August 15, 2011
By PAUL STREET
Pity the poor, powerless, increasingly unpopular president – a pitiful pawn of the plutocrats and the profits system he has done so much to serve and protect. Nearly five years ago, in the misleadingly titled book that pre-announced the launching of his presidential candidacy, Barack Obama grounded the United States’ supposed distinctive “greatness” in its “free market” capitalist system and “business culture.” The American over-class should have been gratified by Obama’s paean to American “free-market” capitalism in The Audacity of Hope:
The Fukushima Daiichi Reactors Were in Meltdown After the Earthquake, But Before the Tsunami Hit
By DAVID McNEILL and JAKE ADELSTEIN
It is one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear crisis: How much damage did the March 11 earthquake do to the Fukushima Daiichi reactors before the tsunami hit? The stakes are high: If the quake structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan will have to be reviewed and possibly shut down. With virtually all of Japan’s 54 reactors either offline (35) or scheduled for shutdown by next April, the issue of structural safety looms over the decision to restart every one in the months and years after.
The key question for operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) and its regulators to answer is this: How much damage was inflicted on the Daiichi plant before the first tsunami reached the plant roughly 40 minutes after the earthquake? TEPCO and the Japanese government are hardly reliable adjudicators in this controversy. “There has been no meltdown,” top government spokesman Edano Yukio famously repeated in the days after March 11. “It was an unforeseeable disaster,” Tepco’s then President Shimizu Masataka improbably said later. As we now know, meltdown was already occurring even as Edano spoke. And far from being unforeseeable, the disaster had been repeatedly forewarned.
by Josh Ruebner
Nearly 20 percent of the constituents of Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL) live under the poverty line, and nearly 15 percent are unemployed. Jackson’s congressional district, covering parts of the south side of Chicago and its southern suburbs, has been hit harder than many others by the crises plaguing the economy. Many of his constituents are looking at even more cutbacks in social services, higher prices for food and fuel, and ever scarcer jobs.
During this August congressional recess, Rep. Jackson, Jr. should be at home, meeting with constituents and proposing to them how he will help them cope with their difficult circumstances. Instead, the politician is proudly gallivanting around Israel, in one of three separate congressional delegations heading there this month on all-expense-paid junkets organized by the American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), a so-called charitable affiliate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most influential of the myriad pro-Israel lobbying outfits.
By Sarah Jaffe, AlterNet
Posted on August 11, 2011, Printed on August 14, 2011
Amidst a lot of indicators that say we could be heading for another round of recession—before the so-called recovery even reaches most people, let alone our millions of unemployed—June saw a jump in consumer borrowing, three times as much as expected, according to Bloomberg News. The $15.5 billion increase in credit was the biggest since August 2007, and revolving debt, which includes credit cards, was up by $5.21 billion, the most since March 2008.
In a consumer-dependent economy, that’s a good thing, isn’t it? After all, borrowers must have some confidence in their ability to pay back their debt, right?
DUKE (US) — Researchers found high levels of leaked methane in well water collected near shale-gas drilling and hydrofracking sites in Pennsylvania.
Hydraulic fracturing, also called hydrofracking or fracking, involves pumping water, sand and chemicals deep underground into horizontal gas wells at high pressure to crack open hydrocarbon-rich shale and extract natural gas.
The scientists collected and analyzed water samples from 68 private groundwater wells across five counties in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York. Findings are reported this week in the Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“At least some of the homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale-gas extraction appear to be right,” says Robert Jackson, a Duke University professor.
The study found no evidence of contamination from chemical-laden fracking fluids, which are injected into gas wells to help break up shale deposits, or from “produced water,” wastewater that is extracted back out of the wells after the shale has been fractured.
“We found measurable amounts of methane in 85 percent of the samples, but levels were 17 times higher on average in wells located within a kilometer of active hydrofracking sites,” says Stephen Osborn, postdoctoral research associate. The contamination was observed primarily in Bradford and Susquehanna counties in Pennsylvania.
Water wells farther from the gas wells contained lower levels of methane and had a different isotopic fingerprint.
The New York Public Interest Group delivered 10,000 signatures from New Yorkers to Gov. Andrew Cuomo today, urging him to protect New York’s drinking water from the dangers of hydrofracking.
New York must not allow the same shoddy level of water quality protection that Pennsylvania has, said Brendan Woodruff, NYPIRG’s hydrofracking campaign organizer. The supposed drilling boom in Pennsylvania is looking more like a boondoggle and the students and citizens who signed these petitions call upon Governor Cuomo to ensure that lax regulations and limited enforcement are not permitted in New York.
The consumer advocacy group Public Citizen is pressing lawmakers to close loopholes that allow energy companies to contaminate drinking water supplies through a controversial gas extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing.
Public Citizen submitted comments to the Department of Energy’s Natural Gas Subcommittee calling for an end to what is known as the Halliburton Loophole. The loophole was added into the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and exempted hydraulic fracturing from the Safe Drinking Water Act.
The State of Maryland plans to file a hydraulic fracturing lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy Corporation over a recent release of gas mining fluids into the state’s water supply.
Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced the state’s intention to file the environmental lawsuit on May 2, following a spill that occurred on April 19. Chesapeake Energy allegedly released thousands of gallons of hydrofracking fluid into Towanda Creek, which ultimately feeds into the environmentally sensitive Chesapeake Bay.
Radioactive wastewater is being dumped into the drinking water of Pennsylvania and other states by a controversial drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, according to recently obtained documents and investigative reports.
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – Environmentalists opposed to hydrofracking, a controversial process to extract natural gas from under ground, were protesting outside Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office this week. About two dozen protesters were outside Cuomo’s office calling on him to ban hydrofracking. The process uses water and chemicals to extract natural gas from the earth. …
Podcast Powered By Podbean Download this episode (right click and save) My guest Dr.Bonnie Burstow is a dedicated lifelong Canadian activist in the psychiatric reform movement. She is taking the campaign against electroshock “treatment” (ECT) to a new level–organizing professionals to stand up against this brain-damaging procedure. Dr. Burstow and …
ALBANY — It was not the sexiest issue making the rounds of the Capitol during the summer doldrums: the injection of water and chemicals under high pressure into rock formations to extract natural gas.
The grass-roots environmental group Frack Action had failed to gain traction in its homegrown fight against the powerful gas and oil industry and the clean water advocates struggled to draw media attention for its opposition to hydrofracking in New York state.
Podcast Powered By Podbean Download this episode (right click and save) In the Name of Freedom, Peace, and Democracy: Exposing the REAL agenda for intervening in over 100 foreign countries. An original, in-depth investigative report (part 1 of 2). Podcast: Play in new window | Download (0.0KB) | Embed