Thursday, September 30, 2010

Professor Robert Pollin, economist and Co-Director of the PERI Institute at U. Mass. Amherst, is interviewed by Paul Jay of theREALnews network regarding what should (and shouldn't) be done to revive the U.S. economy

Blogger's Note: theREALnews really is "the real news" compared with the U.S. "Main Stream Media's" celebrity news, partisan harangues, and selective/superficial coverage of the most important news you and I really need to understand. Sad to say, even the PBS News Hour tiptoes around the things I really want to know. I can't stand to watch it anymore.

While theREALnews is far from my only news source, it's a very good one. So I check their nearly daily offerings, which I receive free by e-mail, and play the videos that most interest me. I blog what I believe to be the the best of the best, which I am doing today. I hadn't known of economist Robert Pollin before but was immediately struck by his handsome visage and impressed by the lucidity of his explainations of the economic dilemma we presently face. And I can't imagine a better interviewer than Paul Jay, who incisively fires well selected questions at the guests on his show (and doesn't interrupt them while they are answering). This five-part series, which I gathered together this past week, may be the finest yet.

Every time it gets this good I flip them a donation. Remember that theREALnews has no corporate sponsors (the very reason they are able to tell us the things we need to know but will never hear from the MSM).

Pt1 Austerity Not a Solution

Pt2 A Crisis in Business Confidence?

Pt3 If Stimulus Works, Why Is Unemployment So High?

Pt4 U.S. Economy a Train Wreck?

Pt5 "Creative Destruction" and Fascism

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Folks that Brought Us the 9/11 Aerial Attacks Are Back Again: Erin Brockovich's Successor Assassinated by a Bomb-Laden Drone Fighter Aircraft

Blogger's Note: I couldn't have written the article below any better myself, although from looking at post-explosion aerial photographs of San Bruno and comparing the crater to the size of the fire trucks, I make out the size of the crater to be about 20 by 50 feet, or 25 by 70 at most -- not the 26 by 167 feet quoted by the NTSB (why would they be involved if there wasn't an airplane?). For comparison, the F-18 captured in the photo above 7 1/2 hours before the explosion had a wing span of 40 or 45 feet (depending an whether it was a C or E/F version).

This photo brings back a perhaps-20-year-old but still indelible memory of watching a twin-jet fighter, quite possibly an F-18 (with its landing gear down), in the southerly landing approach to National Airport (heading in the direction of the Pentagon) -- with a twin-rotary-engine transport plane (likely a C-123) just ahead and above it!  In about a half hour they came back to do it again. I am totally convinced this was an early trial run for the Pentagon attack on 9/11/01. Now Ms. Hunt has captured on camera the same-day practice run for the San Bruno attack. The C-130 gunship would have been on hand to finish the job with 105 mm artillery shells in the event the pipeline failed rupture and catch fire when hit by the F-18 drone. Of course, the "Air Force One" type aircraft would have been a Boeing E-4 Advanced Airborne Command Post, just the same as was caught flying over the Pentagon on the morning of 9/11...

As for why anyone would want to murder Jacqueline Greig, my friend Paul Lehto ran down this info:
Jacqueline Greig was "..a 17 year veteran with the Public Utilities Commission and specifically the lead of the natural gas section of analysts who devoted their careers to the statutory mission of the DRA (Division of Ratepayer Advocates) of minimizing costs to ratepayers consistent with good safety and consumer protection. Greig spent the summer analyzing the PG&E's request for a $4.2 billion rate increase."

"In what I'd call very effective analysis, the DRA (especially Greig, as lead) pointed to so many unsubstantiated cost allegations, including inexplicable doubling of estimates after previously adjusting for wage inflation, that the DRA countered with a $1 billion over three years counter-proposal. That's a difference of $3.2 billion -- and gives PG&E approximately 3.2 billion reasons not to like Jacqueline Greig."
So why would elements of military become the "hit men" to protect the profits of a predatory company like PG&E? Well, Ike warned us about "the military industrial complex," didn't he?

Was San Bruno Explosion a Plane Crash?

September 27, 2010
by Sandra Hunt

A number of reports suggest that the "natural gas pipeline explosion" Sept. 9 that killed seven, injured 50 and leveled 40 homes in San Bruno CA may have involved a plane crash or a missile. If so, there is a massive cover-up taking place.

On 09-09-10 at 11:06 A.M. a huge jet, resembling Air force One flew over San Jose. At 11:29 A.M. an F-18 flew over, and at 12:46 P.M. an AC -130 gunship (with the side gun turrets) followed.

The F-18's engines were roaring like a freight train. The F-18 appeared to be carrying large fuel tanks and ordinance. Being shortly before 9-11, I thought, "here comes another false flag incident."

Above is a photo of the F-18 as it flew over. Below is a photo showing the ordinance these jets can carry. It is not unusual to see an F-18 fly overhead here. It is very unusual for them to be heavily laden with weapons. It had its landing gear down, as you can see, and was headed north (towards Moffett Federal air base, Travis Air Force base, and San Francisco). These are all within thirty miles of San Bruno, where the pipeline allegedly exploded.

I do not know where it was going or when it landed. It was in the area two days before 9-11, and 6 hours and 45 minutes before the explosion in San Bruno Sept 9. That is extremely "coincidental".


From eyewitness accounts, a jet was involved in the "gas pipeline explosion." I also spoke with a person going to a college by San Bruno and was told that many students were talking about the "plane crash" the next day.

A YouTuber identified it as a plane crash.

A TV news interview with a witness speaks of "a loud rumbling noise" in the air, and debris falling on roofs.

Here are two articles about a jet crashing.

"A plane crash has rocked San Bruno...A massive explosion on Skyline Boulevard in San Bruno, is burning out of control as of this report. The rising ball of fire can be seen from San Francisco.

......some witnesses say that it was a plane crash, while others report a gas station being the cause of the massive explosion. The Ball of flames emanating from the epicenter of the explosion is as high as 100 feet. A cloud of dark smoke is pouring from the top of the fire ball, which is common with jet fuel fires.

......Reports of a crashed plane are being examined as this report is being filed. However, the amount of fuel and the fact that the area in question is within the flight path of SFO, are leading many to believe it to be a plane crash.

......One witness claims to have heard the sound of a commercial jet engine, coming out of nowhere, shaking his home, and then the sound of an explosion.

......Mark Sinclair, a witness half a mile from the location, said he saw a private jet crash, after hitting the tree line.

......"It appears as if the affected area stretches three blocks in all directions from the point of impact. The fire is burning so hot that fire fighters are hard pressed to get to the fire's epicenter. An aviation expert has now confirmed that it is a plane crash, reported that the plane sounded as if it was having engine trouble." ("update")

Photo of "Jet crash" in upper San Bruno by lunardis and skyline!

