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Updated: 2018-01-17T13:20:27.415-08:00

 



We've Moved!

2011-09-08T10:34:42.972-07:00


If you're reading this, it means you've been following the http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com address. We switched over to WordPress, and from now on will only post at http://www.WashingtonsBlog.com.

The RSS feed for the new site is:

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/feed

See you there ...




New Website

2011-09-07T11:17:52.174-07:00


We're in the process of switching over to WordPress. Initially, the website may appear very minimalistic, as the old posts are imported.

The old http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com address will also no longer be used, and the rss feeds will change to the main site: http://www.WashingtonsBlog.com. Once the switchover happens, please use http://www.WashingtonsBlog.com for everything - it's easier to say and to remember - instead of http://georgewashington2.blogspot.com.

Finally, because the SEO guru who is generously helping us with all of this is currently tinkering, we are currently locked out of posting at the new site. Bear with us ... it's a work in progress!





Covering the Leaking Reactors At Fukushima With Tents Will Only INCREASE Global Exposure to Radiation

2011-09-06T23:48:11.822-07:00


Fukushima Nuclear Radiation Will Be Spread By Use of Tents

When I first heard that Tepco will place large tents over its leaking Fukushima reactors, I reacted with derision, as did Tyler Durden:

Artist's impression of this latest Japanese venture:

(image)

My reaction a couple of weeks later - after seeing an actual artist's rendering of what the tents would actually look like - was hope that the tents would at least keep radiation from spreading worldwide through the air, even if they didn't do anything to prevent contamination of Japan's groundwater or the Pacific Ocean.

But nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen says that the tents - while helping to protect workers at Fukushima - will actually increase the dispersion of radioactive gases. Specifically, Tepco will pump radiation out through stacks, which will push radiation up to a higher elevation, dispersing it even further around the world.

Gundersen says that Fukushima is still emitting huge quantities of radiation.

Burning Radioactive Materials Will Also Spread Radiation Globally

Along with the widespread Japanese practice of burning materials irradiated by Fukushima - which is sending another wave or radiation worldwide - the tents and stacks will only worsen the global exposure to Fukushima's radiation.




There Are More Slaves Today Than At Any Point In Human History

2011-09-06T08:41:40.512-07:00


More Slaves Today Than Ever Before In History

You would assume that - as messed up as things may be today - at least there is not widespread slavery, as in ancient Egypt or the American south.

But as Time Magazine noted last year:

Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history. Slaves are those forced to perform services for no pay beyond subsistence and for the profit of others who hold them through fraud and violence. While most are held in debt bondage in the poorest regions of South Asia, some are trafficked in the midst of thriving development.
To help fight slavery, read this and - more importantly - get involved here.

And given that there are some who would like to put all of us in debt peonage, we should stand up for freedom and justice whenever and wherever we can.



Despite The Ongoing Efforts To Cover Up The Scope Of The Disasters, New Videos Prove That All Is Not Well At Fukushima ... Or The BP Oil Spill Site

2011-09-05T10:23:40.014-07:00


Despite the ongoing efforts to cover up the scope of the disasters, new videos prove that all is not well in Fukushima ... or the BP oil spill site.

A strange flash was observed at the Fukushima nuclear power plant:

src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kaUI4Ujzze0" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="412" width="510">

And a new 10-mile oil slick was spotted in the area of BP gulf oil spill:

src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mlWKptW74CY" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="316" width="510">





Labor Day Has Been Rendered Completely Meaningless (Happy Serf Day)

2011-09-05T00:28:27.389-07:00

Labor Day ... Or Serf Day?As I noted in 2008:A highly-regarded economist (Michael Hudson, Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, who has advised the U.S., Canadian, Mexican and Latvian governments as well as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and who is a former Wall Street economist at Chase Manhattan Bank who also helped establish the world’s first sovereign debt fund) said:"You have to realize that what they’re trying to do is to roll back the Enlightenment, roll back the moral philosophy and social values of classical political economy and its culmination in Progressive Era legislation, as well as the New Deal institutions. They’re not trying to make the economy more equal, and they’re not trying to share power. Their greed is (as Aristotle noted) infinite. So what you find to be a violation of traditional values is a re-assertion of pre-industrial, feudal values. The economy is being set back on the road to debt peonage. The Road to Serfdom is not government sponsorship of economic progress and rising living standards, it’s the dismantling of government, the dissolution of regulatory agencies, to create a new feudal-type elite."In 2009, Foreign Policy magazine ran an article entitled "The Next Big Thing: Neomedievalism", arguing that the power of nations is declining, and being replaced by corporations, wealthy individuals, the sovereign wealth funds of monarchs, and city-regions.The Government Continues to Destroy Jobs ... Not Create Them Despite pretty words and psuedo-jobs programs, government policy is unrelentingly destroying American jobs - instead of creating them - by:Encouraging companies to ship them abroad Sending a large percentage of the funds for bailed out banks abroad Encouraging mergersPaying banks to park their excess reserves, instead of deploying them as new loans to Main Street Encouraging redistribution of wealth upwards to the top .1% wealthiest Enacting policies which (1) turn a blind eye to Wall Street fraud, (2) prop up the too big to fail banks, asset prices and leverage at any cost, and (3) spend stimulus money on the military and huge Wall Street firms, instead of on average Americans (And no, Obama is not being misadvised; he simply has different priorities from the average American). Labor Day Has Been Rendered Completely Meaningless As Mark Provost has points out - the rich love high unemployment. Because all branches of government and the Federal Reserve are wholly captured by the top .1% (and see this, this and this), they are not very motivated to decrease unemployment.And as David Rosenberg notes:The "labor share of national income has fallen to its lower level in modern history ... some recovery it has been - a recovery in which labor's share of the spoils has declined to unprecedented levels." Indeed, the government has made it official policy to protect the fat cats instead of helping the little guy. Due to Americans' passivity in the face of those who act like lords, Labor Day has been rendered completely meaningless. [...]



When the Rich Get Richer, It DOESN'T Raise All Boats ... It SINKS The Standard of Living For Everyone Else

2011-09-03T23:43:36.925-07:00


I've repeatedly noted that rampant inequality destabilizes the economy as a whole, and actually causes depressions ... but that government policy is increasing inequality.

