August 30, 2011

Dispersants Used in BP Gulf Oil Spill Linked to Cancer

Dispersants Used in BP Gulf Oil Spill Linked to Cancer

COREXIT 9500 and 9527 are both produced by Nalco/Exxon. Despite ongoing concerns from the public about the toxicity of listed dispersants and their impacts upon the environment, she said, the EPA continues to protect the dispersant manufacturers, who want to keep the ingredients of their products secret.

August 26, 2011

Environment News Service (ENS) - Five of the 57 ingredients in dispersants approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for use on oil spills are linked to cancer, finds a new research report based on data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by environmental groups on the Gulf of Mexico.

The report from Earthjustice, an environmental law firm, along with Toxipedia Consulting Services, is based on material released by the U.S. EPA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by Earthjustice on behalf of the Gulf Restoration Network and the Florida Wildlife Federation.

Dispersants are used to clean up oil spills and contain chemicals that break up oil into smaller droplets and move the oil from the surface of the water into the water column.

A plane sprays dispersant over the oil leaked from the BP wellhead in the Gulf of Mexico, May 21, 2010.

Two oil dispersant products were used heavily in the BP oil leak: COREXIT 9500 and 9527, both produced by Nalco/Exxon. BP used over 1.8 million gallons of dispersant during the three-month long oil leak that gushed 4.9 million barrels of crude oil from the Macondo well located about 40 miles southeast of the Louisiana coast.

The report "The Chaos of Clean-Up: Analysis of Potential Health and Environmental Impacts of Chemicals in Dispersant Products" highlights the fact that some dispersants are safer than others.

"The testing can't be done in the moment of the disaster," said Marianne Engelman Lado, an attorney with Earthjustice. "It has to be done ahead of time to avoid the chaos we witnessed during the disaster response to the Deepwater Horizon disaster."

Among the dispersant chemical ingredients linked to cancer are:

  • Amides, coco, N,N-bis(hydroxyethyl), which is classed as a likely carcinogen
  • Cyclohexene, 1 - methyl - 4 - (1 - methylethenyl) -, (4R) -, which is classed as carcinogenic to rats
  • Ethanol, 2-butoxy- which is listed as a possible carcinogen
  • Petroleum distillates, hydrotreated light, which are classed as a confirmed animal carcinogens with unknown relevance to humans. These distillates carry the additional warning that exposure by inhalation can cause dizziness, headache, nausea, drowsiness, and unconsciousness and prolonged inhalation of high concentrations may damage the respiratory system.
Gulf residents continue to suffer health effects related to the disaster clean-up.
"The illnesses we observed were quite unique and different from anything that I had ever witnessed before," said Dr. Michael Robichaux, a physician in Raceland, Louisiana.

"Although there were scores of complaints early on, the main problems at this time are a loss of memory, seizure type problems, severe abdominal pain, fatigue, irritability and other neurological and endocrine manifestations," he said.

Click here for a chart that breaks down the ingredients in dispersants and their effects on humans, wildlife and the aquatic environment.

Earthjustice went to court to obtain the ingredients of dispersants eligible for use, health and safety studies on the chemicals in dispersants, and the application materials and toxicity testing results submitted to EPA by dispersant manufacturers seeking to obtain eligibility status for their dispersant.

The request also sought correspondence between the EPA and BP about the selection of an appropriate dispersant during the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

"The goal here is, when dispersant use is required, we use the least toxic dispersants that are appropriate to that specific spill condition," said Manley Fuller of the Florida Wilderness Federation. "To do that, we need to know the ingredients and they need to be tested in field conditions." has made information on the chemicals accessible to the public for the first time through its website.

Cyn Sarthou, executive director of the Gulf Restoration Network, is concerned that choices among dispersants are not being made publicly with full knowledge of their impacts.

"Despite ongoing concerns from the public about the toxicity of listed dispersants and their impacts upon the environment," she said, "the EPA continues to protect the dispersant manufacturers, who want to keep the ingredients of their products secret."


August 29, 2011

Utility Companies Claim Smart Grid Will Reduce Power Outages

What is Smart Grid? It is a broad term that involves control of our electrical power, including gas and water usage. The Department of Energy has been charged with developing this whole system, naturally due to the aging power system we have. This whole scheme of Government and environmental intrusion would involve sensors stuffed on/in home products, at central locations, inter relating with each other. Our use of power and energy, whether in our private homes or businesses, would be evaluated, controlled, regulated, taxed and possibly turned off if the powers-on-high thought we had exceeded a limit and needed to pay much more. The Smart Grid, as revealed by Pat Wood of, masterfully shreds our 4th amendment rights and will attempt to lead our daily lifestyle choices around by the nose. - Dr. Laurie Roth, What Happened to Our 'Right to Privacy'?,, July 9, 2010

Hurricane Irene Highlights Need for Smarter Grid

Google has been trying to help shed some light on the outage situation and tells me it has been adding information about the blackouts from utilities onto its Crisis Map. Google says utilities can seamlessly have the outage data updated, if they publish their maps via a KML, GeoRSS or Fusion Table file.

But as Triple Pundit pointed out, the outages due to major storms like Irene could likely be far shorter, and could be easier and cheaper to fix after the next-generation of smart grid technology is installed. ComEd has said publicly that if smart grid technology had been in place for previous storms this summer, the impact of those storms would have been minimized. Smart grid tech can allow utilities to know when specific customers are without power without the customer having to call the utility, and digital automation tech can also reroute power to customers in need.

