Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Do You REALLY Want A 'Frankenfish' With Those Fries?

A GMO-designed salmon, aka 'Frankenfish',  next to its smaller, normal cousin.

When the topic turned to the latest GMO-designed monstrosity, a new salmon dubbed 'frankenfish' because its growth hormones don't stop pumping over its life cycle, Dr. David Agus on the CBS Early Show medical spot didn't mince words. He averred he would not eat tis beastie and further, Americans ought to know what the hell kind of food they're ingesting - it's not good enough for the Neoliberal-coopted FDA to just say everything is fine.

Agus explained the process entails first "taking a gene from a different salmon, e.g. Chinook, then taking genes that turn on other genes from an eel (ocean pout eel) which had one growing season so it makes the GMO salmon grow all the time."

He added: "The problem is we don't know much about it", noting "the FDA is standing out there saying this stuff is safe to eat but you do not have the right to know whether it's genetically modified or not".

Why not? Well, because like most federal agencies the FDA is in the maw of the big corporations so must do their bidding. Can't have the poor little rats losing profits because of a few cancers of the bowel, liver or kidneys.

Of course, the process itself - which may also involve other genes, e.g. mouse, rat, squid -  is not known given it's considered "proprietary". (We do know that mouse genes in GMO tomatoes help to preserve their shelf life at grocers who carry them.) Also, as Agus pointed out, there have been no long term studies done on humans. While a breast or bowel cancer may not show up in a year, it might in 16 years if a person keeps consuming GMOs.

Fortunately, a number of supermarkets - including Trader Joe's, Target, Kroger's, Whole Foods, Costco and Safeway - have taken matters into their own hands (according to the CBS graphic displayed) and vowed they will not sell this creature. If they can't label the damned thing, they won't sell it.

It brings to mind again the conversation I had with Barbadian geneticist and biologist John Phillips (below) back in 2012 when I asked what his worst nightmare was in terms of GMO foods.

He didn't hesitate and stated:

"That would be any developing any genetically modified organisms for food, for which abnormal growth is promoted by the use of growth hormones and using a source creature that enables it".

He feared such a food, such a 'creature' would spawn "millions of new cancers" and asserted - like David Agus on the CBS spot yesterday - that the precautionary principle ought to be the guiding one. That is, the designers ought to be the ones to have to prove eating this creature is safe. People, consumers ought not to have to prove it is unsafe.

Apart from the health concerns, environmental activists oppose the salmon because, as Dr. Agus notes, they can escape and mix with wild fish, even out competing naturally occurring varieties. This was the reason The Center for Food Safety has vowed to sue the FDA in order to block final approval.

According to a Wall Street Journal piece on this beast, a bunch named AquaBounty is developing it.  The Journal observes:

"AquaBounty estimate it will take several years before the fish hits the market, because it needs to expand its farm facilities and begin raising the salmon. Still the (FDA) approval is a major victory for the company, which initially sought approval in 1995 and has in the past struggled to maintain funding."

The piece also noted that while AquaBounty has contemplated labeling its salmon, the FDA's Director for Food Safety has maintained that :

"The FDA can only require labeling of GMO foods if regulators find a material difference from conventionally produced versions"

And in the case of the AquaBounty monster salmon:

"The FDA did not find such differences."

To which I call 'bollocks'. The very fact this thing "will grow to a market weight twice as fast as wild or farmed versions" (see photo)  shows it is materially different. It does not have to sport mouse ears to be so classified, for god's sake. The sheer increase in mass shows it is! The growth hormones needed to make it a reality include those extracted from eels, as well as Chinook salmon.

Again, if people choose of their own volition to purchase this monstrosity for a fish fry, fine. But more discriminating buyers ought to be able to see the different brands at stores labeled as Dr. David Agus and John Phillips insist. It's just a matter of honoring a basic right to know what the hell you are eating. The FDA's rubber stamp may be ok for Neoliberals not fussy about how their cancers occur, but the rest of us damned well want to know!

The corporate whore kingdom often cites the FDA or other government agencies to bestow benediction on GMO foods, i.e. that they are "safe" - but of course these federal agencies have already been bought out long ago and become de facto PR- whore extensions for the corporatocracy. This is why they incessantly fight to keep labels off GMO foods.

While anti-GMO folks are lampooned by the Neoliberal governmental -business estate and its lackeys, let's bear in mind 64 countries already require labeling of GMO foods or ban them outright. Why is the U.S. different? Or better, why is the U.S. the exceptional dumb nation here? Could it be the corporate state has our gov't by the balls, lock, stock and barrel? Maybe! As Heather White observed on Oz' s 9/19/14 show, they are only willing to "rubber stamp" what the corporations want and most of our agencies are in their maw. That makes them corporate whores!

The American thing to do is to provide labeling for all foods, not deny citizens (via the 'DARK' Act) to have the right to know what they're eating!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Hillary's Middle Class Tax Cut Plan Is A Non-Starter

In Europe, citizens of high benefits nations (Germany, France, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland)  understand one doesn't get something for nothing and that higher taxes are the price paid for state social support. Thus, citizens need not worry about health care, higher education debt and daycare - like those in the U.S. 

However, in this country, people are baited again and again by "tax cuts"  when they ought to know by now they don't work and will only force cuts to their most desired social benefits later, e.g. Social Security, Medicare and VA health benefits.  That tax cuts, including middle class, don't work has already been proven by a detailed (Sept. 15, 2010) analysis appearing in the Financial Times.

That analysis (p. 24) showed the earlier Bush tax cuts engendered "the weakest decade in U.S. postwar history for real, non-residential capital investment".

The FT analysis also observed that during each decade from the 1950s to the 1990s, growth in real gross non-residential investment averaged between 3.5 percent and 7.4 percent a decade. During the 2000s it averaged a mere 1%”

This is evidence enough that the Democrats have to stop playing politics with these god damned tax cuts!

Yet on reading The Wall Street Journal (Nov. 21-22, 'Clinton Proposes Middle Class Tax Cuts', p. A4) one sees Hillary is ready to pander again, hoping enough Americans are stupid enough to bite in order to give her their votes.

