Saturday, June 30, 2012

Egyptian Pres-Elect Fights for Authority, Record Radiation Levels Detected at Fukushima Reactor, Kucinich Exposes Drone Bombardments, Neil Young Triumph!

Some links for your weekend consideration . . . and . . .big surprises!

Egypt President-Elect Vows To Fight for Authority
(Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes divorcing)

Record Radiation Levels Detected at Fukushima Reactor

By Agence France-Presse

29 June 12

A journalist checks the radiation level with her dosimeter at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in February 2012. TEPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, says it has detected record amounts of radiation in the basement of reactor number 1. (photo: AFP)

A journalist checks the radiation level with her dosimeter at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in February 2012. TEPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, says it has detected record amounts of radiation in the basement of reactor number 1. (photo: AFP)

EPCO, the operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, said Wednesday record amounts of radiation had been detected in the basement of reactor number 1, further hampering clean-up operations.

TEPCO took samples from the basement after lowering a camera and surveying instruments through a drain hole in the basement ceiling.

Radiation levels above radioactive water in the basement reached up to 10,300 millisievert an hour, a dose that will kill humans within a short time after making them sick within minutes.

The annual allowed dose for workers at the stricken site is reached in only 20 seconds.

"Workers cannot enter the site and we must use robots for the demolition," said TEPCO.

The Fukushima operator said that radiation levels were 10 times higher than those recorded at the plant's two other crippled reactors, number two and three.

This was due to the poor state of the nuclear fuel in the reactor compared to that in the two others.
The meltdown at the core of three of Fukushima's six reactors occurred after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and ensuing massive tsunami shut off the power supply and cooling system.

Demolition of the three reactors as well as the plant's number 4 unit is expected to take 40 years and will need the use of new technologies.

Karen at Sardonicky speaks for me and millions of others.

A Morass of Orwellian Depravity

Friday, June 29, 2012

Congressman Dennis Kucinich has now joined Nation writer Jeremy Scahill in referring to President Obama's targeted drone attacks as acts of murder. In an exclusive interview with the Britain-based Bureau for Investigative Journalism, the Ohio Democrat scathingly denounces this open secret of covert war, calling out the President, the Congress and a complicit press for their mutual descent into "a morass of Orwellian depravity." Said Kucinich:

You are looking here at an executive power that is unleashed. Our system of justice, according to the Constitution, is highly structured. There are broad areas of our constitution that have to do with people being investigated, arrested, charged, having a trial, and then if they are convicted being properly sentenced and incarcerated.
What we have done here with the drone programme is to radically alter our system of justice. Because, remember, if the whole idea is that we are exporting American values, those drones represent American values. And now we are telling the world that American values are summary executions, no rights to an accused, no arrest process, no reading of charges, no trial by jury, no judge, only an executioner.
If you have only an executioner that is not justice, that is something else. Not only the United States but the world community should be properly appraised about these so-called targeted killings. And because the emphasis in on killing, this is murder. If someone shot a grocer and his defense was ‘it was a targeted killing’ he would be put on trial for his life. But we are told that these targeted killings are somehow to be considered apart from any legal system.
Kucinich explains that the United States is"getting away" with bombing Pakistan and killing innocent civilians because it is engaged in good old fashioned double-dealing. Our government is able to ignore the Pakistani parliament's demand that the U.S. stop the drone strikes because it is dealing only with the real people in charge: the Pakistani military. We are in a defacto war against one Pakistan while being "friendly" with the other Pakistan. Doublespeaking, double-crossing and Orwellian to a degree than even Orwell might not have envisioned. The congressman, who is serving his last term after being defeated in the primary, finds it hard to believe that so few are condemning, or even mildly questioning, the new American role of judge, jury and executioner of any person suspected of being a terrorist, suspected of canoodling with terrorists - and worst and most recently, any male with the poor taste to live in a tribal area and to be of "military" age. He told The Bureau:

I hope it is not going to be too far into the future, somebody is going to look back at this and go ‘oh my God, why was this permitted?’ The US government just goes ‘we spent more money on arms than any other country in the world just because we have the most powerful military.’
We cannot assume for ourselves the right to impose a war anywhere we well please, and yet we have. And there is little accountability, so what I am trying to bring about in the Congress is to force accountability and transparency. Transparency in terms of ‘how are you able, you know, what about this extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions? What is the legal authority for the government to conduct extrajudicial killings, where did this come from?’ Really, where did this come from? Says who?
As far as the stenographic role of the American media is concerned, Kucinich is equally harsh. It is not considered bad form, he says, for a president to kill people. But it is a huge faux pas to dare to talk about it!

Let me say that there has been a tradition of American journalists in modern times to serve as the spear carriers for the government. They may look like pens but these are the spears of supernumeraries who have reporters’ cards. It’s what happens when you have fewer and fewer newspapers, and newspapers that are tied to large corporate interests. And a lack of enough institutions in the major media who are willing to serve as an effective counter-balance.
Look at the New York Times. It bought in wholesale into the war in Iraq, and came back to apologise. But how do you apologise for all of the dead bodies and the dead soldiers? We feel the dead soldiers, but we should also feel the dead civilians… There is a disturbing tendency to ignore civilian casualties, in any conflicts that we’re involved in whether they’re declared or undeclared.
Yes, indeed, look at the New York Times. The paper of record recently used the usual anonymous government sources to smear the same Bureau of Investigative Journalism which today brings us the Kucinich interview as well as exposing the hundreds of civilian deaths and dismemberments resulting from Obama's robotic and open-ended War on Terror. Scott Shane, the same reporter who penned the hagiographic article on the president's secret "Kill List" and Terror Tuesdays, came close to accusing the BIJ of giving aid and comfort to the enemy by having had the chutzpah to talk about American bad behavior:

The bureau’s investigation, which began last year with a detailed study of civilian casualties, involved interviews with villagers who said they saw strikes, wounded people and family members of those killed.
The bureau counted 260 strikes by Predator and Reaper drones since President Obama took office, and it said that 282 to 535 civilians had been “credibly reported” killed in those attacks, including more than 60 children. American officials said that the number was much too high, though they acknowledged that at least several dozen civilians had been killed inadvertently in strikes aimed at militant suspects.
A senior American counterterrorism official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, questioned the report’s findings, saying “targeting decisions are the product of intensive intelligence collection and observation.” The official added: “One must wonder why an effort that has so carefully gone after terrorists who plot to kill civilians has been subjected to so much misinformation. Let’s be under no illusions — there are a number of elements who would like nothing more than to malign these efforts and help Al Qaeda succeed.”
I am willing to bet that the anonymous official is none other that Obama's chief counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, former Bushie and Islamophobe extraordinaire and an obvious source for Shane's Kill List piece. (he even came out of the closet to be photographed for it.) He has been popping up all over the place lately, coyly bragging about the White House assassination squad even as the White House officially denies it existence and refuses to divulge the secret law it unilaterally enacted to give itself carte blanche for murder. Brennan was also outed by another Times reporter, David Sanger, as the discredited source behind the original botched narrative of the bin Laden assassination.
Brennan even came to NYC this spring, just to applaud that city's spy program against Muslim Americans and, while he was at it, to blast the Pulitzer-winning Associated Press for exposing it.

"Freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." From George Orwell's lips to the American Media-Industrial Complex's plugged-up ears.

And Dennis now fades from the scene, compliments of the Congressional Republican redistricting thugs.
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Does anyone really believe that single payer will ever be given serious Congressional appraisal again (or for the first time)?

Dr. Margaret Flowers does and she's convinced me (okay, sorta, but I'm a pretty receptive target).

After Supreme Court Rules, Work for Single Payer: Dr. Margaret Flowers on what follows Judgement Day.

Laura Flanders, Video Report: As for the individual mandate – forcing the public to buy from a for-profit company – she’s called it “crony capitalism on steroids.” It would be no small thing to move health reform through the legislature again, she agrees. Three years ago, Democratic leaders in Washington foreclosed on single payer, and went on to betray their commitments to single-payer-lite -- the so-called public option.

The Republican War on Elections

Thomas Magstadt, Op-Ed: Another fact that can’t be overemphasized: to target elections with the intention of predetermining the outcome it to strike at the very heart of the republic. Republics are not democracies in the strictest, purest sense. A true republic is always based on a “scheme of representation” to borrow a phrase from Madison’s Federal #10.

Robert Reich | Roberts’ Switch

Robert Reich, Op-Ed: As Alexander Hamilton pointed out when the Constitution was being written, the Supreme Court is the “least dangerous branch” of government because it has neither the purse (it can’t enforce its rulings by threatening to withhold public money) nor the sword (it has no police or military to back up its decisions). It has only the trust and confidence of average citizens. If it is viewed as politically partisan, that trust is in jeopardy.

Here’s to the Yankee Doodle Liberal

Froma Harrop, Op-Ed: Still, it may have been no coincidence that shortly after the headlines hit, an actor mostly known for gangster roles starred in the most over-the-top patriotic movie musical of all time, "Yankee Doodle Dandy." There he played George M. Cohan, another Irish-American showman from an earlier generation and composer of such upbeat Americana as "Give My Regards to Broadway," "You're a Grand Old Flag" and, of course, "The Yankee Doodle Boy."

Neil Young has always had a special place in my heart - an almost sacred place - and here's an essay that describes why this man is so special to so many of us.

Neil Young: “I’m Back in the Same Place”

Neil Young:   
Neil Young in "Neil Young Journeys"

In 2005, Jonathan Demme filmed Neil Young and his band for “Heart of Gold,” a documentary that served as a Valentine to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and celebrated the extended family of musicians that Young had surrounded himself over the years.

Seven years later, Demme and Young’s third film together is a notably sadder affair. For for most of the 87 minutes of “Neil Young: Journeys,” the musician is alone: onstage at Toronto’s Massey Hall, with only his Les Paul for company, or milling about backstage, taking a swing of beer and sucking on a few orange wedges before returning for an encore. Demme intercuts the concert performances with footage of Young driving to the venue from his hometown of Omemee (the “town in North Ontario” mentioned in “Helpless”) and although Demme’s riding shotgun, he’s a silent observer, hanging back and letting Young muse about distant memories.

Popping up everywhere in both the songs (most of them from 2010′s noisily ragged “Le Noise”) and the stories are the ghosts of friends and lovers — and even the four Kent State victims, pictured onscreen as Young runs through a particularly rageful version of “Ohio.”

As close as Demme’s camera gets to Neil — detailing whiskers, spittle, and the frayed threads of his hat — there are ways in which the seems to remain sealed off from the outside world. After Young and his brother Bob visit the razed site of their childhood home, there’s a pause. “Yep,” Young exhales, and then slams shut the door to his car, leaving the past behind.

The idea of looking back has always seemed to both beguile and unsettle Young; the man who’s written an album’s worth of songs about ancient tribes has also embraced punk rock, the vocoder and emerging technology. Earlier this year he announced the development of Pono, a new audio format and streaming subscription service meant to dethrone the MP3. On a sunny afternoon in early June, Neil Young showed up with Jonathan Demme at the Parker Meridian hotel in a cheerful, relaxed mood, ready to tackle the past and the future before a small group of writers.

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