According to Ray Dotter, Strategic Communications exec for transmission agency PJM Interconnection, smart grid devices could be beneficial in storm restoration on the distribution side indicating to dispatchers at utilities when electric service is lost. But on the transmission side, smart grid devices can also help with storm management. For example, PJM is working with its members to install synchrophasors (sensors) on the transmission system that give system operators a better picture of grid conditions and a better ability to predict developing storm-related problems.

While some consumers wonder what the direct benefits are for them from their utilities building out these smart grids, it could actually be a reduction in blackouts that’s one of the more obvious consumer benefits. Picture an outage time of a couple of minutes or hours, vs more than a week, for some of the communities in the wake of Irene. It’s probably worth the extra dollar or two on your monthly energy bill.

Reducing outages isn’t only a benefit for consumers; it saves the utility money, too. According to Massoud Amin, the director of the Technological Leadership Institute at the University of Minnesota, power outages cost the U.S. economy between $80 billion and $188 billion per year. Amin says there have been an increasing amount of outages per year in the U.S., and a smart grid could reduce the costs of outages by about $49 billion per year in the U.S. (in addition to the energy efficiency savings, carbon reduction savings, ability to integrate more clean power and consumer-facing home energy tools).


Facebook's New Privacy Controls Aren't Really that New and Don't Really Protect Your Privacy

Facebook's New Privacy Controls: Still Broken

It seems Facebook's new privacy controls aren't really that new and don't really protect your privacy. Aside from that, they're great.

August 29, 2011

IT World - So Facebook finally rolled out those new privacy controls it promised last week – to some users, at least. I was one of the lucky ones.

They sounded good at the time. In practice, though, not so much. In fact, I don’t think these changes were about improving privacy at all. More on that in a moment.

First, though, a correction. I was wrong when I wrote about Facebook’s new tagging controls last week. I had written:

One of my biggest complaints about Facebook is that it allows anyone to tag photos with your name – even if you’re nowhere in the picture. It was up to you to stay on top of tagging alerts and delete tags you didn’t want appearing. Now Facebook will let you preview tags and approve or delete them before it they appear on anyone else’s wall. You’ll also be given more options about what you want to do – say, whether you want to remove the tag or ask your friend to remove the entire photo.

It turns out that the picture isn’t quite so rosy.

Let’s say your friend Bob tags you in a photo. Facebook will send you a message saying “Bob added a photo of you. To approve this for your profile, review your pending posts.” That’s the new bit.

That picture won’t appear on your Facebook page until you click “Add photo to your profile” (or “Approve all posts”). But it will appear on Bob’s profile, regardless of what you do. And all of Bob’s friends will be able to see it, assuming his privacy settings allow that. That’s where I got it wrong.

You can, of course, remove the tag, or you can ask your friend to take down the photo (and if he or she doesn't, block them entirely). But if you don’t remove the tag or your friend doesn't delete the image, the photo and the tag will stay there in perpetuity, as in the past.

So Facebook tags are substantially no different than they were before; which is to say, they still suck.

Actually, that’s not true – they’re worse.

Using Facebook’s new “improved” privacy controls, you can tag someone else in photo and then keep them from seeing it. It’s pretty simple; just change the sharing option so they don’t see what you posted. So if you want to tag a picture of a jackass with your friend’s name on it and make it Public, everyone on Facebook will be able to see it except one – the person whose name is on it.

Here’s how the same status update appears to me (top) and the fake profile I’ve tagged in the update (bottom).

See the name that’s missing from the bottom one? That (fake) person would have no idea he’s been tagged in this.

You can turn off the feature that lets other people check you into locations by going into the new privacy controls, selecting How Tags Work, and disabling Friends Can Check You Into Places. But you can’t keep people from tagging you or hiding those tags. And now, Facebook allows anybody and their dog to tag you, not just your friends.

Maybe this a bug. Maybe it’s just a strange alignment of the social media planets that affects only me. But if it’s not a bug or a planetary misalignment, it’s not good.

Really, though, what Facebook is spinning as “privacy controls” is actually something much sneakier, I think. The biggest thing they’ve done is embed tagging and Facebook Places into status updates, making it easier to tell people where you are, what you’re doing, and with whom.

I am sure many Facebook fans would see this as a benefit, but it ain’t privacy enhancing. And the ability to claim you were someplace with someone – and block that person from viewing your post, so they could refute or remove it – is wrong. I’m hoping this is just a glitch or just a mistake on my part. I can't believe even Facebook would do this intentionally.

Google Wants to Own Your Online Identity

It’s Official: Google Wants to Own Your Online Identity

August 29, 2011

GigaOM - Ever since Google launched its new Google+ social network, we and others have pointed out that the search giant clearly has more in mind than just providing a nice place for people to share photos of their pets.

For one thing, Google needs to tap into the “social signals” that people provide through networks like Facebook so it can improve its search results. But there’s a larger motive as well: as chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt admitted in an interview in Edinburgh over the weekend, Google is taking a hard line on the real-name issue because it sees Google+ as an “identity service” or platform on which it can build other products.

