Friday, July 13, 2012

Billions of Tax Dollars for Drones While Kids Starve and Cities Go Brokellions of Tax Dollars for Drones While Kids Starve anBillions of Tax Dollars for Drones While Kids Starve and Cities Go Broked Cities Go Broke

Billions of Tax Dollars for Drones While Kids Starve and Cities Go Broke

A PBS disturbing report aired the other night about families in the state of Nevada that lost their jobs and homes. The children of these families were pocketing free ketchup packages from their school lunches because they're hungry at night. In this state alone, there are thousands of parents with children in this situation. Beyond Nevada, millions of families have fallen into despair and poverty. It is embarrassingly shameful, and worse, it's unnecessary. These economic problems could be solved if it weren't for the out-of-control defense spending over the last decade. Entitlements such as health care and social security are not draining the country; it's the U.S. war economy that has left large segments of our society impoverished. Nevada's unemployment rate is 11 percent, and that's a conservative figure. Prior to losing their jobs, the majority of these families owned middle-class homes and held decent paying jobs. Now they can't afford to feed their children and they must rely on private charities to get by.
Once upon a time, Hillary Clinton wrote a book called It Takes a Village. The central theme of the book was about improving children's lives. It's a shame that the pragmatic ideas from her book were never implemented. Instead, President Obama and his Defense and State Secretaries' Leon Panetta and Hillary Clinton have increased the wealth of weapon contractors with our tax dollars beyond comprehension:
"The price tag for the remote control drone war keeps rising," explained Jefferson Morley in his Salon column. "Americans are paying an extra $100 million a month because of the drone war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta."
There is no justification for U.S. drone attacks which have terrorized the residents of the region by randomly killing children and civilians in Afghanistan as well as patrol soldiers on the border of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, as unemployment and poverty rises and as more and more cities go bankrupt such as Scranton, Pennsylvania, ( where firefighters and police workers' earnings were slashed to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, as climate change disasters sweep the country, leaving crops barren from droughts, and as wildfires consume entire communities and forests, as electrical power outages from hurricane force winds during the hottest summer on record create more burdens and suffering for Americans, the Pentagon and White House team came up with another brilliant idea to increase the wealth of contractors: they approved of more spending, an estimated $200 billion for thousands of surveillance drones that will be used to illegally spy on Americans. "US taxpayers will have invested about $11.8 billion on a single drone among many, (Reapers) ( It's hard to be sure what the exact cost figures are-but between the drone wars and domestic drones-it adds up to billions of dollars.
So in addition to the drone wars, taxpayers will spend billions of dollars more on drones used to spy on us-while an estimated 6 million children go hungry every night in this country, and while public services, fire and police departments are slashed because there is no money to support them.(
Raising taxes won't fix our economy when we have a huge perpetual leak (weapon contracts) in the ship that is draining the country dry, when we have mismanagement of tax dollars that serve the top 1 percent at the expense of the entire country.
This is what happens when politicians have the power to spend money that doesn't belong to them. Certainly if the surveillance drone allocation were put to the voters, it would be flatly rejected. Spending billions of dollars on drones in the middle of a dire economic depression is not only immoral, when our tax dollars are supposed to be used for public services to improve the well-being of our lives, it's also as unconstitutional and as un-American as it gets.
Spying on American citizens presents a clear and present danger to the Rule of Law. When a government intrusively spies on its citizens, it is called a totalitarian state. Just as President Bush claimed unlimited and unchecked power, President Obama has also adopted the same extremist position by opting to ignore the surveillance laws pertaining to the FISA court. ¹
Regarding the question of abuse of executive power, it's worth repeating the question that Sen. Russ Feingold asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, January 31, 2006:
"Does the president...have the authority, acting as commander in chief, to authorize warrantless searches of Americans' homes and wiretaps of their conversations in violation of the criminal and foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) statutes of this country?"
Gonzales dodged the question, but we know that a president does not have that authority. Furthermore, there is nothing reasonable about spying on every single citizen. If we still had a functional system of checks & balances, Bush would have been impeached for committing high crimes and misdemeanors. But Congress only impeaches presidents for lying about sex affairs.
Illegal surveillance is far more threatening to citizens of this country than trumped up threats of terrorism. A few days ago, Naked Capitalism reported that "Drone pilots may practice spying activities by tracking civilian cars." The feds have absolutely no constitutional right to invade the privacy of our homes or to track civilian cars without our consent. That's beyond illegal, it's creepy and perverted. (Drone Pilots May Practice by Tracking Civilian Cars, and More) (
Under the Fourth Amendment, all searches, whether conducted with or without a warrant, must be "reasonable".
Spying on everyone is not reasonable. ( It is, as Glenn Greenwald expressed it, "wholly antithetical to the system of government under which Americans have lived for more than two centuries." In addition to tapping our phone conversations and tracking our internet interests, from the books we buy to the movies we watch to the organizations and blogs that we visit, the president approved of sending thousands of drones into the airways that will be used to spy inside our homes at the cost of billions of tax dollars. They can follow us from room to room, listen to what we're saying, they can photograph us, and they can send all the information collected directly to the NSA (National Security Agency). Perhaps the drones will capture millions of pictures of starving American children squeezing ketchup packages for food?
The U.S. government is systematically violating our privacy in ways that we can't even begin to fathom, given the technology. Our privacy is the most sacred freedom of all freedoms: The right to privacy, as Justice Louis D. Brandeis said, is to be left alone.
Ironically, we are paying for their criminal surveillance activities with our tax dollars. Shouldn't our tax dollars be used for climate change disaster preparation instead of drones, which would create thousands of jobs and would help save lives? What about the 6 million starving children in this country? What about funding to support our police, fire and postal departments? No money for our public workers, but plenty of billions for unnecessary and illegal drones and the expansion of drone wars in the Middle East.

