Thursday, July 30, 2015

(Have You Heard the Joke About the Recovery?)  $4 Million-Dollar-Parachuted U.S. Citigroup Trade Rep Must Show Emails  (Last Gasps from TPP Victims Get Corporate Horse Laugh)  Doogie Howsers Alive and Sick  (Bernie Buzzing)  Spy Vs. Spy?  (Bloody Reprise:  KBR/Halliburton) Sex Scandals? IOOKIYAR!


Not for most.

Let's look at the data.

We have an economic recovery, allegedly, one ongoing since June, 2009. Tell that to the millions of “discouraged workers” who have been unable to find a job, have given up looking for nonexistent jobs, and are not counted as among the unemployed as measured by the fake 5.3% rate of unemployment.
The stock market, not too far below its highs, is used as evidence of recovery. However, the stock market is supported by companies buying back their own shares and by the liquidity that the Federal Reserve has poured into the financial system. Dan Strumpet reported in the "Wall Street Journal" that a mere six companies account for more than all of the gain in market-capitalization in the S&P 500. How’s that? We have a recovery in which a mere six companies participate — Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, Gilead, and Walt Disney Company.
Sounds like a rip-roaring recovery.
In the second quarter of this year the US economy contracted by 1.4%. Second quarter durable goods orders, minus commercial aircraft orders which are placed years ahead and do not reflect the state of the present economy, are in annual decline. Second quarter new home sales fell 7.3%. And Wall Street still hypes hope and recovery.

Spy vs. Spy?

Forgive me "Mad Magazine."

Jonathan Pollard, a paid spy for Israel described by Michael D. Shear as “one of the country’s most notorious spies,” has been pardoned from his life sentence. It strikes me as hypocritical for the US government to sentence anyone to prison for spying when the government itself spies on everyone everywhere. All Americans including members of the House and Senate, congressional staff, military officers, foreign governments including the leaders of Washington’s closest allies, and foreign businesses are spied upon. No one is exempt from Washington’s spying.
Washington claims that its worldwide spying does no harm. So how did the very limited spying of one person — Pollard — a civilian employee of Naval intelligence do so much harm as to warrant a life sentence? What some of us would like to see is a life sentence for NSA.
What disturbs me about the case is that it is Pollard, who spied for a foreign country, who is released. In contrast, Manning and Snowden who spied for the American people are locked away, Manning in a federal prison and Snowden in his Russian exile.
Julian Assange, who merely did his job as a journalist and made available to newspapers documents leaked to him, is confined to the Ecuadoran embassy in London.

It seems to me that if Pollard who spied for Israel can be set free, so ought to be Manning, Snowden, and Assange who spied for the American people and reported the illegal activities of the US government and the dangerous impact of Washington’s illegal activities on the liberty of Americans. Pollard is a hero to Israel, not to America, and it is Pollard who is released. Manning, Snowden, and Assange are heroes to America, and they continue to be confined.

More applause for Obama's corporate buddy choices?


Group Seeks to Expose Cozy Ties Between US Trade Rep and Wall Street
July 29, 2015

U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman is a former senior executive at Citigroup and received a "golden parachute" worth more than $4 million upon leaving the large financial institution to go into government. (Photo: US Institute of Peace/flickr/cc)

'Americans deserve to know what Froman has been privately saying to these big banks.'
Citing his cozy ties to Wall Street banks, a group dedicated to exposing corruption and corporate influence in Washington, D.C. has submitted an official Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for all correspondence between U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman and the 10 largest U.S. financial institutions.
The FOIA request demands access to or copies of emails and other written communications between Froman, the country's top trade negotiator, and banks including JP Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup.
Froman is a former senior executive at Citigroup and received a "golden parachute" worth more than $4 million upon leaving the large financial institution to go into government.
Rootstrikers, the grassroots organization behind the FOIA request, has said that because corporate giveaways like the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) pose a threat to robust financial regulation in general — and the U.S. financial reforms implemented after the financial crisis in specific — "Americans deserve to know what Froman has been privately saying to these big banks."


Those mink freers are pretty scary.

Round'em up!

Dylann Roof Is Not a “Terrorist” — But Animal Rights Activists Who Free Minks From Slaughter Are

The FBI on Friday announced the arrests in Oakland of two animal rights activists, Joseph Buddenberg and Nicole Kissane, and accused the pair of engaging in “domestic terrorism.” This comes less than a month after the FBI director said he does not consider Charleston Church murderer Dylann Roof a terrorist.” The activists’ alleged crimes:  “They released thousands of minks from farms around the country and vandalized various properties.” That’s it. Now they’re being prosecuted and explicitly vilified as “terrorists,” facing 10-year prison terms.

Buddenberg and Kissane [were] scheduled to appear [Tuesday] morning in a federal court in San Francisco for a hearing on bail conditions, while arraignment is set for early September. The indictment comes just days before the scheduled start of the Animal Rights National Conference, the largest and most important annual gathering of activists. The DOJ did exactly the same thing in July of last year: Shortly before the start of the 2014 conference, they arrested two activists on federal “terrorism” charges for freeing minks and foxes from a fur farm. The multiple activists and lawyers who spoke to "The Intercept" since Friday’s arrests are adamant that these well-timed indictments are designed to intimidate activists at the conference and more broadly to chill campaigns to defend animal rights.

Did you attend your local Bernie Sanders meeting this evening?

Why not?
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Our betters have decided our future.


Get ready.

It ain't pretty.

Unless you're one of them.

As Elites Aim To Finalize Secret 'Profit Over People' Trade Deal, An Alarm Sounds

July 29, 2015

Common Dreams

Trade ministers will be met in Maui with a colorful demonstration against secret corporate agreement
. . . . Humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders declared last week that the TPP is poised to be the "most damaging trade agreement ever for global health." If approved, the accord would "strengthen, lengthen and create new patent and regulatory monopolies for pharmaceutical products that will raise the price of medicines and reduce the availability of price-lowering generic competition," the group warned.
Public Citizen said of the talks in Maui:  "Whether or not any real deal is made, a 'breakthrough' likely will be announced. But for whom would it be a breakthrough?"
Trade ministers are gathering this week at the The Westin Maui Resort and Spa for what could be the final round of negotiations. (Photo: Westin Maui Resort and Spa)
Trade ministers are gathering this week at the The Westin Maui Resort and Spa for what could be the final round of negotiations. (Photo: Westin Maui Resort and Spa)

And you thought bloody tales were déclassé.

Hi Dick!

July 27, 2015

Making Money From Their Blood:  Cheney's Former War-Profiteering Company Is Suing Veterans It Poisoned in Iraq

Proving there is no level of low Dick Cheney and his cronies will not go, Halliburton-linked, scum-sucking defense contractor KBR is suing 12 Iraq veterans who had the audacity to seek and win $85 million in damages for the cancer they got from burn pit smoke while guarding a toxic water treatment plant for KBR - a company which, the jury ruled, acted with "reckless and outrageous indifference to a highly unreasonable risk of harm" to them.