Schmidt’s comments came during an interview with Andy Carvin, the National Public Radio digital editor who has become a one-man newswire during the Arab Spring revolutions. Carvin asked the Google chairman about the company’s reasoning for pushing its real-name policies on Google+ — a policy that many have criticized (including us) because it excludes potentially valuable viewpoints that might be expressed by political dissidents and others who prefer to remain anonymous. In effect, Schmidt said Google isn’t interested in changing its policies to accommodate those kinds of users: if people want to remain anonymous, he said, then they shouldn’t use Google+.

Google+ is primarily an “identity service”

But it was the former Google CEO’s remarks about the rationale for this policy that were most interesting: He didn’t just say — as Vic Gundotra, the Google executive in charge of the new social network has — that having real names maintains a certain tone of behavior that is more preferable to anonymous forums (an argument that online-community pioneer Derek Powazek has also made). According to Carvin, Schmidt said the reason Google needs users with real names is that the company sees Google+ as the core of an identity platform it is building that can be used for other things:

He (Eric) replied by saying that G+ was build primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they’re going to build future products that leverage that information.

Google provided me with the official transcript of the interview Schmidt gave in Edinburgh (Carvin’s question comes midway through the interview), in which he says:

If you think about it, the Internet would be better if we had an accurate notion that you were a real person as opposed to a dog, or a fake person, or a spammer or what have you… So if we knew that it was a real person, then we could sort of hold them accountable, we could check them, we could give them things, we could you know bill them, you know we could have credit cards and so forth.

As Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson noted in a blog post in response to Schmidt’s comments, this is an admission by the company that it wants to be an identity gatekeeper. Others have made similar observations since the launch of Google+.

Programmer and online veteran Dave Winer, for example, said:

When the real-name policy first started to become a hot-button issue that Google’s purpose was clearly to “provide identity in a commerce-ready way. And to give them information about what you do on the Internet, without obfuscation of pseudonyms.”
In his blog post, Fred Wilson said:

It begs the question of whom Google built this service for? You or them. And the answer to why you need to use your real name in the service is because they need you to.

Real names are more valuable to advertisers

As I tried to outline in a recent GigaOM Pro research report entitled “How social search is changing the search industry” (subscription required), there’s an obvious search-related rationale for launching a social network like Google+, since indexing and mining that kind of activity can help the company provide better “social search” results. But the real-name issue has more to do with Google’s other business: namely, advertising. Users who are anonymous or pseudonymous are arguably a lot less valuable to advertisers than those who choose to attach their real identities, including their age and gender, location and other demographic details to their accounts.

What kind of services is Schmidt referring to when he says that Google is looking at Google+ as an identity platform that could support other services? Dave Winer thinks that the company wants to effectively become a bank — something he also suspects that Apple and Amazon are interested in as well — and that’s definitely a possibility. Apple and Google both seem interested in NFC technology (near-field communication), which turns mobile devices into electronic wallets, and having a social network tied to an individual user’s identity would come in handy. Ross Dawson says Google wants to build a “reputation engine” using Google+ as a platform.

In the transcript of his interview, Schmidt gives a couple of examples of how Google plans to use the social signals coming from Google+:

[I]f you and I are friends, and — with your permission, this is very important — we can have slightly better search results if I know a little bit about who you are. What about YouTube recommendations? We have this Leanback model where we suggest YouTube videos that you should just watch one after the other. Well if I know the ones that you like, and again with your permission, I can merge that as a signal in, and get a better result.

Whatever its specific interests are, Google clearly sees Facebook as a competitive threat not just because it has developed a gigantic social network with hundreds of millions of devoted users, but also because it has become a kind of identity gatekeeper — with tens of millions of those devoted users happily logging into other websites and services with their Facebook credentials, thus sending Facebook valuable data about what they are doing and where they are doing it. And the ubiquitous “like” button provides even more data, something Google is also trying to mimic with its +1 buttons.

Google needs a horse in the identity race

The bottom line is that Google needs to have a horse in this identity race, and it has been unable to create one so far. The growth of Google+ provides a reason for people to create Google profiles, and that data — along with their activity on the network and through +1 buttons — goes into the vast Google cyberplex where it can be crunched and indexed and codified in a hundred different ways. And the more people who decide to do it, the better it gets, both for Google and for its advertising strategy. As the saying goes, if you’re not paying for it, then you’re the product being sold.

That’s the obvious background to the real-name issue, something Eric Schmidt has effectively confirmed with his remarks in Edinburgh. Whether users like the position that puts them in remains to be seen.

August 28, 2011

The UN Agenda 21 Marches on in America

The UN Agenda 21 Marches on in America with the USDA-EPA National Partnership

August 14, 2011

Canada Free Press - John Adams said, “Property must be secured, or liberty cannot exist.” The Decalogue emphasized private property in “Thou shalt not steal.” George Washington stated, “Private property and freedom are inseparable.”

Private property was so important to our Founding Fathers that its principles were included in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. The right to property is surmised in the owner’s determination of land use, as long as its use does not “disturb the equal rights of another.”

The Declaration of Independence states that “...all Men…are endowed by their Creator with Certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” United Nations Charter and Declaration of Human Rights are based on the idea that rights are granted and rescinded by men.

The UN third world nations planners devised Agenda 21 on three suspect principles: Equity, Economy, and Environment, all controlled by government because “individual rights must take a back seat to the collective.”