1. Constitutional lawyer and author, Glenn Greenwald, summarized the critical and important functions that the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court plays. Notice the word "foreign" - such operations were never supposed to be used domestically on every single American:
"FISA's truly meaningful check on abuse in the eavesdropping process is that the president is prevented form engaging in improper eavesdropping because he knows that every instance of eavesdropping he orders will be known to a federal judge-a high-level judicial officer who is not subject to the president's authority and whose constitutional duties are separate from the president's."
Recommended Reading:
How Would A Patriot Act? / Defending American Values from a President Run Amok by Glenn Greenwald
With Liberty and Justice for Some / How the law is used to destroy equality and protect the powerful by Glenn Greenwald
Jacqueline Marcus taught ethics and political philosophy for twenty years at Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo, California. Her book of poems, Close to the Shore, was published by Michigan State University Press. She is the editor of

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The U.S. Declaration of Independence (including its Preamble) and the U.S. Constitution, though egregiously deficient with regards to the rights of Indigenous Native people, Black people, and women, etc., were important steps toward embracing and enhancing the spirit of vigilance in the fight against government tyranny.

July 12, 2012 - Issue 480

We The People - What Does 
That Really Mean Today

Keeping it Real - By Larry Pinkney 
BC Editorial Board

"Tell no lies, claim no easy victories."
- Amilcar Cabral

The U.S. Declaration of Independence (including its Preamble) and the U.S. Constitution, though egregiously deficient with regards to the rights of Indigenous Native people, Black people, and women, etc., were important steps toward embracing and enhancing the spirit of vigilance in the fight against government tyranny. However, and most especially, within the past twelve years in the United States, adherence to and respect for, the letter and constitutional spirit of the ongoing centuries-old fight against tyranny - has been almost totally disemboweled by the corporate / military regimes of George W. Bush and subsequently that of Barack Obama.

U.S. corporate-government tyranny and de facto economic, political, judicial, and physical terrorism against everyday Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people in this nation is now the order of the day. It is the current daily 21st century reality of life in this U.S. republic.

Today the very concept of 'we the people' has been distorted and disfigured beyond recognition by this present self-legitimized criminal syndicate - known as the (corporate) U.S. government. Torture [i.e. the Guantanamo U.S. gulag], kidnapping [i.e. 'extraordinary rendition'], corporate hegemony [i.e. corporate domination], the de facto abolition of constitutional protections and human rights [codified in the draconian 'Patriot' Act and the NDAA], rampant police brutality [as repeatedly and blatantly demonstrated in the brutal suppression of the 'Occupy Movement'], and outright murder [as exemplified by Barack Obama's 'Kill List'] are the official practice and/or policy of the United States. 'We the people' be damned.

Instead of transparency in government; subterfuge, lies, and distractions are the mainstays of this present corporate U.S. regime - always of course aided and abetted by its propaganda arm - the U.S. corporate-owned [corporate-stream] "news" media. Yet again, 'we the people' be damned.

At the callous and cynical expense of everyday ordinary people in this 
nation and around the world, the single biggest recruiter of "terrorists"
and enhancer of terrorism, is none other than the hypocritical and 
blood curdling policies and practices of the U.S. government itself. Yet 
again, 'we the people' be damned.

Entrapment, set-ups, and police and government frame-ups, 
particularly against political dissenters, of the internal and external 
policies and practices of this government are common place. Yet 
again, the constitutional and human rights of 'we the people' be damned.

