June 29, 2011

Riots Break Out in Greece on the Eve of a Vote by Lawmakers to Adopt More Painful Austerity Measures

46 Hurt in Clashes on Eve of Key Greek Vote

June 29, 2011

AP - Hours of rioting outside Greece's parliament left 46 people injured Tuesday, on the eve of a vote by lawmakers to adopt more painful austerity measures — a condition for bailout funds needed to prevent a potentially disastrous default.

At least 14 people were arrested, authorities said, as youths clashed with riot police on-and-off for more than 10 hours and into the night, leaving the city center filled with tear gas and strewn with smashed-up marble paving stones. Unions had begun a 48-hour strike that shut down services and staged mass rallies throughout the capital in another day of chaotic protest.

The new austerity measures must be passed in a two-part vote on Wednesday and Thursday if Greece's international creditors are to release the next €12 billion batch of the country's €110 billion bailout fund — and prevent a default that could drag down European banks and shake the European and world economy.

"Voting these measures is required to maintain our credibility in the (bailout) process," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said. "Voting for these measures, regardless of any reservations, is an important, brave act of political responsibility."

The Socialist government, which survived a revolt by party dissenters this month, is again taking them on by imposing the new punishing four-year program of spending cuts and tax hikes on even those on minimum wages — prompting anger inside parliament and out on the street. The government has a majority of just five seats in the 300-member assembly.

More than 5,000 police will again be on hand Wednesday to try and thwart plans by protesters to block lawmakers' access to parliament.

"The austerity measures are not only harsh, not only unfair, but they are also ineffective," Socialist critic Vasso Papandreou told parliament late Tuesday. Still, she said she would grudgingly vote for the bill.

"Greece has many problems but the real problem is the eurozone," said Papandreou, a former EU commissioner. "Europe should be a zone of solidarity, but it is a jungle where the banks can do what they like."

Police and health officials said 37 policemen and nine protesters were hurt in Tuesday's clashes. Rioters set fire to giant parasols at an outdoor cafe, using some to form barricades, and smashed windows of a McDonald's outlet and other snack shops. Staff at upscale hotels handed out surgical masks to tourists and helped them with rolling luggage past the rioting, over ground strewn with rubble.

Later, youths set fire to a satellite truck parked near parliament, which rolled downhill into a kiosk whose freezer exploded. Hooded youths ducked behind the burning truck to help themselves to ice-cream cones.

"The situation that the workers are going through is tragic and we are near poverty levels," said Spyros Linardopoulos, a protester with the PAME union that was blockading the port of Piraeus earlier in the day. "The government has declared war and to this war we will answer back with war."

Unions attracted 20,000 protesters to rallies in Athens on Tuesday, and plan more downtown protests Wednesday as most services will remain closed.

Fights will be disrupted by stoppages between 8:00 a.m. and midday and between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. (0500-0900 GMT and 1500-1900 GMT).

Bailout eurozone members Greece, Portugal and Ireland only account for around 6 percent of the common-currency area output but have caused a crisis for Europe's monetary project.

"I trust that the Greek political leaders are fully aware of the responsibility that lies on their shoulders to avoid default," European Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said Tuesday.

Bank of America to Pay $8.5 Billion to Settle Claims from Powerful Investors That Lost Money on Mortgage-backed Securities

BofA Near $8.5 Billion Settlement on Securities

July 29, 2011

Reuters - Bank of America Corp is close to a deal to pay $8.5 billion to settle claims from a group of powerful investors that lost money on mortgage-backed securities, a person familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

The deal could embolden investors holding mortgage-backed securities filled with now-toxic home loans to pursue claims against other large mortgage lenders such as Wells Fargo & Co and JPMorgan Chase & Co, analysts said.

A settlement, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, would be the largest in the banking industry to date. It would also require approval by Bank of America's board, which met on Tuesday to discuss it, according to the source.

"If you're an investor, you now know this is a potential lottery ticket, and the only way you lose is by not playing," said Matt McCormick, a portfolio manager at Cincinnati-based Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel. "You have to think this is the first settlement we'll be seeing in a long line."

After news of a possible settlement, shares rose as much as 3.5 percent from their $10.82 close but later eased to trade around $10.95 after-hours, up about 1 percent.

The largest U.S. bank by assets has been fighting claims by a group of 22 investors over the housing-related securities it packaged and sold before the financial crisis.

This investor group includes BlackRock Inc, MetLife Inc and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, in a dispute dating back to the fall. It had threatened to take the matter to court, but both sides delayed a trial early this year to continue settlement negotiations.

Bank of America was not immediately available for comment. BlackRock declined to comment.

Bank of America's possible settlement extends beyond the case brought by the initial group of investors, and could resolve "significant parts" of its exposure to repurchase claims from private investors, the person familiar said.

The settlement would exceed the bank's earnings for the last three years, according to the company's 2010 annual report. It could also more than triple the $2.5 billion that Bank of America paid in 2008 for Countrywide Financial Corp, once the nation's largest mortgage lender.


Last Fall, Bank of America Chief Executive Brian Moynihan has said the bank would contest any repurchase claims, and described the process as "hand-to-hand combat."

But as the bank entered into settlement agreements with bond insurers and the two government-backed mortgage investment companies, Moynihan softened that stance, and said the bank would settle when fighting would offer little for shareholders.

In January, Bank of America announced $2.8 billion settlements with mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac covering essentially all of their outstanding mortgage repurchase claims.

Three months later, the bank announced a $1.6 billion settlement with bond insurer Assured Guaranty Ltd, which had sought to hold the bank responsible for poor underwriting by Countrywide.

June 28, 2011

Obama to 'Invest' $500 Million Tax Dollars in 'Partnership' Between the Feds and 11 Major Corporations

Obama Will 'Co-Invest' Tax Dollars in Corporate-Government Partnership

June 26, 2011

CNSNews.com - In his weekly address released Saturday, President Barack Obama called for a campaign of "nation building here at home," citing as an example of what is needed to rebuild the American economy an initiative he announced Friday to "invest" tax dollars in what he called a "partnership" between the federal government and an initial group of 11 major corporations.

