Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fracking From San Francisco to Blackpool

The San Francisco Chronicle is hardly the place where I might expect the name of my old home town to crop up. I say home town, but now as then I live in the environs. And it is in those environs that the gas companies are trying their damnedest to store zillions of cubic metres of gas in the old salt mines. In other words, right under me arse. Bastards!

'Fracking': Rock fracturing's relation to quakes
David R. Baker
August 28, 2011

The earthquakes that rattled Blackpool, England, in April and May wouldn't have attracted much notice in California. The strongest rated a mere 2.3 in magnitude.

But their possible connection to "fracking" raised eyebrows on both sides of the Atlantic.

The epicenter of one of the quakes lay less than 500 meters from a well used for hydro-fracturing, the process of pumping pressurized water and chemicals deep underground to crack rocks and release oil or natural gas. The company fracking the well halted operations and started studying the possible link.

As fracking has spread, most complaints have focused on the threat of groundwater contamination. But some opponents have also asked whether the process - which, after all, involves breaking subterranean rocks - could cause earthquakes as well.

The question is particularly pertinent in seismically active California, where the use of fracking appears to be growing. Fracking projects have been reported in Santa Barbara County and the Sacramento Valley.

Last week's 5.8 temblor in Virginia even prompted a round of speculation in the blogosphere that fracking could be to blame. There are, however, no fracking wells near the quake's epicenter or in any of the surrounding counties, according to the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy.

Mild tremors

Scientists say fracking does cause tiny earthquakes, but they're too small to be felt on the Earth's surface. The process can also cause quakes large enough to be noticed on the surface, but only if done near a fault line. And even then, the resulting tremors are likely to be mild.

"You're not going to get a really big earthquake," said Mark Zoback, a Stanford University geophysics professor who has studied the issue. "To get a big earthquake, you'd need a really big fault. When these oil fields are being developed, the companies are very aware of where the faults are. They don't want to do something stupid."

Some of the quakes that critics have blamed on fracking may have been caused by a related process - the disposal of the water used in fracking.

Similarity to air hockey

Many, but not all, fracking operations inject the wastewater deep underground. As the quantity of water builds up over time, it can change the pressure along a fault line, making the fault more likely to move.

"It's a little bit like an air hockey table," said Cliff Frohlich, associate director of the Institute for Geophysics at the University of Texas, Austin. "You pump air into an air hockey table so that when you push something, it will slip."

Frohlich was part of a team of researchers who studied a series of small quakes that struck near Dallas in 2008 and 2009, in an area where natural gas companies had used fracking. The epicenter turned out to be within a kilometer of a water disposal well, under the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. The largest quake measured 3.3.

"These earthquakes were not cases where frack jobs got out of hand," he said. "In a way, it was good news for the companies. If it's disposal that causes the quakes, you've got lots of options."

Those options include treating the water on the surface or shipping the water to a disposal well that isn't near a fault.

In July, Arkansas officials placed a moratorium on new disposal wells in a portion of the state shaken by hundreds of quakes, the largest of which reached magnitude 4.7. Four wells that had been used to dispose of water from fracking operations were shut down.

As fracking becomes more common in California, environmentalists want state officials to keep a close eye on any link to tremors.

Locating faults

A state bill that would force companies to disclose the chemicals they use in fracking originally contained a clause that would have required the companies to report whether the wells they planned to frack were near known fault lines. The clause, however, was taken out as a compromise with the oil and gas industry, said Renee Sharp, California director for the Environmental Working Group. She'd still like to see the state adopt that requirement.

"At least we'd know what was going on, so there'd be the possibility of really studying this issue," Sharp said.

Zoback says seismicity related to fracking and disposal wells is a manageable problem, one that shouldn't derail the growing production of gas from shale rock formations. Oil and gas companies need to identify faults near potential well sites, stay away from the faults, monitor for quakes during operations and stop work if quakes occur.

"I think we can replace coal with natural gas - I'm kind of militant about this," said Zoback, who recently served on a U.S. Department of Energy committee that recommended ways to protect the environment during fracking operations. "We've got to develop shale gas in an environmentally responsible way, and that means air and water quality, and it means not causing earthquakes." San Francisco Chronicle

E-mail David R. Baker at

Bugger Me! Not if Tricky Ricky Perry and His Pals Get Their Way

Rick Perry's Prayer Rally Leader Wants to Recriminalize Homosexuality

There was no question that Rick Perry's prayer rally was bringing in the most radically right Christians—the American Family Association, which hosted it, is a super-fringe evangelical group that wants to impose its views upon the government. So, were he elected President, would Rick Perry make homosexuality illegal? Because that's what AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer would do. In a speech today, he spoke about how states "still ought to be able" to criminalize "sodomy," though those laws were declared unconstitutional in 2003. Wow. Watch via ThinkProgress:

I started to put a small collection of Perry campaign ads together, but then I came across a compilation.(middle vid) But for reasons that become apparent, I still include two of my original choices.

I shall have to update a few posts, but I have decided to give Perry his own tag. I should do the same for Bachmann as well, I think I shall be needing them before this circus for Jesus comes to an end

Ron Paul is a Feckin Idiot

Ron Paul: I don't accept the theory of evolution
August 29, 2011

Congressman Ron Paul, who is campaigning for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, says that the theory of human evolution is just a theory - and one that he does not accept.

In a YouTube video of Paul addressing what appears to be a town hall meeting in 2007, the Texas representative let listeners know where he stood on the issue.

"Well, first i thought it was a very inappropriate question, you know, for the presidency to be decided on a scientific matter," he said. "I think it's a theory...the theory of evolution and I don't accept it as a theory. But I think the creator that i know, you know created us, every one of us and created the universe and the precise time and manner and all. I just don't think we're at the point where anybody has absolute proof on either side."

A spokesman for the Paul campaign did not immediately respond to calls for comment. CBS News

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Japan: Massive Breakthrough in Wind Turbine Technology?

Before I rolled the video, I thought the Japanese researchers were applying the Kort Nozzle principle to up the output of their prototype wind turbines. But no, what they have arrived at is far smarter than a basic mechanical tunnel, and possibly smart enough to send up a groan from current designers and operators of conventional wind turbines that we see around us today.

Japanese breakthrough will make wind power cheaper than nuclear

A surprising aerodynamic innovation in wind turbine design called the 'wind lens' could triple the output of a typical wind turbine, making it less costly than nuclear power.

The International Clean Energy Analysis (ICEA) gateway estimates that the U.S. possess 2.2 million km2 of high wind potential (Class 3-7 winds) — about 850,000 square miles of land that could yield high levels of wind energy. This makes the U.S. something of a Saudi Arabia for wind energy, ranked third in the world for total wind energy potential.

Let's say we developed just 20 percent of those wind resources — 170,000 square miles (440,000 km2) or an area roughly 1/4 the size of Alaska — we could produce a whopping 8.7 billion megawatt hour's of electricity each year (based on a theoretical conversion of six 1.5 MW turbines per km2 and an average output of 25 percent. (1.5 MW x 365 days x 24 hrs x 25% = 3,285 MWh's).

The United States uses about 26.6 billion MWh's, so at the above rate we could satisfy a full one-third of our total annual energy needs. (Of course this assumes the concurrent deployment of a nationwide Smart Grid that could store and disburse the variable sources of wind power as needed using a variety of technologies — gas or coal peaking, utility scale storage via batteries or fly-wheels, etc).