The crash site was locked down, treated as a hazardous waste, crime scene, and quarantined immediately. Residents were only allowed to go through their neighborhoods in buses escorted by police and were not allowed to exit the bus.

Ten 55-gallon-drums containing "hazardous material" were immediately removed from the scene.

There appears to be a massive cover up here. I am watching where this is going on a daily basis and trying to "follow the money and politics' to figure out what the possible goal(s) may be. There is so much  media "fear mongering" about which pipeline is going to blow up next, like the fear they promoted on 9-11 to pass draconian legislation already prepared (Patriot Act). Perhaps the big gas conglomerates want to scare the taxpayers into paying for new gas lines so they pocket the savings.

Calif. neighbors survey ruins of blasted hillside (AP)-- "Meanwhile, federal investigators were probing how the gas line was able to rupture, blowing a segment of pipe 28 feet long onto the street some 100 feet away and creating a crater 167 feet long and 26 feet wide."

......"Investigators believed they had collected all the sections needed to reconstruct the metal pipeline but asked that anyone who found metal fragments in the blast area contact the NTSB."

Notice that the NTSB is involved! The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is an Independent federal agency charged by Congress with investigating every civil aviation accident in the U.S.

Why would they be involved if there had been no jet crash? And why would the "pipeline" be sent to Washington? Why would they ask "that anyone who found metal fragments in the blast area contact the NTSB" if it were only a gas line explosion?

"The commission also plans to appoint an independent expert panel to help with their investigation. Crews Monday prepared to ship to Washington a crate containing the 28-foot section of ruptured natural gas pipeline that was blown out of the ground. Also being shipped were two 10-foot sections of pipe removed from the crater Sunday from either side of where the ruptured section had been.

.......Investigators believed they had collected all the sections needed to reconstruct the metal pipeline but asked that anyone who found metal fragments in the blast area contact the NTSB."


28 ft. + 10 ft. + 10 ft. = 48 feet of pipe. If the crater was 167 ft. long that would leave 119 feet of the pipeline unaccounted for, whereas "Investigators believed they had collected all the sections needed to reconstruct the metal pipeline".

Why would the NTSB ask "that anyone who found metal fragments in the blast area contact the NTSB" if it was simply an old, corroded pipeline? There are plenty of laboratories with metallurgists that could analyze the pipe right here in Silicon Valley (Lockheed, Nasa-Ames Lab, Lawrence Livermore Lab. etc,). On the other hand, if parts of an aircraft or military ordnance were found, they certainly would want to confiscate those items.

Why would the NTSB ship the three recovered pieces to Washington if it were simply a corroded pipeline. The dimensions of an F-18 fighter jet are 56 ft long, 37.5 ft. wide, and 15.25 feet in height. Could the remains of a crashed F-18 be what is being shipped to Washington (Pentagon?) for analysis. F-18's have crashed in California before, and many were recalled due to stress fractures.

F-18 Fighter Jet's Crash in San Diego, CA on December 8, 2008 kills three can be seen at:

Also, the Crash of "Flying Tiger Line" Flight #282 occurred in San Bruno in 1964 and many of the details sound strikingly familiar to the recent event.

These are just pieces to be considered in the puzzle. I can't say the jet was involved. However there is a tremendous amount of suspicious activity and cover-up regarding this explosion, the quarantine, the hazardous clean-up, NTSB, FBI anti-terrorist team, pieces being shipped to Washington, etc.

This seems to me to be one of the most credible possibilities I can see, after studying many different articles on the event. Hopefully more people will come up with more details until the truth is uncovered. Perhaps someone out there has some more video to help clear this up. Everyone has cell phone cameras these days, and it is quite possible someone else got some footage of what happened.

Here are some related articles;

"San Bruno fire debris a health and environmental hazard"

"The scene at ground zero after the explosion"

The term "ground zero" refers to the point of detonation of a nuclear device. Could a bunker-buster or mini-nuke have been detonated?

San Bruno fire - residents tell how it started:

"Henry Sanchez was driving home from his three kids' back-to-school night at a nearby school when he approached the intersection of Claremont and Glenview.

He looked through the windshield where just a few blocks ahead of him a flash of flame crossed the sky, followed by a deafening explosion."

"Jerry Guernsey had spent the day working on his '57 Chevy on Concord Way, just blocks from the impact, where he's lived for 25 years. He'd fired up the barbecue in his backyard when it sounded like a jetliner had dropped from the sky. "But the noise just kept going," he said."

1 dead, 53 homes destroyed in California fire

"Jane Porcelli, 62, said she lives on a hill above where the fire was centered. She said she thought she heard a plane overhead with a struggling engine.

"And then you heard this bang. And everything shook except the floor, so we knew it wasn't an earthquake," Porcelli said. "I feel helpless that I can't do anything. I just gotta sit by and watch."

Stephanie Mullen, Associated Press news editor for photos based in San Francisco, was attending children's soccer practice with her two children and husband at Crestmoor High School when she saw the blast at 6:14 p.m.

"First, it was a low deep roar and everybody looked up, and we all knew something big was happening," she said. "Then there was a huge explosion with a ball of fire that went up behind the high school several thousand feet into the sky."

Breaking News: Devastating explosion in San Bruno

" Conflicting reports are coming into KPIX as to the cause of the explosion. Some witnesses say that it was a plane crash, while others report a gas station being the cause of the massive explosion. The Ball of flames emanating from the epicenter of the explosion is as high as 100 feet. A cloud of dark smoke is pouring from the top of the fire ball, which is common with jet fuel fires."

"The area contains hundreds of homes as well as a community college. Reports of a crashed plane are being examined as this report is being filed. However, the amount of fuel and the fact that the area in question is within the flight path of SFO, are leading many to believe it to be a plane crash."

"One witness claims to have heard the sound of a commercial jet engine, coming out of nowhere, shaking his home, and then the sound of an explosion. Still no confirmation of a plane crash has been announced. However, it is not confirmed that a plane has crashed in a populated area of San Bruno.

"Another witness, at a nearby Shopping center, reports constant flames rising as high as 100 feet. Internet reports are claiming that a plane has crashed. However, no official information has been released regarding this claim.

Mark Sinclair, a witness half a mile from the location, said he saw a private jet crash, after hitting the tree line. Sinclair said he was concerned about being on the flight path of planes coming into and leaving SFO.

Gas Main Explodes in San Bruno California, State of Emergency Declared. FBI Joint Terrorism Taskforce?
Lots of video!