In 1964, UN developing nations called for the establishment of a New International Economic Order, asking that multi-national corporations be regulated and foreign property nationalized, asking to establish commodity monopolies, and requesting transfer of technology and technical assistance.

Developed nations ignored this declaration but developing nations promoted these ideas at other conferences. In 1976, the Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat One) declared that private land ownership and wealth are the primary reasons for social injustice. The 65 page socialist document recommended land use:

  • redistribution of population in accordance with resources
  • government must control the use of land in order to achieve equitable distribution of resources
  • land use must be controlled through zoning and planning
  • government must control excessive profits from land use
  • urban and rural land reform should be done through public ownership of land
  • public authorities should hold developing rights of land and should be separated from owner rights

The 1987 UN report, “Our Common Future” by the World Commission on Environment and Development focused on the policy of sustainable development: land use, education, and population control and reduction. Sustainable Development made nature and its protection the central principle for all member nations.

The 1992 UN Bruntland Commission released the official UN Agenda 21 with its 40 chapters and the 178 nations who signed and agreed to implement UN Agenda 21 at the conference in Rio de Janeiro. Signatory for the United States was President George Bush.

All countries agreed that decisions must be made based on how they will affect the environment. Property is evil and creates wealth for the rich at the expense of the poor. Business is evil, should be controlled by the community, while the owner is responsible, and pays taxes. Wealth was produced at the expense of the poor and must thus be confiscated and given to the poor. No private enterprise should exist, only public-private partnerships. These ideas are tenets of socialism/Marxism.

UN Agenda 21 set out to abolish private property, control education, control and reduce population, and control the economy. The global plan was called “Sustainable Development.”

Every of the 40 chapters contains policies that member nations must adopt such as demographics, settlements, sustainable communities, water control, land use control, role of business, energy control, role of industry, international mechanisms of implementing the agenda, and the institutions used to implement the policies.

In 1993, President Bill Clinton signed the Biodiversity Treaty. The treaty was used to implement UN Agenda 21 in the United States, “Creation of national strategies, plans, policies, and processes which are crucial in achieving a sustainable world.”

Dr. Michael Coffman revealed a map to the U.S. Senate of the proposed development of the Wildlands under UN Agenda 21 in the U.S. This map had red, yellow, and green zones noted as Core Reserves and Corridors with little or no human use, Buffer Zones with highly regulated use, and Smart Growth with human settlements.

Click here for a narrated version of the report, "Taking Liberty: How Private Property in America Is Being Abolished"

Source: Range Magazine, Fall 2005

President Clinton signed Executive Order 12852, creating the President’s Council on Sustainable Development to translate UN Agenda 21 into public policy administered by the federal government. The Council created the first UN Agenda 21 called “Sustainable America,” with 16 “we believe” statements. The ultimate goals were to abolish private property, control education, control and reduce population, and control the economy.

To aid in implementing UN Agenda 21 a Consensus Process was developed: Stakeholders of the Affected Group select an Initiator who then selects a Decision-Making Committee (steering committee); Policy Decisions are pre-determined by a Facilitator and not by the Committee (they cannot vote). Consensus is the process in which objections to the proposal are erased. The Affected Group has to abide by the pre-determined decision with no voice in choosing the decision-maker or the outcome.

President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) published “Sustainable America, a New Consensus,” which contains 150 policy recommendations taken directly from UN Agenda 21. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown said that his agency can implement 67 percent of the recommendations administratively, using rule-making authority.

Land Management Agencies promoted land use policies based on ecological or aesthetic consequences. The agencies appropriated millions in grants to state and local governments and set up land trusts for the purpose of acquiring private property. For example, by 1997, 43 million acres were designated roadless areas, 1/3 of land in America was owned by government and ten percent by states, 21 national monuments were expanded. (Donna Holt)

How was UN Agenda 21 implemented at the grass roots? Millions in grants were awarded to state and local governments by American Planning Association and EPA through “visioning.”

A Visioning Council (steering committee) made up of businessmen, politicians, NGOs (non-governmental organizations), and people who stood to gain financially from the implementation of the goals of UN Agenda 21, worked with the EPA, the American Planning Association, the Conservation Fund, the National Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club.

The Visioning Council received their proposal from the President’s Council on Sustainable Development (PCSD) and proposes it as local goals for the community. The “Consensus” would remove any objections the public may have had. The result was the “vision” and the new plan of action. The entire process took 12-18 months.

The Initiator would make press releases to introduce the idea of Sustainable Communities and to build huge public support; the elected officials signed on without any questions asked. They either did not understand the nefarious intent or were financially complicit in the vision. Some local government officials had no idea that the plan came from the United Nations Agenda 21.

Partners of Sustainable Development are ICLEI, International County/City Management Association, American Planning Association, Renaissance Planning Group, Florida Forever (largest public land acquisition program in the U.S.—9.8 million acres purchased). They provide technical support and assistance with SD, management training, performance measurement, rural and urban planning.