Now what if a breakthrough came along that potentially tripled the energy output of those turbines? You see where I'm going. We could in theory supply the TOTAL annual energy needs of the U.S. simply by exploiting 20 percent of our available wind resources. Well such a breakthrough has been made, and it's called the "wind lens." More Karl Burkart

Why I Like Shagging by Greta Christina

Perhaps not something I would have normally chosen to run with, but we have the nonsensical ''abstinence'' theme running at the moment, courtesy of tricky Ricky Perry.

Puritan Pundits Should Chill Out -- Here Are 5 Reasons I'm Happy I've Had Lots of Casual Sex

Things don't have to be permanent to be valuable. A fleeting moment can have as much value as a stone monument.
By Greta Christina
August 28, 2011

The phenomenon of women who have sex for its own sake seems to baffle many people. It's widely believed that women have sex for love, commitment, poor self-control, to manipulate men, to please men, to make babies, to sooth their low self-esteem, and just about any reason at all other than their own pleasure. (While men, of course, are rutting horndogs who just want to stick it in the nearest wet hole available.) Sex, according to this trope, is by its nature a commodity that women possess and men are trying to obtain... and the phenomenon of women who are "giving it away," who are defying these assumptions and treating sex as a pleasurable interaction between equals, is making the media piss all over themselves.

Mark Regnerus, Slate: "If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we'd be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on."

Rachel Simmons, relationship advice columnist for Teen Vogue: "These letters worry me. They signify a growing trend in girls' sexual lives where they are giving themselves to guys on guys' terms. They hook up first and ask later. "

Bill O'Reilly: "Many women who get pregnant are blasted out of their minds when they have sex."

Susan Walsh, Hooking Up Smart: "They cannot see that as she [self-proclaimed proud-and-happy slut Jaclyn Friedman] proclaims her detachment from sex, she gets emotionally wounded every single time. They take heart from her proclamation that sluthood is a healing thing. Ms. Friedman is a hot mess. Craiglist Casual Encounters was not a miracle, it was a disaster that broke her heart again. I hope she does find Love, the whole enchilada."

Laura Sessions Stepp, author of Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both... oh, just look at the title.

Then there's the piece that got me staying up until four in the morning writing about this in the first place: Christian author Don Miller, who recently asked his female readers (and his male ones, in a separate post) if they've ever had casual sex, and if so, why. Miller doesn't ask this in a neutral way, a way that expresses a genuine desire for an honest answer. He asks in a way that makes it obvious what he thinks the answer will be -- whatever the reason is, it must be bad, bad, bad. In fact, he's asking in a way that totally slants the answers he's likely to get. He's asking "why some girls give up sex easily" (as if sex for women is always a surrender) and "do you use sex for some kind of social power or to make yourself feel good?"

It's like a push-poll -- a political poll designed to elicit a particular response, so you can shape people's opinions and make your position seem more popular than it really is.

And this push-poll tendency is shared by many of those who ask, "Why on earth would women want casual hookups?" They're not asking, "Why do some women have casual sex?" They're asking, "Why on earth would some women have casual sex, when it's so clearly a bad idea that will do them and other women harm and is obviously not in their best interest?" And they're doing this despite research showing that casual sex isn't, in fact psychologically harmful for young adults. They're basing their questions on the common assumption that women's natural state is to keep their legs closed unless they've got their hands on marriage or commitment... and that women who don't are some sort of baffling phenomenon that needs to be explained.

So I thought I'd try to explain it.

I've had a lot of experience with casual sex. It's been a while, and I'm not particularly interested in it anymore. But for many years, pretty much all the sex I had fell somewhere on the "casual" spectrum. Personal ad hookups; occasional sex with friends; sex clubs and sex parties; ongoing sexual friendships... that's what my sex life looked like for a long time.

And needless to say -- but I'm going to say it anyway -- a lot of this casual sex was a good idea. A wonderful idea, in fact. A lot of it was done for excellent, healthy reasons. And the effect it's had on my sex life and my love life has been overwhelmingly positive.

You want to know why I had it? Here's why.

1: Fun. This is first and foremost. In fact, all the other answers I'm about to give ultimately boil down to this one: Sex is fun. Sex feels good. Sex is its own justification. And that was every bit as true when I was single as when I've been coupled. I had sex for the same reason billions of other people have sex: Pleasure. Period.

We evolved to enjoy sex. We are descended from thousands of generations of ancestors who really, really liked to fuck. Asking why people have sex casually is like asking why people eat food casually. Eating feels good. Food is fun. It's often more fun when it's meaningful and done with people we love. But that's not always an option, and it can still be pretty darned fun when it's grabbed on the fly with acquaintances and strangers. We evolved to want to eat food. And we evolved to want to have sex. Like, duh.

2: Experimentation. When I was having casual sex with a lot of different people, I was also having lots of different kinds of sex. There are lots of reasons for that: some obvious, some not so obvious. The most obvious one is that my partners liked different things, so I tried the things they liked, to see if I might like them too. Plus, at the time, I felt more comfortable asking for and trying some of my freakier desires with fuckbuddies and casual hookups than I had with long-term romantic partners. I do wish that hadn't been true -- I wish I'd been less shy about experimenting with my LTR partners in my younger days -- but the whole stupid virgin/whore thing can get pretty deeply embedded, and it took many years of screwing around to get it (mostly) hacked out of my brain.

And that experimenting was awesome. I figured out an immense amount about my sexuality during my casual sex years. I learned a huge amount about which of my fantasies were really things I liked, and which were things I just liked thinking about. I figured out that yes, I really was a dyke, and yes, I really was kinky. And I discovered things about my sexuality that I never would have imagined if I hadn't tried them. My sex life is about a billion times more satisfying now that I know what I do and don't like in bed... and now that I have the courage to ask for it. Like, duh.

I haven't stopped learning and experimenting now that I'm married. And plenty of people do plenty of experimenting with just one partner, and do it entirely happily. But that's not how it played out for me. And when I think about who I was in my twenties, I'm not sure it could have played out that way for me. When I think about who I was in my 20s, I think casual sex with a large-ish number of people was the only way I was going to get those experiments under my belt. As it were.

3: Pleasure without unwanted commitment. As you may have figured out from thLinkis piece, I was single for a long time. After my divorce and before I fell in love with Ingrid, I was single for 12 years. And they were good years. Most of them, anyway. Staying single for so long was a conscious decision, and it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. After my divorce, I was pretty confused, with some seriously messed-up ideas about love and relationships, and I had a strong tendency to be attracted to needy, fucked-up drug addicts. Staying single for 12 years gave me a chance to get my head screwed on straight; to re-train myself to be attracted to people who had their act together; to wait for the right partner instead of jumping into commitment with whoever was available; to learn that I could be happy and fulfilled on my own. In fact, my relationship and marriage with Ingrid wouldn't be nearly as strong if I hadn't been single -- and happily single -- for so long. Go to page three

Lots more repression under the Abstinence or Sex Prudery tags.

From a previous post.

....And it don't come any realer than Alexyss Tylor telling it like it is. This is one Lady that knows her subject, likes the practice, and loves her homework. Way to go girl.