A Clinton campaign aide quoted in the piece insists her plan:

"would inject hundreds of billions of dollars into middle class households enabling them to better cope with expenses."

But this is total snake oil. As we've seen with the Bush tax cuts, later unwisely extended by Obama and Co., a huge push was initiated in 2010  to also cut Social Security under Obama's "Debt Commission". This was no coincidence. Obama's advisors knew something would have to give because the extension of those cuts - especially to the middle class (since on the rich alone they don't pay the freight) would otherwise create $1.2 trillion in deficits over the total time employed. The only way to offset them would be to cut "entitlements" - and the 'Chained CPI" was proposed  before Democratic forces inveighed against it forcing Obama-ites to back down.

Now, Hillary wants to resurrect this baloney, not telling Americans that if they accept these tax cuts they will pay the piper later - likely in future cuts to much more valuable Social Security and Medicare benefits. But Hillary is determined realizing that Bernie Sanders' plan for REAL benefits to the middle class, including free college, expansion of Social Security and single payer health care, can only be paid for by at least a nine percent increase in taxes (though at this level defense cuts will also have to be considered).

So, in order to further separate herself from Sanders, she proposes middle class tax cuts  The outfit behind this scurvy plan is likely the Third Way bunch which we (on the Left) like to call "Republican Lite".    This is because instead of pushing progressive values and populist economics, they call for welfare "reform," talk about how cutting Social Security, and support awful trade deals like NAFTA and the TPP. And if that wasn't bad enough, they also take in millions of dollars in donations from the fat cats on Wall Street, big Pharma and the so-called "defense" industry.

According to the WSJ piece "Third Way, a centrist think tank said Mrs. Clinton is outlining an approach that should lift sagging middle class fortunes".

But they don't say it would only be for a time. Then the hammer of other benefits cuts would fall on these middle class folks to avoid deficits busting the nation.

Anyone who can do math would instantly see, as Clive Cook pointed out some 6 years ago in an article in the Financial Times, that middle class tax cuts are insanity. You simply can't get enough revenue with tax on the wealthiest alone, even the upper one percent. He argued it needs to go as low as the upper 40 percent which includes the upper middle class and the "middle middle class".

Obama didn't heed the repeated warning, not just from the FT but elsewhere, so no surprise barely two years after extending the Bush cuts for the middle class he began proposing Social Security cuts.

Ultimately the backlash and outcry forced Obama to take stock and realize he was batting on a losing wicket, see e.g.


As for the president and his supporters, it is clear that the chained CPI is well-liked by both the White House's key economic players -- and by many of the commentators who support them. That's unfortunate, because it is inaccurate, unjust, and economically unwise. But like it, they do.

It appears that both the Republicans and the White House like it, but neither wants such a politically unpopular measure hung around their neck -- especially in an election year.”

Hillary, should she get elected next year and try to push her misbegotten tax cuts through,  will also get the same reaction if she subsequently tries to cut "entitlement" programs to offset the cost of  the tax cuts.

Hillary's middle class tax cut plan is bad for another reason. As reported in The Economist (Nov 24), such "expensive" tax cuts "would require a squeeze on public investment. That would sap productivity, especially given the shoddy state of America's infrastructure."

The article adds that the "burden of shoddy roads, airports and energy infrastructure will cost every household $3,100 a year according to the American Society of Civil Engineers".

That, along with later Social Security and Medicare cuts, ought to convince any sensible American not to bite on Hillary's tax cut snake oil. Bernie Sanders' proposed increase in taxes -including on the middle class- is the only one that makes mathematical or policy sense - if salvaging the middle class is a priority.

Bottom line: You can't get something for nothing!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Global Economy Cannot Be Based On Population Growth!

Isaac Asimov makes a crucial point about over population at his Queen's Park Lecture in Barbados, on Feb. 6, 1976. This photo was part of a write-up in The Barbados Advocate newspaper.

There is a good reason why most physical scientists consider the majority of economists to be blockheads and simpletons: they don't use rational or testable models. One of the most irritating aspects of market economics posits that population growth is essential for future economics growth. This simpleton proposition was expressed yet again in today's Wall Street Journal (p. A1, 'Population's Flagging Growth Undermines Global Economy')

The author, Greg Ip, writing:

"Previous generations fretted about the world having too many people. Today's problem is too few. This reflects two long-established trends: lengthening lifespans and declining fertility.

Simply put, companies are running out of workers, customers or both. In either case economic growth suffers"

Which is total, unadulterated balderdash which no serious rational person should buy. It is merely PR and propaganda for a world we simply cannot afford.  See, e.g.


As noted therein, there's an 80 percent probability that world population - now 7.3 billion - will increase to between 9.6 billion and 12.3 billion by 2100.  This portends a basically unlivable world featuring assorted life-destroying forms of blowback (new diseases, mass starvation, antibiotic failure, disasters, wars) .

As Isaac Asimov bluntly put it in a magnificent lecture delivered in Barbados in February, 1976:

"We can either control our numbers, or.....let nature increase the human death rate"

A serious marker is the fact we humans are currently consuming the equivalent resources of 1.5 Earths per year, which is clearly unsustainable. In fact, it is now approaching 1.6 Earths because of the added humans - more than eighty million per year (1 million added every 4.5 days according to Alan Weisman).   The excellent BBC documentary last year on the Earth's population (hosted by Richard Attenborough) entitled: 'How Many People Can Earth Hold?' also provided much needed realistic insights on sustainability and the planet's bio-support capacity.

Attenborough didn't pull punches or mince words, noting that every current major societal, environmental problem:  from clogged highways, to overflowing hospital ERs to crowded schools, as well as scarcity of commodities (reflected in their much increased prices) to fouling of our water and atmosphere and the greenhouse effect, can be laid at the feet of too many people on this planet - each needing food, air, water and energy from the time it's born.  The more people generated the more CO2 produced as a result of their gobbling resources and assorted carbon footprints. While the latter are greatest in the West, because our societies are based on consumption,

By the same token, Greg Ip's idiotic complaint that the global economy will suffer from flagging population growth is based upon the market economy's over reliance on consumption - as opposed to services. It is also flat out wrong in its claims!

