Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Red sky at night: Heavens turn crimson over Britain after Russian volcano erupts Read more

The night skies over Britain will turn a deep shade of crimson this week as the fallout from a Russian volcano blast hits the UK.

Millions of tonnes of dust, ash and sulphur dioxide were thrown up to 30 miles into the air when Sarychev Peak on Matua Island in the Kuril Archipelago erupted last month.

The blast created what experts call a ‘volcanic aerosol’ - a colourful mixture of ash and sulphur compounds - in the stratosphere.

This scatters an invisible blue glow which, when mixed with the red light of the setting sun, produces a ‘volcanic lavender’, or vivid crimson/violet hue.

The sky turns bright red over Leicestershire after Russian volcano eruption

Shepherd's delight: A particularly fiery red sky over fields in Leicestershire last night after an eruption at Sarychev Peak in Russia unleashed a colourful mixture of ash and sulphur. When this 'volcanic aerosol' in the stratosphere mixes with the red light of the setting sun, it produces a vivid crimson hue

Strong winds blew the soaring plume more than 2,000 miles across the northern hemisphere before its effects were noticed in Britain last Thursday.

The rare phenomenon was caught on camera by photographer Mark Humpage from his garden in Luttleworth, Leicestershire.

Mark, 44, said: ‘This is one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen, and I’m looking forward to at least two more in coming days.’

Meteorologists say the sunset spectacle will last for several days, but will only be visible on clear evenings.

It will then continue on its journey across the Atlantic and into the skies above North America.

Sarychev Peak

Blast: The moment on June 12 that a violent volcanic eruption on the island of Matua, in Russia’s Kuril Archipelago, spewed vast amounts of ash into the sky and stopped flight traffic

AEA environmental consultants, which is responsible for measuring air quality in Britain, confirmed the hue was triggered by the volcano.

A spokesman said: ‘Maps from three different satellites show elevated sulphur dioxide in the Arctic region, possible of volcanic origin.

‘With winds veering to the North, it is possible that over coming days this volcanic aerosol could be visible.’

Sarychev Peak is one of the world’s most active volcanoes. It is part of a chain of volcanic islands that run south from the Kamchatka Peninsula in the western Pacific Ocean.

Commercial flights have been diverted away from the area to minimise the danger of engine failure from ash intake since the eruption on June 12.

International Space Station

Good timing: The International Space Station happened to be passing the Pacific island, between the Russian Kamchatka Peninsula and Japan, when the eruption occurred - and was able to photograph the event

During the eruption, the International Space Station passed overhead and astronauts were able to photograph the event.

A hole in the overhead clouds, possibly caused by the shock wave from the explosion, allowed a clear view of the plume and lava flow down the sides of the mountain.

A cap-like mushroom cloud is visible atop the rising column.

Sarychev Peak previously erupted in 1760, 1805, 1879, 1923, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1946, 1954, 1960, 1965, 1976, 1986 and 1989.

Steve Fielding wants to convince Al Gore he's wrong

Steve Fielding's climate chart
To see the chart in full and Steve Fielding's explanation of it, go here.

THIS is the chart climate change sceptic Senator Steve Fielding hopes will convince Al Gore that global warming is not real.

Senator Fielding is trying to score a one-on-one meeting with Mr Gore, who is in Australia promoting several environmental causes, to prove to him that climate change sceptics are right.

Senator Fielding has promised to clear his schedule for any chance to meet the former US vice-president and Nobel Prize-winning environmental campaigner. "The ball's in his court," a spokesman for the senator told news.com.au.

The spokesman has said Mr Gore is aware that Senator Fielding holds a crucial vote in Parliament and that any major green schemes - such as the Government's model to reduce carbon pollution in Australia - essentially rely on his support.

"(Mr Gore) said 'look, the schedule's tight but hopefully we can work something out'," when Senator Fielding approached yesterday for a meeting on the issue, the spokesman said.

"We're clearing our schedule to see him. If he calls at three in the morning, we'd go," he said.

It is believed Mr Gore will only be in the country for another day or so.

Senator Fielding wants to present a graph to Mr Gore which argues global temperatures have stabilised during the past 15 years, even as carbon emissions have risen.

The graph was used by the UN in its reports on the effects of climate change. UN scientists say the world has warmed in the past 150 years, but temperatures have plateaued at warmer-than-normal levels in the past decade after a particularly hot year in 1998.

It is the same graph Senator Fielding showed Climate Change Minister Penny Wong when the pair met to negotiate on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, which will set a price on carbon emissions.

"The Government needs to explain to the Australian people why global temperatures have remained steady over the last 10-15 years despite skyrocketing man made carbon emissions," Senator Fielding said on his website.

Senator Wong and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd have set a targets of cutting emissions by five to 25 per cent by 2020. Mr Gore said that was not enough.

Iraq Suffers as the Euphrates River Dwindles

Moises Saman for The New York Times

A boy rested on the mud in a dried-up section of the Euphrates River near Jubaish, Iraq, in June. More Photos >

JUBAISH, Iraq — Throughout the marshes, the reed gatherers, standing on land they once floated over, cry out to visitors in a passing boat.

“Maaku mai!” they shout, holding up their rusty sickles. “There is no water!”

The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of Iraq’s neighbors, Turkey and Syria; a two-year drought; and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now.

The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work.

The poor suffer more acutely, but all strata of society are feeling the effects: sheiks, diplomats and even members of Parliament who retreat to their farms after weeks in Baghdad.

Along the river, rice and wheat fields have turned to baked dirt. Canals have dwindled to shallow streams, and fishing boats sit on dry land. Pumps meant to feed water treatment plants dangle pointlessly over brown puddles.

“The old men say it’s the worst they remember,” said Sayid Diyia, 34, a fisherman in Hindiya, sitting in a riverside cafe full of his idle colleagues. “I’m depending on God’s blessings.”

The drought is widespread in Iraq. The area sown with wheat and barley in the rain-fed north is down roughly 95 percent from the usual, and the date palm and citrus orchards of the east are parched. For two years rainfall has been far below normal, leaving the reservoirs dry, and American officials predict that wheat and barley output will be a little over half of what it was two years ago.

It is a crisis that threatens the roots of Iraq’s identity, not only as the land between two rivers but as a nation that was once the largest exporter of dates in the world, that once supplied German beer with barley and that takes patriotic pride in its expensive Anbar rice.

Now Iraq is importing more and more grain. Farmers along the Euphrates say, with anger and despair, that they may have to abandon Anbar rice for cheaper varieties.