The legal battle began when the veterans, part of a contingent of 300 Oregon members of the National Guard, were sent to Iraq in 2003 by KBR, a subsidiary of Halliburton, which was run by former VP and current war criminal Cheney.

The Guardsmen were tasked with providing security at Qarmat Ali water treatment plant. They were conveniently not told the site was full of the powerful corrosive hexavalent chromium, a highly toxic orange-yellow crystalline powder linked to lung cancer and breathing problems; it is banned in the U.S. but was omnipresent at the plant, stored in bags and drifting loose, sometimes visibly on soldiers' dinners.

When they started having breathing and other health problems, their KBR bosses said they had "sand allergies" and not to worry. When the health issues kept escalating, a KBR safety manager finally shut the plant down.

Back home and increasingly sick, 12 of the Guardsmen sued the company; another 21 are reportedly waiting to join them. In November 2012, a Portland jury found KBG negligent and awarded $85 million to the soldiers, ruling KBR showed "conscious indifference to (their) health, safety and welfare."

The decision was celebrated by corporate watchdogs as an unprecedented call for accountability, and by the ailing, wheezing veterans as "a little bit of justice." It sent the message, said a relieved Aaron St. Clair, that, "We're not disposable...People are not going to make money from our blood."
But the ever-greedy KBR didn't want to have to account for their behavior during a war that netted them $39 billion in profits, more than any other defense contractor; when he left as head of Halliburton in 2000, Cheney himself had earned $12.5 million, with $39 million more in stock options.

KBR appealed the ruling, which was overturned on a bizarre technicality that found, not that KBR hadn't poisoned people, but that Oregon veterans had to sue the company in their home state of Texas.

Not content with that questionable legal victory, KBR took their corporate bullying and other scorched-earth tactics to a whole new level by filing a motion seeking $850,000 in legal fees from the sick veterans whose painful and likely dramatically shortened lives they've already ravaged.
The kicker:   Even if they lose on appeal, KBR will likely get off scot-free thanks to an indemnity clause in their contract with the Defense Department, which would be held liable for any corporate malfeasance. Meaning that, once again, taxpayers would be left to bail out another massive amoral corporation guilty of greed, gross and in this case fatal negligence, and the blithe ruination of many lives.

As one critic puts it, "By burying these veterans in litigation and possibly crushing debt, they will have poisoned U.S. veterans, on the U.S. government’s dime, and have gotten away with it." In an outraged letter to the Defense Department, Democratic Oregon lawmakers likewise protested KBR's extortion attempts with the understatement of the decade: "Our soldiers have a right to expect better."

See below for evidence for those who believe that the phony-baloney expert Doogie Howser-type-serious-investigator doesn't exist in nature . . . .

George Alan Rekers (born July 11, 1948) is an American psychologist and ordained Southern Baptist minister.[2] He is emeritus professor of Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.[1][3]
Rekers has a Ph.D from University of California, Los Angeles and has been a research fellow at Harvard University, a professor and psychologist for UCLA and the University of Florida, and department head at Kansas State University. In 1983 Rekers was on the founding board of the Family Research Council, a non-profit Christian lobbying organization, and he is a former officer and scientific advisor of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH),[4][5][6] an organization offering conversion therapy intended to convert homosexuals to heterosexuality. Rekers has testified in court that homosexuality is destructive, and against parenthood by gay and lesbian people in a number of court cases involving organizations and state agencies working with children.[2]
In May 2010 Rekers employed a male prostitute as a travel companion for a two-week vacation in Europe.[7][8][9] Rekers denied any inappropriate conduct and suggestions that he was gay. The male escort told CNN he had given Rekers "sexual massages" while traveling together in Europe.[10][11] Rekers subsequently resigned from the board of NARTH.[12]

Personal life, education and academic career

Rekers is married with children.[13]
Rekers received his B.A. in psychology from Westmont College in 1969. He later received his M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1971 and 1972, respectively.[1] As part of his doctoral studies at UCLA, Rekers led an experimental study which used behavioral treatment to discourage "deviant sex-role behaviors in a male child".[14][15] The study's published results stated that the "treatment intervention produced a profound change" in the subject, a boy treated from the age of 4 years 11 months.[14]

In 2011, Anderson Cooper 360° featured a story about the fate of Kirk Murphy, a child Rekers states that he cured in many of his books. Murphy's siblings and mother state that the therapy ultimately had lasting damage to the boy and led to him growing up to be a man who grappled constantly with his homosexuality before committing suicide in 2003 at the age of 38.[16][17]

Rekers also holds an MBA in executive management from Southern Wesleyan University and Th.D. from the University of South Africa.[18]
From 1972 to 1973, Rekers worked as a research fellow and visiting scholar for the Center for Behavioral Sciences at Harvard University. After completing his Ph.D., Rekers was an assistant research psychologist and adjunct assistant professor of psychology at UCLA from 1974 to 1977. Rekers joined the University of Florida College of Medicine in 1977 and became the chief psychologist at the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry as well as an associate professor of psychiatry, clinical psychology, and pediatrics. In 1980, Rekers became head and a tenured professor at the Department of Family and Child Development at Kansas State University; he left in 1985.[1]

Scholarly work

Rekers has published numerous journal articles on gender roles among children,[19] with articles on "cross-gender identified boys" and "child gender disturbances".[20][21][22] His work has been criticized by other scholars for reinforcing sex-role stereotypes and for reliance on dubious rationales for therapeutic intervention (e.g. parents' worries that their children might become homosexuals).[23][24]
Rekers refers in his academic work to "the positive therapeutic effects of religious conversion for curing transsexualism" and "the positive therapeutic effect of a church ministry to repentant homosexuals."[25] Judith Butler describes this work as "intensely polemical", giving "highly conservative political reasons for strengthening the diagnosis [of "gender identity disorder"] so that the structures that support normalcy can be strengthened."[26]
Rekers credits himself for developing a method of assessing gender behavior in children's play in 1972.[27]

Views on the family

Rekers' views on family life were the focus of a major controversy in Florida in 2002 when then-governor Jeb Bush appointed Jerry Regier to the post of head of the Florida Department of Children and Families with responsibility for child welfare. Shortly after the announcement of Regier's appointment, it was disclosed that in 1989 the California-based Coalition on Revival had published a fundamentalist tract titled "The Christian World View of the Family" under the names of Regier and Rekers, which condemned working mothers as being in "bondage" and argued that the government should have no right to place children in protective custody except in cases of extreme abuse or neglect.