Taken from another previous post.

But then, and there is no allowance for this display of self induced hysteria; but then we have to round off, a couple of minutes and a couple of cunts from Texas, I'm sorry but there's no more befitting description I can think of for these two sanctimonious little fuck cunts for Jesus. The first little cunt is bad enough, but the second one!? fuck me! I haven't got the words for her, other than to say, pity the bloke this little cunt traps at the alter, pity him indeed.

Monday, August 29, 2011

BAD NEWS of the World

A very interesting little forty five minutes.

Bad News
By Reporter Sarah Ferguson and Producer Michael Doyle

This week on Four Corners, Sarah Ferguson tells the story of a key private investigator at the heart of the scandals that have set Rupert Murdoch's empire rocking on its axis. Detailing records of police surveillance and interviews with people who had been targeted by the investigator Ferguson pieces together how he worked.

As the investigation unfolds it becomes clear that phone hacking and illegal information theft were not done on behalf of one "rogue" reporter or one newspaper. Instead, the evidence suggests these surveillance activities were being done on an industrial scale - sometimes by people with criminal backgrounds - for anyone who had the cash to pay for it. As Tony Blair's former press secretary, Alastair Campbell, told Four Corners:

"It seems they were in a sense replacing journalists... possibly to cut costs, but the other reason you assume is because it meant the private detectives could do things the journalists can't."

Campbell has good reason to make such a claim. Four Corners has been told by a News insider that the practice of phone hacking and the gathering of illegal information was so widely accepted that at the News of the World competing sections of the paper used different private investigators to do their dirty work.

Meanwhile, News executives stuck to the company line of one rogue reporter. As one British MP puts it:

"You know what they say about lies: if you say it loud enough and often enough people begin to believe it and they nearly got away with it."

One reason they were able to get away with it for so long was that the British police refused to investigate the extent of the potential criminal activity. Why were they reluctant? According to one person who found himself the victim of illicit surveillance, the answer is clear:

"What happened was that the News of the World or News International more generally managed to get its filthy, slimy tentacles in every nook and cranny of the Metropolitan police and to all intents and purpose that corrupted it." More and watch

There is an interesting bit in the clip, where two jags Prescott has a word or two to say about Mister Integrity Yates.

Why You Don't Want Rick Perry Making Decisions About Your Sex Life (Illustrated)

Update: Perry and the HPV Vaccine: Selling Women's Health (and Everything Else) to the Highest Bidder more

Why You Don't Want Rick Perry Making Decisions About Your Sex Life

The belief that sex is "immoral" pushes Conservatives to support abstinence-only, sex-is-immoral education and policy, even though it is proven to be harmful.

By Amanda Marcotte
August 22, 2011

Governor Rick Perry of Texas has thrown his hat into the presidential contender ring, and his nascent campaign has quickly came to demonstrate why the blurring of the distinctions between church and state are so dangerous, especially to women. His campaign has surprisingly been even more of a demonstration of this than that of Michele Bachmann’s, even though the mainstream media consensus is Bachmann is more of a theocrat. Part of the reason is that Perry has been the governor of Texas for over a decade now, and his experience and power as an executive has simply given him more chances to blur the lines….and more reasons to be called out for it.

The incident that got the most attention was Perry’s prayer rally in Houston, TX, where Perry, in what many (including myself) consider a flagrant violation of the First Amendment, led 30,000 evangelical Christians in a day of prayers for the state and the nation. Perry’s contempt for constitutional restrictions on government establishing an official religion throws into stark relief how much the anti-choice movement, to which he is currently pandering as hard as he can, is basically just one arm of an overall theocratic movement in the U.S. to wed state to a very particular interpretation of the Bible.

To begin with, Perry did show some sign of willingness to separate church and state while governor, when he issued an executive order requiring girls in Texas entering the 6th grade to be vaccinated against HPV. This is how it should be. Regardless of one’s personal religious convictions about female sexuality, when you’re the governor, your job is not setting the religious dogma for the state, but prioritizing the public's health. HPV is a public health issue (just because you personally may feel contracting HPV is just desserts for having sex, the people you pass it to may not be burdened with such anti-sex superstitions) and Perry acted like an executive handling this public health issue, and not a theocrat foisting his own sexual judgments on his citizens.

From a previous comment of mine:When I started reading about Perry's stance on the HPV vacine, (£300/$600 per patient) I thought, he's being a bit progressive here, until that was, I read about his connection to Merck.

Of course he had to take it all back, claiming it was all a mistake and that he should have left the decision to the legislature, knowing full well the fundamentalist-heavy state legislature would have killed the requirement. The fact that Perry feels he has to apologize for putting the health of Texas girls ahead of fundamentalist over-the-top hatred of female sexuality--hatred that now runs so deep that they support letting 4,000 women a year die of cervical cancer rather than do anything that could be construed as accepting that sex happens---is just one example of how much the theocrats have taken control of our political process. And how they intend to flex that power by attacking the very concept of a healthy sexuality.

Also indicative of the problem was Perry’s response to a question about sex education in light of empirical evidence that abstinence-only doesn’t work. Perry, unable to deal with the conflict between the demands of fundamentalists that secular government promote their dangerous views of sex as deeply sinful and the demands of public health, flubbed the question. Paul Waldman of the American Prospect explained the flub:

Liberals may think that conservatives support abstinence education because they believe it will reduce teen pregnancy, when the truth is that stopping teen pregnancy is at best a minor consideration for conservatives. If there’s going to be any discussion of sex in school at all, they believe it ought to express the categorical moral position that sex is vile and dirty and sinful, until you do it with your spouse, at which point it becomes beautiful and godly (you’ll forgive a bit of caricature). The fact that abstinence-only education is far less effective at reducing teen pregnancy than comprehensive sex-ed isn’t something they’re pleased about, but it doesn’t change their conviction about the moral value that ought to be expressed……

Not sure if this guy has aspirations to become a Republican Governor, but he certainly seems qualified for it when you read the details of his manifesto.

So while it’s true that Rick Perry is not a particularly smart guy, the difficulty he has here comes from the fact that his stance on sex education is about 95 percent moral and 5 percent practical.

Waldman's right, but the problem runs even deeper than liberal empiricism vs. conservative “morality.” (I question a “morality” that hates something as life-affirming as sex, and believes that it’s so sinful it should result in disease, life destruction, and even death for people who engage in it outside of their incredibly strict parameters.) The problem goes right to the separation of church and state. The belief that sex is “immoral” isn’t a standard-issue moral belief shared across cultural or religious differences, unlike other moral beliefs such as the wrongness of murder or stealing. This is a question of religious freedom, and whether or not religious beliefs that sex is wrong should be imposed on minors. Standing with religious freedom means standing with comprehensive sex education and mandatory HPV vaccines, on the grounds that people who get these things will still be free to believe sex is wrong. In fact, whether or not your religion teaches that sex is dirty, you still benefit from vaccination and education---that way, if you slip up and have sex, you can have a clean, pure guilt trip of self-hatred without having a bunch of unnecessary health problems. And if you ever get over your commitment to such a misanthropic, sex-phobic faith, you will be able to start your new, sex-positive life with a clean bill of health.