Droughts are not rare in Iraq, though officials say they have been more frequent in recent years. But drought is only part of what is choking the Euphrates and its larger, healthier twin, the Tigris.

The most frequently cited culprits are the Turkish and Syrian governments. Iraq has plenty of water, but it is a downstream country. There are at least seven dams on the Euphrates in Turkey and Syria, according to Iraqi water officials, and with no treaties or agreements, the Iraqi government is reduced to begging its neighbors for water.

At a conference in Baghdad — where participants drank bottled water from Saudi Arabia, a country with a fraction of Iraq’s fresh water — officials spoke of disaster.

“We have a real thirst in Iraq,” said Ali Baban, the minister of planning. “Our agriculture is going to die, our cities are going to wilt, and no state can keep quiet in such a situation.”

Recently, the Water Ministry announced that Turkey had doubled the water flow into the Euphrates, salvaging the planting phase of the rice season in some areas.

That move increased water flow to about 60 percent of its average, just enough to cover half of the irrigation requirements for the summer rice season. Though Turkey has agreed to keep this up and even increase it, there is no commitment binding the country to do so.

With the Euphrates showing few signs of increasing health, bitterness over Iraq’s water threatens to be a source of tension for months or even years to come between Iraq and its neighbors. Many American, Turkish and even Iraqi officials, disregarding the accusations as election-year posturing, say the real problem lies in Iraq’s own deplorable water management policies.

“There used to be water everywhere,” said Abduredha Joda, 40, sitting in his reed hut on a dry, rocky plot of land outside Karbala. Mr. Joda, who describes his dire circumstances with a tired smile, grew up near Basra but fled to Baghdad when Saddam Hussein drained the great marshes of southern Iraq in retaliation for the 1991 Shiite uprising. He came to Karbala in 2004 to fish and raise water buffaloes in the lush wetlands there that remind him of his home.

“This year it’s just a desert,” he said.

Along the river, there is no shortage of resentment at the Turks and Syrians. But there is also resentment at the Americans, Kurds, Iranians and the Iraqi government, all of whom are blamed. Scarcity makes foes of everyone.

The Sunni areas upriver seem to have enough water, Mr. Joda observed, a comment heavy with implication.

Officials say nothing will improve if Iraq does not seriously address its own water policies and its history of flawed water management. Leaky canals and wasteful irrigation practices squander the water, and poor drainage leaves fields so salty from evaporated water that women and children dredge huge white mounds from sitting pools of runoff.

On a scorching morning in Diwaniya, Bashia Mohammed, 60, was working in a drainage pool by the highway gathering salt, her family’s only source of income now that its rice farm has dried up. But the dead farm was not the real crisis.

“There’s no water in the river that we drink from,” she said, referring to a channel that flows from the Euphrates. “It’s now totally dry, and it contains sewage water. They dig wells but sometimes the water just cuts out and we have to drink from the river. All my kids are sick because of the water.”

In the southeast, where the Euphrates nears the end of its 1,730-mile journey and mingles with the less salty waters of the Tigris before emptying into the Persian Gulf, the situation is grave. The marshes there that were intentionally reflooded in 2003, rescuing the ancient culture of the marsh Arabs, are drying up again. Sheep graze on land in the middle of the river.

The farmers, reed gatherers and buffalo herders keep working, but they say they cannot continue if the water stays like this.

“Next winter will be the final chance,” said Hashem Hilead Shehi, a 73-year-old farmer who lives in a bone-dry village west of the marshes. “If we are not able to plant, then all of the families will leave.”

Amir A. al-Obeidi, Mohammed Hussein and Abeer Mohammed contributed reporting.









香港《南華早報》今日(週二,7月14日)引述倫敦風險諮詢公司Stirling Assynt的報告報導,阿爾及利亞的回教馬格裡布“基地”組織(AQIM)聲稱,他們已鎖定5萬名在阿爾及利亞的中國工人,以及整個非洲西北地區的中國公民和中國工程項目。

Stirling Assynt的報告指出,這是“基地”組織次對中國和利益發出直接威脅,而一股復仇的渴望也擴散到全球聖戰者群體。


























Congressman Mark Kirk: China to Buy $80 Billion Worth of Gold

Below is a must view video. Congressman Mark Kirk explains in detail China's behind the scenes thinking about the dollar. Hint: They are going to buy two Forth Knox's worth of gold.

Schwarznegger to Obama: Watch and Learn

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, Republicans and Democrats alike embraced legislation last Friday that would make California IOUs legal tender for all taxes, fees and other payments owed to the state.

Effectively, California is using its IOUs to create a currency. If this bill passes it would allow California to deficit spend just like the Federal Government and with the IOU's acceptable as payment of state taxes, it instantly imparts value to them (see here and here). In effect, what you have is a state of the union creating a sovereign currency right under the noses of Treasury, Fed. They are stumbling their way into it, and as they do so, some of the true nature of contemporary money is being revealed. It will be viewed as a stop gap measure at first, and then could very well become entrenched as states realize they have a way to escape balanced budget requirements.

Contrary to most conventional economic thought, whereby people think we pay taxes to create revenue, in fact, it works the other way around under a fiat currency system. The government doesn't need money to spend, but in fact uses tax to manipulate aggregate demand, not raise funds to "pay" for government. The tax is what gives the currency its value insofar as taxes function to create the demand for federal expenditures of fiat money, not to raise revenue per se. Value has been given to the money by requiring it to be used to fulfill a tax obligation, but the money is already in existence, not "created" by the revenue.

Most significantly, the Federal government retains this monopoly under our existing monetary arrangements. If California is successful here in allowing its IOUs to pay tax, it has profound constitutional ramifications. It certainly means considerably less muni bond issuance in the first instance, if the proposal passes constitutional muster.

It will be interesting to see what the exchange rate is between California IOU and US currency - the IOUs do offer a yield, so should be less than par by design. I wonder if NY is next.

This is like some sort of return to the 13 colonies with all kinds of ersatz currency floating about. It's hard to believe the Rubinite wing of the Democrats will just let it be, given the threat it represents to Wall Street's prevailing economic interests, but it is an understandable response to a federal government which continues to champion the interests of the rentier class above the vast majority of Americans by emphasizing "fiscal sustainability" and destroying aggregate demand in the process.

There are political benefits for Obama, as Mike Norman has noted, to rid himself of the shackles of conventional (and wrongheaded) economic thinking: If the Federal government allows this proposal of the state of California to go unchallenged, it would relieve the President of a major political quandary, which is, does he help California and then open himself to aid requests from other states? (Which his advisor, David Axelrod doesn't want), or, does he let California go and lose 56 electoral votes in the next election?

