts. California and federal law attempts to balance the two concerns. Nevertheless, the chairman for the 1,300-member tribe said it was nobody’s business what they wanted to do with the site. “Our policy is that those things belong to us, end of story,” said Greg Sarris. “Let us worry about our own preservation. If we determine that they are sacred objects, we will rebury them because in our tradition many of those artifacts, be they beads, charm stones or whatever, go with the person who died. … How would Jewish or Christian people feel if we wanted to dig up skeletal remains in a cemetery and study them? Nobody has that right.” Archaeologists maintain that something could have been done to preserve the shell mound. They say the developers’ secrecy in the process – possibly to avoid alarming prospective residents that their house rests on top of a Native burial ground – and prohibition against radiocarbon dating and DNA testing did not allow for confirmation of a genetic link to Graton Rancheria tribe members. “In my 40 years as a professional archaeologist, I’ve never heard of an archaeological site quite like this one,” E. Breck Parkman, the senior archaeologist for the California State Parks, told The Chronicle. “A ceremonial condor burial, for example, is unheard of in California. This was obviously a very important place during prehistory.” The site will include 42 senior housing units, eight senior cottage homes, six affordable-housing townhouses, and 29 single-family homes, The Chronicle reported. They are expected to sell for $1.9 million to $2.5 million starting this fall.

The Myth of American Democracy – Money Talks and Those Without Money Have No Voice

Global Research, April 24, 2014
Black Agenda Report 22 April 2014
A new study confirms the obvious: the will of the people carries no weight in the United States. Within the nation’s borders democracy is everywhere proclaimed but nowhere to be found. These truths we hold to be self-evident: “ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States.” Too many Americans love to boast that the United States is a democracy. That idea is accepted uncritically and celebrated as proof of this country’s superiority. Every public activity and event is an opportunity for the false narrative to be repeated and indulged. Events as disparate as elections, holiday celebrations, advertisements, school commencements and religious worship are all used to propagandize and create false belief about the degree of power the average citizen has vis a vis their government. Of course all evidence shows that this narrative is and always was a lie. Dictionaries define democracy as government representing the citizens through elected representatives, or as majority rule, or a society which provides equal rights to all. The history of this country has rarely lived up to any of those descriptions but in the recent past the notion that this country is a democracy has become openly farcical. We have nothing but meaningless trappings and any power exercised by the people is sadly in short supply. This state of affairs has been obvious to anyone who has been paying close attention. Americans not only don’t get what they want from the political system, they actually get the opposite of what they want. The pace of the oligarchic state has quickened lately but the dynamic has been evident for quite some time. Even elite academia is taking notice and has given official imprimatur to a conversation that had been ignored. Professors Martin Gilens of Princeton University and Benjamin Page of Northwestern University are the authors of the study “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens.” While their work does not as news stories suggest use the word oligarchy, the authors are quite clear about their findings. Professor Gilens gave this brief summary of their conclusions: “I’d say that contrary to what decades of political science research might lead you to believe, ordinary citizens have virtually no influence over what their government does in the United States [italics mine]. And economic elites and interest groups, especially those representing business, have a substantial degree of influence. Government policy-making over the last few decades reflects the preferences of those groups – of economic elites and of organized interests.” While this study has however briefly changed public discourse, it is important to note that the disregard of popular will is obvious for all to see. If this were not true, the minimum wage would be higher, there would be no cuts to entitlement programs, and Americans would have a single payer health care system. There would be no NAFTA or TPP free trade agreements which force a race to the bottom for workers, destroy entire eco-systems and violate national and popular sovereignty. If this country were truly democratic, the city of Detroit would not have filed for bankruptcy for the simple reason that voters in Detroit and in the state of Michigan voted to repeal the emergency manager law which brought bankruptcy into being. Americans don’t want the increasingly frequent interventions abroad forced upon by them by president after president yet that is what they get. We want to address the problems created by human made climate change. We don’t want hydraulic fracturing, or the pollution or earthquakes that come with it, but that is what we have. We don’t want rich people to control the political process but the Supreme Court has said time and again that money equals speech and those decisions prove the point of the study. Simply put, money talks and those without money have no voice. If that were not the case, American workers would not be poorer than their counterparts in the rest of the world. The so-called middle class workers in this country had the distinction of being better off than their peers around the world. That is no longer the case with stagnating wages and job loss and a country that does not practice income distribution that would keep people out of poverty. In a democratic country, Walmart and its low wages would not be the largest employer. The manufacturing that once dominated the economic landscape would still employ the bulk of the work force with its higher wages and other benefits that provide economic security. In a democracy, the financial services industry that created the worldwide economic meltdown would not have been bailed out. Workers would be bailed out. Corporations wouldn’t get tax breaks and other government subsidies. Workers would get them. And if the average person had any say in the matter, the big time banksters would now be behind bars. The myth of American democracy is just one of many that are cherished out of ignorance and suspension of disbelief but that is not a reason to continue the confusion and self-delusion. The only time we get any taste of democracy is when we proclaim that we don’t have it but assert plainly and loudly that we intend to get it. The phony narrative wears thin as the quality of life diminishes. The United States of America is not a democratic nation if the only right that citizens have is to go to a polling place every few years. It is time to stop fetishizing what clearly does not work for the majority of people and start talking about something new. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result. The only result we have to show is rule by the elites and if that is acceptable then the people have gone truly insane.
April 24, 2014