For example, Ip claims companies are "running out of workers". Absolutely not so!  There are an estimated 93 million unemployed or under-employed workers in toto in all the industrial (G 20)  nations and that may well be an underestimate. There are an estimated 150m - 250m unemployed workers world wide all with marketable skills. Why aren't their talents being put to use?  The answer is that capitalist market economies demand higher unemployment numbers - called the "employment rent" - a barometer used by the Federal Reserve to stave off inflation. (Alan Greenspan once stated that every 1 million unemployed workers lowers inflation by 1 percent).  Then there is the general tenet that too few unemployed workers  will drive up wage pressure. Also a goodly pool of "surplus workers" is supposed to strike fear into the existing workers not to complain too much about their jobs or one of the next 20 in line will take them. In other words, unemployment is based on FEAR in market economies.

This simply cannot hold and this attitude is unsustainable! This also applies to healthy, older workers - of whom there are tens of millions in the U.S. alone, who want work and are willing to work - not just sit in recliners watching reruns on TV all day! Why aren't these older workers being hired instead of being let go? Because of rampant ageism which the AARP has repeatedly exposed!  (This goes back to a Fortune 500 white paper that appeared in 1996 claiming that keeping workers past age 50 threatened companies with "diminishing returns". What utter bullshit!)

Hence, Ip's claim is palpable bullshit!

He also insists that companies are "running out of customers". In fact, the truth of the matter is too few companies are producing the service-based artifacts and devices that most people really need. Matching that, current wage levels don't generate the salaries needed (even for existing workers) to provide the disposable income to buy most of the durables  on offer without going into serious debt. (Subprime car loans are now among the fastest growing - totaling $30b according to the WSJ) . Hence, existing customers go for the low hanging more affordable toys such as HDTVs and Ipads etc, available on Black Fridays or at major sales.

Elderly people, since Ip complains about "lengthening life spans" -also need more and varied medical and other services. A recent AARP Bulletin report ('Caregiving in America 2015', Nov. p. 6) notes:

"An invisible army of 40 millions heroes sacrifice their days and nights to care for loved ones. It's time the nation recognized their work"

Indeed! So where the hell are the additional service workers to take over those stressful jobs or at least help them to make lives easier. THAT IS WHERE THE JOBS ARE NEEDED AND CUSTOMERS!  The piece notes that a total of "37 billion hours of unpaid caregiving worth $470 billion" is administered. Why can't companies do it and for a decent price?

Thus, Ip's whining that there is a "shift toward demand of services such as health care"  and away from durable goods - like cars and TVs - is understandable. Can't these stupid capitalists grasp that most Americans already have enough 'stuff'? What they need are more services of every variety, especially in the caregiving realm. (Not just for the elderly but also disabled younger citizens and those ravaged by serious cancers and/or cancer treatments.) There is plenty of work to go around and millions of "customers". And there will be no end to either going forward!

Ip admits (p. A14) that the population increase is indeed more than ample - up 32 percent by 2050- but the "working age" population (ages 26-64) "will only have increased 26 percent". Well, then "working age" needs to be redefined! He admits this means "working longer" or encouraging people to do so, but has absolutely no prescriptions, none, for getting companies to escape their ageist mold and hiring them.   It is obviously one thing to say people should work longer, another to ensure they can get the chance and not be discriminated against.

Contrary to Ip's obsession with durables production, we certainly don't need more stuff in our homes to end up in the massive trash piles and landfills for which we are already running out of space.  Already the inventories of unpurchased durables are so great that warehouses may not be cleared out in 2 years even if there's no further production. What we need, therefore, is a total re-orientation of jobs -including fixing our mangled infrastructure - as opposed to generating more crap to sell:  more Ipads, more Barbies, more X-boxes etc.

Besides all this, economic growth imperatives are toxic by their very nature.

As Charles Reich poignantly notes in his book, Opposing the System, Crown Books, p. 103:

"When society itself comes to be modeled on economic and organizational principles, all of the forces that bind people together are torn apart in the struggle for survival. Community is destroyed because we are no longer 'in this together' because everyone is a threat to everyone else. "

In such a capitalist-driven, consumerist organizational economic model, wherein the resource “pie” for the non-wealthy elite grows ever smaller, the young are threats to us oldsters, as we are threats to them, as neighbor is to neighbor. It can't be otherwise. This capitalist model has seen fit, in other words, to destroy our areas of commonality and common cause, replacing neutral civic space with demeaning commercial space and commercialist, market values.

Reich then describes the visceral 'dog-eat-dog', endless economic warfare that ensues between people in the never ending quest to 'make it' and not be left behind. A tragic game wherein every one, every man, woman and child has a 'market value' and all abiding principles, social or moral, are reduced to economics. Alas, the cost resides in devastated marriages, families and communities.

The capitalist driven “rupture” can occur as quickly as when your neighbor builds a large recreational pool, or puts in a hot tub, and you can’t afford one. Or when he makes a great home improvement add-on while you are left to humble by with the status quo.

By comparison, the endemic socialist, communitarian structures of Barbados or Norway (for example) promote a healthy growth of the social commonweal and the belief that what is done for the benefit of one, or a few, redounds to the benefit of all. Hence, the imperatives for government subsidized low cost housing, national health insurance for all, free education through college. The result is no one becomes hyper-rich (by virtue of the progressive, leveling tax scales), but no kid is starving when he goes to bed at night either, as shown on one CBS '60 Minutes' piece several months ago.

In the U.S. capitalist system, it is more rank commercialized competition that prevails - and that engenders a perpetual creative destruction that ravages precious resources.

IN a world in which already we are consuming the equivalent of 1.6 Earths a year, we simply can't afford more consuming inhabitants. The aim must be to continue toward a stable population policy and adapt economics to suit. Endless growth can no longer be part of the conversation or on the table. See e.g.

And here is a more useful template for our economist friends (or economics journalists)  like Greg Ip to go by:

1) The definition of economic assets must be extended to include ecological resources, including virgin forests (what is left!) fresh, potable water, and arable land.

2) The definition of growth must be expanded to include entities/activities that are not resource-intensive. For example, let's look at reading and writing poetry, giving singing classes or physics tutorials.