The administration's corporate partners in this venture include Caterpiller, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Allegheny Technologies, Stryker and Proctor and Gamble.

Editor's Note:

Caterpillar Inc. is the bulldozer manufacturer that President Barack Obama used to help push his $787 billion stimulus plan.
Chief Executive Officer Jim Owens, 63, is a member of the president’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Obama visited the Peoria, Illinois, headquarters on February 12, 2009, the final day of his campaign to press for Congressional passage. - How’s the stimulus working out for Caterpillar?, Michelle Malkin, April 21, 2009

Caterpillar Inc. of Illinois announced nearly 2,400 layoffs despite President Obama using his home state’s company as an example of a struggling manufacturer that would benefit from his economic stimulus plan and save jobs. The new round of job cuts will span five plants in Illinois, Indiana and Georgia, and follows the January news that Caterpillar would slash 22,000 people from its 112,000-person workforce. Mr. Obama hosted an event in support of his stimulus plan at the company’s Peoria, Ill., headquarters in mid-February, saying the $787 billion stimulus would be “a major step forward on our path to economic recovery.” - Caterpillar slashes jobs despite stimulus, Washington Times, March 17, 2009
Obama is not seeking new legislation from Congress to authorize his government-corporate partnership program--which he is calling the "Advanced Manufacturing Partnership"--and he did not say how the corporations in the partnership had been chosen.

"The President’s plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, will invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort," the White House said in a statement released Friday.

"Even though we’ve turned our economy in the right direction over the past couple of years, many Americans are still hurting, and now is the time to focus on nation building here at home," Obama said before explaining the partnership in his Saturday address.

In addition to the 11 corporations, the administration also picked a small group of universities to participate in the government-corporate partnership. These include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Michigan. The White House did not say how these universities were selected.

In a speech in Pittsburgh Friday announcing the government-corporate partnership program, Obama said that in American history such partnerships have often led the way in enterpreneurial breakthroughs.

"Throughout our history, our greatest breakthroughs have often come from partnerships just like this one," said Obama. "American innovation has always been sparked by individual scientists and entrepreneurs, often at universities like Carnegie Mellon or Georgia Tech or Berkeley or Stanford. But a lot of companies don’t invest in early ideas because it won’t pay off right away. And that’s where government can step in."

As described in the White House statement, the largest single element of the partnership program will have the Departments of Commerce, Agriculture, Homeland Security, Energy and Defense spending an estimated $300 million in tax dollars to "co-invest with industry" in the development of products including "small high-powered batteries" and "alternative energy."

"Starting this summer, the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies will coordinate a government-wide effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with an initial goal of $300 million, to co-invest with industry in innovative technologies that will jumpstart domestic manufacturing capability essential to our national security and promote the long-term economic viability of critical U.S. industries," said the White House statement. "Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing, and alternative energy, among others."

In his weekly address, President Obama explained his view that "nation building here at home" means government "investment" in education and infrastructure, as well as in the development of technology--including the kind of "clean energy" technology that will be one focus of his new government-corporate partnership.

"That means giving our kids the best education in the world so they have the knowledge and skills to succeed in this economy. It means rebuilding our crumbling roads, railways, and runways," said Obama. "And it means investing in the cutting-edge research and technologies that will spur growth in the years ahead – from clean energy to advanced manufacturing."

In his Friday speech at Pittsburgh as he announced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Obama also put a focus on government "investment" in "clean energy" and pointed to the government bailouts of General Motors and Chrysler as successes.

"If we want a robust, growing economy, we need a robust, growing manufacturing sector. That’s why we told the auto industry two years ago that if they were willing to adapt, we’d stand by them. Today, they’re profitable, they’re creating jobs, and they’re repaying taxpayers ahead of schedule," said Obama.

"That's why we’ve launched a partnership to retrain workers with new skills. That’s why we’ve invested in clean energy manufacturing and new jobs building wind turbines and solar panels and advanced batteries," he said.

The White House said the creation of the government-corporate partnership program was based on a recomendation by the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology (PCAST). PCAST is co-chaired by John Holdren, head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, a 1973 book that he co-authored with Paul Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich, Holdren and his co-authors wrote:

“A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States."

“De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with the realities of ecology and the global resource situation,” Holdren and the Ehrlichs wrote.

“Resources must be diverted from frivolous and wasteful uses in overdeveloped countries to filling the genuine needs of underdeveloped countries," Holdren and his co-authors wrote.

"This effort must be largely political, especially with regard to our overexploitation of world resources, but the campaign should be strongly supplemented by legal and boycott action against polluters and others whose activities damage the environment. The need for de-development presents our economists with a major challenge. They must design a stable, low-consumption economy in which there is a much more equitable distribution of wealth than in the present one. Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being.”

In a videotaped interview with CNSNews.com in September 2010, reporter Nicholas Ballays asked Holdren what he meant by a campaign to de-develop the United States.

“What we meant by that was stopping the kinds of activities that are destroying the environment and replacing them with activities that would produce both prosperity and environmental quality," said Holdren. "Thanks a lot.”

Ballasy followed-up: “And how do you plan on implementing that?”

“Through the free market economy,” Holdren said.

Here is the September 2010 videotape of White House Science Adviser Holdren explaining his call for de-developing the United States:

TSA Defends Removing Adult's Diaper for Pat-down and Performing 'Modified Pat-down' of Baby

TSA Defends Removing Adult's Diaper for Pat Down

June 27, 2011

CBS News - The Transportation Security Administration defended on Sunday the actions of its airport security officers at a northwest Florida airport after the agency came under criticism for requiring a 95-year-old woman to remove her adult diaper during a pat down.

The incident took place June 18 at Northwest Florida Regional Airport near Pensacola, Fla., while Jean Weber of Destin, Fla., escorted her mother, who suffers from leukemia, to Michigan to live with family members before moving into an assisted living facility, CNN reports.

"She had a blood transfusion the week before, just to bolster up her strength for this travel," Weber told CNN.

Weber didn't identify her mother to the cable news network.