I've also pointed out that no one - liberal or conservative - likes runaway inequality.

Now, Jeffrey P. Thompson (Assistant Research Professor at the Political Economy Research Institute of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and Elias Leight (Assistant Analyst Tax Analysis Division of the Congressional Budget Office) have demonstrated that when the wealthiest Americans get richer, everyone else becomes poorer.

For example, they demonstrate that when the wealthiest Americans get 10% richer, middle income Americans get 2% poorer.

src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/TAGFVU9lSXY" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="316" width="510">




Back In The Saddle

2011-09-03T23:15:08.768-07:00


I'm back from a week-long vacation with my family. Thanks to the wonderful guest posters for their great reporting.

We'll make guest posting a regular part of Washington's Blog, and we'll also get back to writing ourselves.






Full-Blown Civil War Erupts On Wall Street: As Reality Finally Hits The Financial Elite, They Start Turning On Each Other

2011-09-03T14:50:33.162-07:00

By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus.com Finally, after trillions in fraudulent activity, trillions in bailouts, trillions in printed money, billions in political bribing and billions in bonuses, the criminal cartel members on Wall Street are beginning to get what they deserve. As the Eurozone is coming apart at the seams and as the US economy grinds to a halt, the financial elite are starting to turn on each other. The lawsuits are piling up fast. Here's an extensive roundup: As I reported last week: Collapse Roundup #5: Goliath On The Ropes, Big Banks Getting Hit Hard, It's A "Bloodbath" As Wall Street's Crimes Blow Up In Their Face Time to put your Big Bank shorts on! Get ready for a run... The chickens are coming home to roost... The Global Banking Cartel's crimes are being exposed left & right... Prepare for Shock & Awe...Well, well... here's your Shock & Awe: First up, this shockingly huge $196 billion lawsuit just filed against 17 major banks on behalf of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Bank of America is severely exposed on this lawsuit. As the parent company of Countrywide and Merrill Lynch they are on the hook for $57.4 billion. JP Morgan is next in the line of fire with $33 billion. And many death spiraling European banks are facing billions in losses as well. FHA Files a $196 Billion Lawsuit Against 17 Banks The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), as conservator for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises), today filed lawsuits against 17 financial institutions, certain of their officers and various unaffiliated lead underwriters. The suits allege violations of federal securities laws and common law in the sale of residential private-label mortgage-backed securities (PLS) to the Enterprises. Complaints have been filed against the following lead defendants, in alphabetical order: 1. Ally Financial Inc. f/k/a GMAC, LLC - $6 billion 2. Bank of America Corporation - $6 billion 3. Barclays Bank PLC - $4.9 billion 4. Citigroup, Inc. - $3.5 billion 5. Countrywide Financial Corporation -$26.6 billion 6. Credit Suisse Holdings (USA), Inc. - $14.1 billion 7. Deutsche Bank AG - $14.2 billion 8. First Horizon National Corporation - $883 million 9. General Electric Company - $549 million 10. Goldman Sachs & Co. - $11.1 billion 11. HSBC North America Holdings, Inc. - $6.2 billion 12. JPMorgan Chase & Co. - $33 billion 13. Merrill Lynch & Co. / First Franklin Financial Corp. - $24.8 billion 14. Morgan Stanley - $10.6 billion 15. Nomura Holding America Inc. - $2 billion 16. The Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC - $30.4 billion 17. Société Générale - $1.3 billion These complaints were filed in federal or state court in New York or the federal court in Connecticut. The complaints seek damages and civil penalties under the Securities Act of 1933, similar in content to the complaint FHFA filed against UBS Americas, Inc. on July 27, 2011. In addition, each complaint seeks compensatory damages for negligent misrepresentation. Certain complaints also allege state securities law violations or common law fraud. [read full FHFA release]You can read the suits filed against each individual bank here. For some more information read Bloomberg: BofA, JPMorgan Among 17 Banks Sued by U.S. for $196 Billion. Noticeably absent from the list of companies being sued is Wells Fargo. And the suits just keep coming... BofA sued over $1.75 billion Countrywide mortgage pool Bank of America Corp (BAC.N) was sued by the trustee of a $1.75 billion mortgage pool, which seeks to force the bank to buy back the underlying loans because of alleged misrepresentations in how they were made. The lawsuit by the banking unit of US Bancorp (USB.N) is the latest of a number of suits seeking to recover investor losses tied to risky mortgage loans issued by Countrywide Financial Corp, which Bank of America bought [...]



Extreme Weather: Severe Flooding Hits Gulf Coast; Texas On Fire; Earthquakes Hit Alaska, Argentina; Vast Ice Island; BP Deepwater Horizon Site Leaking

2011-09-03T17:37:37.244-07:00

By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus.com Tropical storm Lee threatens severe flooding in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi Tropical Storm Lee now has winds approaching 60 miles per hour. Louisiana has heavy rain, and authorities warn of flooding in Alabama and Mississippi as well. States of emergency have been declared.A tropical storm moving toward the Gulf Coast is predicated to bring massive flooding to Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi this weekend, particularly in New Orleans where up to 20 inches of rain is expected. Tropical Storm Lee will hit southwest Louisiana by Saturday afternoon. The storm is moving southwest of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds approaching 60 miles per hour. Flash flood warnings are in effect, covering Mississippi to Texas. A tropical storm warning is also in effect along the coast, stretching from the Alabama-Florida border to the Sabine Pass in Texas. [read more]Despite $10 billion effort to rebuild, New Orleans levees get a near-failing grade in new corps rating systemA new Army Corps of Engineers rating system for the nation’s levees is about to deliver a near-failing grade to New Orleans area dikes, despite the internationally acclaimed $10 billion effort to rebuild the system in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, corps officials have confirmed. [read more]Lee already causes thousands of power outages in LouisianaTropical Storm Lee knocked out power early on Saturday for more than 38,000 customers, primarily in the New Orleans area, said a utility company that provides power for most of Louisiana. Outages are expected to increase as the storm moves ashore… [read more]Repairs Urgently Needed in VermontOf all the challenges facing Vermont as it tries to recover from the floods caused by the remnants of Hurricane Irene, there may be none more daunting — or vital to solve — than repairing and reopening the hundreds of roads and dozens of bridges that the storm knocked out. In many spots, the roads must be fixed before equipment can be brought in to repair everything from homes and businesses to the power grid, railroad tracks and water and wastewater systems.It is a race against time: winter comes early here, and there are just two and a half months before snowfall and frozen ground typically halt the state’s short road-building season. [read more]Dramatic Aerial Imagery of Irene’s Destruction in Outer Banks The power of Hurricane Irene was clearly apparent to people in its path, but the extent of the damage may be easier to appreciate when seen from above. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is using aerial photographs like the one above to assess Irene’s destruction. In this image of Hatteras Island in North Carolina taken on Aug. 28, the largest breach of Highway 12, which runs along the Outer Banks, can be seen. Water is flowing between Pamlico Sound and the Atlantic Ocean, stranding at least 2,500 residents of the island. [read more]Vermont’s misery continues as flooding isolates communitiesResidents of Vermont know their work is cut out for them as they struggle for normalcy after enduring the wrath of Irene. The landlocked rural state saw fast-moving floods spawned by the storm swarm towns from Brattleboro to Woodstock. "It’s heartbreaking to see your home and home state destroyed — and seeing places and landmarks that you can recognize even from early childhood now destroyed by flooding," said Ryan Ritter who lives in Rutland near the state’s border with New York. There was no way in or out of his town, the 20-year-old Ritter said. [read more]From Waterbury to Wilmington, Vermonters shocked by Irene’s destructionVermonters will need weeks to begin to recover from massive flooding from Tropical Storm Irene that killed at least three people and left a trail of devastation from St. Jo[...]