By allowing them to "solve" their own problem in the manner proposed by the legislation he avoids the quandary. And given that, from a money paradigm at least, he and his team probably don't know how destabilizing (to the current system) this is, they just might let them do it until the import is fully understood.
It is true that this legislation represents a profound break from all federal laws. It is almost bound to incur some sort of constitutional challenge, representing as it does, a profound threat to the Federal government's currency monopoly powers. But this is another instance where Obama's inattentiveness to the ramifications of the states' respective fiscal crises has come back to haunt him. This situation would not have arisen had Obama embraced a simple revenue sharing plan with the states (so that the states' respective fiscal policies would be working in harmony with his proposals, rather than mitigating the impact of the Federal fiscal stimulus), as recommended by any number of prominent economists, such as James K. Galbraith of the University of Texas.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. As California goes, will the nation follow? Will we ultimately be confronted with the spectacle of "President Schwarzenegger" trying to legalize the drug output of the Emerald Triangle so he can tax it, thereby enabling us to shut the borders on the rest of this mess? Arnold always wanted to be President, but Constitution would need to be changed. Maybe this is his path to President of the 8th largest nation?

By Marshall Auerback

The Alarming Record of the F.B.I.'s Informant in the Bronx Bomb Plot

Last month, police and the FBI arrested four Newburgh men on charges that they had plotted to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx and fire a missile at a military jet.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held press conferences at the synagogues to reassure New Yorkers about their safety. During Kelly's remarks, it was startling to hear the commissioner refer to al-Qaeda by name, if only to say that the four purported home-grown terrorists had no ties to Osama Bin Laden's organization.

As more details emerged, however, the less the four defendants sounded like men with the skills to plan a sophisticated terror plot. They were small-time crooks, felons with long criminal records whose previous activities revolved around smoking marijuana and playing video games. One defendant, Laguerre Payen, was arrested in a crack house surrounded by bottles of his own urine; his lawyer describes him as "mildly retarded."

By Graham Rayman

No Financial Villians . . . ?

“But financial meltdowns don’t offer villains, for the simple reason that no one person or even one group is powerful enough to take down a whole system.”

-Megan McArdle


I don’t really get Megan McArdle when she makes a statement such as the one above. It was in an article critiquing Matt Taibbi and defending Goldman Sachs.

Um, Megan, I am going to have to beg to differ with you. There were many, many identifiable villains who through their own action and inaction, helped create the crisis. There were people who remained slavishly devoted to an outmoded and disproven ideology, which led them to decisions that were indefendable. Some people engaged in utter recklessness when it came to risk management, or such gross irresponsibility that they are not merely morally culpable, but legally also. Then there are those regulators who gave the corporate interests they supervised pretty much everything they asked for. And of course, the people simply trying to grab a free lunch contributed mightily to the collapse.

I have 322 well researched pages that shows as much.

Goldman Sachs was but one of the 5 biggest investment banks that requested from the SEC, and received, an exemption from the net cap rules. This allowed their leverage to balloon from 12-to-1 to as much as 40-to-1.

As a nation, we need to stop pretending this is “too complicated” and start holding the responsible parties accountable . . .


Sacramento, California -

The headlines are full of stories about California's budgetary problems, how it may have to declare bankruptcy, how it is issuing IOU's which the major banks are refusing to accept, and how in the midst of it, its governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, puffs away at his cigars and flies in his private jet every day from his mansion in Los Angeles to Sacramento.

For years, California has advertised the image of being the golden state, with sun-drenched beaches, sun-tanned residents, and one of the world's largest economies.

Now, it is issuing IOU's to its service providers (vendors) and those who are owed income tax refunds. An IOU is a promissory note to pay the holder some time in the future - in this case, on October 1, 2009 - if the state has money. Up until July 9, most banks were accepting them. But now, the 3 largest, Bank of America, Chase and Wells Fargo, have stopped accepting them. California has currently issued $350 million in IOUs, and is planning to issue another $2.5 billion by the end of July.

Schwarzenegger wants to drastically cut the already meagre aid to the blind, handicapped and elderly in order to help balance the budget. But in February of this year, he had no hesitation in signing SB-11, which gave a 26% pay increase and bonuses to judges using borrowed money from the federal government. In Los Angeles County alone, this amounts to over $20 million a year. As far as is known, none of the judges are blind, handicapped or elderly. Apparently, the golden state is golden for the few. But for the majority?

What happened? How did it go from riches to rags?

The story is long, but at its heart, as one resident summed it up, "The vultures came to California." Let us focus on just one aspect - its housing.

At the end of World War II, millions flocked to California for the weather and the jobs. With its great natural resources - it is the third largest agricultural nation in the world - and its proximity to the burgeoning economies of Asia, it seemed to present a golden opportunity for millions of Americans.

Obviously, they needed to live some place, and developers obliged by carving out vast tracts of land and inundating them with cookie-cutter built homes that all looked alike. To ensure local planning approval, they created homeowner associations, whereby they could say to the local municipality that they were generating massive amounts of new revenue, while simultaneously reducing the tax burden of these municipalities because the homeowner associations would take care of their own streets, lighting etc. In addition, they generously lined the pockets of local and state legislators with what are euphemistically called "campaign contributions". Others might say bribes.

So, homeowner associations became a powerful income stream for all layers of California government. - and as students of government know, you do not mess with income streams.

This income stream was used to fund, for example, the lavish incomes of politicians and judges. The salaries of Los Angeles County supervisors are the highest in the nation. The salaries of California judges are the highest in the nation.

This explains why homeowners in California who have sued their homeowner associations invariably lose. Judges realize that homeowner associations must be defended at any cost even if it means breaking laws and subjecting homeowners to extortions of millions of dollars, and foreclosures and imprisonments by rogue homeowner association lawyers. All this in order to continue the revenue stream that makes their high salaries possible.

Orange County in Southern California has become particularly notorious. Whenever a case has been tried before a judge instead of a jury, the homeowner invariably loses. A review of cases handled by judges such as Brooks, Chaffey, Glass, Hunt, Smith, Monroe, Munoz and others show a clear pattern of bias against homeowners. The judges in the Orange County Appellate court - David G. Sills, William F. Rylaarsdam, William W. Bedsworth, Kathleem O'Leary, Raymond J. Ikola...routinely go through legal contortions to rubber stamp these illegal rulings with secret - unpublished opinions that defy logic, the rules, the laws and the constitution.