The tract's authors also "affirm that Biblical spanking may cause temporary and superficial bruises or welts that do not constitute child abuse" and "deny that the Bible countenances any other definition of the family, such as the sharing of a household by homosexual partners, and that society's laws should be modified in any way to broaden the definition of family."[28] The tract was condemned by Democrats; Bush told the media that Regier "doesn't share those extreme views."[29] Regier survived the controversy and served as DCF head from 2002 to the end of Jeb Bush's term in 2007.[30]
Rekers is a practicing Southern Baptist, and credits the work of C.S. Lewis, particularly his writings on gender relations, with influencing his religious and social views.[31]

Views on homosexuality

Rekers has attracted attention for his views on homosexuality, which have been promoted in a number of forums and court cases. He asserts that homosexuality is a "gender disturbance" that can be corrected through 18 to 22 months of weekly therapy during childhood and adolescence.

Mark Pietrzyk, of the gay group the Log Cabin Republicans, has stated that Rekers' method uses aversion therapy – a practice opposed by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) – that punishes "nonconforming" behavior such as swaggering in girls or limp wrists in boys and rewards "conforming" behavior such as girls playing with dolls and boys playing basketball.[32]
A number of authorities working in the relevant fields reject Reeker's basic premise utterly; a publication from the APA states "The idea that homosexuality is a mental disorder or that the emergence of same-sex attraction and orientation among some adolescents is in any way abnormal or mentally unhealthy has no support among any mainstream health and mental health professional organizations."[33] (Printing and distribution of that publication was with the support of the American Counseling Association, the Interfaith Alliance, and the National Education Association.[34])
According to Rekers himself, he spends much of his time with boys whose peers regard them as "sissy" and "effeminate" with the goal of reversing those traits and "help[ing] these children to become better adapted to themselves and to their environment."[35]
The APA's opposition to his methods led to him resigning from the organization.[35]

Rekers has appeared in court in several cases as an expert witness testifying on matters concerning homosexuality. His testimony has been strongly criticized by a number of parties including trial judges; the American Civil Liberties Union has asserted that his personal beliefs regarding homosexuality interfere with his ability to give an unbiased professional opinion on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) topics, including gay adoption.[36] Legal experts have discussed whether his involvement with a male prostitute in 2010 could render his testimony unreliable, possibly affecting the outcome of pending cases in Florida and California.[37]

Boy Scouts of America hearing, 1998

Rekers testified before the Washington, D.C. Human Rights Commission on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America in 1998 in defense of the group's policy on excluding homosexuals, arguing that it was justified because admission of homosexuals "would legitimize the value of homosexual behavior in the eyes of many of the Boy Scouts ... There would be more homosexual conduct or behavior by the boys in such troops."[35] He has acknowledged that his views are heavily influenced by religious concerns; as a member of the Southern Baptists, he believes that the city of Sodom was destroyed by God as a punishment for allowing homosexuality and that active homosexuals face "eternal separation from God", i.e., perpetuity in hell.[35]

Arkansas gay adoption case, 2004

Rekers was an expert witness in a 2004 case involving gay adoption in Arkansas, which had banned LGBT people from adopting in 1999. He argued that "it would be in the best interest of foster children to be placed in a heterosexual home" because the majority of people in the country disapproved of homosexual behaviour, putting further stress on children who were already likely to suffer from psychological disorders.

According to Rekers, "That disapproval filters down to children [who] will express disapproval in more cruel, insensitive ways" toward a child being parented by a gay person. In cross-examination, Rekers acknowledged that he believed that homosexuality is sinful and that the Bible is the infallible word of God.[38] His testimony was rebutted by Dr. Michael Lamb, a psychiatrist, who stated that there was no scientific evidence for the assertion that homosexuals were worse parents than heterosexuals.[39]

The trial judge, Pulaski County Circuit Court judge Timothy Fox, ruled against the state of Arkansas in December 2004. He was strongly critical of Rekers' testimony, describing it as "extremely suspect" and said that Rekers "was there primarily to promote his own personal ideology." Rekers responded by denouncing the trial as "utterly corrupt."[40][41]
Following the case, Rekers billed the Arkansas Department of Health and Human Services a sum of $165,000 for his testimony, an amount that far exceeded what the state had anticipated. He later increased the bill to $200,000 with the addition of late fees and other charges for preparing paperwork. The unpaid bill led to two years of legal wrangling that was finally settled out of court with a $60,000 payment.[42]

Florida gay adoption case, 2008

Main article:  In re: Gill

In 2008, Rekers was an expert witness in In re:  Gill, a case defending Florida's gay adoption ban. He presented testimony asserting that homosexuals are more likely to suffer from depression, substance abuse, and emotional problems.[43] Citing what he called "God's moral laws," he asserted that individual homosexuals are "manipulated by leaders of the homosexual revolt" to the detriment of those suffering this "sexual perversion."[44] He also asserted that Native Americans would make unsuitable foster parents, asserting that they suffered from a high risk of alcohol abuse and psychiatric disorders.[45]
Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Cindy Lederman ruled against the state. In her decision, she said "Dr. Rekers’ testimony was far from a neutral and unbiased recitation of the relevant scientific evidence. Dr. Rekers’ beliefs are motivated by his strong ideological and theological convictions that are not consistent with the science.
Based on his testimony and demeanor at trial, the court cannot consider his testimony to be credible nor worthy of forming the basis of public policy."[40] It later emerged that Rekers had been paid nearly $120,000 for his testimony on behalf of the state, which had been solicited specifically by Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum. The attorney general wrote in 2007:  "Our attorneys handling this case have searched long and hard for other expert witnesses with comparable expertise to Dr. Rekers and have been unable to identify any who would be available for this case." However, his choice of witness was criticized by Nadine Smith of the gay-rights organization Equality Florida:  "Rekers is part of a small cadre of bogus pseudo scientists that charge these exorbitant fees to peddle information they know has been discredited time and time again. And people like McCollum will pay top dollar for it. There's a reason why he can't find credible sources. Because credible people don't believe this ban should exist."[46]
Third District Court of Appeal State of Florida, stated in the decision:  "Dr. Cochran (Professor of Epidemiology and Statistics at the University of California in Los Angeles) also testified about errors in scientific methodology and reporting in Dr. Rekers’ study, stating that Dr. Rekers had failed to present an objective review of the evidence on those subjects. Cochran concluded that Dr. Rekers’ work did not meet established standards in the field. Another expert, Dr. Peplau (Professor of Psychology at the University of California in Los Angeles), testified that Dr. Rekers had omitted in his review of the scientific literature “other published, widely cited studies on the stability of actual relationships over time.”[47]

Organizational affiliations

Family Research Council

In 1983 Rekers was on the founding board of the Family Research Council, a non-profit Christian lobbying organization, along with James Dobson and Armand Nicholi Jr, but the organization reported in 2010 he has not been associated with them for more than a decade.[48]


Until May 11, 2010, Rekers was listed as an advisor and officer with the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality;[4][5] as of June 4, 2010,[6] these listings have been removed from the NARTH website. NARTH is an association which promotes the acceptance of conversion therapy intended to change homosexuals into heterosexuals, contrary to the advice of mainstream professional associations such as the American Psychiatric Association and American Psychological Association. On May 11, 2010, NARTH announced that Rekers had resigned from its board.[12] is a website designed to give educators information for teaching youth about sexual orientation. Rekers is listed by name as being a director in the development of the resource through a subcommittee of the American College of Pediatricians (not to be confused with the American Academy of Pediatrics). The National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality, an organization for which Rekers was an officer, is also listed as managing the website.[49] A contributor for the organization Truth Wins Out characterized this website as a "phony medical group attempting to peddle anti-gay propaganda to schools."[50]

Web sites

Rekers operated web sites including ("my blog on teen sex")[51] and an evangelical team ministry called InterAct International Inc.[52]

"Rent boy" allegations

The Miami New Times reported on May 4, 2010, that three weeks previously, Rekers had been photographed at Miami International Airport with a twenty-year-old "rent boy" who was using the name "Lucien" (later identified as Jo-Vanni Roman).