Open proposal for US revolution: expose corporate media as propaganda. 4 of 4.

2011-09-03T22:23:48.529-07:00

By Carl Herman, National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice. Don't be confused by the title. Carl - like all of us at Washington's Blog - is against violent revolution, following instead the non-violent paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. As we have previously written:I am NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, I am calling for the reinstatement of our government. I am calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law. Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, I am calling for its enforcement. My friend and colleague for justice, Washington’s Blog’s author, invited me to “guest blog.” I’ll provide two. First: Gandhi’s conclusion of the essential importance of speaking Truth. Second: a 4-part series to document that current US wars are unlawful, US economic policy is massive criminal fraud, and that these “emperor has no clothes” facts are lied about by US corporate media in constant deception. I appreciate Washington’s Blog’s author for the intellectual integrity and moral courage to document powerful facts; as I appreciate readers’ thoughts, words, and acts of virtue - Carl Herman “We denounce with righteous indignation and dislike men who are so beguiled and demoralized by the charms of pleasure of the moment, so blinded by desire, that they cannot foresee the pain and trouble that are bound to ensue; and equal blame belongs to those who fail in their duty through weakness of will, which is the same as saying through shrinking from toil and pain. These cases are perfectly simple and easy to distinguish. In a free hour, when our power of choice is untrammeled and when nothing prevents our being able to do what we like best, every pleasure is to be welcomed and every pain avoided. But in certain circumstances and owing to the claims of duty or the obligations of business it will frequently occur that pleasures have to be repudiated and annoyances accepted. The wise man therefore always holds in these matters to this principle of selection: he rejects pleasures to secure other greater pleasures, or else he endures pains to avoid worse pains.” - Marcus Tullius Cicero, On Duties: The Extremes of Good and Evil, 44 BCE, translated by H. Rackham (1914). Revolution is from the Latin, revolutio, a “turn around” of political power. The US public would revolt and end unlawful US wars and banksters’ rigged-casino fraud if they understood and embraced the central facts of these issues. This four-part series of articles provides the central facts, invites passionate public response, and proposes specific revolutionary public action. Please share the Revolution to end unlawful US wars and return trillions of our dollars to constructive work. With millions of lives at stake (perhaps billions), there is nothing more important for public participation. Part 1: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic/criminal economics Part 2: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, all begun with lies Part 3: Open proposal for US revolution: end parasitic and criminal economics Part 4: Open proposal for US revolution: expose corporate media as propaganda These four articles are academic in language and documentation. My citizen advocacy paper, Government by dicts, has additional resources. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Why corporate media propagandizes and won’t expose the “emperor has no clothes” obvious: They’re complicit with government “leadership” is the[...]



US or the War Machine

2011-08-31T06:47:59.074-07:00

An upcoming Charlottesville conference highlights the importance of whistleblowers when addressing the corruption present in military contractingBy David Swanson, Guest Viewpoint on August 31, 2011, Cavalier Daily Bunnatine “Bunny” GreenhouseYOU MAY have heard something about a budget crisis in Washington this summer. Were you aware that in the midst of it the House of Representatives passed a military spending bill larger than ever before?U.S. military spending across numerous departments has increased dramatically during the past decade and now makes up about half of federal discretionary spending. Yet the Defense Department has not been fully audited in 20 years, and as of 2001 it could not account for $2.3 trillion out of the $10 trillion or so it had been given during that time. More recently, President Obama has been waging his “days, not weeks” war in Libya for months without a dime appropriated by Congress, relying instead on the loose change lying around at the Pentagon.The United States could reduce its military spending by at least 80 percent and still be the world’s top military spender. If the purpose of all this profligacy were truly defensive, wouldn’t a military merely as large as any other country’s do the job? When little cuts around the edges were forced into the discussion, wouldn’t the top priorities for elimination be unpopular wars, foreign bases, nuclear weapons and space weapons rather than health care for veterans? If something shameful were not motivating our self-destructive imperial overreach, wouldn’t the wonders of market competition be given a chance, instead of the current practice of handing out cost-plus contracts to cronies for jobs they are never expected to complete?Paying our debts When someone inside the military contracting process gives us a peak at what is done with half our income taxes, we owe that person a debt of gratitude. And the person who has opened the widest crack in the wall of secrecy around Pentagon spending in recent years is probably Bunnatine “Bunny” Greenhouse, who will be speaking in Charlottesville along with more than 20 other experts Sept. 16-18.In February 2003, just before the United States invaded Iraq, Greenhouse, the chief contracting officer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, found herself in a Pentagon meeting discussing the terms of an Iraq contract to be awarded to Halliburton, the company for which then-Vice President Dick Cheney had served previously as CEO. Greenhouse whispered to the general running the meeting that she objected to the presence of several Halliburton representatives in the room, and when they had left she recommended against awarding the company a $7 billion emergency, no-bid contract for five years. While it was ludicrous to pretend that a contracting “emergency” would last that long, Congress has continued ever since to fund our wars with off-the-books “emergency supplemental” bills.Despite Cheney’s claim to the contrary on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sept. 14, 2003, he had been involved in creating that Halliburton contract. This is shown by an email that Time Magazine published in June 2004, as well as by the testimony of political appointee Michael Mobbs. Mobbs had worked with Halliburton to create the need for the contract and then to fill it, much as then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney had, years earlier, created needs for Halliburton’s services that he had then been able to fill as its CEO.Cheney hired Halliburton to recommend privatizing military services with a company like Halliburton. Halliburton, in turn, hired Cheney to share in the spoils. And then Cheney, while still receiving deferred compensation from Halliburton, made su[...]