While going through the airport's security checkpoint, a TSA officer performed a pat down on Weber's mother, Weber told CNN. After an officer felt something "suspicious" on her leg, Weber's mother was taken into a private room for further inspection. The officer then told Weber that her mother's Depend undergarment was soiled and prevented a complete pat down from being done. The officer asked for it to be removed, which Weber did in a restroom.

"It's something I couldn't imagine happening on American soil," Weber told the Panama City News-Herald Friday. "Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this."

Weber told CNN her mother worked as a nurse for 65 years and "was very calm" during the inspection.

Weber told the News-Herald that she filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security soon after the incident. She talked with a department employee June 22, who told her that the security officers followed their procedures during the search. The TSA released a statement Sunday to CNN:

"While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner," the federal agency said. "We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."

Earlier, Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration in Miami, told the News-Herald there was a reason why security procedures were the same for everyone.

"TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability," Koshetz told the newspaper.

The incident involving Weber's mother is the latest in a string of stories about TSA's security procedures.

The most notable among recent events was an intense pat down April 5 of a 6-year-old girl at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. After the incident made headlines, TSA chief John Pistole told a congressional committee that procedures were changed so young children would be re-screened before the possibility of undergoing a pat down.

Pat downs were introduced at airport security checkpoints after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of an airliner over Detroit in 2009.

TSA Gets Flak for Baby's Patdown

May 10, 2011
A photo alleging to show a baby receiving a patdown by TSA agents in the Kansas City airport.
CBS News - Less than a month after a public outcry over a 6-year-old's patdown at the New Orleans airport by TSA agents, a photo showing TSA agents examining what appears to be the rear end of a baby at Kansas City International airport has gained a lot of attention.

Twitter user Jacob Jester posted the photo over the weekend, with the description: "Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport Pretty sure that's extreme. Check the pic."

In response on its TSA blog, a spokesman wrote:

"We reviewed the screening of this family, and found that the child's stroller alarmed during explosives screening. Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm, who by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time. The child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down."

In April, a TSA agent at the New Orleans airport gave a 6-year-old a pat down, even after the little girl said, "I don't want to do this," drawing rage and condemnation across the spectrum. TSA defended itself in a similar manner, saying it was just doing its job.

CBS News correspondent Bob Orr said at the time:

"Privacy experts don't like it at all, the critics call it security theater, but we have to say the screener here appears to be doing her job. This patdown happens all the time ... somewhere in America. Whether we like it or not, the truth is it's part of the post-9/11 security."

Iran Fires 14 Test Missiles to Show It Is Prepared to Strike Israel and U.S. Interests in the Event of Any Attack

Iran Fires 14 Missiles in 2nd Day of War Games

Revolutionary Guard fire Zelzal, Shahab surface-to-suface missiles with range of 2,000 km, putting Israel, US bases in Gulf within reach.

June 28, 2011

Reuters - Iran's Revolutionary Guards tested 14 missiles on Tuesday, the second day of war games intended a show of strength to the Islamic Republic's enemies in Israel and Washington.

The Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles, with a maximum range of 2,000 km (1,250 miles), were fired simultaneously at a single target, the official IRNA news agency reported.

The head of the Revolutionary Guards' aerospace division emphasized Iran's preparedness to strike Israel and US interests in the event of any attack on Iran.
"The range of our missiles has been designed based on American bases in the region as well as the Zionist regime," Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh told the semi-official Fars news agency.
Washington and Israel have said they do not rule out military strikes on Iran if diplomatic means fail to stop it developing nuclear weapons. Tehran denies its nuclear program is aimed at building bombs.

IRNA said the Guards fired nine Zelzal missiles, two Shahab-1s, two Shahab-2s and one upgraded Shahab-3 missile. Iranian officials have previously announced that the Shahab 3 can reach targets up to 2,000 km away, putting Israel and US bases in the Gulf within reach.

A long-time enemy of the United States, Iran has been emboldened by what it sees as US military defeats in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan. Both countries are still home to large troop numbers and Washington has other bases in the Gulf that Iran could choose to target.
"The Americans have reduced our labors," Hajizadeh told Fars. "Their military bases in the region are in a range of 130, 250 and maximum 700 km in Afghanistan which we can hit with these missiles."
The 'Great Prophet 6' war games, to be carried out on land and sea, are a "message of peace and friendship to countries of the region," Hajizadeh said on Monday.

Asked whether Iranian missiles were a threat to Europe, Hajizadeh told IRNA that while Iran had the technological capacity to build longer-range missiles, the 2,000-km range had been chosen precisely with Israel and US bases in mind.
"Except American and the Zionist regime, we do not feel a threat from any other country," he said.

Iran to Launch Military Exercise, Test Long-range Missiles

Revolutionary Guard to test arsenal, including Sajjil missile, with range of 2,000 km, which would allow it to strike targets as far away as Israel.

June 27, 2011

Jerusalem Post - Iran's Revolutionary Guard was scheduled to launch a large-scale military exercise entitled the "Great Prophet Mohammad War Games 6" on Monday, Iranian news agency IRNA reported.

Revolutionary Guard Brig-Gen Amir Ali Hajizadeh said that the purpose of the drill was to test the IRGC forces defensive preparedness as well as to practice the use of advanced equipment.

Hajizadeh added that Iran's arsenal of missiles, including the country's long range missiles, would be tested during the exercise. Among Iran's arsenal of missiles is the Sajjil, with a range of nearly 2,000 km, which would allow it to strike targets as far away as Israel or southeast Europe.

The Iranian military official emphasized that the purpose of the maneuver was not to threaten Iran's neighbors, but rather to ensure the Islamic Republic's defensive capabilities.

Earlier this month, the United States slapped sanctions on the Revolutionary Guard for its part in human rights abuses within Iran.
“The United States stands with all Iranians who wish for a government that respects their human rights, their dignity and their freedom, and we call on the Iranian government to end its systematic human rights abuses and political hypocrisy,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in announcing the sanctions.
Last week, the European Union sanctioned three commanders of the Revolutionary Guard accused of supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad's suppression of dissent.