Roman was available for hire through the website. Rekers acknowledged hiring Roman for the 10-day European vacation as a "travel assistant" and denies any impropriety. He said that Roman was there to help carry his luggage since he had surgery recently and was unable to carry it himself, although the photograph clearly showed Rekers lifting his own luggage.[8][53]

Rekers was quoted as commenting, "If you talk with my travel assistant ... you will find I spent a great deal of time sharing scientific information on the desirability of abandoning homosexual intercourse, and I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him in great detail."[54] The incident was covered by media outlets and TV shows worldwide.[54][55][56][57][58][59]
In subsequent interviews, Roman said Rekers had paid him to provide nude massages daily:[10][60] "'Jo-vanni' in news reports, has told various media outlets that he gave Rekers daily massages in the nude during the trip, which included genital touching."[61]

He also talked about how he believed that Rekers was, in fact, homosexual:  "It's a situation," Roman said, "where he's going against homosexuality when he is a homosexual." According to the "New Times," Roman "made it clear they met through",[8] and denied that he had been hired to carry luggage;[60] The Times reported that Rekers "hired a companion from a website called that offers clients a wide range of choices, from 'rentboy' and 'sugar daddy' to 'masseur'."[54] On the May 6, 2010 episode of The Daily Show, Jon Stewart pointed out that Roman is looking on in the photograph, while Rekers is seen handling his own luggage.[62][63]
On May 7, the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality announced that they took the accusations against Rekers seriously, would be carrying out an inquiry into these events, and expressed sympathy to the individuals and families involved.[12] As of June 4, 2010, NARTH seems to have removed this statement from the NARTH website. Following the first report about Rekers, on May 8, 2010, New York magazine reported that another individual said that Rekers had hired him in a similar capacity in 1992.[64][65] On May 11, 2010, NARTH announced that Rekers had resigned from its board.[12]
On May 12, Christianity Today reported that Rekers stated on his personal website that he had interviewed several people for the role of travel assistant, and was not aware of his assistant's internet advertisements.[66] He e-mailed them saying "I confessed to the Lord and to my family that I was unwise and wrong to hire this travel assistant after knowing him only one month before the trip", saying he was unaware that his "travel assistant" was "more than a person raised in a Christian home".

Rekers explained his regrets for the harm caused by his "unwise decision", and that he was being advised by "an experienced pastor and counselor from my church, so I can more fully understand my weaknesses and prevent this kind of unwise decision-making in the future". On his resignation from NARTH he said "I am not gay and never have been."[66] The scandal became popular fodder for media commentators and comics.[67] Frank Rich of the "New York Times" wrote: "Thanks to Rekers's clownish public exposure, we now know that his professional judgments are windows into his cracked psyche, not gay people's. But...his excursions into public policy have had real and damaging consequences on a large swath of Americans."[67]
Newsweek's June 7, 2010 issue's Back Story listed Rekers, among others, as a prominent conservative activist who has a record of supporting anti-gay legislation and was later caught in a gay sex scandal.[68]

But, hey!

Sex scandals? Only important when they are Democrats.

IOOKIYAR (It's Only OK If You're A Republican!)

Or unless you're a whistleblower?

Mike Huckabee, one of the Republican morons running for president described the US agreement with Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear energy program as “marching the Israelis to the door of the oven.” In other words, according to Huckabee, Obama has launched the Second Holocaust.

Rand Paul, the libertarian hope, is not far behind Huckabee in his groveling before Israel:

My suggestion is:  let’s cut out the middleman. Let’s elect Netanyahu or the Chicago gambling king Sheldon Adelson President of the United States and be done with it.

This explanation of the Iran agreement, if correct, means that the Iranian One Percent sold out Iran in order to join forces with the One Percent in the West. 

As for Bill Clinton, so for the British Lords. sex, not mass murder and war crimes, is the punishable offense. 

For those dwindling numbers of progressives and liberals who still wear their gullibility on their sleeves by believing in government, digest this:

And what do we make of this? 

The other day I heard the BBC presstitute Will Grant patronizing Cuba’s newspaper "Granma." The presstitute, a mouthpiece for Washington and London, was telling the Cuban journalists that now that relations were normalized with the West, "Granma" had to toe the Western propaganda line or remain an outcast in the journalism world. The Cuban journalists made an effort to defend their integrity, but one senses that the allure of foreign travel, conferences and awards will spell the death knell of the newspaper associated with the Cuban Revolution. Of course, the Cuban Revolution itself is finished, as the money pouring in from abroad will reconstruct Cuba and make Cuba into a profitable foreign enterprise of the corporatocracy.

* * *
Obama was recently in Ethiopia where he warned the Ethiopian government against violating the rights of journalists. If only Obama had the same sympathy for American journalists. Instead, Obama threatens American journalists with indictments if they do not rat on their whistleblower sources. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Doogie Housers Now FBI Terrorism Experts? Sociopaths As Leaders Is the Norm  (TPP Rules)  Do We Need To Ban Killer Robots?  Hillary's Bundlers A-Massing (Fukushima Update Startles)  Doctorow!

The Three Types of People Who Wind Up Rich and How They Destroy the Wealth of Others

The first concern for someone who is wealthy is getting protection from whoever is politically powerful. Government, if you wish, though it can be warlords or Kings or the local tribe, depending on the culture. They need sanction to keep what they have.

This is especially true of businesses which aren’t natural monopolies:  selling weapons to the government, for obvious reasons, or; selling music, which could be copied by anyone (say hello to copyright laws); being a lawyer and not wanting too many other people to act as lawyers (say hello to bar exams and law schools); selling genetically modified food of which people are scared (make GMO labeling illegal). Creating money out of thin air, which is what banks, brokers and so on do, might be considered the ultimate monopoly. They sure don’t want Joe Blow to be able to say “I have one hundred thousand dollars, and if Goldman Sachs (in the 00′s) can create money through leverage at 41/1, I can too.”