This is evident in many of the rulings examined. For example, William Tezak sued his homeowner association for violation of the CCRs. The homeowner association subsequently changed its CCRs to get around the violation. But the judge, Glass, ruled in favor of the homeowner association.

William Doyle tried to build a home on a lot that he had purchased in San Clemente. Because a neighboring board member did not want the home built,Doyle had to sue. The judge, Hunt, ruled against him, and he has had to pay over $1 million in legal fees.

Other homeowners have alleged in court papers that HOA law firms such as Peters and Freedman have repeatedly committed perjury in court. But the judges invariably took no action. When the homeowners filed complaints with the California State Bar, the latter ignored the complaints, as did the California Supreme Court. It is only when a homeowner can get his or her case before a jury, that he or she can get a favorable verdict, as happened in a Riverside court last year.

California Chief Justice Ronald George has set up phony "oversight systems" to bury complaints from victims of lawyers and judges. He uses the Supreme Court appeal system to further extort the already victimized citizens - victims must pay $700. before they can file an appeal and his clerks simply send all the appellant homeowners a postcard stamped "Denied".

An estimated 1 in 4 Californians live in a homeowner association. California has the largest number of foreclosures in the U.S., and the biggest percentage of those occur in homeowner associations. So, homeowner associations have come to haunt the very legislators who created these entities, and stripped homeowners of their constitutional rights in the process.

The gravy train that they relied on, has ended. California looks into the abyss, and the corrupt politicians and lawyers who took it to the edge, stand helpless while its governor smokes another of his endless cigars as he threatens to cut basic services to the handicapped, blind and elderly. The gold has gone - into many politicians' and judges' pockets - and its people stands helpless before the inevitable onslaught.

California attracted the inevitable vultures - the lawyers, the aggrandizers who sought to make billions off the people. Until the people of California get rid of them, there can only be misery and devastation for the people.

By Ed Montagne

Swine flu resembles feared 1918 flu, study finds

New H1N1 strain more likely to cause pneumonia than regular flu viruses

WASHINGTON - The new H1N1 influenza virus bears a disturbing resemblance to the virus strain that caused the 1918 flu pandemic, with a greater ability to infect the lungs than common seasonal flu viruses, researchers reported on Monday.

Tests in several animals confirmed other studies that have shown the new swine flu strain can spread beyond the upper respiratory tract to go deep into the lungs — making it more likely to cause pneumonia, the international team said.

In addition, they found that people who survived the 1918 pandemic seem to have extra immune protection against the virus, again confirming the work of other researchers.

"When we conducted the experiments in ferrets and monkeys, the seasonal virus did not replicate in the lungs," said Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin, who led the study.

The H1N1 virus replicates significantly better in the lungs."

Separately, a top official at the World Health Organization said Monday a fully licensed swine flu vaccine might not be available until the end of the year. The report could affect many countries' vaccination plans.

But countries could use emergency provisions to get the vaccines out quicker if they decide their populations need them, Marie-Paule Kieny, director of WHO's Initiative for Vaccine Research, said during a news conference.

The swine flu viruses currently being used to develop a vaccine aren't producing enough of the ingredient needed for the vaccine, and WHO has asked its laboratory network to produce a new set of viruses as soon as possible.

So far, the swine flu viruses being used are only producing about half as much "yield" to make vaccines as regular flu viruses.

The new swine flu virus has caused the first pandemic of the 21st century, infecting more than a million people, according to estimates, and killing at least 500. The World Health Organization says it is causing mostly moderate disease but Kawaoka said that does not mean it is like seasonal flu.

Pregnant women have been vulnerable to serious effects and obesity has been linked as a risk factor for severe complications.

"There is a misunderstanding about this virus," Kawaoka said in a statement. "There is clear evidence the virus is different than seasonal influenza."

Writing in the journal Nature, Kawaoka and colleagues noted that the ability to infect the lungs is a characteristic of other pandemic viruses, especially the 1918 virus, which is estimated to have killed between 40 million and 100 million people.

Old protection
They tested the virus in blood samples taken from nursing home residents and workers in 1999 in California, Wisconsin, the Netherlands and Japan.

People born before 1920 had a strong antibody response to the new H1N1 virus, meaning their body "remembered" it from infection early in life. This finding supports a study published in Nature in August that also found people who survived the 1918 pandemic still had immune protection against that virus.

Flu viruses change constantly, which is why people can be re-infected and why the vaccine must be changed regularly. Current seasonal strains of H1N1 are distant cousins of both the 1918 pandemic strain and the new H1N1 strain.

"Our findings are a reminder that swine-origin influenza viruses have not yet garnered a place in history, but may still do so, as the pandemic caused by these viruses has the potential to produce a significant impact on human health and the global economy," the researchers wrote.

Other tests showed the virus could be controlled by the antiviral drugs Relenza, made by GlaxoSmithKline, and Tamiflu, made by Roche AG, the researchers said.

The World Health Organization said on Monday that vaccine makers should start making immunizations against H1N1 and that healthcare workers should be first in line to get them.

Companies working on an H1N1 vaccine include Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis AG, Baxter International Inc., GlaxoSmithKline, Solvay and nasal spray maker MedImmune, now part of AstraZeneca.

The WHO has previously estimated that the world could have as many as 4.9 billion doses of H1N1 swine flu vaccine ready for the next flu season — but this assumes people only need one shot and production yields are similar to seasonal vaccine.

The WHO is now reviewing its numbers in light of the latest yield results and Kieny said it was not possible yet to give a revised forecast.



The H1N1 virus is a hybrid of swine flu, which is highly contagious, and avian flu, which is similar in effect to the 1918 so-called "Spanish" flu, plus human influenza. (Maybe it should be called the "When Pigs Fly" flu.) The fatalities are mostly within the 25 to 45 age grouping. Ironically, it is the good health of this young adult population which causes the fatalities as the avian flu triggers a severe immune response which leads to excessive edema. This in turn ruptures the cell walls leading to hemorrhagic symptoms. Patients bleed out into their lungs and drown.

UPDATE: At this time the numbers of infected and dead do not appear to support the excessive media hype about this disease. This appears to be another case of the government that cried "wolf", whether to distract the world from the plunging economy, torture scandal, AIPAC-gate, or simply to sell some of the vaccines sold by companies Congressmembers are invested in. Already we are seeing the financial reporters try to link the continuing economic decline to the flu. We are seeing "Obama was just about to turn this economy around and THIS had to happen" pap start to pour from the same TV media that told us Saddam had 'nookular' bombs!