Silenced: Three Whistleblowers Talk

Thomas Drake—John Kiriakou—Jesselyn Radack

Catherine J. Frompovich Activist Post Before I tell you about the new movie highlighting three famous U.S. whistleblowers that opened in April 2014 at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City, please know that one of its main characters, CIA-torture-whistleblower John Kiriakou, now in prison, has experienced more harassment at the hands of those in charge at the federal prison in Loretto, Pennsylvania, and a concerted effort is being launched now to spare John Kiriakou any more such treatment. Here’s the deal! Friday, May 9th, 2014, is designated as the day of action for John Kiriakou. Instead of my rewriting the story, I’d like to cut and paste what I received from Brian Sonenstein at FireDogLake.comregarding what happened to prompt an organized grand-scale, citizen action to get John relief from prison officials’ harassment:

John Kiriakou’s wife and 3 youngest children left at 5:00 in the morning to drive 210 miles to see him.

When they arrived, prison officials told them to leave because the visitation room was ‘too crowded.’ John’s family only gets to visit once a month, and he writes that, “My 7- year-old daughter and 2-year-old son cried all the way out the door.”1

Of course, the room wasn’t actually crowded; aside from the fact that his family was among those who had travelled the furthest [sic] to see him, there were plenty of empty seats around the room. But then again, this isn’t about, as John writes, “the petty daily inconveniences that are a normal part of life here.” This is about a conscious effort to punish John Kiriakou for exercising his first amendment rights.

On Friday, May 9th, Firedoglake is organizing a Day of Action for John Kiriakou. We’re asking supporters to take a moment to drop by the local offices of their elected representatives and ask that they contact the Bureau of Prisons on John’s behalf.

I’ve included the link where any member of the U.S. Congress can be contacted. When you click on your Congressperson’s name, his or her webpage opens. As you scroll down it, you can see the Congressperson’s Washington, DC and district office addresses that you can arrange to stop by and visit on May 9th. I’m planning on visiting mine. Will you?

Can you pledge to take a moment on May 9th to stop by your representatives’ local offices?

>>YES, I’ll visit my representatives’ offices in support of John Kiriakou.

>>I can’t make it, but I still want to help.

The Bureau of Prisons’ extralegal campaign to punish John Kiriakou for his free speech has gone on for far too long already. It’s time to get the BOP’s overseers in Congress involved in the fight for John’s fair treatment.