Numerous political prisoners languish in U.S. prisons throughout this nation, even as this government has the unmitigated audacity to admonish and condemn other nations regarding their alleged human rights violations. The bloody practices at home and abroad - of this crime syndicate government - can only be matched by its shameless hypocrisy. 'We the people' be damned.
If only a genuinely rosier picture could be painted. It cannot. In accordance with the words of Amilcar Cabral, "Tell no lies, claim no easy victories;" the situation in this nation is anything but rosy. And it will not change unless and until 'we the people' take the necessary actions to seriously change it. 

So, what does 'we the people' really mean today? It has come to mean nothing - absolutely nothing - until everyday ordinary Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow people collectively - make it mean something! It could and should mean making real SYSTEMIC change that serves the daily needs of everyday people, not lying, greedy, corporate blood suckers. Stop being distracted and salivating like some Pavlovian dog at the government/media distortions and lies that that you are being fed every single day (by both Democrats and Republicans alike)! Stop being hamsters running endlessly on a spinning wheel going nowhere! Educate yourselves and each other. Prepare for the conflict at hand. Stand UP and be HUMAN again!This is not an easy struggle, and it is and will remain, a long and protracted one. So each one reach one. Each one teach one. Time is running out. Onward, then, my sisters and brothers! Onward!... Editorial Board member and Columnist, Larry Pinkney, is a veteran of the Black Panther Party, the former Minister of Interior of the Republic of New Africa, a former political prisoner and the only American to have successfully self-authored his civil / political rights case to the United Nations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. In connection with his political organizing activities in opposition to voter suppression, etc., Pinkney was interviewed in 1988 on the nationally televised PBS News Hour, formerly known as The MacNeil / Lehrer News Hour. For more about Larry Pinkney see the book, Saying No to Power: Autobiography of a  20th Century Activist and Thinker  , by William Mandel [Introduction by Howard Zinn]. 

Ask any African-American male teenager or adult under 30 years of age and you’ll quickly understand that we already have “Stop and Frisk” in San Francisco. It’s an unwritten policy which we have struggled against since “Negros/blacks/Africans” arrived in numbers after WWII. However, to formalize such a blatantly racist policy is not just a human rights violation, but it actually authorizes African-Americans to be killed.

Will Mayor Ed Lee Formalize a Blatantly Racist Policy?

San Francisco Stop-and-Frisk

Sister Boom Boom was wacky, but fun. Bay-to-Breakers is wacky, but fun. “Stop and Frisk” and threatening to shutdown City College are wacky, but also ominous and dangerous proposals. San Francisco at its root is a fairly progressive city. We’ve taken a political right turn since Gavin Newsom (care not cash) and it seems we might take a hard-right turn with Mayor Ed Lee considering a “Stop and Frisk” policy.
Ask any African-American male teenager or adult under 30 years of age and you’ll quickly understand that we already have “Stop and Frisk” in San Francisco. It’s an unwritten policy which we have struggled against since “Negros/blacks/Africans” arrived in numbers after WWII. However, to formalize such a blatantly racist policy is not just a human rights violation, but it actually authorizes African-Americans to be killed. The more confrontations between young African-American men and police will increase the number of those encounters that turn deadly. All clear thinking Americans must realize that taking the civil and human rights away from African-Americans walks us down a dangerous path. We are living in perilous times with “Stop and Frisk”, The Patriot Act and NDAA indefinite detentions. All of our constitutional rights are under attack.
Some perspective on the numbers. The African-American population in San Francisco is officially 6%, and falling. Mostly these are older retired people. Hopefully, most San Franciscans would not want to see more Kenneth Harding, Oscar Grant or Trayvon Martin type incidents here. There are so few young African-American males in San Francisco; that if they were honey bees or harbor seals they would be considered an endangered species and would qualify for EPA protection.
Consider the fact that in 2012, Jan thru June, 160 US Troops have been killed in Afghanistan. In this same time period 110 African-Americans were killed in police encounters (this may be a low number due to shield laws, un/misreported etc) across the United States. To see the full report go to -
Apparently this number is low enough to slip under the media radar, but clearly we are seeing a deadly pattern. A pattern which Mayor Ed Lee would like to “seriously consider” contributing to.
“Stop and Frisk” is an overly aggressive, and I believe unconstitutional, policy that presumes guilt until proven innocent and basically criminalizes an entire population demographic. African-Americans, like all residents, are entitled to have their constitutional rights respected.
Ellis Berry is a retired computer programmer.

After every Israeli massacre, more boycotts are launched against Israel.