But even more for the rest of us, we should have secular, evidence-based policy instead of fundamentalist faith-based policy not just because it has better health outcomes for everyone, but also because the belief that church and state should be separate was baked into our Constitution right from the beginning. Alternet

Amanda Marcotte co-writes the blog Pandagon. She is the author of It's a Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments.

Footnote: I need to check out the full HPV story in Texas. The connection to Merck link that I posted only mentions Perry instigating the program and little else.

Update: If you check out the claiming it was all a mistake (video) link above, all is explained. But what did strike me about Rick's grovelling performance was just how Romneyesque he was. Hard to tell the buggers apart. You will find previous Mitt Romney under the Mormon tag.

For my sentiments on the subject there is this.

Human Papilloma Vaccination For All UK Schoolgirls

This is how socialist medicine works, it works well, and it works even better when the pious and the sanctimonious, who should be more concerned with their daughters health than with her maidenhead, don't enter into the equation.

Given the high cost of the three injection course, £300/$600 for every girl in the country this has to be one of the best examples of preventive socialist medicine in the entire history of the National Health Service.

It is government action like this that rekindles a little of my long lost national pride. more

H/T Maren

Brian Cox The Big Bang Machine

I captured this recent BBC repeat with the view to uploading it to Rapidshare, but a check on Youtube came up with the program.

I can't honestly say with which I was the most awestruck, the minds of those involved in the experiment or the size and complexity (and beauty) of apparatus itself.

Just one of the data facts given in the program that stuck with me, was the speed to which particles would be accelerated. Just short of the speed of light, or to put it in context relative to the collider itself, particles would travel around the 27 kilometre circumference, 11,000 times a second.

Lots of information here at CERNS LHC homepage, but do check out the other sections in the sidebar. It is, at the risk of repeating myself, awesome.

Somewhere in the archives I have an elusive post with a link to the Boston Globe's superb collection of LHC photographs. No matter, here is a direct link to that set, and to a later set here.

H/T Striden12 for the upload.

Cern's Youtube channel.

BBC: Professor Brian Cox visits Geneva to take a look around Cern's Large Hadron Collider before this vast, 27km long machine is sealed off and a simulation experiment begins to try and create the conditions that existed just a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. Cox joins the scientists who hope that the LHC will change our understanding of the early universe and solve some of its mysteries.

A short time lapse film showing construction of the LHC.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Richard Dawkins On The Ignorant (Rick Perry)

Attention Governor Perry: Evolution is a fact

Q. Texas governor and GOP candidate Rick Perry, at a campaign event this week, told a boy that evolution is ”just a theory” with “gaps” and that in Texas they teach “both creationism and evolution.” Perry later added “God is how we got here.” According to a 2009 Gallup study , only 38 percent of Americans say they believe in evolution. If a majority of Americans are skeptical or unsure about evolution, should schools teach it as a mere “theory”? Why is evolution so threatening to religion?

A. There is nothing unusual about Governor Rick Perry. Uneducated fools can be found in every country and every period of history, and they are not unknown in high office. What is unusual about today’s Republican party (I disavow the ridiculous ‘GOP’ nickname, because the party of Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt has lately forfeited all claim to be considered ‘grand’) is this: In any other party and in any other country, an individual may occasionally rise to the top in spite of being an uneducated ignoramus. In today’s Republican Party ‘in spite of’ is not the phrase we need. Ignorance and lack of education are positive qualifications, bordering on obligatory. Intellect, knowledge and linguistic mastery are mistrusted by Republican voters, who, when choosing a president, would apparently prefer someone like themselves over someone actually qualified for the job.

Any other organization -- a big corporation, say, or a university, or a learned society - -when seeking a new leader, will go to immense trouble over the choice. The CVs of candidates and their portfolios of relevant experience are meticulously scrutinized, their publications are read by a learned committee, references are taken up and scrupulously discussed, the candidates are subjected to rigorous interviews and vetting procedures. Mistakes are still made, but not through lack of serious effort.

The population of the United States is more than 300 million and it includes some of the best and brightest that the human species has to offer, probably more so than any other country in the world. There is surely something wrong with a system for choosing a leader when, given a pool of such talent and a process that occupies more than a year and consumes billions of dollars, what rises to the top of the heap is George W Bush. Or when the likes of Rick Perry or Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin can be mentioned as even remote possibilities.

A politician’s attitude to evolution is perhaps not directly important in itself. It can have unfortunate consequences on education and science policy but, compared to Perry’s and the Tea Party’s pronouncements on other topics such as economics, taxation, history and sexual politics, their ignorance of evolutionary science might be overlooked. Except that a politician’s attitude to evolution, however peripheral it might seem, is a surprisingly apposite litmus test of more general inadequacy. This is because unlike, say, string theory where scientific opinion is genuinely divided, there is about the fact of evolution no doubt at all. Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet. Thanks to Darwin, we now understand why we are here and why we are the way we are. You cannot be ignorant of evolution and be a cultivated and adequate citizen of today.

Darwin’s idea is arguably the most powerful ever to occur to a human mind. The power of a scientific theory may be measured as a ratio: the number of facts that it explains divided by the number of assumptions it needs to postulate in order to do the explaining. A theory that assumes most of what it is trying to explain is a bad theory. That is why the creationist or ‘intelligent design’ theory is such a rotten theory.

What any theory of life needs to explain is functional complexity. Complexity can be measured as statistical improbability, and living things are statistically improbable in a very particular direction: the direction of functional efficiency. The body of a bird is not just a prodigiously complicated machine, with its trillions of cells - each one in itself a marvel of miniaturized complexity - all conspiring together to make muscle or bone, kidney or brain. Its interlocking parts also conspire to make it good for something - in the case of most birds, good for flying. An aero-engineer is struck dumb with admiration for the bird as flying machine: its feathered flight-surfaces and ailerons sensitively adjusted in real time by the on-board computer which is the brain; the breast muscles, which are the engines, the ligaments, tendons and lightweight bony struts all exactly suited to the task. And the whole machine is immensely improbable in the sense that, if you randomly shook up the parts over and over again, never in a million years would they fall into the right shape to fly like a swallow, soar like a vulture, or ride the oceanic up-draughts like a wandering albatross. Any theory of life has to explain how the laws of physics can give rise to a complex flying machine like a bird or a bat or a pterosaur, a complex swimming machine like a tarpon or a dolphin, a complex burrowing machine like a mole, a complex climbing machine like a monkey, or a complex thinking machine like a person.

Darwin explained all of this with one brilliantly simple idea - natural selection, driving gradual evolution over immensities of geological time. His is a good theory because of the huge ratio of what it explains (all the complexity of life) divided by what it needs to assume (simply the nonrandom survival of hereditary information through many generations). The rival theory to explain the functional complexity of life - creationism - is about as bad a theory as has ever been proposed. What it postulates (an intelligent designer) is even more complex, even more statistically improbable than what it explains. In fact it is such a bad theory it doesn’t deserve to be called a theory at all, and it certainly doesn’t deserve to be taught alongside evolution in science classes.