Lies, War, and Empire: NATO’s “Humanitarian Imperialism” in Libya

2011-08-29T14:17:19.138-07:00

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is co-editor of the book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.” His website is http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com. src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/CAWe1IJWxEA" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="345" width="560"> In this report I seek to examine the war against Libya in a more critical and comprehensive manner than that of the story we have been told. We hear a grand fairy tale about powerful Western nations working together to save innocent civilians in a far-off country who simply want the freedoms and rights we already have. Here we are, our nations and governments – whose officials we elect (generally) – are bombing and killing people on the other side of the world. Is it not our responsibility, as citizens of these very Western nations, to examine and critique the claims of our governments? They are, after all, killing people around the world in our name. Should we not seek to discover if they are lying? It has been said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.” Libya is no exception. From the lies that started the war, to the rebels linked to al-Qaeda, ethnically cleansing black Libyans, killing civilians, propaganda, PR firms, intelligence agents, and possible occupation; Libya is a more complex story than the fairy tale we have been sold. Reality always is. What Were the ‘Reasons’ for ‘Intervention’? We were sold the case for war in Libya as a “humanitarian intervention.” We were told, of course, that we “needed” to intervene in Libya because Muammar Gaddafi was killing his own people in large numbers; those people, on the same token, were presented as peaceful protesters resisting the 40-plus year reign of a brutal dictator. In early March of 2011, news headlines in Western nations reported that Gaddafi would kill half a million people.[1] On March 18, as the UN agreed to launch air strikes on Libya, it was reported that Gaddafi had begun an assault against the rebel-held town of Benghazi. The Daily Mail reported that Gaddafi had threatened to send in his African mercenaries to crush the rebellion.[2] Reports of Libyan government tanks sitting outside Benghazi poised for an invasion were propagated in the Western media.[3] In the lead-up to the United Nations imposing a no-fly zone, reports spread rapidly through the media of Libyan government jets bombing the rebels.[4] Even in February, the New York Times – the sacred temple for the ‘stenographers of power’ we call “journalists” – reported that Gaddafi was amassing “thousands of mercenaries” to defend Tripoli and crush the rebels.[5] Italy’s Foreign Minister declared that over 1,000 people were killed in the fighting in February, citing the number as “credible.”[6] Even a top official with Human Rights Watch declared the rebels to be “peaceful protesters” who “are nice, sincere people who want a better future for Libya.”[7] The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights declared that “thousands” of people were likely killed by Gaddafi, “and called for international intervention to protect civilians.”[8] In April, reports spread near and far at lightning speed of Gaddafi’s forces using rape as a weapon of war, with the first sentence in a Daily Mail article declaring, “Children as young as eight are being raped in front of their families by Gaddafi’s forces in Libya,” with Gaddafi handing out Viagra to his troops in a planned and organized effort to promote rape.[9] As it turned out, these claims – as posterity notes [...]



Why My 9-Year-Old Neice Is Smarter Than Our Genius President

2011-08-29T09:05:59.627-07:00

While the evidence suggests that President Obama is not terribly bright and has just benefited from succeeding a downright moron, and while voluminous evidence to which I am privileged suggests that my 9-year-old neice Hallie is extremely intelligent, consider just this one way in which Hallie would make a wiser president than Barack. Infants live in the moment, and toddlers can't plan much beyond the next day or so, but as we grow we become able to consider longer periods of time. Obama seems able to manage consideration of the next funding cycle, for example. Hallie seems to do considerably better than that: "August 28, 2011 "President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 "Dear President Obama, "I am writing about the Keystone XL pipeline. You shouldn’t approve this. It will be a disaster for our environment. We have caused enough damage as it is. "Instead of using fossil fuels, which cause global warming, we can use solar power and geothermal energy. It won’t all be easy. A lot of it will be very expensive. But it’s our choice, your choice even. It’s our only world, our only home, and we have to take care of it. There would be major changes in the environment if the pipeline is put in, and the earth as we know it might never be the same again. The USA already produces 30.3% of greenhouse gases. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and that’s why I’m writing this letter. "Think about it. If you say yes, that this pipeline can be put into place, will it affect the people on earth seven generations from now? The chances are, yes. If you say yes, it will affect the whole planet and you will be remembered forever because of that. But if you say no, millions of people will benefit because of that, and everyone will be thankful. "My grandparents cared enough to get arrested for standing on the sidewalk outside the White House, peacefully objecting to the Keystone XL project, and frankly, I’m quite glad they did. "Martin Luther King used words. Mahatma Gandhi used words. And I am using words right now. Please think long and hard about this. I know your job must be really stressful, but this is important! I’m not the only one who cares. Please write back! "Sincerely, Hallie, age 9" The evidence suggests that President Obama does not care in the least about people living several generations from now. Look at his work in Copenhagen to keep global warming going. Look at his military and energy policies, his education policies, his economic policies. There is nothing to suggest he cares. Can he be brought to? Can a combination of nonviolent resistance and verbal persuasion shake a President out of a mindset that blocks out the deepest wisdom of our culture articulated above by a nine-year-old? Can the same perhaps bring a majority of Congress Members to overrule the catastrophic course their executive is navigating? Can a letter from a girl squeeze through a crack and find a human heart shriveled but beating inside the war machine? Can people who deeply believe they are right to serve an oligarchy, slaughter foreigners, imprison whistleblowers, and destroy the environment for the sake of very short-term interests, be brought to share in a longer-term vision? Will a president ever use the ever-bullier pulpit he is given to challenge the campaign funders and the corporate media on behalf of the very viability of life on earth? Or do our elections now produce such servile "leaders" that persuading a president of anything requires persuading Wall Street and the Pentagon first? Will Obama even read Hallie's letter? Ask him.[...]