Creating and lending money is a valuable perogative, one worth defending.

And what if everything goes wrong? What if, despite all your money, and all the defenses you’ve bought, you lose everything anyway?

Be clear:  This is what happened in 2007 and 2008. If you take into account counterparty risk and you mark assets to market (value them at what they could be sold for), every bank and major brokerage in the United States, and probably all of those in Europe, was bankrupt.

Bankrupt. Even the ones who made the right bets, like Goldman Sachs:  because if all their counterparties go under, so do they.

This sort of risk, the kind that is backed up by the full credit of the United States, requires owning government. It requires knowing the central bank is yours and will act to save you.

The first thing a capitalist does when he or she gets rich enough, is buy the system.

From intern to senior analyst in five years. Wheeler dealers unite?

Doogie Houser:  FBI's Expert on Terrorism?

Prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Emerson successfully portrayed himself as a credible terrorism expert, thanks in part to his 1994 documentary, "Terrorists Among Us:  Jihad in America," which aired on "PBS Frontline." His work at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which he founded shortly after the airing of "Terrorists Among Us," helped fuel speculation linking University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Holy Land Foundation to Hamas. In addition to Kohlmann’s, Emerson also helped launch the career of Rita Katz, who runs the SITE Intelligence Group. . . .
(In recent years, while Kohlmann and Katz have maintained close relationships with the U.S. government and news media, Emerson has seen his star fade due to two embarrassing Fox News appearances — one in 2013, when he claimed a U.S. government official told him that a Saudi national initially suspected in the Boston Marathon bombings was being deported on national security grounds, and another this year, when he said Birmingham, England, was “totally Muslim” and off limits to non-Muslims.)
While at the Investigative Project on Terrorism, Kohlmann wrote what would become his book, Al-Qaida’s Jihad in Europe:  The Afghan-Bosnian Network. He initially submitted the manuscript to the University of Pennsylvania Press, where Sageman, who would become a chief critic of Kohlmann’s work as a government expert, was asked to serve on a peer review panel. He recommended against publishing the book. Kohlmann found a publisher in the United Kingdom, Oxford International Publishers, which had no affiliation with the University of Oxford. . . .
With his book and stint with the Investigative Project on Terrorism as credentials, Kohlmann became an expert witness for the Justice Department and a consultant for the FBI. An FBI agent described the baby-faced expert as “the Doogie Howser of Terrorism,” and a George Washington University law professor described Kohlmann to "New York" magazine as having been “grown hydroponically in the basement of the Bush Justice Department.”
Among Kohlmann’s earliest cases was the 2006 prosecution of Yassin Aref and Mohammed Hossain in Albany, New York. It was the first FBI counterterrorism sting to use Shahed Hussain, an aggressive criminal-turned-informant who was involved in the investigations of the so-called Newburgh Four — a sting involving four defendants and a plot to bomb synagogues in the Bronx and attack a nearby airport — and of Khalifah al-Akili, a botched sting operation in Pittsburgh in which the FBI informants’ covers were blown. . . .
The government initially claimed that Jamaat-e-Islami, a political party in Bangladesh, was linked to terrorism through a proxy organization, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen. Rohan Gunaratna, a terrorism scholar at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, was originally going to testify to this connection as an expert. But the government instead brought in Kohlmann.
Kevin A. Luibrand, a lawyer for Hossain, challenged Kohlmann’s knowledge as an expert.
“Can you name any of the major political parties in Bangladesh from the year 2000 to 2004?” Luibrand asked Kohlmann in a deposition.
“Other than Jamaat-e-Islami?” Kohlmann asked.
“That’s — I’m not familiar off the top of my head,” Kohlmann said.
“Have you ever heard of an organization known as the Bangladesh National Party?” Luibrand followed.
“Do you know what it is?”
“I’m assuming it’s a political party, but again — the name vaguely sounds familiar but …” Kohlmann answered.
“Do you know what, if anything, it stands for politically within Bangladesh?” Luibrand asked, cutting off Kohlmann’s answer.
“Sorry, can’t tell ya,” Kohlmann said.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party, to which Luibrand was referring, is one of the two largest political parties in Bangladesh and allied with Jamaat-e-Islami.
“You can’t tell me because you don’t know?” Luibrand asked Kohlmann in a follow-up question.
“I don’t know off the top of my head,” Kohlmann said.
Kohlmann also admitted in the deposition that he had never written about Jamaat-e-Islami of Bangladesh. Luibrand asked to have Kohlmann disqualified as an expert, arguing that Kohlmann was unable to demonstrate knowledge of the groups he was testifying about. A judge denied the request and allowed Kohlmann to testify. Aref and Hossain were convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison.
From there, Kohlmann’s career as a government witness skyrocketed. In all, he has testified in more than 30 trials, including the trial of the Fort Dix Five, a group of men who allegedly planned to attack a U.S. military base in New Jersey; of medical doctor Rafiq Abdus Sabir, who was caught in a sting swearing allegiance to al Qaeda; and of Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who plotted with undercover FBI agents to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. Among more recent court appearances, Kohlmann testified in the Tampa, Florida, trial of Sami Osmakac, a counterterrorism sting target FBI agents described privately as a “retarded fool” whose targets for an attack were “wishy-washy.”
At the same time, Kohlmann has amassed what he has described as seven terabytes of information related to terrorism and illicit activity. He has described the database as proprietary, and he’s never been asked to turn it over as part of his expert testimony. He also leverages it, according to court testimony, to provide information and services to private sector clients; as of 2014, working for the government represented only about 40 percent of Kohlmann’s income.
Sageman, one of Kohlmann’s harshest critics, alleges that the use of this database in trial testimony and expert reports lacks transparency and makes it difficult, if not impossible, to challenge his conclusions. “He uses the appearance of scholarship, such as footnote references, but is extremely selective in his references basing them not on actual scholarly work, but on anecdotes from obscure references that he often has privileged access to, preventing other scholars from checking the context of the reference,” Sageman wrote in a court report.
Sageman also alleged in the same report that Kohlmann views his expert testimony not as well-researched and settled science to be discussed honestly at trial, but as a kind of information clay to be molded for the prosecution’s benefit. Referring to a conversation he had with Kohlmann over lunch, Sageman wrote:  “He selects what is most supportive for the side that retains him. Indeed, he told me so at one time when I challenged him about his testimony in the [Hammad] Khurshid case in Copenhagen, because he had neglected to mention important facts under oath. He justified his one-sidedness by saying that it was an adversarial process and it was up to the defense attorneys to cross examine him.”
Among the topics Kohlmann often testifies to is his theory of homegrown terrorists — a series of indicators showing that a disillusioned individual living in the United States likely has stepped over the line to become a terrorist. He has testified that the indicators include choosing a scheme to travel abroad to fight or launch an attack in the United States; acquiring training material and propaganda from the Internet or elsewhere; adherence to an extreme ideology, particularly radical Islam; using “logistical subterfuge” by, for example, encrypting electronic communications or taking indirect routes when traveling; and attempts to contact like-minded individuals. “Not every case necessarily has one of these or all of these, but you do tend to see these factors pop up again and again,” Kohlmann testified in a 2011 hearing in the case of the so-called Triangle Terror Group in North Carolina. “And these tend to be the most definitive factors leading to judge whether something is, indeed, a valid home-grown terrorist or home-grown extremist network or violent extremist network.”
However, the number of indicators in Kohlmann’s theory appears to be malleable, depending on the case. In the North Carolina trial, he testified to five factors. Two years later, in court testimony in the 2013 case of Mohamed Osman Mohamud in Portland, Oregon, Kohlmann listed six factors. In a hearing in the Triangle Terror Group case, Kohlmann conceded that his terrorism indicators, and his methodology in general, are not supported by any statistical analysis that would prove their veracity. . . .
And it’s not just that Kohlmann chooses not to subject his theory to rigorous testing; he doesn’t seem know much about social science research at all. In a July 2014 hearing in the case of Ralph Deleon, a citizen of the Philippines, and Sohiel Omar Kabir, an Afghanistan-born U.S. citizen — who along with two others were swept up in an informant-led counterterrorism sting — defense lawyer Angela Viramontes quizzed Kohlmann on commonly used terms in the social sciences. . . .
Jeffrey Aaron, who represented Kabir, asked the judge to force the government to provide the classified materials on Kohlmann. “We felt that he didn’t seem like a legitimate academic expert to us,” Aaron said. “He seemed like an advocate, and it seemed to us that he was a witness who would always find a way to support the government’s case. We suspect that the material under top-secret protection probably dealt with him cooperating with the FBI or being a quasi-government agent. And honestly, we thought that was very disturbing.”
(Kohlmann studied political science at Georgetown and later law at the University of Pennsylvania, though he never took the bar exam. His steeping in terrorism studies can be credited to Steven Emerson, who founded a nonprofit think tank, the Investigative Project on Terrorism, which a young Kohlmann joined in 1998. “I started obviously as an intern, but by the time I left the Investigative Project in 2003, I was a senior analyst,” Kohlmann said in court testimony.)
James Jhonson
I would not go into my emotions and how i feel after reading this article as a Muslim. But i would say that It is very unfair that a women is dead/killed just because she did not signal when changing lane and this man who has ruined lives of countless man, women and children is alive, well and enjoys the support of people we elected to office.
Abnser Hosmer
People should read Aaronson’s book, The Terror Factory, which is a good primer on grotesque fraud of “home grown terror” prosecutions by the Justice Department.
Kohlmann’s an obvious charlatan. It’s the job of the federal district court judiciary to keep him off the stand. But, since 911, those people have shown themselves to be gutless.
Theodore Wirth
Grifting for profit (see Fox “News”) is a nice gig if you can get one and apparently there are plenty of said gigs in gods’ country. Nice gigs that involve actual work and consistent pay? Not so much.
Let me join with those who decry the judges for allowing this NONexpert to testify. That Mehanna conviction seems quite egregious. Convicted of giving aid to terrorists for translating a text? First Amendment, what First Amendment?
And I’ll also second those saying he’s totally not qualified. Reading his answers, or NON answers in the article convinced me of that. Then there’s the facts that he isn’t peer-reviewed and keeps his info proprietary. How can that be good for any kind of transparent legal system. And it is also concerning that he actually gets more income from private sources. Gee, I wonder what’s going on there??? BTW, anyone else think he’s WAY overpaid?
Huh, and here I thought expert testimony in a court of law was supposed to be based on scientific principles. Mr. Kohlman doesn’t appear to know the difference between the scientific method, and say, Scientology.