The simplicity of Darwin’s idea, then, is a virtue for three reasons. First, and most important, it is the signature of its immense power as a theory, when compared with the mass of disparate facts that it explains - everything about life including our own existence. Second, it makes it easy for children to understand (in addition to the obvious virtue of being true!), which means that it could be taught in the early years of school. And finally, it makes it extremely beautiful, one of the most beautiful ideas anyone ever had as well as arguably the most powerful. To die in ignorance of its elegance, and power to explain our own existence, is a tragic loss, comparable to dying without ever having experienced great music, great literature, or a beautiful sunset.

There are many reasons to vote against Rick Perry. His fatuous stance on the teaching of evolution in schools is perhaps not the first reason that springs to mind. But maybe it is the most telling litmus test of the other reasons, and it seems to apply not just to him but, lamentably, to all the likely contenders for the Republican nomination. The ‘evolution question’ deserves a prominent place in the list of questions put to candidates in interviews and public debates during the course of the coming election.

Richard Dawkins wrote this response to Governor Perry for On Faith, the Washington Post’s forum for news and opinion on religion and politics.

Ron Paul Just Another (Extreme) Republican

I would have to admit to knowing little about Ron Paul. Apart from a couple of positives that can be attributed to the fellow, ending foreign wars and US empire building, he has always flown under my radar.

Seemingly, if this article is to be believed, Ron Paul is just another racist, misogynist right wing jesoid, with ties to lots of organisations that wouldn't pass muster in any normal society.

5 Reasons Progressives Should Treat Ron Paul with Extreme Caution -- 'Cuddly' Libertarian Has Some Very Dark Politics

He's anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior-citizen, anti-equality and anti-education, and that's just the start.
By Adele M. Stan
August 26, 2011

There are few things as maddening in a maddening political season as the warm and fuzzy feelings some progressives evince for Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, the Republican presidential candidate. "The anti-war Republican," people say, as if that's good enough.

But Ron Paul is much, much more than that. He's the anti-Civil-Rights-Act Republican. He's an anti-reproductive-rights Republican. He's a gay-demonizing Republican. He's an anti-public education Republican and an anti-Social Security Republican. He's the John Birch Society's favorite congressman. And he's a booster of the Constitution Party, which has a Christian Reconstructionist platform. So, if you're a member of the anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-senior-citizen, anti-equality, anti-education, pro-communist-witch-hunt wing of the progressive movement, I can see how he'd be your guy.

Paul first drew the attention of progressives with his vocal opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Coupled with the Texan's famous call to end the Federal Reserve, that somehow rendered him, in the eyes of the single-minded, the GOP's very own Dennis Kucinich. Throw in Paul's opposition to the drug war and his belief that marriage rights should be determined by the states, and Paul seemed suitable enough to an emotionally immature segment of the progressive movement, a wing populated by people with privilege adequate enough to insulate them from the nasty bits of the Paul agenda. (Tough on you blacks! And you, women! And you, queers! And you, old people without money.)

Ron Paul's anti-war stance, you see, comes not from a cry for peace, but from the deeply held isolationism of the far right. Some may say that, when it comes to ending the slaughter of innocents, the ends justify the means. But, in their romance with Ron Paul, what ends do Paulite progressives really seek? The end of war, or simply payback for a president who has let them down. And for that payback some seem all too willing go along with means, that if allowed to come to fruition, involve trading the rights and security of a great many Americans for the promise of non-intervention.

Here's a list -- by no means comprehensive -- of Ron Paul positions and associates that should explain, once and for all, why no self-respecting progressive could possibly sidle up to Paul.

1) Ron Paul on Race

Based on his religious adherence to his purportedly libertarian principles, Ron Paul opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Unlike his son, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Ron Paul has not even tried to walk back from this position. In fact, he wears it proudly. Here's an excerpt from Ron Paul's 2004 floor speech about the Civil Rights Act, in which he explains why he voted against a House resolution honoring the 40th anniversary of the law:

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 not only violated the Constitution and reduced individual liberty; it also failed to achieve its stated goals of promoting racial harmony and a color-blind society. Federal bureaucrats and judges cannot read minds to see if actions are motivated by racism. Therefore, the only way the federal government could ensure an employer was not violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was to ensure that the racial composition of a business's workforce matched the racial composition of a bureaucrat or judge's defined body of potential employees. Thus, bureaucrats began forcing employers to hire by racial quota. Racial quotas have not contributed to racial harmony or advanced the goal of a color-blind society. Instead, these quotas encouraged racial balkanization, and fostered racial strife.

He also said this: "[T]he forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty." Go to page two.

Friday, August 26, 2011

SAS Murder Squad Hunts Gaddafi on Cameron's Orders

Which David Cameron, you don't mean this one perchance?

....“It’s a great pleasure to be here. The ideas we’re discussing today - ‘extremism, individual rights and the rule of law in Britain’

....One again we face that challenge. In its starkest terms, it comes from the direct security threat posed by a small minority who use terrorism to achieve their political aims. Concervatives

Unlike yourself of course.

....But I don’t think we need engage in some protracted exercise to define our
shared values. We can do it in a single phrase.
Freedom under the rule of law.

This simple, yet profound expression explains almost everything you need to
know about our country, our institutions, our history, our culture – even our

It is why British citizens are free men and women, able to do what they like
unless it harms others or is explicitly forbidden.
And why no-one and nothing is above the law. more pdf

Excepting, you, Tony, George, Dick, Don and Condi, I'm to take it?

David Cameron will take a calculated gamble and tell China's leaders today that they cannot shut down debate about democracy, urging them instead to recognise that political freedom, the rule of law and a free press represent the best path to stability and prosperity. Guardian November 2010

But more likely, this one. Confirmed numerous times here.

I think I've made my feelings clear, on to the story.

Britain's SAS leads hunt for Gaddafi
Thomas Harding, Gordon Rayner, Damien Mcelroy
August 26, 2011

LONDON: British special forces are on the ground in Libya helping to lead the hunt for Muammar Gaddafi.

As a $1.6 million bounty was placed on his head, soldiers from 22 SAS Regiment began guiding rebel soldiers after being ordered in by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.

For the first time, defence sources have confirmed the SAS has been in Libya for several weeks, and played a key role in co-ordinating the battle for Tripoli.

....With most of the capital in rebel hands, the SAS soldiers, who have been dressed in Arab civilian clothes and carrying the same weapons as the rebels, have been ordered to switch their focus to the search for Gaddafi. more


Libya is the new Afghanistan
by Con Coughlin
August 25 2011

So the worst-kept secret of the Libyan campaign is out – the SAS are busily hunting down Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, having orchestrated the rebels’ stunning advance on Tripoli. So much for David Cameron’s insistence that there would be no British boots on the ground in this conflict.

It was, in my view, inevitable that Mr Cameron should turn to the SAS to save his own political skin. As I have written on numerous occasions since the start of this conflict, you can’t overthrow determined dictators like Gaddafi from 20,000 feet.

By July the logic of this argument was obvious as the entire campaign was running into the sand, with Gaddafi still clinging to power after Nato had flown in excess of 16,000 combat missions, and the rebels in total disarray. Enter the SAS to save the day.

How sending in the SAS to hunt down Gaddafi squares with the original UN mandate is no doubt an issue people will want to examine further the next time there is a proper public debate on the issue. But to my mind Mr Cameron’s sophistry on the legitimacy of his Libyan adventure is no different to Tony Blair’s cavalier attitude towards the UN over Iraq.

So far so good you might be thinking, now read on.