Each Massacre Breeds New Boycotts

Boycotting Apartheid Israel

You may have noticed that Israel is getting hit with more boycott campaigns, not less.
It started on April 17, 2003.
That night, the Wayne State University Student Council approved a resolution against all university investment in “companies doing business in Israel”.
More divestment resolutions were approved by the University of Michigan-Dearborn Student Government Senate, and by the faculty senate at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Then, on July 9, 2005, Palestinian Civil Society itself called for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel.
Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons, but they can’t blow this humanitarian campaign off the map. After every Israeli massacre, more boycotts are launched against Israel.
A recent example is the 2012 divestment resolution approved by the Arizona State University student government.
Before it’s over, you will see Israel clamoring for a “two-state solution” to preserve some kind of apartheid state.
Yet, in the end, no Israeli state, big or small, will be allowed to exist. It would only keep bombing and invading the Arab world. South Africa’s experience is instructive.
In 1994, international boycotts had killed the South African apartheid state.
Yet die-hard whites still pushed for a two-state solution. They called it a ‘Volkstaat’, a white state carved out of South Africa. That would have been a nightmare. It would have meant a resurrected white apartheid army, white nukes, and the resumption of white bombing raids all over Africa. So the people of South Africa never allowed any white-supremacist state to be resurrected. Thank goodness.
Today, in July 2012, we see that South Africa’s ruling party, the African National Congress, is calling for an increased boycott on Israeli products. South Africans have not forgotten their suffering under the white dictatorship, and how tightly Israel was allied to the dictators.
Never again should an apartheid state be allowed to exist.
Blaine Coleman has urged the Ann Arbor City Council to boycott Israel since 2002 and is the plaintiff in Coleman v. Ann Arbor Transportation Authority.

[W]e have all become Palestinians. We are all subjected to that same total abuse that has robbed and distorted each and every precious value that ever made the West worthwhile.

William Cook's "Decade of Deceit"

How We All Became Palestinians

William A. Cook’s ‘Decade of Deceit’ is a collection of spectacular articles written by a man who has gradually awakened to the disastrous meaning of the Zionification of our universe. Being an authentic and unique poetic voice, Cook manages, layer by layer, of to unravel the hypocrisy that has contaminated every aspect of our life – morally, culturally, spiritually and politically.
But Cook is not only a superb poet, he is also an English Professor and it is this synthesis between the aesthetic and the academic that makes this book such a staggering and fascinating spiritual text. It is this unique shift between scientific precision and creative beauty that makes ‘Decade of Deceit’ a must-read.
Collections of articles can be tedious, but sometimes they can also provide us with a glimpse into the workings of a sharp and astute prophetic mind. ‘Decade of Deceit’ introduces us to an ethical thinker and the ways in which he has formed his thoughts about Israel, Palestine, the USA, contemporary politics, and ourselves – the witnesses of our own emerging tragedy.
Cook is a natural wordsmith with the rare capacity to deliver, by way of beauty, a very poignant message. This American English scholar clearly knows how to turn his pen into a sword, yet he aims only at peace, harmony and reconciliation. In December 2002 he writes to Osama Bin Laden “vengeance is a disease that multiplies, divides, and becomes the scourge of humankind; it is 
anathema to creation because it destroys what exists.” But then, just a few pages later, as hell is about to break loose, we are captivated by Cook’s search for harmony. In March 2003 as America went to war he wrote “I went to the lake to find peace, this being the week the president gave one of his rare prime time press conferences, the only opportunity we, the public, get to see him perform. It’s also the week America goes to war.”

It takes courage to look evil in the eye but it takes even more courage to pose the following questions in free America. “What fuels slavery, ethnic cleansing, land theft, and genocide? What enables a mind to justify imprisoning another without cause, without trial, without rights of due process and assumption of innocence until proven guilty? What enables a soul to accept dominance over another, to degrade and humiliate other humans, to participate in or acquiesce to genocide?” And Cook doesn’t shy away from answering his question:  “Genocides and holocausts arise out of unchecked zeal, unquestioned duty, and silent acquiescence. They are fueled by blind belief, personal fear, and a sense of superiority that gives license to slaughter.” This is clearly an astute reading of both Israeli and American exceptionalism – the combination of fear, superiority and dogmatism are indeed lethal.
As we progress through the text the questions and observations posed by Cook becoming increasingly crucial.  From 2003 onward, the English-speaking Empire has submissively allowed itself to become an Israeli mission force, the Iraq war being just one obvious example.  In November 2007 Cook writes, “I woke from a dream last night with a sudden start, the world had turned inside out … the sun did not shine, the moon did not come out … darkness enveloped the earth, and all that had been was no more.”….” But the bleak reality in which we live, led Cook to realise that he actually ‘did not wake from that dream’.
“I am living that dream today as I watch the world walk in darkness, befuddled by deceit, desirous to end the violence of these past 60 years, expectant, hopeful, a little fearful that the joy of the season may be marred for themselves and the Palestinians if the conditions of the Zionists are not met even if it means that all of us must accept the will of those who control by force of might and rule in ruthless disregard of any who stand in the way of their desires. The Beast of Hypocrisy walks the streets of Annapolis, it hides its ugliness beneath its cashmere long coat as it enters the conference hall to present in elegant verbiage its compassionate intent that peace might at last come to the mid-east, but in the darkness we do not see the maggots that reside beneath that elegant exterior, the maggots that have eaten away the moral innards of the people that have gathered to deny the people of Palestine the justice they so rightfully deserve.”
We are indeed, day after day, deceived by a system that has been hijacked by a foreign power. In October 2011 Cook discloses his own vision of the current American reality:
“Citizens no longer control their government; they are slaves to it. Representatives no longer serve the citizen seeking their consent to govern, they are servants of the corporations and lobbies that control the economic system to which the citizen is enslaved. Presidents no longer lead, they are the obedient lackeys of their corporate overseers. Freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want do not determine the needs of humans, economics of the market place supersedes all at the expense of the citizen and human rights. We exist in a corporate world of unending wars, of vengeance and recrimination, of fear as a commodity that imprisons the mind, of greed that destroys the resources of this planet without remorse, and of insatiable arrogance that harbors no concern for those it destroys.”
I can only assume that Cook’s journey has led him to realize that, by now, we have all become Palestinians. We are all subjected to that same total abuse that has robbed and distorted each and every precious value that ever made the West worthwhile. So I guess that one possible interpretation of Cook’s work may as well be that solidarity with Palestine should start at home and that unless we liberate ourselves first, there is only little we can offer others.
Gilad Atzmon’s latest book is The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics.