We’ve come up with a list of members of the House and Senate who we think might be willing to speak to the BOP on John’s behalf. They include members of the Judiciary and Appropriations committees that oversee the BOP; members of the influential Intelligence committees who have recently spoken out in support of whistleblowers and against the torture program John helped expose, and others. A few politicians like Ralph Nader, Rep. Jim Moran and Rep. Lloyd Doggett have already spoken out on John’s behalf, but we need many more to do the same.

The Bureau of Prisons could have honored their agreement to move him to a halfway house closer to home for the final 9 months of his sentence. Instead, it has opted to essentially — and repeatedly — spit in his face, offering him a mere 86 days alongside surprise cell searches, threats of ‘diesel therapy’ and fruitless attempts to turn fellow prisoners against him.

When John began speaking out about the Bureau’s shameless dishonesty, prison officials began a campaign of retaliation that has not let up despite direct appeals made by thousands of his supporters. If the Bureau of Prisons won’t listen to us, we’ll work to make sure they hear from their overseers in the federal government.

From the baseless use of the Espionage act to force him to enter a plea agreement, to the systematic destruction of his life to the unjust abuse he now faces regularly in prison, it’s no wonder why whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have opted to flee the country. This is what happens when whistleblowers ‘face the music’ in America.

We only have a few weeks left to convince the Bureau of Prisons to grant John Kiriakou his full 9 months in the halfway house. After that, every day he spends in prison is a day he could have been closer to his family had the BOP kept up their end of the deal.

Can you pledge to take a moment on May 9th to stop by your representatives’ local offices?

>>YES, I’ll visit my representatives’ offices in support of John Kiriakou.

Please read John’s Letter from Loretto, “Bureau of Prisons Throws CIA Torture Whistleblower John Kiriakou’s Children Out of Visitors Room” documenting how his family was treated. The Movie Now to the movie “Silenced” that opened to rave reviews. Coincidentally, the day that I’m writing this blog, I received a letter from John telling me “Tonight [4-20-14] is the premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival of the documentary “Silenced,” which is about Tom Drake, Jesselyn Radack, and me. I can’t wait to read the reviews, and my wife said the early press on the film includes Oscar buzz.” In his letter to me, John mentioned that CodePink also have been working on John’s behalf. I signed the petition CodePink emailed to me. Free Speech Zone with Alyona Mink interviewed the director of “Silenced,” James Spione and two of the main characters: Thomas Drake and Jesselyn Radack. Of course, John could not be on the interview set although he is spotlighted in “Silenced.” John’s story is the heart of the film, as he’s the one serving time in the federal pen at Loretto, Pennsylvania. The movie tells interesting human stories about the three and what makes them tick. They are intimate stories about what they suffered at the hands of the U.S. government. Whistleblowers must become extinct,  according to the federal government! Accordingly, and to make impressionable examples of how whistleblowers are treated, ‘enemies of the state’ are charged with the Espionage Act that is used as a lever, as in John’s case – and it works! During the interview several things are pointed out:

  • Torture is now referred to as “enhanced interrogation.”
  • Freedom of the press might be at stake!
  • The mainstream press had a very schizophrenic view of whistleblowers. However, the press is starting to wake up.
  • The federal government has instituted the “Insider Threat Program” that jeopardizes any government employee who “talks” to anyone without government approval. Employees will lose their jobs and be prevented from working for the government.