Open proposal for US revolution: end parasitic and criminal economics. 3 of 4

2011-09-03T22:43:43.762-07:00

By Carl Herman, National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice. Don't be confused by the title. Carl - like all of us at Washington's Blog - is against violent revolution, following instead the non-violent paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. As we have previously written:I am NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, I am calling for the reinstatement of our government. I am calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law. Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, I am calling for its enforcement. My friend and colleague for justice, Washington’s Blog’s author, invited me to “guest blog.” I’ll provide two. First: Gandhi’s conclusion of the essential importance of speaking Truth. Second: a 4-part series to document that current US wars are unlawful, US economic policy is massive criminal fraud, and that these “emperor has no clothes” facts are lied about by US corporate media in constant deception. I appreciate Washington’s Blog’s author for the intellectual integrity and moral courage to document powerful facts; as I appreciate readers’ thoughts, words, and acts of virtue - Carl Herman “Every day, I saw more evidence about the evils humankind will inflict on their fellow humans to gain or maintain power… What is more, those who choose not to empathize may enable real monsters. For without ever committing an act of outright evil ourselves, we collude with it through our own apathy… If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.” – J. K. Rowling, Harvard Commencement, June 5, 2008 Revolution is from the Latin, revolutio, a “turn around” of political power. The US public would revolt and end unlawful US wars and banksters’ rigged-casino fraud if they understood and embraced the central facts of these issues. This four-part series of articles provides the central facts, invites passionate public response, and proposes specific revolutionary public action. Please share the Revolution to end unlawful US wars and return trillions of our dollars to constructive work. With millions of lives at stake (perhaps billions), there is nothing more important for public participation. Part 1: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic/criminal economics Part 2: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, all begun with lies Part 3: Open proposal for US revolution: end parasitic and criminal economics Part 4: Open proposal for US revolution: expose corporate media as propaganda These four articles are academic in language and documentation. My citizen advocacy paper, Government by dicts, has additional resources. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ Economics: I’m going to discuss trillions of dollars in a moment. As an economics teacher, I understand numbers this large are extremely difficult to imagine. If you are am[...]



Playing the “Get into Saudi Arabia free card”

2011-08-28T16:21:34.889-07:00

This guest blog is from Kevin Ryan, co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies. Kevin's personal blog can be found at Dig Within. Recent developments among supporters of the US government’s version of events indicate that they plan to begin blaming Saudi Arabia for the attacks of September 11, 2001. There is, in fact, much evidence suggesting complicity by some elements within the Saudi government. But that fact only further implicates western powers due to the close relationship between the Saudi royal family, which runs the Saudi government, and deep state controlling interests that have partnered with and manipulated the Saudi royal family for many decades. Blaming Saudi Arabia would, however, make a lot of sense if seizing resources, including the world’s greatest oil reserves, was what the war on terror has always been about. Two weeks ago I spoke to NPR producer, Alex Kingsbury, who asked if I felt the release of the 28-pages of redacted material from the Joint Congressional Inquiry might help to solve the mysteries still surrounding 9/11. Those redacted pages, and much of the 9/11 Commission report that followed, have always seemed to be a kind of "Get into Saudi Arabia free" card for the powers that be. Kingsbury was interested in knowing whether the redacted pages, which are thought to contain significant references to Saudi Arabia, were of interest to me personally. Of course they would be, I said, but we should remember that the government of Saudi Arabia is far from representative of its people. Similarly, a recent interview with “Counterterrorism Czar,” Richard Clarke, has been the subject of considerable discussion. Ostensibly, Clark’e objective with this interview was to make the controversial suggestion that two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers were targets for recruitment by the CIA. What many have failed to emphasize, however, is that Clarke was simultaneously suggesting that the two alleged hijackers were actually working for the government of Saudi Arabia at the time of the attacks. About a month ago, military intelligence officer and 9/11 staffer, Miles Kara, wrote to me asking if I was aware of the publication of a book called The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. Kara declared that this new book was – “the definitive work, to date, on 9/11.” Having since had a chance to borrow a copy of this book from the library, I can say that it is a malevolent piece of propaganda that attempts to persuade the ill-informed of three things. The first thing that the Summers and Swann book attempts to do is malign the 9/11 truth movement. For example, the authors suggest that the movement is well represented by people like video-fakery and Star Wars beam advocate, James Fetzer, and it has been well answered by government employees and simple-minded contrarians like Ryan Mackey. Summers and Swann also state that well-sourced samples of World Trade Center dust, collected using completely appropriate chain of custody forms, are not good sources of information yet long-time propagandist, Gerald Posner, and Weekly Standard contributor, Thomas Joscelyn (who recently tried to link Iran to 9/11), are excellent sources. The second goal of the book is to propose that the partial release of documents by the 9/11 Commission in the last few years has answered all the unanswered questions about the attacks. It’s not clear if the authors had a chance to look at many of those documents though. For example, one of them says that the training school for Hani Hanjour, whom the 9/11 Commission called “the operations most experienced pilot,” questioned Hanjour’s pilot certificate because he had[...]



Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, all from known lies. 2 of 4

2011-09-03T22:44:53.474-07:00

By Carl Herman, National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice. Don't be confused by the title. Carl - like all of us at Washington's Blog - is against violent revolution, following instead the non-violent paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. As we have previously written:I am NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, I am calling for the reinstatement of our government. I am calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law. Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, I am calling for its enforcement. My friend and colleague for justice, Washington’s Blog’s author, invited me to “guest blog.” I’ll provide two. First: Gandhi’s conclusion of the essential importance of speaking Truth. Second: a 4-part series to document that current US wars are unlawful, US economic policy is massive criminal fraud, and that these “emperor has no clothes” facts are lied about by US corporate media in constant deception. I appreciate Washington’s Blog’s author for the intellectual integrity and moral courage to document powerful facts; as I appreciate readers’ thoughts, words, and acts of virtue - Carl Herman “Passion has helped us; but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason, cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason, must furnish all the materials for our future support and defence.--Let those materials be moulded into general intelligence, sound morality, and in particular, a reverence for the constitution and laws.” - Abraham Lincoln, Lyceum Address, 1838. Revolution is from the Latin, revolutio, a “turn around” of political power. The US public would revolt and end unlawful US wars and banksters’ rigged-casino fraud if they understood and embraced the central facts of these issues. This four-part series of articles provides the central facts, invites passionate public response, and proposes specific revolutionary public action. Please share the Revolution to end unlawful US wars and return trillions of our dollars to constructive work. With millions of lives at stake (perhaps billions), there is nothing more important for public participation. Part 1: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic/criminal economics Part 2: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, all begun with lies Part 3: Open proposal for US revolution: end parasitic and criminal economics Part 4: Open proposal for US revolution: expose corporate media as propaganda These four articles are academic in language and documentation. My citizen advocacy paper, Government by dicts, has additional resources. _____________________________________________________________________________________________ US War Crimes: US political leadership is engaged in “emperor has no clothes” unlawful wars that have escalated into Pakistan, Yemen, and with rhetoric to attack Iran that darkly includes use of nuclear weapons in official first-strike policy. The US has abandoned its exercise of power under the US Constitution. Millions of Americans recognize this condition, but as yet a critical mass of Americans either do not recognize the facts or cannot articulate what they perceive into effective civic action. The educational stakes are whether the US will exist as a Constitutional Republic under the law, or as an unlawful empire. The wars are not close to lawful, and political rhetoric is often [...]



Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic economics. 1 of 4

2011-09-03T22:45:26.355-07:00

By Carl Herman, National Board Certified Teacher in economics, government, and history, who blogs as the Nonpartisan Examiner at Examiner.com. Carl was one of the leaders who launched the microcredit movement, and is a tireless activist for peace and justice. Don't be confused by the title. Carl - like all of us at Washington's Blog - is against violent revolution, following instead the non-violent paths of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. As we have previously written:I am NOT calling for the overthrow of the government. In fact, I am calling for the reinstatement of our government. I am calling for an end to lawlessness and lack of accountability and a return to the rule of law. Rather than trying to subvert the constitution, I am calling for its enforcement. My friend and colleague for justice, Washington’s Blog’s author, invited me to “guest blog.” I’ll provide two. First: Gandhi’s conclusion of the essential importance of speaking Truth. Second: a 4-part series to document that current US wars are unlawful, US economic policy is massive criminal fraud, and that these “emperor has no clothes” facts are lied about by US corporate media in constant deception. I appreciate Washington’s Blog’s author for the intellectual integrity and moral courage to document powerful facts; as I appreciate readers’ thoughts, words, and acts of virtue - Carl Herman “Constitutional governments and aristocracies are commonly overthrown owing to some deviation from justice…the rich, if the constitution gives them power, are apt to be insolent and avaricious… In all well-attempered governments there is nothing which should be more jealously maintained than the spirit of obedience to law, more especially in small matters; for transgression creeps in unperceived and at last ruins the state, just as the constant recurrence of small expenses in time eats up a fortune.” – Aristotle, Politics, Book V. 350 B.C.E. “The people — the people — are the rightful masters of both Congresses, and courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert it.” - "Abraham Lincoln, [September 16-17, 1859] (Notes for Speech in Kansas and Ohio)," Page 2. Revolution is from the Latin, revolutio, a “turn around” of political power. The US public would revolt and end unlawful US wars and banksters’ rigged-casino fraud if they understood and embraced the central facts of these issues. This four-part series of articles provides the central facts, invites passionate public response, and proposes specific revolutionary public action. Please share the Revolution to end unlawful US wars and return trillions of our dollars to constructive work. With millions of lives at stake (perhaps billions), there is nothing more important for public participation. Part 1: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, parasitic/criminal economics Part 2: Open proposal for US revolution: end unlawful wars, all begun with lies Part 3: Open proposal for US revolution: end parasitic and criminal economics Part 4: Open proposal for US revolution: expose corporate media as propaganda These four articles are academic in language and documentation. My citizen advocacy paper, Government by dicts, has additional resources. _______________________________________________________________________________________________ We the People: Current US wars are unlawful. The US economy is transferring unprecedented wealth of trillions of dollars every year to financial elite within corporate cartels that have captured their government regula[...]



Drowning Government in a Hurricane (Why Wait for a Bathtub?)

2011-08-27T09:38:34.236-07:00

By leading anti-war activist David Swanson, author of Day Break and War Is A Lie, who runs the websites DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org (formerly AfterDowningStreet.org). "Shrinking government" in American political discourse has, for decades now, meant the following. We enlarge the government's budget through taxation and penalties on working people and through borrowing and printing money. We not only tax the wealthy and corporations less, but we massively subsidize them with public funds. We move away from taxes and fees meant to limit the damage greed can do to the world, and we defund regulation of and law enforcement against the oligarchy. We transfer an ever greater share of the budget to the military. We expand the domestic and international surveillance-police states while merging the two. This, again, we call "shrinking government.""Shrinking government" means a larger and more oppressive but less representative and less useful government. The military gets the money and gets privatized (employs non-competitive corporations working exclusively for the government). Education and public services get slashed and get privatized. Vote counting gets privatized. The privatized money gets to flow into election campaigns. The districts are re-gerrymandered with the latest modern technology. The media conglomerates get a monopoly and the monopoly limits electoral possibilities. "Shrinking government" means shrinking popular influence on government while government grows. But it grows in its ability to wage wars, occupy territories, and subsidize coal, oil, nuclear, and gas. It shrinks in its ability to give people anything in return for their taxes and fees. If this process continues it must result in ever greater repression or in revolt.But why is THAT called "shrinking government"? It doesn't look like shrinking government.It's called that in part because there is a movement from the right that talks about shrinking the government to a size that will permit drowning it in a bathtub. But a good portion of this movement wants to shrink everything except the military-police state, which is the most difficult thing to shrink. And the Republican politicians who co-opt this movement want to enlarge the military and police.Perhaps more importantly, the Democrats and their loyal pseudo-activist groups want to protect or enlarge education and public services, but when it comes to the military they either want to enlarge it or are content to step aside and watch it grow. Advocates of tearing down everything useful in the government are winning, while advocates of making greater public use of government are losing, and so we talk about the "shrinking government" while the "security" budget balloons to $1.2 trillion per year.I recently complained to the staffers of a large activist organization (which I'll be badgered for not naming, but which I am not naming because this exchange was on a confidential listserve) that they were producing television ads blaming "the Republicans" for everything. They replied that this was in fact a good way to alert the Democrats that if they became as bad as the Republicans they'd be criticized too.How so, I asked. The Democrats split right down the middle on their votes for the Satan's Sandwich Super-Congress Budget-Destruction Deal. Half of them voted yes and half no. Didn't an ad blaming the Republicans signal to those Democrats who had voted Yes that they would have a free pass up until the moment they called themselves Republicans? Wouldn't it be better to add[...]