Want to disturb your routine and enliven your vision for human possibilities, read through these works.

          Fighting Words

Jolting the Mind for Action

1. Corporations Are Not People by Jeffrey D. Clements, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco, 2012. This book is for corporate accountability and the grossly uneven relationships between corporate personhood and real people. Clear, historically founded, compellingly invigorating and connected to a growing movement (see
2. The Responsible Company: What We’ve Learned From Patagonia’s First 40 Years by Yvon Chouinard & Vincent Stanley, Patagonia Books, Ventura, California, 2012. You may be wearing the apparel of this outdoor clothing company, but you may not be aware of the remarkable pioneering practices and counter-intuitive wisdom of this successful company and its casual, underworking founder and outdoorsman, Yvon Chouinard.
3. Government is Good by Douglas J. Amy, creator of, Dog Ear Publishing, Indianapolis, IN 2011. This professor of politics at Mount Holyoke College debunks the myths of corporatist-Republican propaganda, surfaces the realities of government’s services, explains the war on government and how to revitalize both democracy and government from its present distortions by self-seeking organized private power. Douglas Amy is the man Cong. Paul Ryan would never debate.
4. Buying America Back by Alan Uke, Selectbooks, New York, 2012. Uke is a domestic manufacturer of Scuba diving and industrial lighting products and the architect of the federal Automobile Smog Index. The book’s dedication is “to the workers displaced, the factories closed, the small towns decimated and the opportunities denied to the people of America. It is also dedicated to all of us, the consumers, whose money has been harvested by those who work against us.” He has proposed to put a specific fight-back tool in our hands.
5. We Can All Do Better by Bill Bradley, Vanguard Press, New York, 2012. The former U.S. Senator and basketball start delivers his wide-ranging thoughts on the book’s title. The book is short, clear and tells you where he stands. If presidential campaigns covered such subjects, the people would know where the candidates stand, instead of the blizzard of trivia, repetition and distortion to which they are exposed.
6. Bad Brake: Ford Trucks Deadly When Parked, by Robert Zausner, Camino Books, Philadelphia, 2012. If you want to see the gripping persistent pursuit of the rights of people whose lives were devastated by a popular truck defective brake design by trial lawyers at their creative best, read this documented story. As Arthur Bryant, director of Public Justice, wrote: “The book shows how trial lawyers are our last line of defense against corporations maximizing profits over people’s safety and lives.”
7. The Emergency State: America’s Pursuit of Absolute Security at All Costs by David C. Unger, Penguin Press, New York, 2012. The book’s title understates the depth of the author’s indictment of the national security state – built by both political parties – into a folly that has traded away “the country’s greatest strengths for a fleeting illusion of safety.” Unger does not leave his readers hanging. He provides them with ten proposals to reverse course.
8. When the World Outlawed War by David Swanson, (self-published, 2011). The author of several books, political activist and civic leader, brings to contemporary memory the existence of the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928 that outlawed war. Still on the books and signed by 54 countries, including the United States, the Treaty was the result of the leadership of assertive citizens in many countries and their governmental officials, including our Secretary of State Frank Kellogg, following the horrors of that preventable World War I. Our forebears’ vision should stimulate their descendants today into a reawakening for muscular institutions of peace.
9.  My Seventy Years in the Labor Movement by Harry Kelber, Labor Educator Press, New York, 2006. Now at age 98 and writing articles every week on his blog, Harry Kelber has been championing working men and women for seventy-five years and holding slugglishy-led trade unions’ feet to the fire. With no one else stepping up, he is running for the presidency of the AFL-CIO on a detailed reform platform of greater activism. An inspirational, instructive auto-biography.
10. Get Up, Stand Up: Uniting Populists, Energizing the Defeated and Battling the Corporate Elite by Bruce E. Levine, Chelsea Green, 2011. Going beyond the how-to-become-active civic handbook, Levine, a clinical psychologist invites us to explore what he calls the “learned helplessness” that has “taken hold for a great many Americans…locked into an abuse syndrome in which revelations about their victimization by a corporate-government partnership produce increased anesthetization rather than constructive action.” The author, citing historian Lawrence Goodwy, then shows many ways toward “individual self-respect” and “collective self-confidence,” the “cultural building blocks of mass democratic politics.”
11. Days of Destruction Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, Nation Books, New York, 2012. This brilliant combination of prose and graphic comics reports from the field on four of the poorest, most abandoned areas of the U.S. The plight of the Americans barely existing there reflects the power of the corporate supremacists and their indentured governments to exploit and deny.
Want to disturb your routine and enliven your vision for human possibilities, read through the above works. It will take you a lot less time than the authors spent delivering their minds to yours.
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer and author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us! He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition.