"Missile Strike Downs San Francisco Plane, News Blackout Ordered"
Important to note about this catastrophe is that within 1 hour of the still unidentified plane being shot down, American authorities ordered a "news blackout" of the true events surrounding this massive explosion and have, instead, directed their propaganda media organs to blame it on a gas line break, without, of course, mentioning that, according to the Pacific Gas & Electric Company's own website showing where all of its gas lines are located, none of them that are able to cause such destruction come even close to the area hit.

San Bruno Plane Crash or Explosion?
Be sure to watch the bottom you tube video! Looks like a plane crash to me (just about what I would expect to see from an F-18 size crash)

"San Bruno pipeline blast responders suspected jet crash or terrorists"

Tragedy in San Bruno, California, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010

Firefighters investigate a massive crater at the scene of a gas main explosion September 10, 2010 in San Bruno,California. Getty Images / Justin Sullivan 

San Bruno fire: Consumer advocate, Jacqueline Greig, worked on gas transmission safety, among dead

September 12th, 2010 1:41 am PT
Ed Walsh
SF Headlines Examiner

San Bruno fire: Consumer advocate, Jacqueline Greig, who worked on gas transmission safety, among dead

Jacqueline Greig, 44, and her 13-year-old daughter Janessa were among those killed in the explosion and fire in San Bruno Thursday evening.

Greig was a San Francisco native and worked for the California Public Utilities Commission for 21 years and was a member of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates.

KCBS radio is reporting that Grieg had worked on improving gas transmission safety.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that Grieg worked in the CPUC's Division of Ratepayer Advocates, a small unit within the CPUC that advocates for consumer rights pertaining to natural gas regulations, according to co-workers.

"This is so difficult for us because we're such a small group," her co-worker Pearlie Sabino told the Mercury News. "She does a lot of cases related to natural gas, that's the irony of it."

Janessa Greig attended St. Cecelia Catholic School in San Francisco, the San Francisco Chronicle reports and was the student body president. They are survived by Greig's husband, James and the couple's other daughter, Gabriella, 16.

A vigil will be held in the Greig's memory at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 19, at St. Cecilia's Church in the Sunset District.

Early Saturday evening, September 11, San Bruno City officials revised the death toll to seven, with six missing, but late Saturday evening they revised the figures again to four dead and six missing. City officials plan another press conference on Sunday at 8 a.m.

Officials say they are having a difficult time tallying the number of fatalities because the fire burned so hot and madeidentification difficult. In some cases, authorities have found just bone fragments and were unable to immediately determine if the bones were human or animal.

Meantime, St. Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco, which specializes in burn injuries, says it is treating four burn patients from the San Bruno fire. All are in critical condition. One has burns on 40% of the body. They other three were burned on half of their bodies.

On Saturday, US Senator Barbara Boxer (D) toured the fire area and vowed to step up inspections of gas transmission lines in residential areas.

The Bay Citizen on Saturday cited a 2007 PG&E report that found the risk of a pipeline failure on the part of the gas transmission pipe that exploded into flames Thursday as "unacceptably high."

Click here for slideshow photos that were taken at the height of the fire on Thursday.
Click here for some photos that were taken early Friday morning of the devastated neighborhood.
Related articles:
San Bruno fire update: National Pipeline Mapping System overwhelmed as people check for gas lines
Huge crater in San Bruno where gas pipeline exploded (slideshow photos, raw video
Slideshow photos: San Bruno, California fire, new report of 4-6 dead, 38 homes destroyed

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Marcellus Shales and Hydrofracking for Natural Gas: Recipe for Radioactive Polution of the Northeastern U.S.

Radioactive Waste from Horizontal Hydrofracking
By James L. “Chip” Northrup

In a previous paper,[1] I compared the horizontal hydrofracking of shale to a “pipe bomb.” Real bombs have been used to frack shale, including at least one nuclear device at Rulison, Colorado.[2] The bomb worked, but the gas was too radioactive to be marketable. Ironically, the horizontal hydrofracking of Marcellus shale poses a similar problem – it produces radioactive waste. The frack fluid effectively leaches radioactive radium out of the shale. When the frack water is pumped back out of the well, it is laced with radium, a potent carcinogen.[3] Based on a recent article in Scientific American, the amount of radium in water from the Marcellus is 267 times the safe limit for disposal, and thousands of times the level considered safe to drink.[4]

In New York, municipal treatment plants filter or settle sediment out of water. Using this method to treat ‘produced’ water from fracking operations would effectively reduce the sediment in the wastewater to a radioactive sludge, which, depending on the level of contamination, would have to be disposed of as a HAZMAT waste. New York state municipal treatment plants are simply not equipped to do this. Handling the radioactive wastewater would put municipal water treatment workers at risk.

One relatively safe method of disposal would be to inject the radioactive wastewater into a seismically inert formation – such as a salt dome – via a disposal well. Texas has almost 12,000 such permitted disposal wells, all of which are in seismically inert formations. There are few areas in New York that are seismically inactive.[5] And there are only 4 permitted disposal wells in New York State.[6] New York State is simply not prepared to handle the billions of gallons of radioactive wastewater that the Marcellus is capable of producing. To be treated, that wastewater would have to be reduced to a slurry, by some yet-to-bebuilt facility, not by municipal wastewater plants. And that slurry would have to be injected into a seismically inert formation. In theory, all of this is doable, if problematic. But the practical challenges of disposal have yet to be addressed by local governments or the NY DEC. Without appropriate disposal systems in place, radioactive waste is likely to be dumped at municipal water treatment plants, which will be left with radioactive sludge that they cannot get rid of safely. Since some of these radioactive wastes may be shipped across state lines for disposal, they present an interstate problem, which would necessitate the scrutiny of the EPA, which has regulatory authority over radioactive wastes. 

Radium decays into radon, a highly carcinogenic gas and the second leading cause of lung cancer.[7] Unfortunately, radon is found at elevated levels in the Marcellus shale.[8] Parts of the Marcellus are particularly “wet” with propane,[9] which has physical properties similar to radon. So radon gas may separate out of Marcellus gas with propane, presenting a health risk to workers who handle Marcellus source propane, and potential hazards to users of such propane, if radon contaminants are not removed prior to sale.[10] Radon contamination may pose a risk to persons that use Marcellus gas in the field, in compressors, truck engines and other equipment.

The risks posed by these radioactive wastes need to be addressed by local governments, the DEC and the EPA before horizontal hydrofracking of shale can be allowed to proceed in New York state.