In June 2008, The One Planet Communities proposed: (data from Donna Holt)

  • 58 percent less electricity
  • 65 percent vehicle mileage down time
  • 23 gallons/water less per person
  • 50 percent reduction in car ownership
  • 40 electric car solar powered charging stations
  • Reduction of footprint from 6 homes to 2 homes by 2020
  • Stacked homes to avoid expansion of housing developments
  • Five minute lifestyle (5 minute walk or bike from your home to shop, work, live, go to school)
  • Walk or bike within the community
  • Car-sharing for short distances or from one stacked community to another
  • High speed rail for longer distances
  • Car ownership will disappear

Current consequences of UN Agenda 21:

  • Sustainability is taught k-12, colleges, and universities
  • Colleges teach how to “build earth’s sustainable workforce,” “sustainability manager for carbon accounting,” “corporate sustainability manager,” “energy auditor,” “engineering sustainably certified homes,” to name just a few
  • Children are well indoctrinated into Sustainable Development practices
  • Government schemes to control future use of agricultural land and water through the recently passed White House Rural Council
  • San Joaquim Valley in California was turned into a virtual dust bowl last year when water was denied to farmers in order to protect the delta smelt; 40,000 people became unemployed; less vegetables and fruits resulted in higher prices
  • Regulatory taking of land, especially in Florida, Miami-Dade County
  • Rationing of water, electricity, and fuel
  • Expensive retrofitting of homes—people will be forced to leave their homes if they cannot afford the expensive retrofitting
  • Denied building permits and thus land is deemed worthless
  • Private property abolished to prevent urban sprawl
  • Land shortage
  • High density living

In June 2011, President Obama signed the White House Rural Council. To make good on the promise to control rural life and its resources, on August 8, 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the EPA announced a national partnership “to improve rural drinking water and wastewater systems.”

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, who chairs the White House Rural Council and thus controls 16% of U.S. land, “is working to coordinate USDA programs across the government and encourage public-private partnerships, to improve economic conditions and create jobs in rural communities.” I guess the government has finished “saving or creating the three million jobs” in urban areas, they are now moving into rural areas. Here is UN Agenda 21 in action through its Hallmark public-private partnerships, to “fundamentally change” and control the use of water, resources, and agricultural land.

The overwhelming view among scientists is that the planet is warming and human activities are a major cause.

Confiscation of Private Property by the Feds is on the Rise

U.S. Government Asset Seizures on the Rise

They’ll raise taxes, seize assets, take over pension funds, erode freedoms, start wars and send people to die — whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.

August 27, 2011

Daily Reckoning - The Wall Street Journal published a disturbing article earlier this week entitled Federal Asset Seizures Rise, Netting Innocent With Guilty.” You can already imagine the crux of the article.

In the United States, there are hundreds of regulations which authorize dozens of federal agencies to confiscate private property — homes, cars, bank accounts, gold, company shares, and even personal effects. Ironically, most Americans still think that they live in a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty. Nothing could be further from the truth, and it’s just another clear example of how the US Constitution has become a worthless piece of toilet paper for the federal government.

The Fifth Amendment states that “No person shall be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”

Tell that James Lieto, a New York businessman who was relieved of $392,000 when the armored car company used by his check-cashing firm was taken down by the FBI. Lieto was innocent and not implicated in any wrongdoing, but the FBI took his money regardless as it just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Last October, another businessman named Raul Stio was suspected of wrongdoing by the Treasury Department. The government seized over $150,000 from his account, yet in the 10-months that followed, Stio has still not been charged with a crime.

According to Justice Department statistics, the total value of confiscated property exceeded $2.5 billion in 2010, more than double from five years ago. The average take per case? $166,000…and the vast majority of cases were non-criminal.

It’s truly staggering to think about how much can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye, all without any judicial oversight or right to a hearing.

The reason could be anything. Maybe you violated some arcane, meaningless regulation among the hundreds of thousands of pages of US Code (ignorance of the law is NOT an excuse!). Maybe you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or maybe they had no real reason at all other than mere suspicion. One minute you have money, the next you’re completely locked out of your wealth and livelihood. They force YOU to prove to them that you aren’t guilty, but they take away any means you had to defend yourself.

Look, this is the new reality in America. The entire country has become a nation of criminals — there isn’t a single man, woman, or child alive who is not in violation of some obscure regulation or cannot be ‘suspected’ of wrongdoing. This is really just a form of cannibalism — a government feeding on its own citizens in order to keep the party going just a little bit longer. They’ll raise taxes, seize assets, take over pension funds, erode freedoms, start wars and send people to die — whatever it takes to maintain the status quo.

Most Severe Stock Market Crash in History Could Be on the Way

Market Crash 'Could Hit within Weeks', Warn Bankers

A more severe crash than the one triggered by the collapse of Lehman Brothers could be on the way, according to alarm signals in the credit markets.

August 24, 2011

Telegraph - Insurance on the debt of several major European banks has now hit historic levels, higher even than those recorded during financial crisis caused by the US financial group's implosion nearly three years ago.

Credit default swaps on the bonds of Royal Bank of Scotland, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank and Intesa Sanpaolo, among others, flashed warning signals on Wednesday. Credit default swaps (CDS) on RBS were trading at 343.54 basis points, meaning the annual cost to insure £10m of the state-backed lender's bonds against default is now £343,540.

The cost of insuring RBS bonds is now higher than before the taxpayer was forced to step in and rescue the bank in October 2008, and shows the recent dramatic downturn in sentiment among credit investors towards banks.

"The problem is a shortage of liquidity – that is what is causing the problems with the banks. It feels exactly as it felt in 2008," said one senior London-based bank executive.

"I think we are heading for a market shock in September or October that will match anything we have ever seen before," said a senior credit banker at a major European bank.