Shuya Nomura, a member of the Japanese investigation commission and a professor at the Chuo Law School, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that the panel’s report tried to “shed light on Japan’s wider structural problems, on the pus that pervades Japanese society.” And, noted the Times, he added, “This report contains hints on how Japanese society needs to change.”

"A Disaster Made in Japan"

Fukushima and the Nuclear Pushers

The conclusion of a report of a Japanese parliamentary panel issued last week that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster was rooted in government-industry “collusion” and thus was “man-made” is mirrored throughout the world. The “regulatory capture” cited by the panel is the pattern among nuclear agencies right up to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“The Fukushima nuclear power plant accident was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, the owner of the six Fukushima plants] and the lack of governance by said parties,” said the 641-page report of The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission released on July 5.
“They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made,’” said the report of the panel established by the National Diet or parliament of Japan.
“We believe the root causes were the organizational and regulatory system that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions,” it went on. “Across the board, the commission found ignorance and arrogance unforgivable for anyone or any organization that deals with nuclear power.” It said nuclear regulators in Japan and Tepco “all failed to correctly develop the most basic safety requirements.”
The chairman of the 10-member panel, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a medical doctor, declared in the report’s introduction: “It was a profoundly man-made disaster—that could and should have been foreseen and prevented.”
He also placed blame on cultural traits in Japan. “What must be admitted—very painfully,” wrote Dr. Kurokawa, “is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan.’ Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture; our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the programme’; our groupism; and our insularity.”
In fact, the nuclear regulatory situation in Japan is the rule globally.
In the United States, for example, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and its predecessor
agency, the Atomic Energy Commission, never denied a construction or operating license for a nuclear power plant anywhere, anytime. The NRC has been busy in recent times not only giving the go-ahead to new nuclear power plant construction in the U.S. but extending the operating licenses of most of the 104 existing  plants from 40 to 60 years—although they were only designed to run for 40 years. That’s because radioactivity embrittles their metal components and degrades other parts after 40 years making the plants unsafe to operate. And the NRC is now considering extending their licenses for 80 years.

