In February of 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush, Jr., the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) was officially launched with its base in Stuttgart, Germany. The reasoning behind the creation of AFRICOM has evolved over the last eight years from being a necessary security measure to protect vital American interests on the continent to a mechanism designed to assist post-colonial African states to enhance their national security apparatuses in light of the so-called “war on terrorism”, by then in full operation some four to five years after the invasion of Iraq and Haiti, and six-and-a-half years after the Pentagon occupation of Afghanistan. There was much controversy within the African Union (AU) member-states over whether AFRICOM should establish its headquarters on the continent. This idea initially was rejected by the Pentagon due to this objection by numerous African states of varying political outlooks and governmental systems. At this time, 2007-2008, the U.S. had initiated a war in Somalia in order to prevent the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) from fully consolidating power in that Horn of Africa nation fractured since 1991 after the collapse of the regime of Mohamed Siad Barre, a close ally of Washington. The administration of President George H.W. Bush in its final days had deployed 12,000 Marines to Somalia in December 1992, under the
WASHINGTON – The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident should serve as a wake-up call to nuclear plant operators and regulators on the critical importance of measuring, maintaining, and restoring cooling in spent fuel pools during severe accidents and terrorist attacks, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This report is the second and final phase of a congressionally mandated study on what lessons can be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The report from Phase 1 of this study was released in July 2014. The Phase 2 report provides findings and recommendations for improving U.S. nuclear plant security and spent fuel storage as well as re-evaluates conclusions from previous Academies studies on spent fuel storage safety and security. The committee that carried out the study and authored the Phase 2 report found that spent fuel storage facilities — both spent fuel pools used to store fuel under water and casks used to dry-store fuel — at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant maintained their containment functions during and after the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. However, one of the two gates separating the Unit 3 spent fuel pool from the
The US power elite is involved in many ways in the dispute over global domination, its exercise and defense. The precarious balance of forces in the bipolar world in which we lived after World War II prevented US imperialism from imposing its absolute hegemony world-wide. That was based on the nuclear blackmail it threatened after its genocidal bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Later, a tense arms race would arrive, promoted by the so-called “balance of terror”. According to this notion, which the forerunner power in the production of weapons would cause an imbalance in the international arena. The one with the most and deadliest weapons would be able to destroy the other. Read
The ferocious reaction to my assessment that Senator Bernie Sanders’ economic and health care proposals could create long-term economic growth shows how mainstream economists who view themselves as politically liberal in America have abandoned progressive politics to embrace a political economy of despair. Rationalizing personal disappointment and embracing market-centric economic theories according to which government can do little more than fuss around the edges, their conclusions — and the political leadership that embraces them — have little to offer millions of angry ordinary people for whom the economy simply isn’t working. It has certainly been a rough seven years for the economists in the Obama Administration. While avoiding a Great Depression, the Administration has presided over what Paul Krugman and Brad DeLong call a “Lesser Depression.” One might almost forgive them for a certain defeatism after seven years of painfully slow economic recovery, and the dismay of seeing urgently needed programs blocked by the Republican congressional majority. After so many compromises and let-downs, perhaps it is easier to tell those who expect more that it just can’t happen. There is comfort in the Thatcherite phrase, “There Is No Alternative” (TINA). Combined with orthodox neoclassical microeconomics, however, rationalization has produced a toxic political economy that
Jack comments on today’s US job creation numbers for April, which show a significant decline in new jobs created, to 160,000, compared to previous months. Some problems with how jobs are calculated are explained, including how new business creations, missing labor force, and the US labor department surveys often fail to account for jobs accurately or timely changes. Recent wage gains articles in the mainstream press are then challenged as well. Jack explains the differences in wages as a share of national income, total compensation, average hourly earnings, and average hourly wages all have their limits as indications of how American workers are actually doing in terms of take home pay after inflation. Economic Policy Institute studies show median worker real earnings in the US have been declining every year since 2010. Gains in wages have been skewed to the top 10%, pulling up ‘averages’ which are not an accurate indicator of wage income declines for the US working class. The show concludes with a review of global economic developments, including growing splits among economic elites in Europe and in Japan, as their economies continue to languish despite QE and negative rates. And how China continues to struggle with bringing its shadow banks and speculators under control.
Progressive Radio Network, May 01, 2016 This past week the U.S. government announced the country’s economy rose in the January-March 2016 at a mere 0.5 percent annual growth rate. Since the U.S., unlike other countries, estimates its GDP based on annual rates, that means for the first quarter 2016 the U.S. economy grew by barely 0.1 percent over the previous quarter in late 2015. Growth this slow indicates the US economy may have “slipped into ‘stall speed’, that is, growth so weak that the economy loses enough momentum and slides into recession”, according to economists at JPMorgan Chase. Has the U.S. economy therefore come to a halt the past three months? If so, what are the consequences for a global economy already progressively slowing? What will an apparently stagnating US economy mean for Japan, already experiencing its fifth recession since 2008? For Europe, stuck in a long term chronic stagnation? And for emerging market economies, struggling with collapsing commodity prices and currencies, rising unemployment, and long term capital flight trends? Once heralded as the only bright spot in the global economy, the US economy now appears to have joined the slowing global trend. Some Interesting Trends Read
Jack comments on the recent Wikileaks revelations of secret IMF plans to impose still more austerity on Greece before this summer. Jack revisits his predictions of last summer 2015 that the Greek debt crisis would reappear in 2016 along with the UK exit from the EU and renewed talk of a Greece exit as well—both of which now appear on the agenda. The Troika’s origins of the Greek Debt and why a new kind of financial imperialism is now emerging. Fractures between segments of Europe’s financial-economic elites continue to grow. Jack discusses what’s wrong with US job and GDP numbers, and why China GDP stats are about half of the official GDP rates. Why US central bank, FED, policy of no interest rate hike benefits US multinational companies at the expense of tens of millions of US households and small businesses. Jack concludes with explaining why global oil prices will again fall, China’s mini-stimulus will again fade, and why Japan and Europe will slip further into QE and NIRP (negative interest rates) in coming months.
The melt down of three nuclear reactors at Fukushima in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 11th March 2011 seems to have quietly slipped out of our collective awareness – as quietly as the cauldrons of radioactive elements that were once within the active cores of the reactors invisibly bleed into the groundwaters and seawaters of the region. This event has become yet another minor detail in the distorted mosaic of ruin that mirrors the latter days of a civilisation in free-fall. Arnie Gundersen is looking a little weathered these days. He has just returned from a five-week long speaking tour of Japan. He spent much of that time in the company of many whose lives have been indelibly seared by the Fukushima catastrophe. What he reports is unlikely to appear in the mainstream media, but such has ever been the case when it comes to the hidden machinations of big government and big business. What Gundersen has to say is worth closely attending to. As a nuclear engineer, he has been deeply involved in the American nuclear industry for over four decades. He has a special interest in the design and safety of containment structures and holds
HILLARY CLINTON couldn’t help but be spitting mad at the Greenpeace activist who confronted her last week about the money her campaign has taken from the fossil fuel industry, asking the candidate if she would pledge to reject such money in the future. “I don’t have–I have money from people who work for fossil fuel companies,” the Democratic frontrunner snapped, pointing her finger at activist Eva Resnick-Day. “I am so sick. I am so sick of the Sanders campaign lying about me!” But who’s doing the lying? – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – AT A time when ice in the Antarctic is melting at an accelerated rate due to climate change, prompting new warnings about a rise of the earth’s oceans by more than three feet by the end of the century, the issue of fossil fuels and climate change ought to be center stage this election season. Read