[1] “Potential Leaks from High Pressure Hydrofracking of Shale,” September 8, 2010.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Primer on Radiation Hazards: Why No One Should Smoke ...and Why Fracking the Marcellus Shale Should Be Discouraged

By David L. Griscom

Above is the radioactive decay chain of Uranium-238.  It's half life is about equal to the age of the solar system, so (1) it will be around long after homo sapiens destroy themselves but (2) it is not dangerous in its natural occurrences in minerals.  However, it has a perpetual decay chain featuring several nasty radioactive daughter nuclides (owing to their very short half lives). In the diagram above, each alpha decay moves the next daughter downward by two proton numbers and each beta decay moves the next daughter one proton number upward. I've added the large blue arrows to call out the truly dangerous radionuclides in the U-238 chain -- the ones to be avoided as much as possible.  Below, I present a table of the radiation doses that we all receive ...and the dose reserved only for smokers.  And below that table I re-post a blog that gives more details on the dangers of Polonium-210 to smokers.

One theory on lung cancer which brings both air-borne radon and cigarettes to a comparable assessment is the amount of radiation contained in both. Because tobacco is grown in soils fertilized by Phosphorous (radioactive) enriched materials, polonium-210 and lead-210 (radioactive) are resident in the tobacco leaves. When smoked, this radiation is transferred to the smoker’s lungs, and then exhaled to the environment. If contained in a room or car, this radiation filled smoke can be inhaled by non-smokers, causing lung damage. Two articles on the subject are…

Radioactivity in Cigarette Smoke
Winters-TH, Franza-JR
New England Journal of Medicine, 1982; 306(6): 364-365

To the Editor: During the 17 years since the Surgeon General's first report on smoking, intense research activity has been focused on the carcinogenic potential of the tar component of cigarette smoke. Only one definite chemical carcinogen -- benzopyrene -- has been found. Conspicuous because of its absence is research into the role of the radioactive component of cigarette smoke.

The alpha emitters polonium-210 and lead-210 are highly concentrated on tobacco trichomes and insoluble particles in cigarette smoke (1). The major source of the polonium is phosphate fertilizer, which is used in growing tobacco. The trichomes of the leaves concentrate the polonium, which persists when tobacco is dried and processed.

Levels of Po-210 were measured in cigarette smoke by Radford and Hunt (2) and in the bronchial epithelium of smokers and nonsmokers by Little et al. (3) After inhalation, ciliary action causes the insoluble radioactive particles to accumulate at the bifurcation of segmental bronchi, a common site of origin of bronchogenic carcinomas.

In a person smoking 1 1/2 packs of cigarettes per day, the radiation dose to the bronchial epithelium in areas of bifurcation is 8000 mrem per year -- the equivalent of the dose to the skin from 300 x-ray films of the chest per year. This figure is comparable to total-body exposure to natural background radiation containing 80 mrem per year in someone living in the Boston area.

It is a common practive to assume that the exposure received from a radiation source is distributed throughout a tissue. In this way, a high level of exposure in a localized region -- e.g. bronchial epithelium -- is averaged out over the entire tissue mass, suggesting a low level of exposure. However, alpha particles have a range of only 40 um in the body. A cell nucleus of 5 to 6 um that is traversed by a single alpha particle receives a dose of 1000 rems. Thus, although the total tissue dose might be considered negligible, cells close to an alpha source receive high doses. The Po-210 alpha activity of cigarette smoke may be a very effective carcinogen if a multiple mutation mechanism is involved.

Radford and Hunt have determined that 75 per cent of the alpha activity of cigarette smoke enters the ambient air and is unabsorbed by the smoker, (2) making it available for deposit in the lungs of others. Little et al. have measured levels of Po-210 in the lungs of nonsmokers that may not be accounted for on the basis of natural exposure to this isotope.

The detrimental effects of tobacco smoke have been considerably underestimated, making it less likely that chemical carcinogens alone are responsible for the observed incidence of tobacco-related carcinoma. Alpha emitters in cigarette smoke result in appreciable radiation exposure to the bronchial epithelium of smokers and probably secondhand smokers. Alpha radiation is a possible etio- logic factor in tobacco-related carcinoma, and it deserves further study.

Thomas H. Winters, M.D.
Joseph R. Di Franza, M.D.
University of Massachusetts Medical Center
Worcester, Ma 01605

How much radiation dose is received by a cigarette smoker?

Interestingly, this subject was initially investigated some 40 years ago by scientists at the School of Public Health at Harvard University. Working with physicians in the neighboring Harvard teaching hospitals, they were able to obtain lungs taken during autopsies of smokers who had died from lung cancer. The School of Public Health scientists carefully analyzed samples from selected areas of these lungs and found that they contained relatively high concentrations of 210Po (polonium-210), a naturally occurring radionuclide that the International Commission on Radiological Protection considers to be one of the most hazardous of all radioactive materials. In fact, it is far more hazardous than 239Pu (plutonium-239). Of particular significance was that the Harvard studies showed that this radionuclide tended to concentrate in "hot spots" at bifurcations of segmental bronchi within the lungs, precisely the areas where lung cancer originates among cigarette smokers.

Armed with this information, studies were conducted to determine the source of the 210Po. Although the initial assumption was that it was taken up by the tobacco plant from the soil, the investigations revealed that it was deposited on the leaves of the plants (which are large and sticky) from the air. Just as the decay of naturally occurring radium in the soil often results in the presence of relatively high concentrations of radon and its radioactive decay products in the air inside buildings, the decay of radium in the soil outdoors results in the presence of radon and its decay products in the surrounding air. Whereas radon is a gas, its radioactive decay products are solids. Enhancing the adherence of these decay products to the tobacco leaves is the fact that they are electrically charged and readily adhere to any surface with which they come into contact. When a smoker lights a cigarette, the 210Po is volatilized and, when he/she inhales, it is deposited in the lungs.

Based on careful assessments of the concentrations of 210Po in the lung tissues, it was estimated that the "hot spots" received an annual dose of about 160 millisievert (about 16,000 millirem), two of the more common units for expressing doses from ionizing radiation. To provide perspective, it is useful to compare this dose to the limit stipulated, for example, by the US Environmental Protection Agency for members of the US public. Making this difficult in this case, however, is that the annual dose limit for members of the public (1 millisievert, or 100 millirem) is expressed in terms of a dose to the whole body, whereas, as noted above, the dose to a smoker is limited to a very small portion of the body.