3) Time must be fully exchangeable for money, thereby allowing workers to have more of it via a reasonable monetary exchange. This is especially geared to the 40 million- odd caretakers in the U.S. who currently receive no remuneration for the 37 billion hours of time they invest caring for loved ones - saving the gov't $470 b a year.

Will History Repeat and Syrian Refugees Meet The Same Fate as German Jews 70+ Years Ago?

German Jewish refugees return to Antwerp, Belgium, aboard the ocean liner St. Louis on June 17, 1939, after they had been denied entrance to Cuba and the
German Jewish refugees land at Antwerp, Belgium in June, 1939. This was after being denied landing rights in Cuba and the United States. Most ended up in Nazi gas chambers.

Hispanic immigrants display posters with Trump as Hitler.

It was the philosopher George Santayana who once said: "Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it".

But today in the U.S., amidst a batshit crazy Republican presidential candidate field - paired with few Americans who recall history (at least in the pro-GOP fold -  we find we may be close to repeating it again.  This time, with the fleeing Syrian refugees being forced back to their shredded homeland to meet the same fate as the desperate Jews trying to escape Nazi Germany 76 years ago - except the Syrians will likely end up slaughtered by ISIS.

In a Denver Post story Saturday, the experience of Sol Messinger was described -only 7 when he stood with his father at the rail of the ocean liner St. Louis and stared into distant darkness to see the lights of Miami glittering off the bow. So near to him and more than 900 fellow Jewish refugees aboard, yet beyond their reach. The port of Miami and the U.S. refused to allow them to disembark to find freedom.

Too many Americans, with the exception of those like Messinger, are aware of the disturbing similarities between the rhetoric of today and the attitudes of the U.S. public and officials during World War II - which ended up sending thousands of Jews to their deaths because of our nation's refusal to accept them.

Like the anti-Muslim hysteria today, that somehow ISIS will plant terrorists among the Syrian refugees (despite it being much easier to enter on a fake passport and tourist visa) American attitudes in the late 1930s-40s were fed by fears the Nazis "would plant agents, spies and saboteurs among the Jewish refugees.   In other words, Americans at the time feared the Nazis would pressure the Jews, particularly those whose families were still in Germany, to act as agents on behalf of the Third Reich,"

This, according to Alan Lichtman, professor of history at American University, adding:

"Those arguments are chillingly similar to the arguments being made against the admission of the Syrian refugees."

To reinforce this, on Monday, an Ohio professor, Peter Shulman of Case Western Reserve University, used Twitter to post results from a 1938 public opinion poll showing Americans overwhelmingly rejected admission of German Jews in the years leading up to the outbreak of war.

The reaction according to Shulman,  "was instantaneous and totally overwhelming. It was like nothing I've ever experienced before,". One of his tweets of the decades-old polling data has been relayed 4,600 times, cited by commentators in The Washington Post, Time and other publications.

According to Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois:

"When we sent Jews back to Germany and when we sent Japanese to internment camps, we regretted it and we will regret this as well,"

Yet according to recent polls, most Americans - especially on the Right (and backing Trump) are literally petrified of this coming true: some one Syrian refugee suddenly setting off a mass killing spree a la ISIS compatriots like  in Paris. They ought to be more worried about thugs like Urich Caine who shot a Tulane medical student in the stomach using a straw-purchased Mac-10 in New Orleans' Lower Garden District. three days ago.

It has even been suggested that, living here in Colorado, I ought to be petrified too and hide under my bed because our Governor John Hickenlooper plans to take in at least 230. But know what? I am not the least bit terrorized at the prospect, or petrified nor do I regard myself as "na├»ve" or "dumb". I know, in fact, there's a much greater chance of an outbreak of violence if a concealed carry law is passed and especially the current loophole - allowing those on the terror watch list to purchase weapons - isn't closed. Why the fuck would I fear a poor, besieged Syrian family, forced to flee for their lives, when they're also victims of ISIS? Because some asshole politico says I should?

But see, it proves again Americans have zero conception of probabilities and risk assessment. Most aren't aware that 20 of their countrymen are killed every year by cows, but we don't dispatch all the cows from the country. (We need them for food, burgers, milk, etc. so accept the 20 a year death toll - which is more than all the would-be terrorists have killed.)

Don't these douchebags grasp this barring Syrians refugees is just what ISIS wants? To try to get even more Syrians and others to join their ranks because no one in the West will accept them? How fuckin' dumb is that? (As one Denver Post letter writer put it yesterday, "the best way to create a new terrorist is to send a five year old child back to his war torn land with nothing to live on, and no home of his own. ISIS will soon enough take him under its wing and in 10-15 years or so he will emerge as a new threat")

But see, when millions have their brains fermented in an emotional froth and hysteria-  breeding mass paranoia - there is little capacity for reason and logic to enter. The fear centers in the amygdala take over and the reasoning centers in the neocortex are left high and dry. This is also what a pernicious mind virus does.

By contrast, France has set an example for what a true nation valuing freedom looks like. This happened when President Francois Hollande announced that France will still take in the 30,000 refugees it promised under a new EU accord, even in the wake of the Paris attacks.

At the apex of the American anti-refugee reaction has been Donald Trump, who has actually recommended a "National registry" for Muslims, as well as closing down Mosques.  Trump is notable for almost single-handedly making immigration the centerpiece of his campaign. Moreover, with the Paris attacks he - as well as other GOOPs - have hyped up their anti immigrant rhetoric even more.

The SPLC 'Intelligence Report' (Winter, 2015) notes that:

"after the release of Trump's immigration plan, dozens of threads about the candidate appeared on Stormfront, the world's largest hate forum - founded and still run by a former Alabama Klan leader."

A post followed to the effect of "deporting about 25 percent" and another followed suggesting "shooting the rest".

Already, we see the venom of fascism and fascist support creeping in just as it did in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. The character of the German people was altered just as our character is being altered now by the fears sown by the demagogues like Trump.

WHO exactly are these people, these would-be voters, who support Trump so splenetically? William Galston writing in The Wall Street Journal ('Trump Rides A Blue Collar Wave') has broken down the pro-Trump demographic nicely.