There is no vaccine known to the public for this particular virus. There are vaccines for related viruses thought to possibly be effective, but this is unreliable information. In response to the problems of the 1976 Swine Flu vaccine which caused neurological damage in patients as well as the more recent Baxter scandal in which live H5N1 virus was mixed in with vaccine materials, the government of Sweden has advised their population NOT to obtain vaccinations at this time. As was demonsterated in the 1976 case, the decision to force vaccines on the public are often made more from a commercial for-profit concern than what is actually best for the population.

In the 1976 Swine Flu outbreak, the vaccine killed fifty times as many people as the flu did!


At this time it is being claimed that primary infection is skin-to-skin contact, so wash your hands often with a good bacteriological soap. Avoid touching other people. While risk of direct transfer by air is low, according to CDC, the reality is that coughs and sneezes can produce aerosolized secretions in which the virus is surrounded by liquids and able to survive for prolonged periods of time outside the body. If this virus has a lipid coating, that time will be longer.

Disinfection of household surfaces can be accomplished with a dilute (10%) solution of chlorine bleach and water will kill the virus. So will strong light, especially ultra-violet light.

Given the similarity between the avian flu component of this new virus and the 1918 Spanish flu, a possible precaution to take is common household cinnamon from the spice rack. During the 1918 outbreak it was noticed that people who worked at a cinnamon processing factory did not catch the disease. Cinnamon in high doses can be toxic, but a gram a day for adults seems like a reasonable dose.


It is entirely possible that this three-way hybrid virus occurred by chance, but there is compelling reason to wonder if maybe this virus is a laboratory accident, or worse, an intentional attempt at de-population.

Here are some of the relevant facts.

Back in 2004, we were being propagandized that Bird Flu was the next pandemic.

CDC was talking about recombinant viruses back in 2005.

Gene studies showed that so-called Bird Flu appeared to be similar to the 1918 Spanish Flu. Other studies showed it was almost identical!

Which is rather nerve-wracking because in 2005 it was admitted that scientists were intentionally recreating the 1918 Spanish Flu virus!

But the predicted pandemic didn't happen because Bird Flu isn't that contagious. It needed to be blended with a more infectious form of flu, like swine flu (Used as a bio-weapon by the CIA against Cuba), to became a real slate-wiper!

In 2006, it was reported that scientists were intentionally creating bird flu and swine flu hybrids in the labs!

Which leads to asking how it is that this new flu epidemic explodes into view right after Fort Detrick admits that some of the nasty little beasties they have been working on went missing!

UK cuts Israel weapons contracts

The UK has revoked five export licences for equipment to the Israeli navy because of actions during Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza this year.

The British Foreign office said the exports would now contravene its criteria for arms sales, but denied that it had imposed a partial embargo.

The UK says it does not sell weapons which might be used for internal repression or external aggression.

Israel says its troops complied fully with international law during missions.

The 22-day operation which ended on 18 January has been widely condemned as disproportionate by critics.

Israeli gun boat
Israel's navy patrols Gaza's coast and shelled it during Operation Cast Lead

The British government has been challenged by human rights groups and members of the UK parliament over concerns raised by Amnesty International that British-made equipment was used illegally in Gaza.

Amnesty says both Israel and Hamas committed war crimes during the conflict.

In April, the British government issued a statement saying it had not contravened its own guidelines, which it described as "stringent", but said it was was reviewing existing licences.

On Monday, the Foreign Office said in a statement that it had conducted the review, and found "in a small number of cases Israeli action in Cast Lead would result in the export of those goods now contravening the… criteria".

An unnamed Israeli official said five of 35 contracts for naval equipment had been cancelled.

Media reports quoted Israeli officials as saying these all related to the Saar 4.5 gunboat.

'Not bothered'

In April, the British Foreign Office said there were "credible reports" that the vessels had been used in a "naval fire support role" during Operation Cast Lead.

Israeli air strike near Rafah, 13.01.09

The British Foreign Office said future decisions would "take into account what has happened in the recent conflict".

"We do not grant export licences where there is a clear risk that arms will be used for external aggression or internal repression," it said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman told Israeli public radio: "We've had many embargoes in the past... We can manage. This shouldn't bother us."

Palestinian rights groups say about 1,400 Palestinians died during the operation.

Thirteen Israelis died during the conflict, 10 of them were soldiers serving in Gaza.

Israel said its operation aimed to reduce rocket fire from Gaza aimed at its southern towns.

It’s Not That the Police Killed Him; He Just Happened To Die

Most of the time, when a citizen dies needlessly at the hands of one of the state’s armed enforcers, we are told insistently — by both the agency that employed the assailant and the state-aligned media — that the officer “acted appropriately,” and that he “followed established procedures.”

Where the death was clearly a result of police violence, defenders of the state’s apparatus of regimentation take refuge in contrived ambiguity.

For instance: Whenever a young person dies after being subjected to electro-shock torture via Taser, the public is lectured about the lethal effects of “excited delirium,” a mysterious condition that seems to afflict only those who are gang-tackled, tased, and otherwise abused by police. (While some medical examiners accept “excited delirium” as a valid cause of death, the condition is not widely recognized among medical professionals apart from those closely associated with law enforcement.)

Accordingly, when an overweight individual who may suffer from type-2 diabetes, cardiac disease, and similar conditions dies needlessly in police custody, we’re told that it wasn’t tasing, beating, and other mistreatment by police that killed him; it was either the sudden lethal expression of an underlying health problem, or a case of “excited delirium.”

The “excited delirium” rationale can also be applied when police kill innocent, non-violent people who are taking prescription drugs for bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia, and similar conditions.

Thus when police in southern Utah murdered 32-year-old Brian Cardall near Hurricane last month, practically the first words to fall from the mouth of one of the assailants was that Cardall was killed by “excited delirium” — not by the repeated Taser strikes used to subdue the husband and father during a psychotic episode.

A different but related approach to police self-justification was displayed in the recent death of 42-year-old Donel Stogner of Walker, Louisiana. Stogner was pulled over, apparently for a traffic violation, by Livingston County Deputy Sheriff Chris Sturdivant. During the stop, the deputy noticed something in Stogner’s right hand; when Stogner refuses to open the hand, Sturdivant grabbed him and tried to pry it open.

A struggle ensued in which — as documented by the deputy’s dash-cam video — Stogner appeared to put something in his mouth. This prompted Sturdivant, a wiry, athletic male, to climb the larger man’s back, wrap an arm around his throat, and throw him to the ground, where the two grappled for nearly five minutes.