Nonetheless, in a report published in 1987, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP 1987) sought to make such a comparison, the tentative outcome of which suggested that the annual dose to a smoker (when converted into an equivalent dose to the whole body) was more than 10 times the annual dose limit for a member of the public. Having provided this estimate, however, the NCRP went on to state that they would prefer not to make such a comparison. That is to say, the comparison to the annual whole-body dose limit may not be completely valid.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Smoking-Gun Evidence for Manupulation of the Gold and Silver Markets

More Forensic Evidence of Gold & Silver Price Manipulation

By Adrian Douglas

In two recent articles
"The Gold Market is not "Fixed", it's Rigged" and “The Failure of the Second London Gold Pool”. I showed how the gold trading between the London AM Fix and the PM Fix was unnaturally related in an inverse way to the trading between the PM Fix and the following AM Fix. I calculated that the probability of such a counter-intuitive correlation existing by happenstance was one in 2.6 times ten raised to the power 31. This is almost irrefutable evidence that some one is continually and deliberately dumping gold into the PM Fix to suppress the price of gold.

In this article I have unearthed even more forensic evidence in the form of a correlation between the gold and the silver price which again could not happen by random chance. It is necessarily a result of deliberate market intervention and what’s more it occurs on a continuous basis.

The fundamentals that drive the supply and demand of any commodity are so different from one commodity to a next that we would not expect there to be any mathematical relationship between their prices. For example let’s consider gold and copper. 

Figure 1 Cross-plot of Copper versus Gold 2001-2010
 They are both metals but that is where the similarity ends. Copper is used in many industrial applications for its superb electrical conductivity properties but also it is used for water piping because it is non-toxic, durable and corrosion resistant. Gold on the other hand has almost no industrial uses and is used for storing wealth as an investment and in jewelry fabrication. One would expect that there would be no long term correlation between the price of copper and the price of gold.
Figure 1 shows a cross-plot of gold and copper prices from 2001 to 2010. It can be seen that there is no discernible mathematical relationship between the prices of these two metals. The cross-plot of prices looks like someone randomly fired a machine gun at the chart.

Gold and silver are also two metals that have very different supply and demand fundamentals. Only about 10% of mine supply of silver is used for investment purposes while 90% is used in industrial processes from photography, electrical soldering and wiring to batteries and medical applications. One would expect that like copper there would be no particular relationship between gold and silver. 

Figure 2 Cross-plot of Silver versus Gold 2003-2008
Figure 2 shows a cross-plot of silver versus gold from June 2003 to September 2008. This chart is absolutely shocking. It shows that gold and silver prices are almost perfectly correlated with an R squared value of 0.96 (1.0 is a perfect correlation). The best fit line to the data gives the relationship that
POS= 2.23*POG – 253…….…eq(1)

This means that silver prices in this five year period did not move with respect to the very different fundamentals of silver; they were entirely determined by the price of gold! If I had been on a desert island between 2003 and 2008 you could have called me on the phone and told me the price of gold and I could have told you what the price of silver would have been on that day. Let’s demonstrate it.

Let’s take today (September 21) back in 2006. The price of gold was $582.2. From the equation the silver price should be 1045 cents/oz. It was actually 1083 cents/oz so the synthetic price calculation based only on the gold price agrees within 3.5%. 

Figure 3 Cross-plot of Silver versus Gold 2008-2010
Figure 3 shows a similar cross-plot but this time the data is from September 2008 to September 2010. It can be seen that yet again there is almost a perfect correlation between the price of gold and the price of silver. In this case the relationship is given by
POS= 1.92*POG – 431…………..eq (2)

Figure 4 shows the data set from June 2003 to September 2010 on the same chart. The two distinct correlations are shown with the black and green lines. 

Figure 4 Cross-plot of Silver versus Gold 2003-2010
 I have already demonstrated in previous articles that the price of gold is suppressed. What this chart demonstrates is that not only is the price of silver manipulated and suppressed but it is done so almost perfectly algorithmically. What can also be deduced is that the price of silver was creating a problem to the manipulators in 2008 so they hammered it down and subsequently instigated a much more aggressive suppression on the price of silver. This can be seen from the fact that since 2008 the correlating line (green line) is below the pre-2008 relationship (black line) and also sports a lower slope. Had the same pre-2008 algorithm been maintained until today the low for silver in 2008 would have been $14/oz and the price today (9/21/2010) with gold at $1288/oz would be $26.19/oz when it is only $20.90/oz.

In figure 5 the two equations eq(1) and eq(2) have been used to generate a synthetic price of silver from June 2003 to September 2010. This is the red curve on the chart. This curve is only derived from the price of gold and the correlation equation. There is no input of the price of silver. The real price of silver is charted for comparison and is shown in blue. What is really astounding is that one can generate almost a perfect reproduction of the price of silver by only knowing the price of gold. This is again “smoking gun” forensic evidence that the price of silver is not only manipulated but is done so algorithmically.

Such a perfect relationship with gold could not happen over a seven year period by pure happenstance. The silver price is completely false and has absolutely nothing to do with the fundamentals of silver. 

Figure 5 Real & Synthetic Price of Silver 2003-2010
In figure 6 the price of gold and the correlation equations have been used to generate a synthetic gold to silver ratio from June 2003 to September 2010 which is shown in red. The actual gold/silver ratio is also shown. It can be seen that the two data sets match very well. This shows that the ratio only depends on the gold price because this is the only information that was used to generate the red curve. 

Figure 6 Real & Synthetic Gold/Silver Ratio 2003-2010
This is simply an outrage. The bad news is that for the last seven years those who have been expecting silver to outperform gold or to march to its own drum have been sorely disappointed and it was hard wired into the trading that they were not going to see a freely traded silver market. The good news is that from the way silver has traded in recent days it is decoupling from gold. It is breaking the algorithmic shackles placed on it by the manipulators. There is not enough data to see this definitively in the cross-plots yet but it should be evident very soon. The artificially low price that has resulted from the creation of false supply through the sale of paper silver via unallocated accounts as a substitute for real bullion has led to a growing shortage. This monumental scam is in the process of becoming unraveled as investors insist on taking delivery of real silver.

Forward sales of silver through the LBMA OTC London market are approximately 8.5 Billion ozs. This is almost all the entire global reserves of silver that are yet to be mined! But the silver miners who own the remaining reserves are unhedged, so who ever has sold 8.5 billion ozs of silver forward by inference does not own 8.5 billion ozs of silver. It is a naked short position of 11 years of global production.

The interesting question is what will the free market price of silver be? Gold itself is suppressed by many multiples of the current price and the false silver price is just a derivative of a false gold price. I have previously estimated that there is only one ounce of gold for every 45 ozs that have been sold. If a similar relationship exists in silver than the eventual long term free market price target could be more than $900/oz. This is just a wild estimate but I think it is safe to say it will be many multiples of the current outrageously suppressed price of $20.9/oz.