Galston writes that "55 percent of his supporters are white, working class" and the most likely to back him are men "aged 50-64 with no more than a high school education"

In other words, the same basic demographic that has been shown to be prematurely dying from drug overdoses, suicide and a lot of other maladies, e.g.

More interesting yet, this is almost exactly the same demographic that helped hurl Adolf Hitler to the Chancellorship in 1933, according to Robert Payne in his The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler, 1973.

Interestingly, according to Galston:

"These voters are least likely to say that government is looking out for the interests of the middle or working class or white men, and the most likely to affirm there is discrimination against these groups."

And yet, incredibly, they'd cast votes for a billionaire blowhard belonging to a pro-billionaire, pro-corporate party which couldn't give a rat's ass about a declining middle or working class because their wealth is based on it!

Barbara Ehrenreich ('This Land is THEIR Land', p. 6-7, ought to be read and re-read by these voters:

"How many 'wake up calls' do we need, people? How many broken levees, drowned cities, depleted food pantries, people dead for lack of ordinary health care? (Waters poisoned by blown deep water oil wells)......Why don't we dare say it? The looting of America has gone on too long, and the average American is too maxed out, overworked, and overspent to have anything left to take. We need a new deal, a new distribution of power and wealth, if we want to restore the beautiful idea that was America".

She goes on to note  "the share of pre-tax income going to the top 1 percent of American households has risen to 16 percent. At the same time, the share of income going to the bottom 80 percent has fallen by 7 percentage points."

But it's worse than that! Those top 1 percent of people and indeed the top 5 %, have made out like bandits since the Bush tax cuts were passed in 2001 (extended through 2011). As a result, there has been an average transference of $7,000 every year from lower and middle income earners to the top. According to a New York Times piece cited by Ehrenreich: "It's as if every household in the bottom 80% is writing a check for $7,000 every year and sending it to the top 1 percent".

Which begs the question of how any normal person with a normal brain, invested in his or her own interests, can possibly be for a pro-wealth party or pro -wealth guy?  Do they suppose they can also amass a Trump level of wealth? If so they are more deluded than these 30- odd Repuke gubernators who don't grasp they can't refuse refugees because they have NO legal authority to do so!  The laws of the federal gov't trump their paranoid histrionics.

The answer lies in the same basis for this demographic offing themselves (see above link) at above normal rates: they have given up on trusting the system to work in their favor and now opt to act like lemmings - just to vent their IDs. (Google "ID")

It is a sad commentary when a nation succumbs to governance by its collective ID as opposed to reason. But history tells us this has happened numerous times before. Each time that nation was left in ruin and had to rebuild. Let's hope it doesn't happen here.

See also:


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Convergence of Two Important Books Shows Kennedy Was Victim of the Deep State

When Texas fell to the wingnuts: The secret history of the Southern strategy, modern conservatism and the Lone Star State

Outside of the deep politics research community, there are few Americans who appreciate the import and magnitude of John F. Kennedy's assassination 52 years ago. It could all be as much a historical 'black hole' as the nature of the interiors of those celestial objects constitutes a physical hole for astrophysics.  Indeed, if one isn't part of the deep politics research constellation he or she will likely not be aware of what the 'deep state' means, far less what all the fuss is about over one dead president from over a half century ago. The person may even mistake the low political value of JFK himself (as a personality) for the high value of the assassination. (A danger author Michael Parenti first warned about).

The point is that the assassination was the primary event, not John F. Kennedy per se. It was the assassination that altered the arc of American history for the worst. It was the assassination  that had the high political value, since with Kennedy out of the way, many more nefarious initiatives could be undertaken, including assassinations and launching an 8-plus year undeclared war in Vietnam. Hence Parenti's articulation of the basis for assassination research ('The Dirty Truth'. p. 186), we:

"are raising grave questions about the nature of state power in what is supposed to be a democracy."

  That  Kennedy crossed thresholds with the deep state that made him a target is something exposed in more than one book, including Peter Dale Scott's 'War Conspiracy' and more recently David Talbot's new work, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,”  which extends out from JFK’s murder to investigate the rise of the shadowy network that Talbot holds ultimately responsible for the president’s assassination.

Before Talbot's book,  there was James Douglass' 'JFK and he Unspeakable: Why He Died And Why It Matters', which showed:

-  Gen. Curtis LeMay and others pushing JFK towards attacking Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis

-  JFK’s efforts and strategies to make peace with the Soviets, including 21 secret correspondences with Khrushchev

-   Kennedy’s secret efforts to establish normal relations with Cuba and the fury that this [it] caused within the CIA and amongst Cuban exiles

-  JFK’s determined efforts to get U.S. troops out of Vietnam and the forces within his administration that resisted and ultimately prevented this effort

-  Kennedy standing up to U.S. steel interests and the bitterness that this lead to among U.S. business leaders, including Henry Luce, publisher of Fortune

-  The overwhelming evidence that Lee Harvey Oswald was on the CIA payroll and had an assortment of handlers

-  The CIA plot that painted Oswald as a communist sympathizer and lunatic with ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba

-  How power brokers convinced the official investigators (Warren Report) to pin the assassination on Oswald

-   The underreported plot to kill JFK in Chicago, stopped and bungled by the Secret Service one month before Kennedy was killed in November of ’63.

-  The latest forensic evidence that shows beyond any reasonable doubt that the published autopsy x-rays are composite fakes.

-  The stories of many witnesses who saw things differently than the official story, who were sometimes killed, died of mysterious causes, or had their stories changed or their lives threatened.

Interwoven with Talbot's book, the deep politics researcher sees clearly for the first time what drove those like Allen Dulles  - then CIA Chief and de facto head of the deep state -  to take Kennedy out. In short, JFK had gotten too big for his political-policy breeches and challenged Dulles' hegemony on too many fronts. blogger David Swanson offers one of the best summary takes:

"Talbot's book is still one of the best I've seen on the Dulles brothers and one of the best I've seen on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Where it differs from Douglass' book, I think, is not so much in the evidence it relates or the conclusions it draws, but in providing an additional motivation for the crime.