Despite this, bank shares rebounded on Wednesday, showing the growing disconnect between equity and credit investors. RBS closed up 9pc at 21.87p, while Barclays put on 3pc to 149.6p despite credit default swaps on the bank hitting a 12-month high.

This mirrored the US trend, with Bank of America shares up 10pc in late Wall Street trade after a hitting a 12-month low on Tuesday over fears that it might have to raise as much as $200bn (£121bn). As with the European banks, the rebound in the share price was not reflected in the credit markets, where its CDS reached a 12-month high of 384.42 basis points.

European stock markets joined in the rally. The FTSE closed up 1.5pc at 5,206 on hopes the chance of a global recession had diminished. European shares hit a one-week high, with Germany's DAX closing up 2.7pc and France's CAC 1.8pc higher. The Dow Jones index edged higher on strong durable goods orders data as markets began to accept that the US Federal Reserve is unlikely to signal fresh stimulus at Jackson Hole this Friday.

Even Moody's decision to downgrade Japan's sovereign credit rating by one notch to Aa3 did little to damage global sentiment, although Tokyo's Nikkei closed down just over 1pc.

As stock market nerves settled, gold - which has recorded steady gains recently as investors seek a safe haven - fell 5.3pc to $1,777 in London.

Financial World Dominated by a Few Deep Pockets

What QE3 Will Look Like (Excerpt)

August 12, 2011

Robert Bonomo @ Activist Post - The modern division of labor consists of:
  1. A ruling class (top 1%) that control about 40% of all financial assets,
  2. A managerial class ( the top 2%-10%) who control about 35% of all assets, with
  3. The other 90% of the working masses dividing up the 25% that’s left.
The pyramid is organized by a complex and highly specialized division of labor, state-run education, massive corporations, government bureaucracy, the judiciary, intelligence organizations, mediatic propaganda machines and mainstream religion.

Those rare few that actually wake up and see the zombie world are quickly diagnosed by the DSM-5 and given anti-depressants.

There are two things everyone wants all the time, and one of them is money. Control of the money is the magic wand that rules the world. All the other religious, patriotic and historical paraphernalia are directly related to allowing the 1% to control the creation of money. Take that away, and they are nothing but media hacks.

The current era which began with the creation of the Federal Reserve and the involvement of the United States in WWI is coming to an end. The great mistake most “awake” people make is believing redemption is at hand while underestimating the ruling class.

The masters of propaganda and finance and are much more in control then they will ever reveal through their own channels.
Their imaginations are immense and their capacity to orchestrate drama has no limits. They are the voice of reason while the dissenters are “diagnosed” with a collection of ailments that quickly marginalize them.

Study Shows Powerful Corporations Really Do Control the World's Finances

August 19, 2011 - For many years conventional wisdom has said that the whole world is controlled by the monied elite, or more recently by the huge multi-national corporations that seem to sometime control the very air we breathe.

Now, new research by a team based in ETH-Zurich, Switzerland, has shown that what we’ve suspected all along, is apparently true. The team has uploaded their results onto the preprint server arXiv.

Using data obtained (circa 2007) from the Orbis database (a global database containing financial information on public and private companies) the team, in what is being heralded as the first of its kind, analyzed data from over 43,000 corporations, looking at both upstream and downstream connections between them all and found that when graphed, the data represented a bowtie of sorts, with the knot, or core representing just 147 entities who control nearly 40 percent of all of monetary value of transnational corporations (TNCs).

In this analysis the focus was on corporations that have ownership in their own assets as well as those of other institutions and who exert influence via ownership in second, third, fourth, etc. tier entities that hold influence over others in the web, as they call it; the interconnecting network of TNCs that together make up the whole of the largest corporations in the world. In analyzing the data they found, and then in building the network maps, the authors of the report sought to uncover the structure and control mechanisms that make up the murky world of corporate finance and ownership.

To zero in on the significant controlling corporations, the team started with a list of 43,060 TNCs taken from a sample of 30 million economic “actors” in the Orbis database. They then applied a recursive algorithm designed to find and point out all of the ownership pathways between them all. The resulting TNC network produced a graph with 600,508 nodes and 1,006,987 ownership connections. The team then graphed the results in several different ways to show the different ways that corporate ownership is held; the main theme in each, showing that just a very few corporations through direct and indirect ownership (via stocks, bonds, etc.) exert tremendous influence over the actions of those corporations, which in turn exert a huge impact on the rest of us.

The authors conclude their report by asking, perhaps rhetorically, what are the implications of having so few exert so much influence, and perhaps more importantly, in an economic sense, what the implications are of such a structure on market competitiveness.

More information: The network of global corporate control, Stefania Vitali, James B. Glattfelder, Stefano Battiston, arXiv:1107.5728v1 [q-fin.GN]


The structure of the control network of transnational corporations affects global market competition and financial stability. So far, only small national samples were studied and there was no appropriate methodology to assess control globally. We present the first investigation of the architecture of the international ownership network, along with the computation of the control held by each global player. We find that transnational corporations form a giant bow-tie structure and that a large portion of control flows to a small tightly-knit core of financial institutions. This core can be seen as an economic "super-entity" that raises new important issues both for researchers and policy makers.