Neil Patrick Harris said he was always surprised that anyone accepted the premise of "Doogie Houser." He hadn't met men like the terrorism experts at the top of the U.S. government, I'm guessing.

Ian Welsh speaks clearly about these sort of folks. Is anyone listening?

Does the following essay remind us of anything we've heard before?

How the Structure of Everyday Life Creates Sociopathic Corporate Leaders

A competitive market is one in which profits are steadily pushed towards zero.  If anyone can do what you do (freedom of entry), if there are no information barriers (patents, copyright, secrets) and there are no scale advantages others cannot also achieve, there is no reason why any product or service you create cannot be copied by someone else, who then undercuts you if collusion is not allowed.

To make consistent profits higher, then, than inflation plus the rate of growth of the economy requires that you not be in a competitive market.  This is explicitly recognized in strategic thinking, that in a fair market, there are no competitive advantages, and that therefore you need to create an unfair advantage.

Anything another company does which increases their profits, no matter how unethical, if not forbidden by effective law (as opposed to theoretical, aka. unenforced law) you must also do.

What is important about this is that the drive for profits above all and the requirement to gain an unfair advantage as dictated by modern strategic thinking (there are other ways to create an advantage that aren’t unfair, but that’s not what most companies concentrate on) means that you have to do evil. If your competitors use cheap conflict metals from the Congo, the control of which is gained by mass campaigns of rape, you must do so.  If an insurance company denies healthcare to people who are desperately sick, it makes more money.  If a power company doesn’t spend money on anti-pollution equipment, or dumps untreated effluents rather than treated ones, it makes more money.  If a clothing manufacturer doesn’t spend money on safety equipment for its highly flammable factories, it makes more money.

It is also in the interest of corporations to create barriers to entry:  to enforce stringent patents and copyrights; to ask regulators to say that only some banks get access to the Fed window, giving them a massive advantage over others; to buy politicians who can use public money to subsidize them or bail them out; to insist that money go to them for bailouts rather than to ordinary householders, and so on.

At the lower executive level, the more you can get out of your employees, no matter how you do it, the more likely you are to be promoted. And fear, terror and cost-cutting, while they aren’t the only way to do this, are easier to sell to higher management and pay back faster.  When they backfire in the long run, as is often the case, well, you’ll be gone, because you’ll have been promoted.

This leads to the common observation that corporate life is about the next quarter or year, not the next decade.  What matters is how much profit you’re making now and next quarter, especially to your chances of promotion, not what will happen in the future.  Corporate capitalism is largely incapable of planning more than a few years out, certainly not decades (there are exceptions, but even those exceptions, like insurance companies, have been losing that ability.)

High compensation is also an issue. Once you ascend to the senior corporate ranks, your bonuses are based on short term performance and are large enough that after a few years, and sometimes just one, you have enough money you’ll never have to work again.  So you don’t care about the long term, because you don’t need the company to be there long term, only to make as much money as fast as possible.
nihil obstet
As a society, we have accepted that money measures the worth of the individual. However, it’s about social status as well as simply money. Few people are villains in their own minds. They don’t think they are responsible for mass campaigns of rape; they think they are savvy traders advancing economic value that keeps the rest of mankind from living in Stone Age conditions and dying young. I think Lloyd Blankfein was totally serious when he claimed to be doing “God’s work”. They don’t think they are mistreating workers; they think they are meting out the carrots and sticks that their supervisees deserve. It’s all about meritocracy, so they’re actually advancing morality by punishing the poor.