The Chopping Block?

2011-08-26T21:36:07.976-07:00

Click here for this post in PDFBy Steve Keen, Associate Professor of Economics & Finance at the University of Western Sydney, author of Debunking Economics: The Naked Emperor of the Social Sciences and writer at his own blog, DebtDeflation.com. Reality came to Reality TV in Australia last week, when 3 of the 4 properties in the much-hyped "Flip that House" program The Block failed to sell at their nationally televised auction. A 400 person live audience, watched by over 3 million TV viewers, couldn't entice more than one person to part with money rather than eyeballs. As the SMH observed: Whatever the lure of a celebrity house, the would-be buyers in Fitzroy Town Hall were just as jittery as the would-be buyers at any other auction in recent weeks. ("Auction failure shocks The Block", SMH August 22) The remaining three properties sold in the week after the sale, but at a substantial loss compared to the initial purchase prices plus the sums expended on them by the 4 couples in their 2 months of televised renovations (and let's not mention the advertising budget). So is the chopping of The Block a sign that the days of ever-rising house prices are over? Not if you listen to Chris Joye ("Property's fine forecast", Business Spectator 25th August 2011). The median forecast of the "21 leading market economists" he polled was for 5% growth in nominal house prices per annum for the next ten years, which Chris notes would suggest "that they will likely be 55 per cent higher in 10 years' time". Good luck with that. As Chris notes, my forecast wasn't included, but it should be no surprise that I expect a fall in house prices of about 40% over the same time period. I differ with the 20 who predicted positive price growth for one simple reason: I focus on the role of debt in driving house prices. Having argued that debt drove prices up over the last 15 years, I now expect debt to drive them down again. The mechanism is simple—but it's not part of conventional "Neoclassical" economics, which is why Chris and his surveyed market economists don't consider it. Aggregate demand is the sum of income plus the change in debt, and this is spent on both goods and services and assets. There is thus a link between the change in debt and the level of asset prices (and the fraction sold, and the quantity produced, but I'll focus just on just house prices for now). Going one step further, the change in aggregate demand is the change in income plus the acceleration of debt. There is thus a link between the acceleration of debt and the rate of change of house prices. If this relationship is strong, then rising house prices require that the rate of growth of debt rises over time. So just how strong is the relationship? Using the RBA's data on mortgage debt from 1992 till now (there was a break in the series in 1991) and the ABS House Price Index, the correlation between accelerating mortgage debt and the change in real house prices is 0.42 and highly significant—see Figure 1. Figure 1: The Mortgage Debt Accelerator and change in real house prices The acceleration in mortgage debt has been volatile, but on average positive. For two decades, mortgage debt has accelerated at 0.5% of GDP per annum. Can that continue for the next ten years? No way. That sustained acceleration of debt has caused mortgage debt to rising dramatically, from less than 30% of household disposable income in 1991, to a peak of 135% of disposable income early in 2011 (see Figure 2). Figure 2: A 4.5 times increase in mortgage debt compared to disp[...]



The Same Type of Corruption and Collusion Between Big Companies and Their Government Regulators That Exists In Finance And Energy May Also Infect The Anti-Cancer Industry

2011-08-27T00:32:36.995-07:00


According to the documentary movie Burzynski:

  • A 1992 law - the Prescription Drug User Fee Act - puts the FDA on the payroll of the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA gets more than half of its money from the pharmaceutical industry
  • Many FDA advisors are also consultants to big drug companies
  • The FDA has said that only giant pharmaceutical companies with very deep pockets - not individuals - should be granted the right to create anti-cancer treatments
  • The FDA deems it irrelevant whether or not anti-cancer treatments work
  • The same corruption and collusion between big companies and their governmental regulators that exists in finance, politics and energy also infects the anti-cancer industry
Click here to watch. (I'm having trouble embedding the video).

The movie is an hour and forty-eight minutes long, but very well made, and definitely worth the time. For more information, see this.

Note: I am not a health care professional, and have no expertise of any nature whatsoever in the fields of medicine or cancer. This does not constitute medical or healthcare advice.





Gandhi on ending injustice: Speak the truth because Truth is God

2011-08-28T08:13:11.857-07:00

My friend and colleague for justice, Washington’s Blog’s author, invited me to “guest blog.” I’ll provide two. First: Gandhi’s conclusion of the essential importance of speaking Truth. Second: a 4-part series to document that current US wars are unlawful, US economic policy is massive criminal fraud, and that these “emperor has no clothes” facts are lied about by US corporate media in constant deception. I appreciate Washington’s Blog’s author for the intellectual integrity and moral courage to document powerful facts; as I also appreciate all thoughts, words, and acts of virtue of the readers. - Carl Herman “It is more correct to say that Truth is God than to say God is truth. ...we must speak the Truth.” - Gandhi on Truth (and here, pg. 20) US injustice in major policies will end when enough Americans speak the truth. The injustice is literal: US government policies with war and economics are in Orwellian violation of basic laws. The annual costs are millions of human lives, billions damned to suffer, and trillions of dollars looted. Anyone with intellectual integrity and moral courage can see and say these “emperor has no clothes” facts. Assessing US “leadership” as psychopathic is the perfect academic and professional word because it neither understates nor overstates the facts. I also suggest Princeton professor Frankfurt’s academic term for the type of lies that “leadership” uses: bullshit. “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” - unsourced and attributed to Andrew Carnegie Gandhi was clear to state and repeat the facts until critical mass of public understanding and action ended the injustice: "One thing we have endeavoured to observe most scrupulously, namely, never to depart from the strictest facts and, in dealing with the difficult questions that have arisen during the year, we hope that we have used the utmost moderation possible under the circumstances. Our duty is very simple and plain. We want to serve the community, and in our own humble way to serve the Empire. We believe in the righteousness of the cause, which it is our privilege to espouse. We have an abiding faith in the mercy of the Almighty God, and we have firm faith in the British Constitution. That being so, we should fail in our duty if we wrote anything with a view to hurt. Facts we would always place before our readers, whether they are palatable or not, and it is by placing them constantly before the public in their nakedness that the misunderstanding… can be removed." - Mohandas K. Gandhi, Indian Opinion (1 October 1903) Dr. Martin Luther King learned from Gandhi: “‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’ That time has come for us... The truth of these words is beyond doubt but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government's policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one's own bosom and in the surrounding world. ... A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. ... A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. ... A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather [...]