Global Warming Profiteer Al Gore Says Pro-Global Warming Scientists Aren’t Motivated by Money

Global Warming Profiteer Al Gore Accuses Rick Perry of Slander, Says Pro-Global Warming Scientists Aren’t Motivated by Money – with Video of Attack

Pat Dollard
August 26, 2011

The Hill:

Al Gore on Friday bashed the notion that climate scientists are manipulating data for financial gain, a charge levied by global warming skeptics, including GOP White House hopeful Rick Perry.

“This is an organized effort to attack the reputation of the scientific community as a whole, to attack their integrity, and to slander them with the lie that they are making up the science in order to make money,” Gore said in an online interview.

“These scientists don’t make a lot of money. They are comfortable, as they should be, but they don’t make a lot of money. That is not their motivation for doing what they do,” Gore added.

His comments came in a wide-ranging interview with Alex Bogusky, a prominent former advertising executive who is working with Gore on the former vice president’s Climate Reality Project.

Gore didn’t mention Perry by name in the interview, although Bogusky mentioned Perry as part of a broader question about doubt and climate science.

Perry, the Texas governor, attacked climate scientists at a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week.

“I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data, so that they will have dollars rolling into their, to their projects,” Perry said.

Perry and Gore have a political history that dates back to the 1980s.

Perry was Gore’s Texas state campaign chairman when then-Senator Gore ran for president in 1988. Perry was a Democrat at the time, and later switched his political affiliation to Republican.

Gore broadly attacked what he called an organized campaign by fossil fuel interests to sow doubt about climate change and climate scientists, calling it based on tobacco industry campaigns of the past about the health effects of smoking.

“Millions of people died unnecessarily. They were able to delay action — not by refuting the surgeon general, but by injecting enough doubt so that people would feel ‘maybe this isn’t settled yet,’” Gore said. “Now the coal and oil companies are doing exactly the same thing.”

August 27, 2011

Hurricane Irene Could Turn 2011 into the Year with the Most Billion-dollar Disasters

Hurricane Irene Will Make 2011 a Record Disaster Year

August 27, 2011

Live Science - Hurricane Irene is very likely to be the 10th billion-dollar disaster of 2011, breaking 2008's record for number of billion-dollar disasters a year, according to preliminary estimates.

Between the summer floods, tornados, blizzards and drought, 2011 had already racked up nine natural disasters that cost at least $1 billion each, tying 2008's record. If damage estimates hold, Irene would make 2011 a record-breaker.

No one knows what the final toll of Irene will be, but estimates were high as the hurricane churned toward the Carolinas on Friday (Aug. 26) as a Category 2 storm with winds of up to 105 miles per hour (169 kilometers per hour). By 5:00 p.m. ET on Friday, the National Weather Service reported that winds were picking up speed along the North Carolina coast. Hurricane-force winds are expected in that region overnight Friday, with hurricane conditions arriving along the mid-Atlantic coast by Saturday afternoon.

The news agency Bloomberg reported Thursday (Aug. 25) that risk assessor Kinetic Analysis Corp. had estimated that Irene may cause $13.9 billion in insured losses and $20 billion in total economic losses when factors such as lost work hours and disruption of shipping are factored in.

Meanwhile, Roger Pielke, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, wrote on his blog, "it does seem safe to say [Irene's] effects will be widespread and the damage total considerable."

Pielke looked up damage totals from previous storms that followed Irene's track and found inflation-adjusted damage estimates ranging from about $4.9 billion (Storm 8, 1933) to about $46.2 billion (New England storm, 1938). But none of the past storms are good analogues for Irene, Pielke wrote.

"We should expect to see damage along the entire eastern seaboard," Pielke wrote, "as well as a considerable amount of damage from inland flooding (not included in these numbers.)"

Escalating costs of hurricanes

If storms seem more expensive in recent decades, they are. But that's not because storms are making landfall more often or becoming more severe. Rather, a growing population, more buildings along coastlines and a big economy mean that storm disruptions are more costly.

In a 2008 paper published in the journal Natural Hazards, Pielke and colleagues compared hurricane damage from 1900 to 2005, taking into account changes in wealth, inflation, population growth and coastal development. Holding those factors steady, the researchers found that there was no increasing trend of greater damage attributable to the storms themselves over the 20th century.

In other words, there's just more stuff in the way to get damaged, making hurricanes today more costly than in the past.

By the researchers' reckoning, the most damaging single storm was the 1926 Great Miami, which would have cost as much as $157 billion in 2005 dollars. The storm was a Category 4 storm that roared onshore with winds of up to 125 mph (201 kph). After devastating southern Florida, the storm made a second landfall near Mobile, Ala.

Preventing damage

If you're in the path of the storm, experts recommend boarding up windows and taking valuables along in case of evacuation. Damage by Irene may be reduced by as much as a quarter if people follow these steps, said Cecilia Rokusek, a project manager at the Institute for Disaster and Emergency Preparedness at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. [Hurricane Evacuations: Why Some Won't Go]

But Rokusek urged hurricane-threatened residents to keep their priorities straight.

"The most important thing in a disaster is to save your life," she told LiveScience. "The material things can always be replaced."