Adrian Douglas
Editor of Market Force Analysis
Board Member of GATA

September 21, 2010
Market Force Analysis is a unique analysis method which provides reliable indications of market turning points and when is a good time to enter, take some profits or exit a market. Subscribers receive bi-weekly bulletins on the markets to which they subscribe.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Land of the Free? According to California Prison Focus "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens."

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery?

by Vicky Pelaez
Global Research, March 10, 2008
El Diario-La Prensa, New York

Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million - mostly Black and Hispanic - are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don't have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don't like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells.

There are approximately 2 million inmates in state, federal and private prisons throughout the country. According to California Prison Focus, "no other society in human history has imprisoned so many of its own citizens." The figures show that the United States has locked up more people than any other country: a half million more than China, which has a population five times greater than the U.S. Statistics reveal that the United States holds 25% of the world's prison population, but only 5% of the world's people. From less than 300,000 inmates in 1972, the jail population grew to 2 million by the year 2000. In 1990 it was one million. Ten years ago there were only five private prisons in the country, with a population of 2,000 inmates; now, there are 100, with 62,000 inmates. It is expected that by the coming decade, the number will hit 360,000, according to reports.

What has happened over the last 10 years? Why are there so many prisoners?

"The private contracting of prisoners for work fosters incentives to lock people up. Prisons depend on this income. Corporate stockholders who make money off prisoners' work lobby for longer sentences, in order to expand their workforce. The system feeds itself," says a study by the Progressive Labor Party, which accuses the prison industry of being "an imitation of Nazi Germany with respect to forced slave labor and concentration camps."

The prison industry complex is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States and its investors are on Wall Street. "This multimillion-dollar industry has its own trade exhibitions, conventions, websites, and mail-order/Internet catalogs. It also has direct advertising campaigns, architecture companies, construction companies, investment houses on Wall Street, plumbing supply companies, food supply companies, armed security, and padded cells in a large variety of colors."

According to the Left Business Observer, the federal prison industry produces 100% of all military helmets, ammunition belts, bullet-proof vests, ID tags, shirts, pants, tents, bags, and canteens. Along with war supplies, prison workers supply 98% of the entire market for equipment assembly services; 93% of paints and paintbrushes; 92% of stove assembly; 46% of body armor; 36% of home appliances; 30% of headphones/microphones/speakers; and 21% of office furniture. Airplane parts, medical supplies, and much more: prisoners are even raising seeing-eye dogs for blind people.


According to reports by human rights organizations, these are the factors that increase the profit potential for those who invest in the prison industry complex:

. Jailing persons convicted of non-violent crimes, and long prison sentences for possession of microscopic quantities of illegal drugs. Federal law stipulates five years' imprisonment without possibility of parole for possession of 5 grams of crack or 3.5 ounces of heroin, and 10 years for possession of less than 2 ounces of rock-cocaine or crack. A sentence of 5 years for cocaine powder requires possession of 500 grams - 100 times more than the quantity of rock cocaine for the same sentence. Most of those who use cocaine powder are white, middle-class or rich people, while mostly Blacks and Latinos use rock cocaine. In Texas, a person may be sentenced for up to two years' imprisonment for possessing 4 ounces of marijuana. Here in New York, the 1973 Nelson Rockefeller anti-drug law provides for a mandatory prison sentence of 15 years to life for possession of 4 ounces of any illegal drug.

. The passage in 13 states of the "three strikes" laws (life in prison after being convicted of three felonies), made it necessary to build 20 new federal prisons. One of the most disturbing cases resulting from this measure was that of a prisoner who for stealing a car and two bicycles received three 25-year sentences.
. Longer sentences.

. The passage of laws that require minimum sentencing, without regard for circumstances.

. A large expansion of work by prisoners creating profits that motivate the incarceration of more people for longer periods of time.

. More punishment of prisoners, so as to lengthen their sentences.


Prison labor has its roots in slavery. After the 1861-1865 Civil War, a system of "hiring out prisoners" was introduced in order to continue the slavery tradition. Freed slaves were charged with not carrying out their sharecropping commitments (cultivating someone else's land in exchange for part of the harvest) or petty thievery - which were almost never proven - and were then "hired out" for cotton picking, working in mines and building railroads. From 1870 until 1910 in the state of Georgia, 88% of hired-out convicts were Black. In Alabama, 93% of "hired-out" miners were Black. In Mississippi, a huge prison farm similar to the old slave plantations replaced the system of hiring out convicts. The notorious Parchman plantation existed until 1972.

During the post-Civil War period, Jim Crow racial segregation laws were imposed on every state, with legal segregation in schools, housing, marriages and many other aspects of daily life. "Today, a new set of markedly racist laws is imposing slave labor and sweatshops on the criminal justice system, now known as the prison industry complex," comments the Left Business Observer.

Who is investing? At least 37 states have legalized the contracting of prison labor by private corporations that mount their operations inside state prisons. The list of such companies contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom's, Revlon, Macy's, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. All of these businesses are excited about the economic boom generation by prison labor. Just between 1980 and 1994, profits went up from $392 million to $1.31 billion. Inmates in state penitentiaries generally receive the minimum wage for their work, but not all; in Colorado, they get about $2 per hour, well under the minimum. And in privately-run prisons, they receive as little as 17 cents per hour for a maximum of six hours a day, the equivalent of $20 per month. The highest-paying private prison is CCA in Tennessee, where prisoners receive 50 cents per hour for what they call "highly skilled positions." At those rates, it is no surprise that inmates find the pay in federal prisons to be very generous. There, they can earn $1.25 an hour and work eight hours a day, and sometimes overtime. They can send home $200-$300 per month.

Thanks to prison labor, the United States is once again an attractive location for investment in work that was designed for Third World labor markets. A company that operated a maquiladora (assembly plant in Mexico near the border) closed down its operations there and relocated to San Quentin State Prison in California. In Texas, a factory fired its 150 workers and contracted the services of prisoner-workers from the private Lockhart Texas prison, where circuit boards are assembled for companies like IBM and Compaq.

[Former] Oregon State Representative Kevin Mannix recently urged Nike to cut its production in Indonesia and bring it to his state, telling the shoe manufacturer that "there won't be any transportation costs; we're offering you competitive prison labor (here)."


The prison privatization boom began in the 1980s, under the governments of Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr., but reached its height in 1990 under William Clinton, when Wall Street stocks were selling like hotcakes. Clinton's program for cutting the federal workforce resulted in the Justice Departments contracting of private prison corporations for the incarceration of undocumented workers and high-security inmates.