Fucking Telegraph.

US Army: If You Wannabe in Our Gang Keep It Shut

Is Guantanamo still open, I thought Obama promised to close it? Shurely shome mishtake?

Army Reservist Told He's Barred From Re-Enlistment for Speaking to Truthout About Guantanamo
by Jason Leopold
25 August 2011

The US Army has told a reservist who has spent half his life in the military that he is barred from re-enlisting, asserting he "leaked" classified information to this reporter during an interview in which he spoke candidly about his experiences working as a guard at Guantanamo Bay eight years ago. more

And here's another broken promise, not that it comes as a surprise to anyone.

A pair of vitally important news reports were lost recently amid a blizzard of stories about the gyrating stock market and a rogue East Coast earthquake. The first came from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who announced that a deal had been struck to keep US forces in Iraq beyond the oft-publicized December 31st withdrawal deadline and into 2012, contrary to Mr. Obama's promises. Not long after, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki came forward to say hold on, wait a minute, nothing along these lines has been agreed upon as yet, and negotiations are still ongoing.

War: Too Big to Fail

Japan's PM Naoto Kan Gone as Parts of Northern Japan Declared Uninhabitable

Japan PM Naoto Kan announces resignation amid criticism more BBC


From Hiroshima to Fukushima: Japan Set to Declare Wide Area Uninhabitable Due to Radiation
By Greg Mitchell
25 August 2011

The worst nuclear disaster to strike Japan since a single bomb fell over Nagasaki in 1945 occurred in the spring of 2011 at the Fukushima nuclear power plant following the epic tsunami. On August 22, The New York Times reports (in submerged fashion, headlining Gaddafi’s imminent fall in Libya) the disturbing news that a wide area around the Fukushima plant "could soon be declared uninhabitable, perhaps for decades, after a government survey found radioactive contamination that far exceeded safe levels.”

According to The Times, "The formal announcement, expected from the government in coming days, would be the first official recognition that the March accident could force the long-term depopulation of communities near the plant, an eventuality that scientists and some officials have been warning about for months." Just two weeks ago, it was reported that radiation readings at the site had reached their highest points to date.

As Winifred Bird and Elizabeth Grossman report, moreover, radiation risks have been compounded by severe chemical contamination throughout the Fukushima area and its peripheries as a result of earthquake tsunami destruction of petro-and agrochemical plants, iron foundries, steel works, automotive, electronics, plastics and pharmaceutical plants among others. Toxic Watch Network posted a map of 130 such facilities throughout the Northeast Region (

Above all, the wide release of radiation, and fear of same, has forced the Japanese and others all over the world to reflect on what happened to the country in 1945, and the continuing (but usually submerged) threat of nuclear weapons and energy today.

In its main story marking the sixty-sixth anniversary of the atomic bombings, the New York Times highlighted the new activism of survivors of the bombing (the hibakusha): campaigning against nuclear power, which has provided most of their country’s energy needs. No one in the world can better relate to the fears of a wide populace terrified that they (and perhaps the unborn) may be tainted forever by exposure to radiation.

As Kodama Tatsuhiko, head of the Tokyo University Radioisotope Center has pointed out, the Japanese government has both concealed and distorted the true dimensions of radioactivity released following the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power reactors. Kodama observes that, “according to what we know so far, when we compare the amount of radiation that remained after the a-bomb and that of radiation from the nuclear plant, that of the former goes down to one-thousandth after one year whereas radioactive contaminants of the latter are reduced to only one-tenth.” ( Zeroing in on the critical dangers to pregnant women and infants, he shows the extremely high risk of cancer in areas of radiation concentration in the form of Iodine and Cesium isotopes. Above all, Kodama shows that, given the vagaries of wind, rain, and terrain, the danger zone is by no means limited to the proposed evacuation zone. more Asia Pacific

Previous: Japan is Fucked Short Term Long Term

Thursday, August 25, 2011

FBI Manufacturing Domestic Terror Plots

After my recent bitching about entrapment masquerading as law enforcement, (We Don't Need No Yankies Mr Cameron) I was more than pleased to come across this article that catalogues in the one place, the details of such heinous practises carried out by the FBI.

Update, Democracy Now has a segment on this. watch

FBI Organizes Almost All Terror Plots In the US
By Russia Today
August 24, 2011

The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.

If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.

Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes.

The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report put together by Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at the University of California-Berkley analyses some striking statistics about the role of FBI informants in terrorism cases that the Bureau has targeted in the decade since the September 11 attacks.

The report reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize.

Additionally, one former high-level FBI officials speaking to Mother Jones says that, for every informant officially employed by the bureau, up to three unofficial agents are working undercover.

The FBI has used those informants to set-up and thus shut-down several of the more high profile would-be attacks in recent years. The report reveals that the Washington DC Metro bombing plot, the New York City subway plot, the attempt to blow up Chicago’s Sears Tower and dozens more were all orchestrated by FBI agents. In fact, reads the report, only three of the more well-known terror plots of the last decade weren’t orchestrated by FBI-involved agents.

The report reveals that in many of the stings, important meetings between informants and the unknowing participants are left purposely unrecorded, as to avoid any entrapment charges that could cause the case to be dismissed. Perhaps the most high-profile of the FBI-proposed plots was the case of the Newburgh 4. Around an hour outside of New York City, an informant infiltrated a Muslim community and engaged four local men to carry out a series of attacks. Those men may have never actually carried out an attack, but once the informant offered them a plot and a pair of missiles, they agreed. Defense attorneys cried “entrapment,” but the men still were sentenced to 25 years apiece.

"The problem with the cases we're talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents," Martin Stolar tells Mother Jones. Stolar represented the suspect involved in a New York City bombing plot that was set-up by FBI agents. "They're creating crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror." For their part, the FBI says this method is a plan for "preemption," "prevention" and "disruption."

The report also reveals that, of the 500-plus prosecutions of terrorism-related cases they analyzed, nearly half of them involved the use of informants, many of whom worked for the FBI in exchange for money or to work off criminal charges. Of the 158 prosecutions carried out, 49 defendants participated in plots that agent provocateurs arranged on behalf of the FBI.

Experts note that the chance of winning a terrorism-related trial, entrapment or not, is near impossible. "The plots people are accused of being part of — attacking subway systems or trying to bomb a building — are so frightening that they can overwhelm a jury," David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor, tells Mother Jones. Since 9/11, almost two-thirds of the cases linked to terrorism have ended with guilty pleas. “They don't say, 'I've been entrapped,' or, 'I was immature,’” a retired FBI official remarks.

All of this and those guilty pleas often stem for just being in the right place at the wrong time. Farhana Khera of the group Muslim Advocate notes that agents go into mosques on “fishing expeditions” just to see where they can get interest in the community. "The FBI is now telling agents they can go into houses of worship without probable cause," says Khera. "That raises serious constitutional issues."

From the set-up to the big finish, the whole sting operation is ripe with constitutional issues such as that. A decade since 9/11, however, the FBI is reaching through whatever means it can pull together to keep terrorists — or whom they think could someday become one — from ever hurting America. Russia Today, and not a bad site at all for an alternate view of things.