In many, if not most, large organizations you get ahead by kissing up more than by delivering better numbers. That means that executives live their days being catered to and flattered. If they weren’t narcissists when they stepped on the first rung of the latter, they quickly become so. Their lives are about being worshiped by all around them. They’re brilliant, godly, all things good. Everyone tells them so. All the thin-skinned reactions when their fee-fees are hurt by criticism are absolutely real.

It’s not that people decide to trade in their morals for money. It’s that they have so marinated in immorality that evil has become their good.

If it were just “you can do better by treating people better,” there would be some hope of convincing our leaders. But how do you argue morality to people who believe “it’s your moral duty to treat people badly”?

TPP, not in effect yet, shows its power.

And, whoo boy, does it have its heralders!

Blocked From TPP by Its Failure on Slavery, Malaysia Suddenly Gets a Passing Grade

The shift has been rumored for weeks. Malaysia controls a key oil shipping lane to China, and the U.S. sees it as a key strategic partner in efforts to neutralize China’s growing influence in Asia.
The Communications Workers of America, which opposes TPP, condemned the Obama Administration for “placing the completion of the TPP ahead of human trafficking concerns.” Furthermore, CWA legislative director Shane Larson said the change “tramples on our country’s basic values. … We simply should not be rewarding bad actor countries like Malaysia with inclusion in trade deals.”
Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., who wrote the anti-trafficking provision into the trade promotion authority, pronounced himself “profoundly disappointed” with the change on Malaysia in a statement. He suggested that the report was “subject to political manipulation,” and vowed hearings, investigations and potentially legislation on the issue.
Despite the White House’s contention that trade deals like TPP are “the most progressive in history,” it appears to be overlooking significant forced labor violations to get it passed.

From Schools Matter:

Hillary’s Bundlers:  Anti-Public School and Pro-Private Prison

By Doug Martin at Hoosier School Heist Blog
July 27, 2015

(This is Doug Martin’s 3rd article in a series on Hillary Clinton’s fundraising.  See article one here and article 2 here.)
Hillary Clinton has been busy this summer, working all of her wealthy connections to gather money for her campaign.  Two campaign bundlers are lobbyists Heather and Tony Podesta.

Heather Podesta is married to Tony Podesta, the brother of John Podesta, Bill Clinton’s former Chief of Staff, once-keynote speaker at a Jeb Bush school privatization conference, and leader of the Center for American Progress.

As I detail in my book Hoosier School Heist, the Center for American Progress is NOT the democracy-promoting group liberals believe it is. Backed up by a right-wing mouth piece claiming public schools have too much nepotism, the Center for American Progress cooked up a plan to eliminate local school boards across America which would have made the Koch Brothers’ father’s John Birch Society envious.

Heather Podesta was Edison School’s lobbyist in 2007. Her firm, Heather Podesta & Partners, has also lobbied for the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Last year, Heather Podesta & Partners raked in $7 million by working for, among others, Eli Lilly, a big corporate school funder in Indiana, and Aramark Sports & Entertainment Services, which is part of the multi-national corporation Aramark whose Aramark Correctional Services profits from the private prison complex and has repeatedly given prisoners food laced with maggots

Aramark also operates custodial services for schools. In Chicago in April, despite the promise to save money for CPS, Aramark over-budgeted for $20 million, as principals complained of Aramark’s services leading to filthy schools.  One Chicago school cafeteria was closed because of roaches and mice, although it is not clear whether this was under the watch of Aramark or SodexoMAGIC, the other company in contract with CPS

Heather Podesta & Partners' relationship with Aramark Corp. goes back to 2007.   

Last year, Heather Podesta sat on the DC Democratic Party’s Senate Majority PAC board.  Hillary’s supporters at the American Federation of Teachers donated at least $1.95 million to this super PAC last year.

And then there’s Tony, Heather’s husband, who is also raising campaign funding for Hillary.  

Dubbed as one of DC’s “biggest players” by the "New York Times," Tony Podesta runs the lobbying firm Podesta Group.  In 2013, one of the Podesta Group’s largest clients was the Walmart Walton family’s WAL-PAC, which funds politicians across America. It is no great secret that the Walton family is a major financial backer of school privatization in the United States. At the time of writing my book , the Walton’s anti-public school funding had shattered the billion dollar mark

From this April to the end of June, the Podesta team of Heather and Tony bundled a little over $100,000 for Hillary. 

For more on the Podestas, Aramark, and Hillary, see Susan Ohanian’s notes here

Still shopping at Wal-Mart?

Try to remember what you're ultimately funding!

Don't gasp too loudly as you read the next essay.

No one's listening.

July 27, 2015

Fukushima Update

"Fukushima Update, 7/27/2015"

by ENENews
"Kyle Cleveland, sociologist at Temple University’s Japan Campus, published Apr 29, 2015 (at 2:00 in):  "Like everyone else we were seeing what was on the media. The media was very alarmist, and I think ironically, some of what were taken as an overreaction or a panic in the first couple of weeks of the crisis subsequently have been vindicated to be in some ways quite reasonable claims and worries as more information have been revealed, as gov’t reports have been written. Those reports have demonstrated that the situation was really quite more serious at the time than certainly what the government was saying, and certainly what TEPCO was saying at the time.

My starting point for my research was looking into the government’s FOIA documents. I was very surprised to see that there is a big difference within the United States government as they were trying to determine just how bad this was. And what I realized in those documents is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was recommending a 50-mile (80 km)exclusionary zone. This was an stark contrast to the Japanese government’s recommendation of 30 km. And also I was very interested to see that the the US Navy Pacific Command and particularly naval reactors, was recommending a 200-mile exclusionary zone. So that’s a rather profound gap between 30 kilometers on the one hand with the Japanese government 80 km from the NRC [and] something like over 300 km for the US Navy.

But ironically aside from the staff at the Daiichi plant maybe some at the very first people who were hit by the radioactive plume were sailors who run the United States Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group. They detected the plume at about 132 miles distance from the Daiichi plant. The FOIA  documents demonstrate that these government officials. were very concerned about the levels that they were reading. They were indicating that they were about 30 times above background levels, and that they would exceed a ‘protective action guideline’ criteria within about a 10 hour period.* The reason the US Navy had recommended a 200-mile exclusionary zone was that the Yokosuka naval base is about 163 miles from the Daiichi plant. At the same time that the Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier was detecting the nuclear plume, the George Washington aircraft carrier which was ported down near Yokosuka was also detecting a plume and the result that they were getting were really quite alarming to them."