The Iranians were Major-General Qasem Soleimani and Brigadier Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari of the Revolutionary Gaurd, and the Guard's deputy commander for intelligence, Hossein Taeb.

Iran is at loggerheads with major powers over its nuclear work, which it says is peaceful and intended solely for generating electricity but which Washington and its allies fear is aimed at making nuclear bombs.

Israel sees the potential of a nuclear armed Iran -- which refuses to recognize the Jewish state and supports Hamas and Hezbollah -- as a major threat and both it and its ally Washington do not rule out military action to prevent such a scenario.

Iran has said it would respond to any attack by targeting US interests and Israel.


June 27, 2011

Rewarding Reckless and Illegal Behavior of Greedy Wall Street Bankers

Federal Reserve Secrets and Lies

June 27, 2011

USAWatchdog.com - The Federal Reserve has been a clandestine organization since its inception. It is not really part of the federal government; it is merely a subcontractor for monetary policy.

The Fed is basically a cartel of both U.S. and European banks. It has pulled the levers in the economy from behind a curtain of secrecy since 1913 and has always enjoyed a certain degree of respect and admiration. All that changed when the economy melted down in 2008.

The respect and admiration of the Federal Reserve is being shredded right along with its veil of secrecy. The Fed allowed everyone to think the cost of controlling the 2008 financial crash was just a measly $3.3 trillion. This giant lie was exposed after Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont put a provision in last year’s financial reform bill that forced the Fed to come clean on $9 trillion in additional emergency loans and bailout money.

The Fed funneled cash to foreign banks and companies right along with American banks and companies. It basically rewarded reckless and illegal behavior of greedy Wall Street bankers that caused the mess we are in now.

Nothing is fixed and nothing has really changed. The economy is still a wreck, and the Fed still wants its secrets.

CNBC reported last week that the Fed refuses to tell how much cash it sent to Iraq just after the invasion because it came from the “oil for food” program. The Fed claims it has to obey “rules.” The report said,

“The Fed’s lack of disclosure is making it difficult for the inspector general to follow the paper trail of billions of dollars that went missing in the chaotic rush to finance the Iraq occupation, and to determine how much of that money was stolen.” (Click here for the complete CNBC story.)
Taxpayers would be on the hook for the missing cash that the Defense Department says is $6.6 billion. This could represent the largest theft in history. The Fed didn’t obey any “rules” when it hid $9 trillion in bailout money. Doesn’t the Fed work for the U.S.? Apparently not.

Last week in Congressman Ron Paul’s Monetary Policy Subcommittee, Treasury Inspector General Eric Thorson assured Congress U.S. gold was safe. The gold is under the control of the Federal Reserve, and it has not been audited in decades. Paul wants an audit, and there are plenty of folks at the Fed who are against it. CNN reported last week on the hearing and said,

“During the hearing, Paul suggested that the Federal Reserve of New York, which has 5% of the U.S. gold reserves, has the ability to secretly sell or swap gold with other countries without anyone knowing.

“The Fed is pretty secret, you know,” said Paul, who leans Libertarian. “Congress doesn’t have much say on what’s going on over there. They do a lot of hiding.” (Click here for the complete CNN story.) (Click here to listen to some of Ron Paul’s hearing.)

Also last week, Fed Chief Ben Bernanke held a press conference and said,

“We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.”
This is an astounding admission from the head of the Federal Reserve. Bernanke doesn’t know why the economy is failing? Economist John Williams from Shadowstats.com isn’t buying it. In his most recent report, Williams said,
“It is hard to believe that Mr. Bernanke, the presidents of the regional Federal Reserve Banks and the extensive staff of fine economists throughout the Federal Reserve System do not understand why the economic and systemic-liquidity crises persist. If indeed the problems really are not understood, Mr. Bernanke should not be Fed Chairman. More likely, the problems are understood, but Bernanke’s admitting that would entail his admitting that circumstances are beyond control, and that the Fed lacks the ability to address the issues effectively. . . . There is the possibility, though, that the comments were deliberate, intended as a warning of things to come. . .”

The Federal Reserve wants its dealings with bailouts and our nation’s gold to be kept secret. I don’t know if Bernanke is just incompetent, or if he continually lies about what is happening in the economy to keep the public from panicking. Do we really need the Fed with all their secrets and lies?

Flood Berm Collapses at Nebraska’s Fort Calhoun Nuclear Power Plant

Flood Berm Collapses at Nebraska’s Other Nuclear Station Fort Calhoun

NRC chair tours Cooper plant

June 26, 2011

Associated Press - A berm holding the flooded Missouri River back from a Nebraska nuclear power station collapsed early Sunday, but federal regulators said they were monitoring the situation and there was no danger.

The Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station shut down in early April for refueling, and there is no water inside the plant, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. Also, the river is not expected to rise higher than the level the plant was designed to handle. NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said the plant remains safe.

The federal commission had inspectors at the plant 20 miles north of Omaha when the 2,000-foot berm collapsed about 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Water surrounded the auxiliary and containment buildings at the plant, it said in a statement.

The Omaha Public Power District has said the complex will not be reactivated until the flooding subsides. Its spokesman, Jeff Hanson, said the berm wasn’t critical to protecting the plant but a crew will look at whether it can be patched.
“That was an additional layer of protection we put in,” Hanson said.
The berm’s collapse didn’t affect the reactor shutdown cooling or the spent fuel pool cooling, but the power supply was cut after water surrounded the main electrical transformers, the NRC said. Emergency generators powered the plant until an off-site power supply was connected Sunday afternoon, according to OPPD.

NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko said the loss of the berm at Fort Calhoun nuclear plant doesn’t threaten the safety of the plant.
“There are other structures and systems in place that can ensure they will continue operating safely,” Jaczko said.
Jaczko will tour the Fort Calhoun plant today. His visit was scheduled last week. On Sunday, he toured Nebraska’s other nuclear power plant, which sits along the Missouri River near Brownville. Cooper nuclear power plant is about 75 miles south of Omaha and run by the Nebraska Public Power District.