Preppers: Maybe Not So Crazy After All

Maybe Not So Crazy Afterall

It would have been quite easy to dismiss this story as easily as I might once have easily dismissed the participants, as both batshit and paranoid. But like the rest of us that have our eyes open, these fellows, the Preppers, see the same writing on the wall.

And that writing, writ large, is that as the establishment strips away every safety net, not just from the underprivileged but the middle classes alike, the haves are in real fear that as society falls apart, the ever growing numbers of have-nots are going to rise up and take it away from the haves.

Preparing for an apocalypse in America

The American Preppers Network is a group of people storing supplies, equipment and ammunition in case an end of the world disaster strikes the U.S. RT visits one such family.

­A typical house in a regular suburban town, but here – a family is preparing for the end of the world.

A German Mauser and P-38 from the Second World War, a twelve-gage shot gun, a forty caliber pistol and an AR-15 – weapons and ammunition are key.

“If we are carrying this out on the street for some reason – all hell broke out. It’s an end of the world type situation. You can’t walk around with these guns here,” said Keith Proskura.

A certified NRA instructor and owner of two businesses, he stores food and supplies to help him survive no matter what disaster might hit.

“Brake down of government is one thing a lot of people are preparing for now. We are facing possible pay delays for social security. I am not going to need all of this stuff for that, but you are going to have a lot of Americans who are upset,” he explained.

The 37 year old is among thousands of American preppers who would rather be ready than sorry. RT spoke with Tom Martin – the founder of the Preppers Network – from inside his truck.

“It’s not so much political, but more economic. I see people every day lose their jobs and have to rely on food that they have stored up previously to live on that food, just because they’ve lost their jobs,” said Martin. More and video.

Previous related:

Fred Reed: Killing Afghans Matters More Than Feeding Granny in Spokane

Paul Craig Roberts: 9/11 What Have We Learned?

This is an excellent article by Paul Craig Roberts, made all the better for barely touching on the subject of thermite, molten pools of steel and all the rest of it.

What Roberts does do however, is take a look at what is in plain sight; the behavioural patterns of those involved, be it the (hobbling) of the 9/11 Commission, the furtiveness of the White House in all things, the failure of all sixteen US intelligence agencies, NORAD et al.

Because what we mustn't forget, and as far as I am aware, is that not one head rolled over the failures of that tragic day, or as Roberts puts it in a one liner: the defining event of our time.

A one liner that speaks volumes.

My point is, how uninquisitive the executive branch including the security agencies, Congress, the media, and much of the population are about the defining event of our time.

Drive on.

9/11 After A Decade: Have We Learned Anything?
by Paul Craig Roberts
August 24, 2011

In a few days it will be the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. How well has the US government’s official account of the event held up over the decade?

Not very well. The chairman, vice chairman, and senior legal counsel of the 9/11 Commission wrote books partially disassociating themselves from the commission’s report. They said that the Bush administration put obstacles in their path, that information was withheld from them, that President Bush agreed to testify only if he was chaperoned by Vice President Cheney and neither were put under oath, that Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission and that the commission considered referring the false testimony for investigation for obstruction of justice.

In their book, the chairman and vice chairman, Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, wrote that the 9/11 Commission was “set up to fail.” Senior counsel John Farmer, Jr., wrote that the US government made “a decision not to tell the truth about what happened,” and that the NORAD “tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public.” Kean said, “We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth.”

Most of the questions from the 9/11 families were not answered. Important witnesses were not called. The commission only heard from those who supported the government’s account. The commission was a controlled political operation, not an investigation of events and evidence. Its membership consisted of former politicians. No knowledgeable experts were appointed to the commission.

One member of the 9/11 Commission, former Senator Max Cleland, responded to the constraints placed on the commission by the White House: “If this decision stands, I, as a member of the commission, cannot look any American in the eye, especially family members of victims, and say the commission had full access. This investigation is now compromised.” Cleland resigned rather than have his integrity compromised.

To be clear, neither Cleland nor members of the commission suggested that 9/11 was an inside job to advance a war agenda. Nevertheless, neither Congress nor the media wondered, at least not out loud, why President Bush was unwilling to appear before the commission under oath or without Cheney, why Pentagon and FAA officials lied to the commission or, if the officials did not lie, why the commission believed they lied, or why the White House resisted for so long any kind of commission being formed, even one under its control.

One would think that if a handful of Arabs managed to outwit not merely the CIA and FBI but all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of our allies including Mossad, the National Security Council, the State Department, NORAD, airport security four times on one morning, air traffic control, etc., the President, Congress, and the media would be demanding to know how such an improbable event could occur. Instead, the White House put up a wall of resistance to finding out, and Congress and the media showed little interest.

During the decade that has passed, numerous 9/11 Truth organizations have formed.

There are Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, Firefighters for 9/11 Truth, Pilots for 9/11 Truth, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, Remember Building, and a New York group which includes 9/11 families. These groups call for a real investigation.

David Ray Griffen has written 10 carefully researched books documenting problems in the government’s account. Scientists have pointed out that the government has no explanation for the molten steel. NIST has been forced to admit that WTC 7 was in free fall for part of its descent, and a scientific team led by a professor of nano-chemistry at the University of Copenhagen has reported finding nano-thermite in the dust from the buildings.

Larry Silverstein, who had the lease on the World Trade Center buildings, said in a PBS broadcast that the decision was made “to pull” Building 7 late in the afternoon of 9/11. Chief fire marshals have said that no forensic investigation was made of the buildings’ destruction and that the absence of investigation was a violation of law.

Some efforts have been made to explain away some of the evidence that is contrary to the official account, but most of the contrary evidence is simply ignored. The fact remains that the skepticism of a large number of knowledgeable experts has had no effect on the government’s position other than a member of the Obama administration suggesting that the government infiltrate the 9/11 truth organizations in order to discredit them.

The practice has been to brand experts not convinced by the government’s case “conspiracy theorists.” But of course the government’s own theory is a conspiracy theory, an even less likely one once a person realizes its full implication of intelligence and operational failures. The implied failures are extraordinarily large; yet, no one was ever held accountable.

Moreover, what do 1,500 architects and engineers have to gain from being ridiculed as conspiracy theorists? They certainly will never receive another government contract, and many surely lost business as a result of their “anti-American” stance. Their competitors must have made hay out of their “unpatriotic doubts.” Indeed, my reward for reporting on how matters stand a decade after the event will be mail telling me that as I hate America so much I should move to Cuba.

Scientists have even less incentive to express any doubts, which probably explains why there are not 1,500 Physicists for 9/11 Truth. Few physicists have careers independent of government grants or contracts. It was a high school physics teacher who forced NIST to abandon its account of Building 7’s demise. Physicist Stephen Jones, who first reported finding evidence of explosives, had his tenure bought out by BYU, which no doubt found itself under government pressure.

We can explain away contrary evidence as coincidences and mistakes and conclude that only the government got it all correct, the same government that got everything else wrong.

In fact, the government has not explained anything. The NIST report is merely a simulation of what might have caused the towers to fail if NIST’s assumptions programed into the computer model are correct. But NIST supplies no evidence that its assumptions are correct.

Building 7 was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report, and many Americans are still unaware that three buildings came down on 9/11.