Private prisons are the biggest business in the prison industry complex. About 18 corporations guard 10,000 prisoners in 27 states. The two largest are Correctional Corporation of America (CCA) and Wackenhut, which together control 75%. Private prisons receive a guaranteed amount of money for each prisoner, independent of what it costs to maintain each one. According to Russell Boraas, a private prison administrator in Virginia, "the secret to low operating costs is having a minimal number of guards for the maximum number of prisoners." The CCA has an ultra-modern prison in Lawrenceville, Virginia, where five guards on dayshift and two at night watch over 750 prisoners. In these prisons, inmates may get their sentences reduced for "good behavior," but for any infraction, they get 30 days added - which means more profits for CCA. According to a study of New Mexico prisons, it was found that CCA inmates lost "good behavior time" at a rate eight times higher than those in state prisons.


Profits are so good that now there is a new business: importing inmates with long sentences, meaning the worst criminals. When a federal judge ruled that overcrowding in Texas prisons was cruel and unusual punishment, the CCA signed contracts with sheriffs in poor counties to build and run new jails and share the profits. According to a December 1998 Atlantic Monthly magazine article, this program was backed by investors from Merrill-Lynch, Shearson-Lehman, American Express and Allstate, and the operation was scattered all over rural Texas. That state's governor, Ann Richards, followed the example of Mario Cuomo in New York and built so many state prisons that the market became flooded, cutting into private prison profits.

After a law signed by Clinton in 1996 - ending court supervision and decisions - caused overcrowding and violent, unsafe conditions in federal prisons, private prison corporations in Texas began to contact other states whose prisons were overcrowded, offering "rent-a-cell" services in the CCA prisons located in small towns in Texas. The commission for a rent-a-cell salesman is $2.50 to $5.50 per day per bed. The county gets $1.50 for each prisoner.


Ninety-seven percent of 125,000 federal inmates have been convicted of non-violent crimes. It is believed that more than half of the 623,000 inmates in municipal or county jails are innocent of the crimes they are accused of. Of these, the majority are awaiting trial. Two-thirds of the one million state prisoners have committed non-violent offenses. Sixteen percent of the country's 2 million prisoners suffer from mental illness.

Global Research Articles by Vicky Pelaez

Monday, September 20, 2010

Will the U.S. Go the Way of Japan?

Consumer Price Index: Change from Previous Year

The Winds of Deflation

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog
18 September 10

Three economic reports today (Friday) that should sound warning bells about deflation.
1. The Labor Department reports that consumer prices are essentially flat. Compared to August 2009, prices are up 1.1 percent. That's only slightly lower than the 1.2 percent year-on-year rise in July. Excluding volatile food and energy, however, consumer prices in August were 0.9 percent higher than a year earlier. That's below the Fed's informal inflation target of between 1.5 percent and 2.0 percent.
2. In a separate report, the Labor Department said real average weekly earnings were unchanged in August from July, as both the average work week and hourly earnings were flat.
3. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan September reading of consumer confidence shows consumers more pessimistic in September than in August. In fact, consumer sentiment is the lowest since August 2009.
Put the three together and you have what could be a recipe for deflation: Flat consumer prices, weekly earnings, and hours, coupled with increased pessimism about where the economy is heading.

Consumers aren't buying. They're acting rationally. Their debt load is still huge, they're worried about keeping their jobs, they know they have to tighten belts, and they're justifiably worried about the future.

But for the nation as a whole, it spells even more trouble. If consumers hold back even more, prices will start dropping. When and if they do, consumers will hold back even more in anticipation of still lower prices. That means more layoffs and less hiring.

It's a vicious cycle. And once deflation sets in, it's hard to reverse. Just ask Japan.

Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including "The Work of Nations," "Locked in the Cabinet" and "Supercapitalism." His upcoming book, "AFTERSHOCK: The Next Economy and America's Future," is due out in mid-September. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"77 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin."

Census Bureau Poverty Rate Drastically Undercounts Severity of Poverty in America

Posted on Saturday, September 18th, 2010 at 10:10 am
By David DeGraw, AmpedStatus Report

While the shocking new poverty statistics from the Census Bureau indicating that a record 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty in 2009 emphatically demonstrates the severity of the economic crisis, the Census is drastically undercounting this demographic. Apparently government poverty statistics are as accurate as their unemployment statistics.

I have read many reports that simply restate what the government has said without questioning the fact that the metrics they use to calculate poverty are extremely outdated.

News reports are out saying that in 2009 the poverty rate “skyrocketed” to 43.6 million - up from 39.8 million in 2008, which is the largest year-to-year increase, and the highest number since statistics have been recorded - putting the poverty rate for 2009 at 14.3 percent. This is obviously a tragedy and horrific news. However, this is blatant propaganda.

Let’s revisit the 2008 Census total stating that 39.8 million Americans lived in poverty. It turns out that the National Academy of Science did its own study and found that 47.4 million Americans actually lived in poverty in 2008. The Census missed 7.6 million Americans living in poverty that year.

How did that happen? The Census Bureau uses a long outdated method to calculate the poverty rate. The Census is measuring poverty based on costs of living metrics established back in 1955 - 55 years ago! They ignore many key factors, such as the increased costs of medical care, child care, education, transportation, and many other basic costs of living. They also don’t factor geographically-based costs of living. For example, try finding a place to live in New York that costs the same as a place in Florida.

So the Census poverty rate increase of 3.8 million people will put the 2009 National Academy of Science (NAS) number at a minimum of 51.2 million Americans. And if the margin of discrepancy is equivalent to the 7.6 million of 2008, we are looking at a NAS number of at least 52 million people for 2009.

Let’s also consider the fact that more than 20 million people were on unemployment benefits last year. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis concluded that unemployment insurance temporarily kept 3.3 million people out of poverty. Food stamp assistance kept another 2.3 million people out of poverty. On top of that, an additional 2.3 million people in prison were not counted in the poverty rate. Add up these numbers and we are looking at 60 million Americans living in poverty. Which means the government number glosses over 16.4 million Americans in poverty.

Now let’s look at the poverty line that these numbers are based on: $22,050 for a family of four. Let me repeat that: $22,050 for a family of four. That breaks down to $5513 per person, per year. I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine living in the United States on $459 per month. That amount will barely get you a good health insurance policy, never mind food, clothes and a roof over your head. No wonder why a record 50.7 million Americans do not have health insurance. (Beware: 50.7 million Americans without health insurance is a government-based number. If you had health insurance for only one day last year, you are not counted in this total.)

Clearly, the Census is setting the income level for their poverty measurement extremely low, and if you increase that measure by just a small increment, to $25,000 for a family of four, you are now looking at nearly 100 million Americans in poverty.