Cleveland’s presentation: 

*"They were indicating that they were about 30 times above background levels, and that
 they would exceed a ‘protective action guideline’ criteria within about a 10 hour period."
Now consider the following from yesterday's post:

Normal Radiation is 5 to 20 CPM. 50 CPM is an alert level.


 590 CPM,  29.5 to 118 Times Normal,  South Valley, NM. Gamma only.

• 500 CPM,  25 to 100 Times Normal,  Miami, FL. Gamma only.

• 373 CPM,  18.6 to 74.6 Times Normal,  Atlanta, GA. Gamma only.

• 622 CPM,  31.1 to 124.4 Times Normal,  Raleigh, NC. Gamma only.

• 617 CPM,  30.8 to 123.4 Times Normal,  Pittsburgh, PA. Gamma and Beta.

• 340 CPM,  17 to 68 Times Normal,  New York City, NY. Gamma only.

• 394 CPM,  17.2 to 68.8 Times Normal,  Boston, MA. Gamma only.

• 591 CPM,  29.5 to 195.6 Times Normal,  Concord, NH. Gamma and Beta Radiation.

• 263 CPM,  13.1 to 52.6 Times Normal,  Chicago, IL. Gamma only.

• 427 CPM,  21.3 to 85.4 Times Normal,  Kansas City, KA. Gamma only.

• 334 CPM,  16.7 to 66.8 Times Normal,  Tulsa, OK. Gamma only.

• 645 CPM,  32.2 to 129 Times Normal,  Little Rock, AR. Gamma and Beta.

• 306 CPM,  15.3 to 61.2 Times Normal,  Dallas, TX. Gamma and Beta.

• 463 CPM,  23.1 to 92.6 Times Normal,  San Angelo, TX. Gamma and Beta.

• 275 CPM,  13.7 to 55 Times Normal,  Lubbock, TX. Gamma only. Off line. Last known report.

• 460 CPM,  23 to 92 Times Normal,  Ft Wayne, IN. Gamma and Beta. Off line. Last known report.

• 423 CPM,  21.1 to 84.6 Times Normal,  Indianapolis, IN. Gamma only.

• 383 CPM,  19.1 to 76.6 Times Normal,  St Paul, MN. Gamma and Beta.

• 704 CPM,  35.2 to 140.5 Times Normal,  Lincoln, NE. Gamma and Beta.

• 586 CPM,  29.3 to 117.2 Times Normal,  Des Moines, IA. Gamma only.

• 333 CPM,  16.6 to 66.6 Times Normal,  Aberdeen, SD. Gamma only.

• 573 CPM,  28.6 to 114.6 Times Normal,  Rapid City, SD. Gamma only. Off line. Last known report.

• 530 CPM,  26.6 to 106 Times Normal,  Albuquerque, NM. Gamma and Beta. Off line. 

• 377 CPM,  18.8 to 75.4 Times Normal,  Grand Junction, CO. Gamma only.

• 869 CPM,  43.4 to 173.8 Times Normal,  Billings, MT. Gamma only.

• 465 CPM,  23.2 to 93 Times Normal,  Phoenix, AZ. Gamma and Beta.

• 642 CPM,  32.1 to 128.4 Times Normal,  Tucson, AZ. Gamma and Beta.

• 225 CPM,  11.2 to 45 Times Normal,  Las Vegas, NV. Gamma only.

• 507 CPM,  25.3 to 101.4 Times Normal,  San Diego, CA. Gamma only.

• 855 CPM,  42.7 to 171 Times Normal,  Bakersfield, CA. Gamma and Beta.

• 306 CPM,  15.3 to 61.2 Times Normal,  Los Angeles, CA. Gamma only.

• 243 CPM,  12.1 to 48.6 Times Normal,  San Francisco, CA. Gamma only.

• 588 CPM,  29.4 to 117.6 Times Normal,  Spokane, WA. Gamma only.

"During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller — the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy — said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.” “So it's much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn't think we would detect anything at 100 miles.”

After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.” He responded yes. When Poneman later asked Mueller, “how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible,” Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours.

“If it were a member of the general public, it would take- well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.” If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."

So within 10 hours of exposure to 30 times the normal background radiation level "radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands."

Find the nearest location to you in the listing above. 

10 hours? 30 times normal exposure? Remember this is 24 hour a day, 7 days a week exposure for over 4 years now.

Draw your own conclusions...
Posted by

I'm a huge fan of Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and Woz.

Ban 'Killer Robots' With AI, Urges Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky and Thousands More in Open Letter

The letter, put together by the Future of Life Institute, a group that works to mitigate "existential risks facing humanity", warns of the danger of starting a "military AI arms race".
These robotic weapons may include armed drones that can search for and kill certain people based on their programming, the next step from the current generation of drones, which are flown by humans who are often thousands of miles away from the warzone.
The letter says:  "AI technology has reached a point where the deployment of such systems is - practically if not legally - feasible within years, not decades."
It adds that autonomous weapons "have been described as the third revolution in warfare, after gunpowder and nuclear arms". (7/27/15)

Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking have both previously warned of the dangers of advanced AI. Musk said that AI is “potentially more dangerous than nukes,” while Hawking was far more optimistic, merely saying that AI is "our biggest existential threat."
The main issue with AI in general, and autonomous weapons in specific, is that they are transformational, sea-change technologies. Once we create an advanced AI, or a weapons system that can decide for itself who to attack, there's no turning back. We can't put gunpowder or nuclear weapons back in the bag, and autonomous weaponry would be no different.

E.L Doctorow's brilliant dissection of George W. Bush's lack of character/moral center is memorialized at Ramona's Voices. We miss him so much today as new leaders (probably sociopaths too) drop bombs and level societies that refuse to buy the proper democratic goods.

His writing is what I would call "luscious with an edge".  It's stylistic and mesmerizing but you know there is something dark lurking nearby.  There is no relaxing with a Doctorow novel, even in the midst of the quiet, beautiful parts.  He will grab you and hold you and take you to places unexpected and thrilling.  He will force you by sheer wordsmithing to accompany him.  He will make you stop and read over and over again the same brilliant, awesomely brilliant, passage. 
He was, as everybody knows, quite a writer.
But, of everything I've read of his, one essay stands out from the rest.  It is the piece he wrote in 2004 called "The Unfeeling President".  It references George W. Bush but never mentions him by name.  In it he says:
I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our 21-year-olds who wanted to be what they could be. On the eve of D-Day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.
But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the weapons of mass destruction he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man
He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country 
But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the 1,000 dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be.
This was near the beginning of the Iraq war, when, as noted, the death toll was still around a thousand - less than a quarter of the final toll.  When I read this essay, right around the time it was first published, I was new to fighting online for passionate causes.  I was feeling emotionally battered, never before having experienced the kind of ruthless, hateful vitriol that comes of arguments where attackers can hide behind a safe cloak of anonymity.