Let me be clear about my point. I am not saying that some black op group in the neoconservative Bush administration blew up the buildings in order to advance the neoconservative agenda of war in the Middle East. If there is evidence of a coverup, it could be the government covering up its incompetence and not its complicity in the event. Even if there were definite proof of government complicity, it is uncertain that Americans could accept it. Architects, engineers, and scientists live in a fact-based community, but for most people facts are no match for emotions.

My point is how uninquisitive the executive branch including the security agencies, Congress, the media, and much of the population are about the defining event of our time.

There is no doubt that 9/11 is the determinant event. It has led to a decade of ever expanding wars, to the shredding of the Constitution, and to a police state. On August 22 Justin Raimondo reported that he and his website,, are being monitored by the FBI’s Electronic Communication Analysis Unit to determine if is “a threat to National Security” working “on behalf of a foreign power.”

Francis A. Boyle, an internationally known professor and attorney of international law, has reported that when he refused a joint FBI-CIA request to violate the attorney/client privilege and become an informant on his Arab-American clients, he was placed on the US government’s terrorist watch list.

Boyle has been critical of the US government’s approach to the Muslim world, but Raimondo has never raised, nor permitted any contributor to raise, any suspicion about US government complicity in 9/11. Raimondo merely opposes war, and that is enough for the FBI to conclude that he needs watching as a possible threat to national security.

The US government’s account of 9/11 is the foundation of the open-ended wars that are exhausting America’s resources and destroying its reputation, and it is the foundation of the domestic police state that ultimately will shut down all opposition to the wars. Americans are bound to the story of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attack, because it is what justifies the slaughter of civilian populations in several Muslim countries, and it justifies a domestic police state as the only means of securing safety from terrorists, who already have morphed into “domestic extremists” such as environmentalists, animal rights groups, and antiwar activists.

Today Americans are unsafe, not because of terrorists and domestic extremists, but because they have lost their civil liberties and have no protection from unaccountable government power. One would think that how this came about would be worthy of public debate and congressional hearings. ICH

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

North Anna - Fuhushima - Alexander Higgins - Fairewinds Associates

I received an email, alerting to the earthquake that hit the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant in Virginia. Only because it is personally au courant, (I plan to attend a local meeting later in the week on the subject of fracking) that I wondered if indeed fracking had played a role in the event.

That doesn't appear to be the case, or none that I could find. Rather more a case of building the thing in the wrong goddamned place to start with. Let me paraphrase: Nuclear power plants are the world's most expensive fault-line detectors.

The Daily Kos has a bit on the cover up sighting of the plant:

Louis Zeller, the League’s legal representative, said that Dominion covered up evidence of a geologic fault in the 1970’s and that they now want a variance because they cannot meet safety standards.

The Daily Kos thing came up as a result doing the rounds to see how the main stream media were spinning this. But like any of us these days, unless absolutely forced, the MSM is not a pool we like to paddle in, and the case never more so, than when money and nuke power are involved.

Choosing rather, to gather our information, to visit those who we feel are telling it like it is. My first ports of call for things nuclear are, Fairewinds Associates and blogger Alexander Higgins. Fairewinds had nothing on the North Anna plant as yet, but that didn't surprise me greatly, Fairewinds aren't a ''daily scoop'' kind of a site, preferring as they do to analyse the data first before issuing their findings.

No, to keep abreast of the breaking and daily news, it is to Alexander Higgins that I go. And having said that, I am going to leave no more than this link to the North Anna story, because it is after all Arnie Gunderson's latest report on Fukushima that I want to bring to the fore. Update here. But for real scary stuff there is this video report from Helen Caldicott, who touches on many things, Chernobyl, food, Depleted Uranium, Iraq birth defects et al.

In fact the clip is so compelling I am going to embed it. But do visit web page, for there is much more to be found there, including another Arnie Gunderson clip.

Though based on nothing more than I have read, other than that is, applying that which I hold dear to me, hold more dearly than brains, for it is oft the case that just one ounce of common sense is worth a pound of the grey matter, and it is that which I apply to the situation in Fukushima, common sense. It is such an application that caused me to write this.

The potential for a collapse of a society is I think a very real threat. That great swathes of this comparatively small country are almost certain to become uninhabitable, its level of food production decimated and groundwater contaminated forever, cannot be underestimated or written off.

Add to these not insignificant woes, the future prospect of untold numbers of health related problems, the future does indeed look grim. And to be taken into consideration, the very real threats to Japan's manufacturing industries and potential loss of markets, it becomes increasingly difficult to see how Japan can perform as a functioning society.

The seemingly devil may care attitude by vast majority to what is actually happening in Japan reminds me of a story once told to me by a friend, John.

John and a colleague had occasion to conduct some business north of the border and found themselves on a domestic flight in a gale of wind, bound for one or other of the Scottish airports.

Both ex pilots, thoroughly aware of the conditions, the wind speed and direction, and not least the layout of the only runway that would be available to them, were, in their own words, shitting themselves. Strapped in with an eye on the nearest exit, all the while surrounded by fellows reading the Evening Standard and calling for ''just another gin Giovanni, before we land.''

But the difference between that flight and the situation at Fukushima is, that flight did eventually get down on the ground. Fukushima has been, and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, constantly on final approach. Japan is Fucked Short Term Long Term

Which brings us to Arnie Gunderson's latest report, the content of which I am sad to say, does nothing to counter my opinion, but rather endorse it. The details given out in the report get progressively more alarming throughout the clip, culminating with Gunderson's take on Japan's apparent philosophy concerning the status quo.

''Japan has a problem, a tough problem, but in order to solve a tough problem, first you have to recognise there is a tough problem. Ans this constant ignoring of the significance of the problem by the Japanese Government is in fact making it longer, and eventually more costly than doing it right the first time....''

New Data Supports Previous Fairewinds Analysis, as Contamination Spreads in Japan and Worldwide from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

Newly released neutron data from three University of California San Diego scientists confirms Fairewinds' April analysis that the nuclear core at Fukushima Daiichi turned on and off after TEPCO claimed its reactors had been shutdown. This periodic nuclear chain reaction (inadvertent criticality) continued to contaminate the surrounding environment and upper atmosphere with large doses of radioactivity.

In a second area of concern, Fairewinds disagrees the NRC's latest report claiming that all Fukushima spent fuel pools had no problems following the earthquake. In a new revelation, the NRC claims that the plutonium found more than 1 mile offsite actually came from inside the nuclear reactors. If such a statement were true, it indicates that the nuclear power plant containments failed and were breached with debris landing far from the power plants themselves. Such a failure of the containment system certainly necessitates a complete review of all US reactor containment design and industry assurances that containments will hold in radioactivity in the event of a nuclear accident. The evidence Fairewinds reviewed to date continues to support its April analysis that the detonation in the Unit 3 Spent Fuel pool was the cause of plutonium found off site.

Third, the burning of radioactive materials (building materials, trees, lawn grass, rice straw) by the Japanese government will cause radioactive Cesium to spread even further into areas within Japan that have been previously clean, and across the Pacific Ocean to North America.

And finally, the Japanese government has yet to grasp the severity of the contamination within Japan, and therefore has not developed a coherent plan mitigate the accident and remediate the environment. Without a cohesive plan to deal with this ongoing problem of large scale radioactive contamination, the radioactivity will continue to spread throughout Japan and around the globe further exacerbating the problem and raising costs astronomically. Fairewinds