Let’s also consider the staggering amount of Americans - 52 million, roughly 17% of the population - who are currently enrolled in “anti-poverty” programs. Over 50 million are on Medicaid, 41 million are on food stamps, 10 million are on unemployment, 4.4 million receive welfare. Not counted in this “anti-poverty” total are 30 million children enrolled in the National School Lunch Program. Another metric: if it wasn’t for Social Security - note to deficit hawks - 20 million more would be added to the poverty total.

The effect of people moving in with family members instead of living on their own has further masked the severity of the poverty crisis. Foreclosures, unemployment, increased cost of education and health insurance have led the average household to grow in size. As Patrick Martin reports:
“The number of multifamily households increased by 11.6 percent from 2008 to 2010, and the proportion of adults 25-34 living with their parents rose from 12.7 percent in 2008 to 13.4 percent in 2010. The poverty rate for these young adults was 8.5 percent when they were considered part of their parents’ household, but would have been 43 percent if they had been living on their own.”
This trend is currently increasing. Although it is terribly under-reported, foreclosure rates continue to rise. We just experienced the worst month of foreclosures in history; the generation just graduating from college is carrying record levels of student-loan debt, and they are being forced into much lower income levels than anticipated, if they can even find employment.

Another glaring factor clouding our view of poverty in America is that the Census does not calculate a person’s assets and liabilities. Considering the massive debts most Americans are carrying, this would make the poverty rate explode. Stephen Crawford and Shawn Fremstad from Reuters concisely summed up this point:
“As Nobel laureates Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, along with economist Jean-Paul Fitoussi, write in their new book Mis-measuring Our Lives, ‘Income and consumption are crucial for assessing living standards, but in the end they can only be gauged in conjunction with information on wealth.’ This point is just as relevant to poverty measurement as it is to other measures of living standards.

To understand why this is the case, consider two families: one had an income that puts them a few thousand dollars below the poverty line, which was $22,050 for a family of four in 2009; the other has an income a few thousand dollars above the line. Looking only at income, the first family is worse off than the second.

Now add what the family owns and owes into the mix. Let’s say the first family has substantial net equity in its home and moderate liquid savings for a ‘rainy day,’ while the latter has no liquid savings or, as is becoming too common these days, has liabilities that dwarf their assets such as an ‘underwater’ mortgage. Using this more comprehensive method, the latter family, despite a modestly higher income, is actually the poorer one.”

In my analysis, a key metric to judge the overall economic security and hardship level of a country is the percentage of the population living paycheck to paycheck. Anyone who lives paycheck to paycheck can tell you about the stress and psychological impact it has on you when you know your family is one sickness, injury or downsizing away from economic ruin. The employment company CareerBuilder, in partnership with Harris Interactive, conducts an annual survey to determine the percentage of Americans currently living paycheck to paycheck. In 2007, 43 percent fell into this category. In 2008, the number increased to 49 percent. In 2009, the number skyrocketed up to 61 percent.

In their most recent survey, this number exploded to a mind-shattering 77 percent. Yes, 77 percent of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck. This means in our nation of 310 million citizens, 239 million Americans are one setback away from economic ruin.

So when I hear the government and media tell me that 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty in 2009, while that is horrifying enough, I get extraordinarily frustrated knowing that even that sad statistic is putting a major positive spin on this economic disaster that is still far from over. While the economic top half of one percent now fears a “double-dip,” the overwhelming majority of Americans are still in the same downward spiral they’ve been on.

For one last missing piece to this equation, corporate profits are soaring while all this is devastation is occurring. Despite this economic crisis, it’s not like our country doesn’t have the money. A recent study done by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management found that a mere one percent of Americans are hoarding $13 TRILLION in “investible wealth.” Yep, one percent of Americans are hoarding $13 TRILLION in “investible wealth,” and that doesn’t even factor in all the money they have hidden in offshore accounts.

As famed American philosopher John Dewey once said, “There is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group, or class, except in relation to the liberties, the effective powers, of other individuals, groups or classes.”

The United States now has the highest inequality of wealth in our nation’s history. Tens of millions of Americans are stressing out wondering how they are going to keep their bills paid, and the people who caused this crisis are rolling around in $13 TRILLION. The Robber Barons have been displaced as America’s most despotic and depraved ruling class.

Friday, September 17, 2010

These hockey stick curves don't foretell global warming. It's global unemployment we have to worry about first!

IMF fears 'social explosion' from world jobs crisis
America and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk "an explosion of social unrest" unless they tread carefully, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
Published: 11:00PM BST 13 Sep 2010

"The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a waste land of unemployment," said Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's chief, at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation (ILO).

He said a double-dip recession remains unlikely but stressed that the world has not yet escaped a deeper social crisis. He called it a grave error to think the West was safe again after teetering so close to the abyss last year. "We are not safe," he said.

A joint IMF-ILO report said 30m jobs had been lost since the crisis, three quarters in richer economies. Global unemployment has reached 210m. "The Great Recession has left gaping wounds. High and long-lasting unemployment represents a risk to the stability of existing democracies," it said.

The study cited evidence that victims of recession in their early twenties suffer lifetime damage and lose faith in public institutions. A new twist is an apparent decline in the "employment intensity of growth" as rebounding output requires fewer extra workers. As such, it may be hard to re-absorb those laid off even if recovery gathers pace. The world must create 45m jobs a year for the next decade just to tread water.

Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, said the percentage of workers laid off for long stints has been rising with each downturn for decades but the figures have surged this time.

"Long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression," he said.

Spain has seen the biggest shock, with unemployment near 20pc. Britain's rate has risen from 5.3pc to 7.8pc over the last two years, a slightly better record than the OECD average. This contrasts with the 1970s and early 1980s when Britain was notoriously worse. UK jobless today totals 2.48m.

Mr Blanchard called for extra monetary stimulus as the first line of defence if "downside risks to growth materialise", but said authorities should not rule out another fiscal boost, despite debt worries. "If fiscal stimulus helps avoid structural unemployment, it may actually pay for itself," he said.

"Most advanced countries should not tighten fiscal policies before 2011: tightening sooner could undermine recovery," said the report, rebuking Britain's Coalition, Germany's austerity hawks, and US Republicans. Under French socialist Strauss-Kahn, the IMF has assumed a Keynesian flavour.

The report skirts the contentious issue of whether globalisation lets companies engage in "labour arbitrage", locating plant in low-wage economies such as China to ship products back to the West. Nor does it grapple with the trade distortions caused by China's currency policy, except to call on "surplus countries" to play their part in rebalancing.

The IMF said there may be a link between rising inequality within Western economies and deflating demand.

Historians say the last time that the wealth gap reached such skewed extremes was in 1928-1929. Some argue that wealth concentration may cause investment to outstrip demand, leading to over-capacity. This can trap the world in a slump.
Blogger: Emphasis mine.