During the scuffle, Sturdivant can be heard repeatedly ordering Stogner to “spit it out”; Stogner, for his part, can be heard groaning and laboring for breath — the latter being a result not only of exertion, but of a naked chokehold being used, somewhat inefficiently, by the deputy.

At one point, Stogner apparently knocked a can of pepper spray from Sturdivant’s hands. The struggle continued until a second officer arrived and pitched in.

Stogner wasn’t breathing by the time his protectors were finished serving him, and he was pronounced dead shortly thereafter.

The preliminary finding by the local medical examiner, Dr. Ron Coe, was that there were “many factors in Stogner’s death.” The middle-aged, overweight man was a methamphetamine user (he had been arrested on drug charges several times, including an arrest just days before he died). He suffered cardiac arrhythmia, severe atherosclerosis, and had an enlarged heart — all of which reflected a poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle, and would probably have killed him eventually.

Almost by way of afterthought, Dr. Coe pointed out that Stogner also had a broken hyoid bone — a U-shaped bone located at the base of the tongue, right where the deputy had been applying a chokehold for several minutes. This indicates that there was “some force applied to this region” by Sturdivant, Coe admitted, before insisting that any of the aforementioned conditions could have resulted in Stogner’s death.

No, it’s not the Taser, the club, the chokehold, or the gang-beating that kills a non-violent offender; the recipient of state-inflicted violence simply chose that precise instant to have a heart attack. There’s nothing the see here; just move along.

by William Grigg

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Crops, ponds destroyed in quest for food safety

(07-13) 04:00 PDT Washington -- Dick Peixoto planted hedges of fennel and flowering cilantro around his organic vegetable fields in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville to harbor beneficial insects, an alternative to pesticides.


Farmworkers harvest organically grown lettuce at Lakeside...Organic farmer Dick Peixoto walks through an unharvested ...Farmworkers harvest romaine lettuce to be shipped directl...
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He has since ripped out such plants in the name of food safety, because his big customers demand sterile buffers around his crops. No vegetation. No water. No wildlife of any kind.

"I was driving by a field where a squirrel fed off the end of the field, and so 30 feet in we had to destroy the crop," he said. "On one field where a deer walked through, didn't eat anything, just walked through and you could see the tracks, we had to take out 30 feet on each side of the tracks and annihilate the crop."

In the verdant farmland surrounding Monterey Bay, a national marine sanctuary and one of the world's biological jewels, scorched-earth strategies are being imposed on hundreds of thousands of acres in the quest for an antiseptic field of greens. And the scheme is about to go national.

Invisible to a public that sees only the headlines of the latest food-safety scare - spinach, peppers and now cookie dough - ponds are being poisoned and bulldozed. Vegetation harboring pollinators and filtering storm runoff is being cleared. Fences and poison baits line wildlife corridors. Birds, frogs, mice and deer - and anything that shelters them - are caught in a raging battle in the Salinas Valley against E. coli O157:H7, a lethal, food-borne bacteria.

In pending legislation and in proposed federal regulations, the push for food safety butts up against the movement toward biologically diverse farming methods, while evidence suggests that industrial agriculture may be the bigger culprit.

'Foolhardy' approach

"Sanitizing American agriculture, aside from being impossible, is foolhardy," said UC Berkeley food guru Michael Pollan, who most recently made his case for smaller-scale farming in the documentary film "Food, Inc." "You have to think about what's the logical end point of looking at food this way. It's food grown indoors hydroponically."

Scientists do not know how the killer E. coli pathogen, which dwells mainly in the guts of cattle, made its way to a spinach field near San Juan Bautista (San Benito County) in 2006, leaving four people dead, 35 with acute kidney failure and 103 hospitalized.

The deadly bug first appeared in hamburger meat in the early 1980s and migrated to certain kinds of produce, mainly lettuce and other leafy greens that are cut, mixed and bagged for the convenience of supermarket shoppers. Hundreds of thousands of the bug can fit on the head of a pin; as few as 10 can lodge in a salad and end in lifelong disability, including organ failure.

Going national

For many giant food retailers, the choice between a dead pond and a dead child is no choice at all. Industry has paid more than $100 million in court settlements and verdicts in spinach and lettuce lawsuits, a fraction of the lost sales involved.

Galvanized by the spinach disaster, large growers instituted a quasi-governmental program of new protocols for growing greens safely, called the "leafy greens marketing agreement." A proposal was submitted last month in Washington to take these rules nationwide.

A food safety bill sponsored by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, passed this month in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It would give new powers to the Food and Drug Administration to regulate all farms and produce in an attempt to fix the problem. The bill would require consideration of farm diversity and environmental rules, but would leave much to the FDA.

An Amish farmer in Ohio who uses horses to plow his fields could find himself caught in a net aimed 2,000 miles away at a feral pig in San Benito County. While he may pick, pack and sell his greens in one day because he does not refrigerate, the bagged lettuce trucked from Salinas with a 17-day shelf life may be considered safer.

The leafy-green agreement is based on available science, but it is just a jumping-off point.

Large produce buyers have compiled secret "super metrics" that go much further. Farmers must follow them if they expect to sell their crops. These can include vast bare-dirt buffers, elimination of wildlife, and strict rules on water sources. To enforce these rules, retail buyers have sent forth armies of food-safety auditors, many of them trained in indoor processing plants, to inspect fields.

Keeping children out

"They're used to working inside the factory walls," said Ken Kimes, owner of New Natives farms in Aptos (Santa Cruz County) and a board member of the Community Alliance With Family Farmers, a California group. "If they're not prepared for the farm landscape, it can come as quite a shock to them. Some of this stuff that they want, you just can't actually do."

Auditors have told Kimes that no children younger than 5 can be allowed on his farm for fear of diapers. He has been asked to issue identification badges to all visitors.

Not only do the rules conflict with organic and environmental standards; many are simply unscientific. Surprisingly little is known about how E. coli is transmitted from cow to table.

Reducing E. coli

Scientists have created a vaccine to reduce E. coli in livestock, and a White House working group announced plans Tuesday to boost safety standards for eggs and meat. This month, the group is expected to issue draft guidelines for reducing E. coli contamination in leafy greens, tomatoes and melons.

Some science suggests that removing vegetation near field crops could make food less safe. Vegetation and wetlands are a landscape's lungs and kidneys, filtering out not just fertilizers, sediments and pesticides, but also pathogens. UC Davis scientists found that vegetation buffers can remove as much as 98 percent of E. coli from surface water. UC Davis advisers warn that some rodents prefer cleared areas.