Jaczko said he can’t predict what the river will do this summer but that NPPD and OPPD seem to be taking appropriate steps to defend against flooding.

Jaczko spent much of his tour of Cooper asking NPPD officials and the NRC’s local inspectors questions about the plant and this year’s flooding. He said his visit was designed to gather information.

NPPD officials have been monitoring river levels closely during the flooding, and they have already brought in more than 5,000 tons of sand to build barricades protecting the Cooper plant, the onsite power substations and the plant’s access roads.

Accessing critical parts of the plant requires visitors to use ladders or steel stairs to climb over sandbag barriers both outside and inside the doors. When Jaczko saw one of Cooper’s two back-up diesel generators, he had to climb over three different sandbag barriers to get there.

The Cooper plant remains dry because it sits at an elevation above the river level. The base of Cooper and its storage area for used nuclear fuel is 903 feet above sea level while on Sunday the river was just above 899 feet.

Cooper would be shut down if the river rose to 902 feet above sea level, but officials say that is unlikely.
“This plant is designed to deal with a flood much higher than we are seeing — 906 feet,” Jaczko said.
Both nuclear plants issued flooding alerts earlier this month, although they were routine as the river’s rise has been expected. Cooper has been operating at full capacity.

Flooding remains a concern all along the Missouri because of massive amounts of water the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has released from upstream reservoirs. The river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri.

The corps expects the river to remain high at least into August because of heavy spring rains in the upper Plains and substantial Rocky Mountain snowpack melting into the river basin.


June 23, 2011

The Columbus Telegram - In an effort to address rumors and public concern, the Journal Star submitted this list of questions to OPPD and NPPD:

Q: People see photos of Fort Calhoun Nuclear Station surrounded by water and dikes near Cooper Nuclear Station being overtopped near Brownville. Are these plants at risk from the Missouri River floods?

OPPD: If you look closely in the photos, our plant, our substation and other buildings are dry behind berms, sandbag walls and AquaDams. The plant is secure from water to the 1,014 feet above sea level elevation (the river is now at 1,006). It also has diesel generators and additional fuel staged to provide power from on site.

NPPD: There have been at least five situations of flooding around the Brownville area since 1952, and Cooper Nuclear Station, which has experienced several floods since it began commercial operation in 1974, was built to withstand various natural disasters, including tornadoes and earthquakes. The site was elevated 13 feet above the natural grade to 903 feet sea level elevation to accommodate the maximum, probable flooding event. (Earlier this week floodwaters came within 18 inches of 902 feet - the mark at which Cooper would be shut down.)

Q: What steps have you taken to protect the power plants?

OPPD: In addition to the sandbagging, the berms and the AquaDams, more power lines were run to the training center and administration building. Concrete barriers were moved into place in some locations.

NPPD: Cooper initiated its flood procedure plan May 30. Plant staff have been filling sandbags and constructing physical barriers to protect the site's equipment in and outside of buildings, substations and electrical switch yards. Also, operations and security staff essential for 24-hour coverage are staying on site.

Q: Comparisons have been made between what happened to Japanese nuclear power plants and those in Nebraska because of their proximity to the Missouri River. Some people say Cooper Nuclear Station is particularly vulnerable because it has the same basic design as the Japanese reactors. (Note: This question does not apply to OPPD because its reactor is of a different design.)

NPPD: Extremely unlikely. The Midwest is not susceptible to a tsunami. ... Cooper is designed against flooding from the Missouri River, and NPPD is confident the safety systems are in place to respond to a major, natural disaster or crisis event. The accident at Fukushima Daiichi was initiated by two severe natural disasters ... an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale (and) ... a tsunami.

It is true that both Cooper and the Fukushima Daiichi units are boiling-water reactors. However, it is misleading to make a direct comparison. The plant's General Electric BWR-4 design has been enhanced or modified to include steam-driven coolant pumps that operate independently from AC power. Station batteries are used for automatic operation, and procedures are in place to manually operate without DC power.

Cooper Nuclear Station also houses two permanent redundant safety-related automatic emergency diesel generators capable of powering all safety-related equipment. These diesel units would be the first to go online during an emergency loss of power. They would automatically start and load without operator action. Only one is needed, so the second is additional protection. We also installed a third emergency diesel generator during this past spring's refueling outage.

Cooper has enough fuel to run one diesel generator at least 40 days. A reserve fuel oil supply resides in underground bunkers to protect it from environmental conditions. These bunkers are anchored so as not to "float" if the river table were to rise. The bunkers collectively contain a minimum of 49,500 gallons. Cooper also has two fuel tankers on site, each of which holds 7,000 gallons.

Other equipment, such as fuel pool cooling pumps, four independent sets of batteries that provide DC power to safety-related equipment, a portable diesel generator to charge these batteries and a diesel-driven, portable fire pump, are also on site to provide additional generation and support.

Finally, Cooper has a "beyond-design-basis" strategy to mitigate against events like those that took place in Japan. To our knowledge, the Japanese do not plan for "beyond-the-design" basis.

Q: What happens if the Missouri River floods the reactor building?

OPPD: Fort Calhoun Station is protected to the 1,014-foot line, far above the current sea level elevation. With the containment building sealed, river water cannot enter it. ... The fuel in the spent fuel pool is underwater for a purpose, to stay cool. The top of the spent-fuel pool is at elevation 1,038 feet. The fuel in the containment building also is underwater by design.

NPPD: It is unlikely the Missouri River water will reach the reactor building. Our operational procedures and "beyond-the-design" strategies serve as protection, but we also have physically protected the reactor building from water. Four-foot-high barricades are in place both outside and inside the building. ... The water would have to be above 907 feet sea level elevation before it would intrude the building. That is an approximate 7-foot rise to the river's current water level. Even if water did intrude the building, it would be directed to floor drains.

Q: What is the likelihood that radioactive particles could enter the water or atmosphere from an accident caused by floodwaters?

OPPD: The fuel is safe and secure.

OPPD has made significant upgrades in flood preparation since NRC inspectors found fault with plans for Fort Calhoun last year.