Moreover, the NRC’s chairman, Gregory Jaczko, recently resigned in the face of an assault on him by the nuclear industry and his four fellow NRC members led by William D. Magwood, IV. Magwood is typical of most NRC and AEC commissioners through the decades—a zealous promoter of nuclear power. He came to the NRC after running Advanced Energy Strategies through which he served as a consultant to various companies involved with nuclear power including many in Japan—among them Tepco.
Before that, Magwood served as director of nuclear energy for the U.S. Department of Energy. He “led the creation,” according to his NRC biography, of DOE programs pushing nuclear power, “Nuclear Power 2010” and “Generation IV.” Prior to that, he worked for the Edison Electric Institute and Westinghouse, a major nuclear power plant manufacturer.
Jaczko, although a supporter of nuclear power, with a Ph.D. in physics, repeatedly called for the NRC to apply “lessons learned” from the Fukushima disaster to its rules and actions—upsetting the industry and the other four NRC commissioners. As Jaczko declared in February as the other four NRC commissioners first approved the construction of new nuclear plants since Fukushima, giving the go-ahead to two plants in Georgia: “I cannot support issuing this license as if Fukushima had never happened.”
The NRC was set up to be an independent regulator of nuclear power to replace the AEC which was established by Congress under the Atomic Energy Act of 1946. The AEC was given the dual missions of promoting and regulating nuclear power—a conflict of interest, Congress realized in 1974, so it eliminated the AEC and created the NRC as regulator and, later, the Department of Energy as promoter of nuclear power. But both the NRC and DOE have ended up pushing nuclear power with revolving doors between them and the government’s national nuclear laboratories—and the nuclear industry.
The International Atomic Energy Agency was established as an international version of the AEC by the United Nations after a speech made at it by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953 in which he espoused “Atoms for Peace.”  Its dual missions are serving as a monitor of nuclear technology globally while also seeking “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.”
Its first director general was Sterling Cole who as a U.S. congressman was a big booster of nuclear power. Later came Hans Blix after he led a move in his native Sweden against an effort to close nuclear plants there. Blix was outspoken in seeking to spread nuclear power internationally calling for “resolute response by government, acting individually or together as in the [IAE] Agency.”
Blix’s long-time IAEA second-in command was Morris Rosen—formerly of the AEC and before that the nuclear division of General Electric (which manufactured the Fukushima plants)—who said after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster: “There is very little doubt that nuclear power is a rather benign industrial enterprise and we may have to expect catastrophic accidents from time to time.”
Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt followed Blix, and as he told an “International Conference on Nuclear Power for the 21stCentury” organized by the IAEA in 2005: “There is clearly a sense of rising expectations for nuclear power.”
The current IAEA director general is Yukiya Amano of Japan. In Vienna at the heaquarters of the IAEA, marking the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in March, Amano said: “Nuclear power is now safer than it was a year ago.”
Shuya Nomura, a member of the Japanese investigation commission and a professor at the Chuo Law School, was quoted in the New York Times as saying that the panel’s report tried to “shed light on Japan’s wider structural problems, on the pus that pervades Japanese society.” And, noted the Times, he added, “This report contains hints on how Japanese society needs to change.”
Those “wider structural problems” are far wider than Japan—they are global. The “regulatory capture” cited in the Japanese panel’s report has occurred all over the world—with the nuclear industry and those promoting nuclear power in governments making sure that the nuclear foxes are in charge of the nuclear hen houses. The “pus that pervades Japanese society” is international. With some very important exceptions, people have not adequately taken on the nuclear authorities. And we all must.  The nuclear promoters have set up a corrupt system to enable them to get their way with their deadly technology. They have lied, they have connived, they have distorted governments. The nuclear industry is thus allowed to do whatever it wants. The nuclear pushers must be firmly challenged and they and nuclear power must be stopped.
Karl Grossman, professor of journalism at the State 
University of New York/College of New York, is the 
author of the book, The Wrong Stuff: The Space’s 
associate of the media watch group Fairness and 
Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR). He is a contributor to 

Europe’s debt-laden governments (including Germany) rely absolutely on a delicate financing mechanism to rollover their loans and fund each year’s deficits. Europe’s leaders will allow nothing to put this system at risk, and their banks lie at its center. Hence the odd response to the series of crises that began on 23 April 2010: small, incremental — doing nothing to address the underlying problems. But they gain time for banks to write-down the vulnerable loans (eg, to Greece) to minimize the inevitable shock of defaults — and time for Europe’s institutions to prepare for the larger crises to come.

Europe has a political crisis. 

The economics are just symptoms.

11 JULY 2012
Summary: The Euro-crisis is at root a political one. Like all such, there are several levels to it.  All different.  Mostly invisible in the analysis featured by the general media, which prefer to describe this in bogus fashion as a morality play. The economics are exhaustively covered; here we glance at the politics of the crisis.
Here we speculate about 4 levels to the political crisis gripping Europe. None of these observations are new. Links to more information are at the end.
  1. Banks are the health of the State
  2. Unification is a political process not done by economic tinkering
  3. Austerity as a leash (or lash) to reform Europe (& America)
  4. Are Europe’s leaders insane, like their predecessors in WWI?
(1)  Banks are the health of the State
{Trantor’s} dependence upon the outer worlds for food made it increasingly vulnerable … and Imperial policy became little more than the protection of Trantor’s delicate jugular vein.
— Foundation by Isaac Asimov
Europe’s banks are politically powerful. But more important, Europe’s debt-laden governments (including Germany) rely absolutely on a delicate financing mechanism to rollover their loans and fund each year’s deficits. Europe’s leaders will allow nothing to put this system at risk, and their banks lie at its center. Hence the odd response to the series of crises that began on 23 April 2010: small, incremental — doing nothing to address the underlying problems. But they gain time for banks to write-down the vulnerable loans (eg, to Greece) to minimize the inevitable shock of defaults — and time for Europe’s institutions to prepare for the larger crises to come.
This also accounts for the open-handed loans by the Bundesbank to Europe’s other central banks via the Target2 system (details at the University Osnabruck’s Euro Crisis Monitor.  These loans eventually might create massive losses to Germany, but today they provide essential stability by facilitating the slow-motion exodus of funds from the PIIGS’ banks.
Why have Europe’s leaders not addressed Europe’s deep structural problems?
(2)  Unification is a political process not done through economic tinkering