"The First Recorded Word For ‘Freedom’ In Any Human Language Is The Sumerian Amargi, A Word For Debt-Freedom ... If Aristotle Were Around Today, He’d Probably Conclude That Most Americans Were, For All Intents And Purposes, Slaves"

2011-08-26T16:20:51.836-07:00

I've previously noted that top economists say will have a never-ending depression unless we repudiate the mountains of bad debt choking the world, that repudiating bad debt is moral, legal, empowering and popular. I've pointed out that debt always grows exponentially, while the real economy can only grow in an "s-curve", and so periodic debt jubilees are needed. And that we have forgotten what the ancient Sumerians and Babylonians, the early Jews and Christians, the Founding Fathers and even Napoleon Bonaparte knew about money and debt. And I've reported that the money of individuals, businesses, cities, states and entire nations is disappearing into the abyss of debt, and that - by choosing the pretend creditors over the little guy - the government is dooming both to failure.Today, NakedCapitalism has a great interview with professor of social anthropology - and debt expert - David Graeber, touching on many of these themes. Here are must-read excerpts from the interview: Interviewer (Journalist Philip Pilkington): Most economists claim that money was invented to replace the barter system. But you’ve found something quite different, am I correct? David Graeber: Yes there’s a standard story we’re all taught, a ‘once upon a time’ — it’s a fairy tale. *** Rather than the standard story – first there’s barter, then money, then finally credit comes out of that – if anything its precisely the other way around. Credit and debt comes first, then coinage emerges thousands of years later and then, when you do find “I’ll give you twenty chickens for that cow” type of barter systems, it’s usually when there used to be cash markets, but for some reason – as in Russia, for example, in 1998 – the currency collapses or disappears. ***This was the great social evil of antiquity – families would have to start pawning off their flocks, fields and before long, their wives and children would be taken off into debt peonage. Often people would start abandoning the cities entirely, joining semi-nomadic bands, threatening to come back in force and overturn the existing order entirely. Rulers would regularly conclude the only way to prevent complete social breakdown was to declare a clean slate or ‘washing of the tablets,’ they’d cancel all consumer debt and just start over. In fact, the first recorded word for ‘freedom’ in any human language is the Sumerian amargi, a word for debt-freedom, and by extension freedom more generally, which literally means ‘return to mother,’ since when they declared a clean slate, all the debt peons would get to go home.***Taxes are also key to creating the first markets that operate on cash, since coinage seems to be invented or at least widely popularized to pay soldiers – more or less simultaneously in China, India, and the Mediterranean, where governments find the easiest way to provision the troops is to issue them standard-issue bits of gold or silver and then demand everyone else in the kingdom give them one of those coins back again. Thus we find that the language of debt and the language of morality start to merge. In Sanskrit, Hebrew, Aramaic, ‘debt,’ ‘guilt,’ and ‘sin’ are actually the same word. Much of the language of the great religious movements – reckoning, redemption, karmic accounting and the like – are drawn from the language of ancient finance. But that language is always found wanting and inadequate and twi[...]



"Cyclical Climatic Changes DOUBLE The Risk Of Civil Wars, With Analysis Showing That 50 Of 250 Conflicts Between 1950 And 2004 Were Triggered By The El Niño Cycle"

2011-08-26T11:31:23.517-07:00


The Guardian notes:

Cyclical climatic changes double the risk of civil wars, with analysis showing that 50 of 250 conflicts between 1950 and 2004 were triggered by the El Niño cycle, according to scientists.

Researchers connected the climate phenomenon known as El Niño, which brings hot and dry conditions to tropical nations and cuts food production, to outbreaks of violence in countries from southern Sudan to Indonesia and Peru.

Solomon Hsiang, who led the research at Columbia University, New York, said: "We can speculate that a long-ago Egyptian dynasty was overthrown during a drought. This study shows a systematic pattern of global climate affecting conflict right now. We are still dependent on climate to a very large extent."

Hsiang said that pre-emptive action could prevent bloodshed because El Niño events could be predicted up to two years ahead. "We hope our study may help reduce humanitarian suffering."

***

The scientists are beginning work to discover the factors involved in the climate-conflict link. Food is likely to be key as crop yields and incomes from agriculture are known to fall heavily in El Niño years. "When crops fail, people may take up a gun to make a living," said Hsiang.

Other factors could include rises in unemployment and natural disasters, such as hurricanes. "Also, previous work has shown that when people get warm and uncomfortable, they are more prone to fight," said Cane.

***

Marshall Burke, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the research gave very convincing evidence of a connection.Andrew Solow, an environmental statistician, at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said: "Careful statistical analyses such as this one, which relate complex human behaviour to environmental factors, can be invaluable."

And - in keeping with my recent slew of reports on the sun's effect on the Earth - solar activity may play a substantial role in El Nino conditions.

On a related note, central bank policies have caused food prices to rise, leading to riots around the world.




Today's Weather Report ... For The Sun

2011-08-26T11:16:49.915-07:00


The activity of the sun affects weather and climate and many other conditions on Earth ... including, perhaps, earthquakes and volcanic activity, and maybe even civil wars. (And yes, a big solar storm can take down electric grids and electronic equipment for many months).

So the following solar weather widget from the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center is interesting:

Solar Wind Activity Status:

(image)

Further details here and here.

Note: You can simply copy and paste the widget. It is a .gif image which is updated daily without your having to do anything.