Produce buyers compete to demand the most draconian standards, said Jo Ann Baumgartner, head of the Wild Farm Alliance in Watsonville, so that they can sell their products as the "safest."

State agencies responsible for California's water, air and wildlife have been unable to find out from buyers what they are demanding.

They do know that trees have been bulldozed along the riparian corridors of the Salinas Valley, while poison-filled tubes targeting rodents dot lettuce fields. Dying rodents have led to deaths of owls and hawks that naturally control rodents.

Unscientific approach

"It's all based on panic and fear, and the science is not there," said Dr. Andy Gordus, an environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Game.

Preliminary results released in April from a two-year study by the state wildlife agency, UC Davis and the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that less than one-half of 1 percent of 866 wild animals tested positive for E. coli O157:H7 in Central California.

Frogs are unrelated to E. coli, but their remains in bags of mechanically harvested greens are unsightly, Gordus said, so "the industry has been using food safety as a premise to eliminate frogs."

Farmers are told that ponds used to recycle irrigation water are unsafe. So they bulldoze the ponds and pump more groundwater, opening more of the aquifer to saltwater intrusion, said Jill Wilson, an environmental scientist at the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board in San Luis Obispo.

Wilson said demands for 450-foot dirt buffers remove the agency's chief means of preventing pollution from entering streams and rivers. Jovita Pajarillo, associate director of the water division in the San Francisco office of the Environmental Protection Agency, said removal of vegetative buffers threatens Arroyo Seco, one of the last remaining stretches of habitat for steelhead trout.

Turning down clients

"It's been a problem for us trying to balance the organic growing methods with the food safety requirements," Peixoto said. "At some point, we can't really meet their criteria. We just tell them that's all we can do, and we have to turn down that customer."

Large retailers did not respond to requests for comment. Food trade groups in Washington suggested calling other trade groups, which didn't comment.

Chiquita/Fresh Express, a large Salinas produce handler, told the advocacy group Food and Water Watch that the company has "developed extensive additional guidelines for the procurement of leafy greens and other produce, but we consider such guidelines to be our confidential and proprietary information."

Seattle trial lawyer Bill Marler, who represented many of the plaintiffs in the 2006 E. coli outbreak in spinach, said, "If we want to have bagged spinach and lettuce available 24/7, 12 months of the year, it comes with costs."

Still, he said, the industry rules won't stop lawsuits or eliminate the risk of processed greens cut in fields, mingled in large baths, put in bags that must be chilled from packing plant to kitchen, and shipped thousands of miles away.

"In 16 years of handling nearly every major food-borne illness outbreak in America, I can tell you I've never had a case where it's been linked to a farmers' market," Marler said.

"Could it happen? Absolutely. But the big problem has been the mass-produced product. What you're seeing is this rub between trying to make it as clean as possible so they don't poison anybody, but still not wanting to come to the reality that it may be the industrialized process that's making it all so risky."

Some major recent outbreaks of food-borne illness

The Food and Drug Administration lists 40 food-borne pathogens. Among the more common: E-coli O157:H7, salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, botulism and hepatitis A.

June 2009: E. coli O157:H7 found in Nestle Toll House refrigerated cookie dough manufactured in Danville, Va., resulted in the recall of 3.6 million packages. Seventy-two people in 30 states were sickened. No traces found on equipment or workers; investigators are looking at flour and other ingredients.

October 2008: Salmonella found in peanut butter from a Peanut Corp. of America plant in Georgia. Nine people died, and an estimated 22,500 were sickened. Criminal negligence was alleged after the product tested positive and was shipped.

June 2008: Salmonella Saintpaul traced to serrano peppers grown in Mexico. More than 1,000 people were sickened in 41 states, with 203 reported hospitalizations and at least one death. Tomatoes were suspected, devastating growers.

April 2007: E. coli O157:H7 found in beef, sickening 14 people. United Food Group recalled 5.7 million pounds of meat.

December 2006: E. coli O157:H7 traced to Taco Bell restaurants in New Jersey and Long Island, N.Y. Green onions suspected, then lettuce. Thirty-nine people were sickened, some with acute kidney failure.

September 2006: E. coli O157:H7 found in Dole bagged spinach processed at Earthbound Farms in San Juan Bautista (San Benito County). The outbreak killed four people, sent 103 to hospitals, and devastated the spinach industry.

Mistake kills flu baby' in Spain

A baby born prematurely to the first woman in Spain to die of swine flu has also died after a glaring medical error, a hospital director has said.

The baby boy was born by Caesarean section on 29 June just hours before his mother, Dalila Mimouni, died.

Doctors said the baby, Rayan, did not have swine flu and he seemed to be doing well despite being premature.

But he has now died after an elementary feeding error by a member of staff, said the hospital's managing director.

Antonio Barba told a news conference that on Sunday night the child was fed intravenously instead of through a gastric tube.

The mistake was detected about an hour later, and doctors battled through the night to try to save the child by cleaning his blood.

But Rayan died just after midday on Monday, said Mr Barba, managing director of the Gregorio Maranon hospital in Madrid.

Mr Barba said the error was "very grave negligence and there is no excuse for it.

"The hospital assumes all responsibility, both human and financial, although we know there is no making up for something like this," he said.

Mr Barba said the nurse who made the error was working on the unit for the first time and her supervisor was temporarily absent.

Legal action

Dalila Mimouni, Rayan's 20-year-old Moroccan mother, died of respiratory illness caused by swine flu on 30 June.

She died just hours after Rayan was delivered by emergency Caesarean section two months before his due date.

The case had gripped the Spanish media.

Mimouni's bereaved husband had already announced his intention to take legal action against two hospitals, including Gregorio Maranon, after his wife's complaints of feeling unwell were repeatedly dismissed before she was finally diagnosed, reports El Pais newspaper.


No doubt you’ve heard about last week’s G-8 Meeting in L’Aquila, Italy. And no doubt you’re hearing a lot of sound bites from the G-8 and the media about the U.S. dollar being a very hot topic at the meeting.

To be sure, the dollar is the central topic on most leaders’ minds right now. After all …

arrow The TRUTH ... The United States is now the most indebted civilization in the history of the world and ground zero for the financial crisis.

arrow The TRUTH ... Foreign investors are growing very tired of the United States government’s national debt, which has now hit $11.5 TRILLION and is growing at the rate of about $3.88 billion a day. That’s $2.7 million per minute, and $44,000 per second!

arrow The TRUTH ... And we all see the federal budget deficit exploding higher, now at $1.84 trillion … equal to almost 13 percent of GDP — hocking our children and grandchildren’s lives to an insurmountable mountain of debt that would require more than 80 percent of the world’s surplus savings to finance.