It’s a dream. Can they make it real?
Europe’s leaders have had 20+ conferences, small and large, each with its communique of decisions. Legions of economists have devised scores, hundreds, of simple plans to fix Europe. All futile.
Europe must move forward to unification or back to separate States.  While both elites and broad majorities favor unification, as yet there is no consensus on its form or nature. Who will drive the New Europe?  Who pays the bills?  How are the losses from the old Europe to be allocated?
Without agreement on these things, economists’ plans for a fiscal union, eurobonds, and a euro-FDIC remain dreams.
Europe’s politicians do not believe the moment is ripe for substantial steps, as even the small steps they’ve taken have been tentative and vague. Presumably they know their business, have correctly assessed public opinion, and will act when the opportunity arrives.  After so much dithering for so long, decisive proposals might clear the air like a sudden thunderstorm.  Implementation might occur with astonishing speed.
(3)  Austerity as a leash (or lash) to reform Europe (and America)
“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … Things that we had postponed for too long, that were long-term, are now immediate and must be dealt with. This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not do before.”
— Rahm Emanuel (Obama’s chief of staff) to a  conference of CEOs in November 2008. From an interview in the Wall Street Journal.
Whatever their plans to reform Europe’s economy, the crisis als0 provides an opportunity to reshape its political and social structures. Many economists see Europe’s austerity programs as incomprehensible, given austerity’s long history of failure (ie, ineffective or actually harmful). This ignores the beneficial aspects of austerity programs: their effectiveness as a leash or lash to force changes. Such as reducing the power of unions, reducing the social safety nets, and eliminating laws that force some degree of equality in the relations between employees and employers.
First they plan for the mutually reenforcing combination of austerity and a long economic downturn to work its magic, allowing “reforms for growth”.  But doing nothing that upsets the oligarchy that rules most of Europe’s nations.  For example, Greece has almost no functioning tax system. That must and will change.  Shopkeepers will pay their fair share; but will its rich do so?
Also, power might shift from Europe’s national democratic institutions to the elite-dominated EU machinery.
Only then will the necessary changes be made to address Europe’s structural problems, such as the lack of a true central bank and unbalanced competitiveness between regions.
“What does that get us?  A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class.  And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”
– Mr. Henry F. Potter, leading banker and first citizen of Potterville, discussing America’s social safety net
(4)  Are Europe’s leaders insane, like their predecessors in WWI?
“Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results.”
— Step 2: A Promise of Hope by James Jensen, by the Hazelden Foundation for Alcoholics Anonymous (1980). Available at Google Books.
The above analysis implies that Europe’s political leaders clearly see the situation and have crafted effective plans.  Consider an alternative: they are insane (in an operational but not clinical sense).  As in WWI, perhaps they refuse to see either the failure of their tactics or the cost in wrecked lives.  Instead they regard these ruined lives as downpayments to eventual success in a great project.
If so, they will continue to meet each crisis with tinkering until the terminal crash that forces a paradigm change to Europe’s vision of itself.
“The enemy undoubtedly has been severely shaken and he has few reserves in hand.”
— Said by General Haig (Commander in Chief of the British Expeditionary Force, aka “Butcher Haig”) on 1 July 1916: day one to the Battle of the Somme. Of the 100 thousand troops who attacked, 20 thousand were killed and 40 thousand were wounded. Haig’s optimism was unfounded; the eventual toll would be 624 thousand UK & French casualties.
Analysis and forecasts about the crisis in Europe, reporting their slow march to the cliff
  1. The periphery of Europe – a flashpoint to the global economy, 8 February 2010
  2. Governments cannot go bankrupt, 2 April 2010 — But they can default.
  3. About the Euro crisis: the experts are wrong; the German people are right., 7 May 2010
  4. The Fate of Europe, nearing the point of decision, 13 September 2011
  5. Europe drifts towards the brink of a cataclysm, 26 September 2011
  6. Delusions about easy fixes for Europe, dreaming during the calm before the storm, 30 September 2011
  7. Is Europe primed for chaos, as it was in July 1914?, 7 October 2011
  8. Today Europe’s leaders took another step towards the edge of the cliff, 27 October 2011
  9. Where to from here, Europe?  Some experts share their views., 8 November 2011
  10. Status report on Europe’s slow re-birth (first, the current system must die), 10 November 2011
  11. Looking ahead to see the new shape of Europe, 22 November 2011
  12. Europe passes the last exit.  A great crisis lies ahead., 21 February 2012
  13. The Fate of Europe has become visible. Only how and when the break comes remains uncertain., 6 June 2012