JFK and the Unspeakable depicts Kennedy as getting in the way of the violence that Allen Dulles and gang wished to engage in abroad. He wouldn't fight Cuba or the Soviet Union or Vietnam or East Germany or independence movements in Africa. He wanted disarmament and peace. He was talking cooperatively with Khrushchev, as Eisenhower had tried prior to the U2-shootdown sabotage. The CIA was overthrowing governments in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Vietnam, and around the world. Kennedy was getting in the way.

The Devil's Chessboard depicts Kennedy, in addition, as himself being the sort of leader the CIA was in the habit of overthrowing in those foreign capitals. Kennedy had made enemies of bankers and industrialists. He was working to shrink oil profits by closing tax loopholes, including the "oil depletion allowance."

JFK was also determined to rein the CIA in after the Bay of Pigs, firing Dulles and his deputy Charles Cabell, and then setting up  a Defense Intelligence Agency, responsible to him, and soon mandating all overflights of Cuba be done by the Strategic Air Command, not the CIA. He also defined a list of directives on what the CIA could and could not, do, and a 'Special Group' that had no less than 17 recommendations for the "reorganization and redirection of the CIA".

This Dulles could not abide.

Talbot places these justifications in a Cold War context, by showing how Dulles shrugged off countless atrocities using the threat of communism. By late 1962 Kennedy was already seen as at least a commie sympathizer by virtue of his back channel rapprochement efforts with Fidel Castro- even dispatching medical aid to the Communist island nation (via emissary William Atwood)  to show good faith.

This alone would have enraged the CIA -led anti-Castro Cubans, not only the vets from the Bay of Pigs disaster (who still blamed Kennedy for not providing air support) but the  members of the Revolutionary Cuban Student Directorate or DRE, one of the largest anti-Castro groups in the United States.  In the spring of 1963 we know that the Chief of Psychological Warfare branch of the CIA's JM/WAVE station in Miami (George Johannides,),  was “guiding and financing” the DRE.   This  included providing the DRE with up to $25,000 a month, so long as they submitted to CIA discipline.

The mere leak to the group that Kennedy was making nice with Fidel would have had any number of these right wing Cuban exiles volunteering to help make a CIA executive action a reality. (Look how little it took to provoke members of the same anti-Castro axis to take down a Cuban plane with 73 on board off Barbados coast  on Oct. 6, 1976)

Talbot further shows that Dulles  was a psychopath given how he is shown covering up the Holocaust prior to America’s intervention into World War II by keeping crucial information exposing the horrors of concentration camps from reaching President Roosevelt. Dulles and his fellow CIA Cold Warriors saw Russia, a U.S. ally during World War II – not Nazi Germany – as the real enemy. Given the extent to which Kennedy was seen supportive of Castro (via rapprochement) or Nikita Khrushchev, e.g. signing the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in August, 1963   - which also severely limited all anti-missile defense systems - they 'd have justified Kennedy's violent  removal.

In fact, by the time of Kennedy's rapprochement efforts, Dulles - who had surreptitiously set up an anti-Kennedy government in exile after his firing-  would have treated JFK as just another head of state to be earmarked for assassination like previous ones. Such was laid out in their earlier assassination manuals as far back as 1954 with the PBSUCCESS program, e.g.

The immediate enabler and architect would have been William Harvey. The key clue was the letter ‘D’ – on the cover sheet of Oswald’s 201 file – indicated CIA Staff D, a SIGINT or signals intelligence operation run in concert with the National Security Agency or NSA. As pointed out by Peter Dale Scott (Deep Politics Quarterly, Jan. 1994): “In 1961, when William Harvey headed Staff D, he was assigned the task of developing the CIA Assassinations Project, ZR/Rifle.

Most researchers who've delved into this in much more depth than superficial 'buffs' come away with the conviction Oswald was set up as part of ZR/Rifle. However,  with the plot now turned against Kennedy. Oswald was likely used as the dupe or decoy so the actual perps (likely Cuban exiles, and trained assassins - from the Army's Ft. Benning Assassin school) could escape. And Harvey would have been the mastermind, following Dulles' order or in conjunction with them as part of an NSA coordinated operation.

Indeed, Talbot, in a recent interview on notes:

" I have an eye-witness that pinpoints one of these men, William Harvey, on a plane to Dallas, shortly before the assassination. He was spotted by his own deputy. And his deputy told his children years later that was convinced that William Harvey was involved in the assassination of Kennedy. This was the guy who was responsible for the assassination operation aimed at Fidel Castro. He was working with the mafia to kill Castro. He was a notorious figure in the CIA. So, for him to be flying to Dallas, shortly before the assassination, at least raises some serious questions."

But one of the most reprehensible facts Talbot details is the extent to which Dulles and cronies were very socially comfortable with many members of the Nazi elite, including bankers, security and intelligence people. To them, the whole question about war crimes and the horrors the Nazis had committed during the war were secondary to the more important geo-political questions [such as] who will rebuild Germany after the war and how to make sure the Soviet Union does not overrun Europe.

To them also, Kennedy -  by his willingness to stand up to the Nazi-nexus of spooks  -would have shown himself a prime and urgent target. That the deep state was protecting its associations with Nazi spies is well known by deep politics researchers.  Readers can also find more information on the Nazi- CIA ties here:


In 1968, Mr. Hoover authorized the F.B.I. to wiretap a left-wing journalist who wrote critical stories about Nazis in America, internal records show. Mr. Hoover declared the journalist, Charles Allen, a potential threat to national security.

Thus we see Hoover, head of the FBI, was protective of the Nazi links, and invoked "national security" to protect them.   One wonders what the immediate consequences might have been had Kennedy learned of them - the full extent  -  which wasn't revealed in files until decades later. Might not this have speeded up the need for action? The CIA, as Talbot notes,  is still withholding 15,000 key documents related to the Kennedy assassination including [documents related to] people in the Dulles assassination group. Talbot adds, in his interview:

"It is vital that we get those 15,000 documents that the CIA is still withholding in defiance of that (JFK Records Act)  law. There are a lot of clues in those [released] documents and I have used a lot of them."

Talbot also makes mention of the Nazi Wartime Disclosure Act.  It may well be, as we gradually uncover more of the deep state connections to the Kennedy assassination, we also see the extent to which the CIA's use and coddling of high profile Nazis played a direct role - perhaps even in the strategy and mechanics of taking Kennedy out.