"Because of the NRC findings last year, Fort Calhoun is better prepared to deal with the situation they are in now," Lochbaum said.

The fact that Fort Calhoun has been shut down since April also is helpful, he said, because less heat has been produced by the reactor core.

So if floodwaters were to interrupt the plant's cooling system, workers would have more time to restore cooling, Lochbaum said.

At the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan, workers had about an hour before the tsunami hit. In this case, OPPD and NPPD had days and weeks to prepare, he said.

Lochbaum's biggest concern is a break in one of the six major Missouri River dams. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made assurances the dams are safe.

"It depends on how far (the water has to travel) and how much water," Lochbaum said.

NPPD: Again, extremely unlikely. Cooper has physical and equipment barriers in place that would prevent any radioactivity from entering the water, the first of which is preventing the water from entering the building.

Q: If floodwaters do inundate Fort Calhoun, what is the risk to people living in the surrounding area?

OPPD: We feel that the plant is secure. The risk to the surrounding area will be provided by the flood, not our plant.

NPPD: We are taking the proactive and precautionary steps to minimize any risk.

Q: Have OPPD and NPPD received phone calls and emails from people concerned about the safety of both plants? What is your response?

OPPD: We have responded with facts on what we are doing to stay on top of the situation. We held a news conference last Friday to address concerns and questions from the news media.

NPPD: We have received a handful of emails. ... Nuclear power is a safe technology. Federal regulations, the industry's nuclear safety culture and history reinforce this. We have repeatedly withstood adverse conditions.

Q: What is the risk if both plants are shut down for months?

OPPD: Obviously, there is a financial impact, depending upon the price of replacement power and the amount needed. OPPD has other generating stations that are still providing power.

NPPD: There may be financial risks whenever a power plant is taken offline for a significant period of time, but NPPD has other generation resources it can call upon. ... It can also buy power on the market from other utilities.

June 26, 2011

The American Police State is the 'New Normal'

The American Police State is the 'New Normal'

June 25, 2011

Jared Spurbeck, Yahoo! - According to The New York Times, the FBI just raided a data center in Virginia and seized many of its servers, causing websites owned by "tens of clients" to go offline -- including those belonging to people who hadn't broken a law, and were not suspected of any crime.

It may seem silly to get upset about the police taking down websites you don't use. A certain quote may come to mind, though, as we look at other ways that the police in America abuse their power.

Tasering nonviolent people to death

A 72-year-old woman named Kathryn Winkfein got tasered not too long ago after she lost her temper at the cop who pulled her over. Her offense? Shouting at him.

Luckily, she "learned her lesson" about talking back to America's authority figures. She was also awarded $40,000 in damages, which her County Constable, Richard McCain, complained was a reward for "bad behavior." Apparently putting 50,000 volts through the heart of someone's great-grandma is not bad behavior, as long as you wear a police uniform.

Winkfein was lucky. In what Digby calls the "Taser Atrocity Of The Day," a man who took groceries without having paid for them was tasered continuously for 37 seconds, after he became "aggressive and was communicating loudly." He died in the hospital.

The police officer who killed him was suspended for five days.

Stealing your cellphone (and its data)

Recordings of government workers performing their duty are, by law, in the public domain. So if you think a police officer is going to do something untoward, try filming him so you have evidence. Right?

Not so fast. Prepare to have your cellphone taken from you and stomped on. The Miami Beach, Fla., police in particular have a history of doing this, and they aren't alone. But the people who have their phones stolen and vandalized by the police are lucky; a man named Michael Allison faces up to 75 years in prison for trying to record a judge, and was arrested without any warning.

Meanwhile, the Michigan State Police is taking people's cellphones when they pull them over for traffic violations, and using "extraction" devices on the phones. The ACLU is trying to find out why they're doing that, but the police department placed a price tag of over $500,000 on their Freedom of Information request. How much justice can you afford?

Arresting nonviolent activists

Want to feed homeless people free meals in the park? Prepare to be arrested. Or how about dancing in front of the Jefferson Memorial? Prepare to get tied up and beat up.

Our country's police has a long history of suppressing nonviolent activists, and it hasn't stopped with the Civil Rights Era. Environmental activists like Tim DeChristopher are served 10-year prison sentences for civil disobedience, that harms no one but impedes oil companies' profits. Meanwhile, the FBI labels nonviolent activists as "domestic terrorists."

They were recently granted more power to go through your trash and your data, so expect things to only get worse. Actually, expect things to get worse in general. The police state is the new normal.

June 25, 2011

There is a Shortage of Sand to Fight Off the Swollen Missouri River

Sand Shortage Causes Concern for Flood Fighters

The Cooper Nuclear Power Station is seen near Brownville, Neb., Sunday, June, 19, 2011. When the Missouri River reached 42.5 feet, or 899 feet above sea level Sunday morning, the Nebraska Public Power District issued a flooding alert for its nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station. Cooper, located near Brownville,  is at 903 feet elevation, and NPPD officials said the river would have to climb to 902 feet at Brownville before officials would shut down the plant. Photo: Dave Weaver / AP
The Cooper Nuclear Power Station is seen near Brownville, Neb., Sunday, June, 19, 2011. When the Missouri River reached 42.5 feet, or 899 feet above sea level Sunday morning, the Nebraska Public Power District issued a flooding alert for its nuclear power plant, Cooper Nuclear Station. Cooper, located near Brownville, is at 903 feet elevation, and NPPD officials said the river would have to climb to 902 feet at Brownville before officials would shut down the plant. Photo: Dave Weaver/AP

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June 22, 2011

AP — The supply of sand used to fill hundreds of thousands of bags needed to fight off the swollen Missouri River is running low after weeks of relentless flooding. It's a problem that could get worse as the river is expected to remain high through August, making it unsafe to gather sand from the easiest place to get it: the river itself.

The sand shortage comes as the bloated river rose to within 18 inches of forcing the shutdown of Cooper Nuclear Plant at Brownville, Neb. It stopped and ebbed slightly Monday, a reprieve caused by levee breaches in northwest Missouri.