What’s happened to the USA? Resources: 2014 Tribeca Film Festival – the movie Silenced Naked Edge Films Movie, Silenced


                                  News Links, April 24-25, 2014

## Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards ## French April Industry Growth Cools as New Business Stagnates
Newcrest Mining cuts 208 jobs amid cost-cutting Newcrest Mining Ltd. said it cut hundreds of jobs in Papua New Guinea in a push toward austerity. The decision comes after the company launched a raft of cost-cutting projects across its operations last quarter. Barclays May Cut 7,500 at Investment Bank, Bernstein Says
Reserve Bank raises Official Cash Rate (NZ)

The Reserve Bank has raised its benchmark interest rate to 3 percent in a widely expected move that is likely to push up mortgage rates.
The monumental mining boom of recent years, which was stimulated by a decade of massive money printing by all of the world’s central banks, is now over. Indeed, the big miners who form CAT’s global customer base are in deep retrenchment, canceling mega projects right and left, thereby wiping out orders for big yellow machines almost entirely. Accordingly, CAT hit its “peak bubble” earnings many quarters ago.

The customized interior will feature leather flatbed seats, plush carpeting and contemporary lavatories. It will offer global in-flight Wi-Fi and be staffed with chefs and an onboard concierge to plan spa treatments and tee times for its 52 passengers while en route.

## Airline Death Spiral ## Budget carrier Peach to cancel 448 flights due to lack of pilots

## Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums ##
Pirates hijack Japanese oil tanker along Malacca Strait Armed pirates boarded and stole the fuel cargo of the Japanese tanker Naninwa Maru 1 on Wednesday in the Malacca Strait off the coast of West Malaysia. The cargo ship was bound for Myanmar with its cargo of around 5 million liters of diesel and the pirates were able to hijack and steal over half of the fuel, transferring them to two boats waiting at the scene of the crime. Three of the Japanese cargo ship’s crew members were also taken by the pirates, this according to Malaysian maritime police. Obama: Senkaku Islands ‘within scope’ of US-Japan security treaty
RAF fighter jets scrambled to investigate Russian planes Fighter jets were scrambled after two Russian military aircraft were spotted approaching UK airspace, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said.
Afghan hospital guard kills 3 American doctors Tiny Pacific nation sues 9 nuclear-armed powers The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is taking on the United States and the world’s eight other nuclear-armed nations with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that they meet their obligations toward disarmament and accusing them of “flagrant violations” of international law.
## Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks ## In pictures: Violent scenes as riot police clash with protestors in Rio de Janeiro
## Energy/resources ##
A good read. One persistent myth is that we can seamlessly transition to renewables and dump fossil fuels. It’s not just a myth, it’s an outrageous fantasy. — RF
Billions needed to upgrade Egypt’s power grid as summer crunch looms Egypt needs to find at least $5 billion to invest in its dilapidated power grid, a government official told Reuters, highlighting a major challenge for the next president as the country faces the risk of worsening blackouts this summer.
Kiev needs at least $3 billion for gas overhaul More than $3 billion is needed to overhaul the Soviet-era natural gas transit network in Ukraine, Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said Wednesday.
Russia is changing its energy export policy vector as strong demand for hydrocarbons in both in China and in India continues to grow. The recent unease in both the U.S. and Europe over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s March 17 annexation of Crimea has only added to Moscow’s efforts to diversify its markets beyond Europe.
Error… Error: NYT Retracts Ukraine/Russian-Photo Scoop After starting a propaganda stampede – with a lead story about photos of Russian troops purportedly in Ukraine – the New York Times admits the pictures really don’t prove much, and one photo was labeled as snapped in Russia when it was really taken in Ukraine
Google Glass wearers stir up trouble at the bar Bars in San Francisco have started banning people from wearing the devices, after a series of attacks on users.
$300 sushi. This is how rich elites rub elbows. — RF
## US ##
A French economist’s grim view of wealth gap The U.S. economy has begun to decay into the aristocratic Europe of the 19th century. Hard work will matter less, inherited wealth more. The fortunes of the few will unsettle the foundations of democracy.
Neofeudalism and the New Aristocracy are staring us in the face. — RF
As much as $2.2 billion per year is wasted just in the United States on unnecessary energy costs.

And finally…

Talk about filthy lucre! — RF
Risqué names reap rewards for some companies (“Holy Crap” breakfast cereal, and more.)

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