We will see.

See also:

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Detecting Auroral Activity on Jupiter - New Energy Insights

Intro section of paper detailing attempted detection of auroral activity on Jupiter.

In 1975, two University of South Florida astronomers (Ray S. Clary and James H. Hunter Jr.), published their paper ('Hydrogen Alpha Auroral Activity on Jupiter')  on the attempted detection of auroral activity on Jupiter in The Astrophysical Journal (Vol. 199, p. 517).  They noted correctly that given the correlation between Jupiter's radio emissions and solar outbursts nonthermal, visible emissions from the planet ought to have been detected.

They then documented a brief history of such efforts by reference to the narrow passband H-alpha filters used and noted that "intense auroral activity should have increased the narrow passband channel's output". However, in most of these efforts the aperture of the telescopes used were not adequate to detect substantial localized activity,

When the 84 -inch Kitt Peak telescope was finally used by Dulk and Eddy (Astronomical Journal, Vol. 71, p. 160, 1966), paired with a coude spectrograph of 0.1 A resolution," no evidence for activity greater than 1.2 kilorayleighs was found". In a different observation, a possible H-alpha feature was found but the author (Schwitters, Icarus, 1968, Vol. 9, 570) )admitted it may have arisen from a plate defect.

With this history, the USF astronomers then attempted their own H-alpha detection using the university's 26-inch Schmidt -Cassegrain telescope. Most importantly, they noted that:

"At least the polar areas should be visible since aurorae should be most likely there"

They carried out their observations from April through November, 1972 "usually with Jupiter 2 hours or less  from the meridian". This would have ensured the optimal seeing conditions since Jupiter's altitude would be displaced enough from the horizon to avoid atmospheric effects, and enable the greatest clarity.

The pair ended up making a total of 100 hours of observation yielding some 2,000 photographs of Jupiter, most of them prior to the planet's opposition on June 24 of that year. Still "observations were often interrupted by clouds or haze"

Alas, the results themselves were ambiguous. Examining their prime plates published in their paper (4 pages in all) I could detect nothing remarkable or any features that stood out - even in the polar areas- and which could have been identified with auroral activity. In their own stated words, for 'Results and Conclusions' the authors wrote:

"Most of the pictures (> 90 percent) taken in H-alpha during the experiment showed no significant detail on the 'surface' of Jupiter."

They added that:

"Equatorial features should have been resolved if they were visible. Haze and /or clouds reduced the resolution and brightness of images and it was frequently necessary to discontinue an observing run."

Their results, such as they were, had been attributed to one of two interpretations:

1) Apparent variations in Jupiter's emissions were observed but the effects must be deemed spurious doe to conditions at the observing site, and

2) A general, nonlocalized, H-alpha airglow was observed that was sufficiently intense to prevent observation of familiar Jovian features given the airglow strength was 3-5 kilorayleighs.

In other words, (2) meant the airglow emission strength likely wiped out any residual auroral signal.

While Clary's and Hunter's observational effort represented a determined 'experiment'  to detect H-alpha emissions, it also showed the limitation of ground -based observations for a delicate optical feature presumed to exist on a distant planet. No surprise then that the actual detection of Jovian aurorae had to await the observations of the Hubble Space Telescope launched some 30 years later.  One such image from the HST is shown below:

Image of Jupiter aurorae using Hubble Space Telescope

Interesting, and unknown to the USF astronomers at the time, Jupiter's aurora occurs mostly in the ultraviolet (UV) part of the spectrum. Still, analogous to Earth's aurorae, Jupiter's are caused by showers of energetic particles, e.g. from the solar wind, raining down on the upper atmosphere, exciting atoms and causing them to glow.

Recent research by Gerard et al (Journal of Geophysical Research - Space Physics, 2014) goes one step further and also shows  how energetic these incoming particles (mostly electrons) are using one of the Hubble's spectrographs.  They found - see image  below- the most energetic incoming electrons penetrate the deepest into Jupiter's atmosphere producing a UV emission closer to the surface.

To map these more energetic electrons (as shown above) the Gerard team panned Hubble's 'eye' across the disk of Jupiter at a constant rate and used a special mode of the spectrograph that tags every bit of light detected with a time stamp. In this way they could later reconstruct which emission came from which part of the planet.

These maps could very well provide insight into one of the planet's most enduring mysteries: why its upper atmosphere is so hot. Decades of measurements show that Jupiter's atmosphere contains much more heat than would be expected if its only source was incoming solar radiation. The energy deposition maps show that the aurorae may play a role in this extra heating given the amount of energy the electrons deposit in the upper atmosphere is enormous - on the order of 10 terawatts, the equivalent of about 10,000 nuclear reactors. This is vastly greater than the energy Jupiter absorbs from the Sun.

A pity that my former USF colleagues didn't have available then what the Gerard team and others have had since Hubble achieved orbit.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Unhinged Rhetoric Does This Nation No Good - Now James Woolsey Wants to Execute Snowden?

Image for the news result
Former CIA head James Woolsey said the 'blood of French citizens is on Edward Snowden's hands'. No,  the blood of those citizens is on ISIS' hands, you fool!

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America. And we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.” - Sen. Frank Church, referencing the NSA in 1975.

Let us admit in a time of hyped terror, with robed lunatics barking threats on almost every TV screen in a 24/7 medium, it takes courage for a citizen not to become petrified and hide under his or her bed. It also takes courage and character, as well as confidence in one's own positions, not to surrender to hysteria and especially political fear-mongering, to give these slime what they want, which is to change who and what we are as a nation,

So it's been disconcerting to hear the recent insane rhetoric coming out of assorted yapping mouths lately, mostly those who we knew were already detached from reality.

Such as Donald Trump now calling for a database to track all Muslims, and Ben Carson comparing the Syrian refugees (mainly women and children) trying to escape their war torn country to rabid dogs. Then there was former CIA head James Woolsey who actually said "the blood of French citizens is on Edward Snowden's hands" in a debased pop off that rivals those of even Trump and Carson.