Flooding is a concern all along the river because of the massive amounts of water that the Army Corps of Engineers has released from six dams. Any significant rain could worsen the flooding especially if it falls in Nebraska, Iowa or Missouri, which are downstream of the dams.

During the next few days, the river is expected to rise as much as 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in much of Nebraska and Iowa, and as much as 10 feet over flood stage in parts of Missouri. It could stay above flood stage into August.

The Army Corps of Engineers is monitoring the sand supply, said Jud Kneuvean, chief of emergency management for the corps' Kansas City District. He said a ton of sand produces about 60 sandbags. Sand also is piled along weakened areas of levees to prevent seepage.

"You need lots of sand, lots of sand," Kneuvean said.

In a pinch, other materials can be used — everything from gravel to lime products.

"Unfortunately, though, when some of those get wet they harden up and it decreases the flexibility of sand bags and it basically forms concrete," Kneuvean said.

Dan Sturm, the fire chief in Hamburg, Iowa, joked that his community deserves blame for thinning sand supplies.

"We probably took all the sand," Sturm said.

Hamburg has filled at least 250,000 sandbags and dumped truckloads into fabric-lined metal-frame baskets to create a makeshift barrier to hold back water pouring through a breached Missouri River levee.

Downstream, St. Joseph has filled 365,000 sandbags to reinforce low spots on levees and protect city buildings and the airport at Rosecrans Air National Guard base, said public works director Bruce Woody.

The local supply of sand quickly ran out after flooding began in St. Joseph, and the river was moving too swiftly to allow for dredging, Buchanan County emergency director Bill Brinton said. The county had to ship in sand from Topeka, Kan., and Kansas City, Mo.

Atchison, Kan., also had to purchase sand from the Kansas City area, about an hour's drive away, city manager Trey Cocking said.

Suburban Kansas City-based Ash Grove Aggregates & Ready Mix, which sells sand, typically dredges the river at St. Joseph for sand. Because the river is so high and the current so strong, the company has been forced to cease dredging and may not start again until August, company president Allan Emby said.

Despite the shortage, he is refusing to raise the price.

"I can't morally in my own brain think about increasing prices because of flooding," Emby said.

Mark Becker, spokesman for Nebraska Public Power District, said the river rose to 900.56 feet at Brownville on Sunday, then dropped to 900.4 feet later in the day and remained at that level Monday. The Cooper Nuclear Plant was operating at full capacity. The utility sent a "notification of unusual event" to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission when the river rose to 899 feet early Sunday morning. The declaration is the least serious of four emergency notifications established by the federal commission.

Cooper is one of two nuclear plants along the Missouri River in eastern Nebraska. The Fort Calhoun Station, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, is about 20 miles north of Omaha. It issued a similar alert to the regulatory commission June 6.

The river continued to rise along the Missouri-Kansas border, but by Monday afternoon, there were no new trouble spots.

Craig Sheppard, manager of the levee that protects the airport in St. Joseph, said the earthen structure was in good shape and should hold, barring unforeseen heavy rains to the north.

"As far as picking up and running from the river, there's no need to do that," Sheppard said.
Nearly 300 residents of the northwestern Missouri town of Craig were being ordered to evacuate amid the flood threat. Officials said one levee was overtopped and a breach opened in the Big Tarkio River levee near its mouth at the Missouri.

In Andrew County, north of St. Joseph, a couple of trouble spots along levees have been stabilized. Most residents in towns threatened by high water have already left or are preparing to do so, said Roger Latham, emergency management director for the county.

"We know it's all going to come down here eventually, and the concern that we have about the levees is they really haven't been tested since 1993," Latham said.

Brig. Gen. John McMahon, the commander of the U.S. Army Corps' Northwestern Division, traveled to Missouri's capital city Monday at the behest of U.S. Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer and Vicky Hartzler to meet with local levee district managers, mayors and county commissioners concerned about potential flooding.

McMahon said the corps' had previously released enough water from upstream reservoirs to account for a larger-than-usual snowmelt, but had not anticipated this spring's unusually larger rainfalls that occurred in Montana and parts of the upper Midwest.

If more heavy rains hit the upper Missouri River basin, McMahon said the corps may have to increase the already record flow of 150,000 cubic feet of water from Gavins Point dam in South Dakota.

"I dread that thought, but we could have to do it. It's a very real possibility," McMahon said.

In Kansas' northeast corner, Missouri River levees were in good shape. Yet there was still concern as rain forecast into Tuesday could overload drainage systems in the small towns of Wathena and Elwood.

"The main concern right now is internal flooding," county emergency director Julie Meng said. "We'd be flooding from the inside."

Missouri River Levee Breach Spares Shutdown of Cooper Nuclear Power Plant, But Over the Weekend the River is Expected to Rise Again to within One Foot of the Depth Requiring Precautionary Shutdown of Plant

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Fort Calhoun, Neb., currently shut down for refueling, is surrounded by flood waters from the Missouri River, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. On Tuesday, the releases at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota hit the maximum planned amount of 150,000 cubic feet of water per second, which are expected to raise the Missouri River 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in most of Nebraska and Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
The Fort Calhoun nuclear power station in Fort Calhoun, Neb., currently shut down for refueling, is surrounded by flood waters from the Missouri River, Tuesday, June 14, 2011. On Tuesday, the releases at Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota hit the maximum planned amount of 150,000 cubic feet of water per second, which are expected to raise the Missouri River 5 to 7 feet above flood stage in most of Nebraska and Iowa. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

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Cooper Nuclear Plant Gets Relief from Levee Breach

June 24, 2011

AP - The failure of a Missouri River levee in northwest Missouri is offering a brief reprieve from flooding for southeast Nebraska near the Cooper nuclear power plant.

Before the breach, the river had been 44.8-feet-deep at Brownville on Thursday. The weather service predicts the river to return to that depth over the weekend.

The National Weather Service says the river level dropped more than a foot at Brownville to 43.1 feet Friday morning after Thursday’s levee breach upstream in northwest Missouri. The river would have to rise to 46.5 feet before reaching Cooper, but the plant would be shut down as a precaution if the river reached 45.5 feet.