Previous 2011 disasters

Pre-Irene, economic damage from natural disasters in the U.S. exceeded $35 billion this year, according to a National Climatic Data Center report released in August 2011. Those disasters were:

  • Upper Midwest flooding (summer): At least $2 billion of damage as of mid-August
  • Mississippi River flooding (spring and summer): $2 billion to $4 billion in damage
  • Drought, heat wave and wildfires in the Southern Plains and Southwest (spring and summer): Over $5 billion in damage
  • Tornadoes (May 22-27): At least $7 billion in damage in central and southern states, including the tornado that struck Joplin, Mo., killing 141
  • Tornados (April 25-30): At least $9 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 14-16): More than $2 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 8-11): Losses exceeding $2.2 billion in central and southern states
  • Tornadoes (April 4-5): More than $2.3 billion in damage in central and southern states
  • Groundhog Day Blizzard: $2 billion in damage after a massive winter storm dumped snow across the central, eastern and northeastern sections of the country.

Hurricane History Facts

How often do major hurricanes hit the US?

On average, two major hurricane (category 3-5) strike every three years; in all categories, about five hurricanes make landfall every three years. On average, a hurricane category 4 or higher only strikes once every six years. 2004 has been an anomaly.

What was the busiest hurricane season on record in the Atlantic?

In 1995, 11 hurricanes were recorded in the Atlantic. Named storms got all the way up to Hurricane Tanya. Allison, Dean, Erin, Gabrielle, Jerry, Opal, and Roxanne all made landfall in the US.

In the 20th century, how many hurricanes hit the US?

158 hurricanes hit the US from all categories in the 20th century; 64 of these were major hurricanes, categories 3-5. Florida had the most landfalls at 57, with the majority of these being in the northwest and southeast. Texas came in second with 36, and Louisiana and North Carolina tie for third at 25 a piece.

What is the busiest month in the US for major hurricane hits?

By far, September is the busiest month: 36 of the 64 major hurricanes hit in September. The next busiest month the August, with only 15.

Top Ten Hurricanes to Hit the United States

1. The Great Labor Day Storm (1935) - Florida
One of just three Category 5 Hurricanes to make landfall in the US, the Great Labor Day Storm had a minimum pressure of 892 millibars (26.35 inches). It caused 423 deaths in Florida. It also was notable for providing the setting for the Humphrey Bogart - Lauren Bacall movie, Key Largo.

2. Hurricane Katrina (2005) - Louisiana and Mississippi
Katrina had a minimum pressure of 904 millibars (26.64 inches), making it the second most intense storm to hit the US, as well as the most costly, and the third deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.

3. Hurricane Camille (1969) - Mississippi, SE Louisiana
This Category 5 hurricane was the second most intense hurricane ever to hit the United States, with a minimum pressure of 909 millibars (26.84 inches). The final wind speed will never be known because all measuring devices were destroyed, but it is thought to exceed 200 mph.

4. Hurricane Andrew (1992) - Florida and Louisiana
A Category 4 when it hit Florida, Hurricane Andrew hit Louisiana as a Category 3. At its peak, Andrew had a minimum pressure of 922 millibars (27.23 inches).

5. Unnamed Hurricane (1886) - Texas
This Category 4 hurricane turned Indianola into a Ghost Town. Today, the Court House lies 300 feet out in Matagorda Bay. The storm had a recorded minimum pressure of 925 millibars (27.31 inches).

6. The Atlantic-Gulf Hurricane (1919) - Florida, Texas
This hurricane struck the Keys as a Category 4, and Texas as a Category 3. At its peak, it had a minimum pressure of 927 millibars (27.37 inches).

7. San Felipe-Okeechobee Hurricane (1928) - Florida
The fourth strongest Hurricane to hit the US mainland caused a lake surge on the inland Lake Okeechobee in Florida that rose as high as nine feet, flooding nearby towns. A Category 4, it had a minimum pressure of 929 millibars (27.43 inches)

8. Hurricane Donna (1960) - Florida to New England
The only hurricane known to have produced hurricane-force winds in Florida, the Mid-Atlantic states, and New England. At its peak, it had a minimum pressure of 930 milibars (27.46 inches).

9. Unnamed Storm (1915) - New Orleans, Louisiana
This unnamed Category 4 Storm reached a minimum pressure of 931 millibars (27.49 inches). It flooded Lake Pontchartrain, causing it to overflow its banks and killing 275 people.

10. Hurricane Carla (1961) - Texas
A Category 4, Carla had a minimum pressure of 931 millibars (27.49 inches), tying it with the 1915 Louisiana storm.

11. Unnamed Hurricane (1900) - Texas
A category 4 hurricane, it struck Galveston, Texas, with sustained winds of 140 miles per hour, killing 8,000 people. With no radar, tracking, or predictions, there were no preparations made for the storm. The highest elevation in Galveston in 1900 was 8.7 feet; the 15.7 foot storm surge covered the homes and businesses like an ocean. It cost $20 million at the time; in today's money, the damage would have cost $700 million. After the hurricane, Galveston raised a sea wall and increased the grade of the island to prevent a recurrence of the tragedy.

Deadliest Hurricanes







Galveston, Tex.



Lake Okeechobee, Fla.





Katrina (La./Miss.)





Florida Keys/S. Tex.





New England





Florida Keys





Audrey (SW La./N. Tex.)










Grand Isle, La.





New Orleans, La.





Galveston, Tex.




Costliest Hurricanes




Cost (2005 USD)




$157 billion




$99.4 billion




$81.0 billion




$68.0 billion




$55.8 billion


“New England”


$39.2 billion


“Pinar del Río”


$38.7 billion




$33.6 billion




$26.8 billion




$21.2 billion