What is this lunatic thinking? Where does he pull this from? Is he even remotely aware that the end-to-end encrypted devices and apps (like 'Whats App') used by the ISIS bugs weren't even around when Snowden made his revelations in 2013? (On November 18, 2014, Open Whisper Systems announced a partnership with WhatsApp to provide end-to-end encryption by incorporating the encryption protocol used in their TextSecure application into each WhatsApp client platform. Prior to this there were numerous security holes and issues). Of course, it's all insanity ratcheted up and made to sound rational. It isn't. It's nutso talk. (Especially as it is the Tech companies which are now most adamant about not removing encryption for their apps because they believe it will degrade the devices' usefulness.)

Snowden then was absolutely correct to expose the violations of our 4th amendment rights which even a subsequent   300-page report  by a commission (appointed by Obama himself)  found to be infringing on our civil liberties with dragnet collection of our personal information and data. What are we even worth as a country and a people if we succumb to so much fear that we're prepared to sacrifice our principles and liberties which is precisely what these fucktard terrorists want?

But given that the CIA also believed JFK was guilty of "treason" - and so had him terminated in an executive action- the words out of Woolsey's mouth perhaps aren't surprising.  In JFK's case, he earned the company's wrath by refusing to support their ill-conceived Bay of Pigs invasion with air power, and then fired Allen Dulles as CIA Director in the aftermath. Worse, he commenced a year's long secret rapprochement with Fidel Castro - certainly which would be viewed as a stab in the back, just like Snowden's revelations are now by Woolsey.

Thankfully more of the background details of this will be brought out in David Talbot's new work, “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government,”  which extends out from JFK’s murder to investigate the rise of the whole shadowy network that Talbot holds ultimately responsible for the president’s assassination, and which metastasized in its wake. This is a work long since needed, and particularly how Dulles kept his little operations going on sub rosa even after JFK ditched him. (Dulles was later appointed to be on the Warren Commission by LBJ. Two real traitors working in league with each other to cover their foul tracks.)

As for the Reepo presidential candidate clowns popping off with their own whacked out rhetoric on the refugees, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson had this to say on Chris Hayes' All In last night:

"It doesn't surprise me coming from the right wing blather of the Republican Party. It's the kind of talk that surrounded the internment of the Japanese who were loyal to a fault. But we put them in concentration camps. It's the kind of talk that's extremely dangerous. It's the kind of talk that plays right into the hands of Al Baghdadi and Al Zawarahi, Al Musra and so forth.

Because that's what they want...they want us to act to bring about our own suicide".

That suicide, of course, also extends to killing our own constitutional principles in the interest of trying to get absolute security. But as Benjamin Franklin put it: "Those who would sacrifice liberty to gain a temporary security deserve neither liberty or security."

He didn't mince words. And why should he have? Liberties once lost, as Woolsey would have wanted us to do, are difficult if not impossible to win back. Once you give them up - say in the midst of combating these asshole terrorists (the latest attack was in Mali last night) you surrender to them, without even firing a shot.

Most citizens, indeed, aren't even aware our liberties (including the right to own guns) hang on a metaphorical knife edge. This concerns Reagan’s Executive Order 12656, issued in 1988, which has remained in effect since and was actually activated after 9/11. The order stated that Continuity of Government procedures were called for in the event of "any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States."

According to the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 326; cf. p. 38), "Contingency plans for the continuity of government" were implemented on September 11, 2001.  Later mutations of COG under the Bushites  equated political dissent with treason. In regard to the last, the definition of "terrorist" was expanded to "domestic terrorist" by congress in 2001, to include:

"“…activities that involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State; appear to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States"

 According to the ACLU, “this definition is broad enough to encompass the activities of…prominent activists, campaigns and organizations.”  That includes past protest movements like Occupy Wall Street and anyone who currently protests the Keystone XL pipeline, chemical toxins in water or fracking. (No surprise this meme is still lurking - ready to spread- as we learned in the Denver Post (Nov. 18) that certain citizens of Thornton, CO had their names and home locations placed in red on a city council map as "opponents to fracking". )

How much did Snowden reveal or confirm that we didn't know or realize before - bordering on coming this [[ close to a totalitarian state? investigative reporter Christopher Ketcham disclosed the extent of the spying :

"The following information seemed to be fair game for collection without a warrant: the e-mail addresses you send to and receive from, and the subject lines of those messages; the phone numbers you dial, the numbers that dial in to your line, and the durations of the calls; the Internet sites you visit and the keywords in your Web searches; the destinations of the airline tickets you buy; the amounts and locations of your ATM withdrawals; and the goods and services you purchase on credit cards. All of this information is archived on government supercomputers and, according to sources, also fed into the Main Core database.

There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously.” He and other sources note the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.”

Are Americans really ok with all that indiscriminate snooping in a terror war? If so, they merit neither liberty or security. They are prepared instead to surrender their most precious rights to the ISIS or other rats at the drop of a hat. Blaming the French deaths on Snowden also shows Woolsey has his head where the Sun doesn't shine, just like the CIA's earlier mutations (e.g. Allen Dulles) who orchestrated Kennedy's executive action then blamed it on a patsy they set up.)

Former NSA code breaker Bill Binney  delivered the sane view after the Snowden disclosures emerged and those like James Clapper and Keith Alexander were making noises about the need for mass warrant, dragnet searches.

"First of all I don’t understand this being bamboozled into thinking that you have to do this to find bad guys. That’s false. There’s very simple principles you can use to find out who is the bad guy and who isn’t and you can do this without violating anybody’s privacy”.

Americans need to keep things in perspective as this current terror epoch continues and not surrender their brains and balls to the hysterical, unhinged voices spouting off on the tube. Better yet turn the tube off - as well as other media access- and reclaim your gray matter by doing some serious reading.  As author Harold Bloom put it:

"If we fail to read conscientiously and seriously we risk becoming lost in the visual media"

See also:


"In the history of the United States, just the members of the white-hooded Protestant-professing fire-and-brimstone Klan killed and maimed more Americans than all the murders by non-Christian terrorists—and that includes 9/11. Add in the number of serial killers, the racists who killed children in churches, the zealots who killed health care personnel because they performed legal abortions, and the people like the Oklahoma City bombers and the Unabomber, and the number of pretend-Christians killing Americans rises to hundreds of times greater than any Muslim attack."