The Nebraska Public Power District owns the nuclear power plant. Spokesman Mark Becker says the plant continues to operate at full capacity.

Missouri River Levee Failure in Nebraska Prompts More Evacuations

Atchison Co. Residents West of I-29 Evacuated

June 24, 2011

KETV Omaha - More mandatory evacuations have been ordered after another levee breach in Atchison County, Mo. About 250 homes have been cleared in Phelps City, Langdon and Watson.

The scene is becoming all too common along the swelling Missouri River. Highway 136 is disappearing underwater, and grain elevators tower over flooded fields. Western Atchison County is quickly going under.
“The east side of town has got 2 to 3 inches of water in it right now, and it’s still on the rise,” said Rod Meinders, mayor of Watson.
Meinders built his house high, knowing the power of the river. Now, it’s putting him and his town to the test.

The levee south of Watson failed around 9:20 p.m. Thursday. By mid-morning Friday, the river was gushing through farms, trickling across parking lots and creeping closer to families whose only choice was to get out of the way.

Knowing the water has finally arrived provides a strange sense of relief for some.
“This has been going on for almost a month now. We've been telling people it was going to happen,” Atchison County Deputy Emergency Manager Mark Manchester said.
While it won’t alleviate stress, the waiting is over. Meinders believes the flood will devastate his town, but there’s always some hope.
“True to living on the river bottom, we don't give up the right until there ain’t a fight to have,” Meinders said.
The levee break eased some concern upstream at the Cooper nuclear station. The river level at Brownville dropped as the water pushed across the Missouri farmland.

At least two other levees in northwest Missouri failed this month, and others have been overrun by floodwater. Officials predict the river will remain overfull into August, so more levee problems are likely.

Large Levee Breach 3 Miles Up from Cooper Nuclear Station

June 24, 2011

Examiner.com - Around 9:00 Thursday night, a large levee breach occurred at Brownville, Mo. three miles upstream from Nebraska's Cooper Nuclear Station, the atomic reactor identical twin to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4.

Mills County issued a mandatory evacuation order, are disconnecting power today, and say the General Electric Mark 1 Boiling Water Reactor of Cooper Nuclear Plant that has been under an "unusual event declaration," is not threatened. NRC Chairman is heading to the site.

“This is a large breach and water will be moving rapidly. Persons should stay out of this area if previously evacuated due to danger,” the Atchison County Emergency Management office said in a prepared statement according to Nebraska State Paper.

"It happened so quick that they were concerned that they may not be able to escape. The water was coming through fast and hard. … We're not sure what the size of the break is so far," reported Mark Manchester, deputy emergency management director for Atchison County, Mo., Thursday evening." (Lincoln Journal Star)

The World-Herald News Service reported that Mills County issued a mandatory evacuation order Thursday for residents in part of the county.

“The safety of the residents in those areas is our greatest concern, and we needed to take action,” said Sheri Bowen, public information officer for Mills County Emergency Management. (World-Herald)

Iowa Army National Guard, the levee and drainage district staff and emergency management personnel are patrolling the levee.

CNN reported Thursday,

"It was catastrophic flooding from Japan's March 11 tsunami that knocked out cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, resulting in three reactors melting down and producing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

"This year's Midwestern flooding has also led to a spate of rumors about the Fort Calhoun plant that Omaha Public Power and the NRC have been trying to knock down."

Although the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has stated that both the Cooper Nuclear Station at Brownville and the Fort Calhoun plant remain safe, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko will soon visit the state a spokesman for Senator Ben Nelson (NE-D) confirmed to Nebraska Watchdog.

On June 9th, Cooper Nuclear Plant issued a "Current Event Notification Report" to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission that stated,


As of Thursday morning, the river at Brownville, 70 miles from Lincoln and Omaha, had climbed within a foot and a half from forcing Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD ) to declare an “Alert” and shut down the reactor, according to Joe Jordon of the Nebraska Watchdog organization.

"While insisting that Nebraska’s two nuclear power plants remain safe in the face of record flooding from the Missouri River, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on Wednesday issued a statement noting among other things 'two feet of water' onsite in many areas of the Fort Calhoun plant which is 19 miles north of Omaha," Jordon reported Wednesday.

The nuclear power watchdog, Beyond Nuclear, has reported that Cooper Nuclear Station is an "atomic reactor -- identical twin to Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4" and that a sludge pond has been uncontrollably releasing contents into river due to flooding.

Are Cooper's uncontrolled sludge releases into the Missouri River in fact non-radiological? This document from Cooper (see pages 30-31) shows that sludge at Pilgrim 1 (also a GE BWR Mark 1, just like Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4) was intensely radioactive, begging the question, are the sludges in question in the holding pond at Cooper also radioactive? Note also a radiological overexposure incident at Brunswick Unit 2 atomic reactor in North Carolina, yet another GE BWR Mark 1.

Officials Order Evacuations in Atchison County Following Levee Breach

June 24, 2011

WDAF-TV - Emergency management officials in Atchison County, Missouri, have ordered the evacuation of six town following the breach of a Missouri River levee by flood waters.

Officials say that a levee along the Missouri River near Brownville, Nebraska, was breached on Thursday night around 9 p.m. Since that time, the Missouri National Guard has been dropping sandbags onto the levee along the Atchison and Holt County line to try and prevent that levee from breaking and flooding numerous communities in the area.

Sharon Rosenbohm and her husband have been farming near Rockport for 46 years. They say that they were able to rebuild following the 1993 flood, but if the floods hit their home this time, they are not sure if they will be able to rebuild.
"The Missouri River has eaten into half of it and it's just a matter of time before it will eat or break through, and if that would be the case where we are standing right now, which is about 2 miles from that place, would be under eight feet of water in just a few hours," said Rosenbohm.
Since June 6th, the National Guard, who says that say when they see fields and homes flooded it tugs at their heartstrings, knowing people have been forced out of their homes and their livelihoods, has dropped more than 160 2,000-pound sandbags to try and shore up the levee. In all, officials say that there are currently five levee breaches between Kansas City and the Iowa state line.