Moreover …

arrow The TRUTH ... We all see the Federal Reserve, the steward of the nation’s dollar, also in hock up to its eyeballs, its balance sheet having ballooned from $860 billion in liabilities in September 2008 to more than $2 trillion today, and likely to rocket even higher as the Fed continues to print money out of thin air like there’s no tomorrow.

Not to mention the unfunded government IOUs coming due for Social Security, Medicare, and Federal pension payments — totaling an estimated $104 TRILLION.

But so far, the media is almost unanimously proclaiming that the dollar will somehow manage to remain the world’s reserve currency.

Even some of the statements leaking out of the G-8 meeting last week confirm that no immediate changes lie on the horizon for the dollar’s reserve status.

But how accurate are these reports? Should you believe the media?

Should you believe statements coming out of the G-8 meeting that the dollar’s reserve status is intact?

My answers: First, definitely don’t listen to the media. You rarely get the truth from them. Most of the time they simply rehash what they’re being told.

Second, as far as government statements go, well, we all know about them, too. Rarely are they accurate when it comes to making economic forecasts of any kind.

And with a hot-button topic as sensitive and game-changing as the dollar’s reserve status is — do you really think they’re going to come out and tell you their real intentions?


So that’s why I think it’s critical that you read between the lines of all the garbage in the media about the G-8 meeting, look past what governments are telling you they’re doing, and instead focus on what’s really going on.

It’s also why I strongly believe and implore that you start preparing NOW for the imminent death of the dollar.

Amongst my reasons …

A. India has now joined with Russia and China in questioning the dollar. That’s not small talk. It’s an official statement made recently by Suresh Tendulkar, an economic adviser to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh — urging the government to diversify its $264.6 billion foreign-exchange reserves to hold fewer dollars.

B. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has repeatedly called for the G-20 to start working on a supranational currency. And despite the conciliatory tone he struck with President Obama on many other matters in their recent meeting in Moscow, Medvedev is not likely to back down on the dollar.

Why? Because Putin, who really pulls the strings in Russia, wants the dollar dethroned.

C. China will NEVER officially reveal that they want the dollar replaced. With the largest dollar reserves in the world and the most at stake, why would China want to shoot itself in the foot by openly admitting they want the dollar replaced?

Beijing is too smart and too good at hiding its real intentions. So instead of officially acknowledging they want the dollar demoted, Beijing will play along trying to unofficially support the dollar’s reserve status by mostly denying they want a change — ALL THE WHILE PREPARING FOR THE INEVITABLE.

That’s why the Chinese renminbi is now trading, for the first time ever, as a currency in Hong Kong to settle commercial cross-border transactions.

And it’s why Beijing has recently arranged the equivalent of almost $100 billion in currency swaps with various Southeast Asian and Latin American countries, setting the foundation for its currency to become a major international player — and ultimately part of the equation of a new world currency.

Even more significant, it’s also why Beijing increased its gold reserves by 76 percent — way back in 2003.

Notice I said “way back.” Reason: Beijing officially acknowledged the increase in its gold reserves six years after the fact. Proof of what I just told you above: That Chinese officials never officially acknowledge what they are actually doing until way after it’s done.

More proof the dollar is toast …

D. Overseas central banks and fund managers are now under intense pressure to dump the dollar. The international currency market is more powerful than all the central banks and treasuries of the world, with more than $3 TRILLION trading hands in the currency markets EVERY DAY.

And the recent decline in the dollar — at a time when overseas investors have such huge holdings of dollar-denominated investments — is killing these investors.

Case in point: In April, U.S. bond purchases by foreign central banks plunged 41 percent.

Overseas fund managers are also heading for the exits. Japanese pension fund managers, for instance, invested immense sums in U.S. Treasuries. But in the last three months, they’ve suffered nearly 10 percent losses on the dollar, plus 11 percent losses on long-term Treasuries.

The same is happening to Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, and European fund managers — who are all facing losses of similar magnitude on their dollar-denominated investments.

Lastly, and most importantly …

E. Major technical and cyclical indicators confirm a massive decline in the dollar lies ahead. Naturally, that does not rule out occasional, and sometimes even strong, short-term rallies in the dollar.

But all of my indicators tell me the long-term bear market in the buck is not only intact, but the descent into the worst of the dollar bear market lies ahead.

Just consider the greenback’s performance: Despite the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression …

Despite a massive world-wide credit contraction that supposedly should have made the remaining dollars in circulation worth dramatically more as investors around the world paid down debts and flocked to the safety of supposedly the world’s strongest currency …

The dollar is worth roughly half of what it was worth in 1986 …

Worth 37 percent less than its value in 2001 …

And is a mere 11 percent higher than its all-time record low set in April of last year!

That’s like the Dow Industrials rallying from its March low of 6,469 to barely 7,268!

Moreover, the long-term cycle forecast, courtesy of my colleague Richard Mogey at the Foundation for the Study of Cycles, confirms my own cycle work, as you can see in this chart I have for you from the Foundation.

U.S. Dollar Monthly

Notice how the dollar’s cyclic forecast points sharply lower, with no end in sight for its bear market until at least 2012.

Make no mistake: Despite occasional rallies in the dollar, it is on the verge of its worst decline yet. And by the time the dollar’s bear market comes to a close, it will likely be dethroned and supplanted as the world’s reserve currency.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not unpatriotic. I’m just facing the truth. Every fiat currency in the history of the planet has failed and been replaced by a new monetary system. The dollar will be no different.

Bottom line: Given we are at most only three years away from the dollar disappearing as the world’s reserve currency …

… I consider it absolutely essential that all subscribers make sure they are current with my core gold and other natural resources recommendations. Even if those assets stage a pullback, as they are doing now.

They are what I consider tangible assets that offer the potential for real wealth, by not only helping to protect you from a falling dollar, but also by positioning you to profit handsomely to boot.

Detailed recommendations and further analysis can be found in my Real Wealth Report.

Best wishes,

by Larry Edelson

American Jewish Group Funding Anti-Israel Propaganda

“The soldiers are the grandchildren of the Nazis’ victims, the Nazis’ survivors. They have come here to consume food quickly and consume life quickly. This is the true image of Israel.” So goes a news story posted on the website of the Nazareth-based NGO I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel (tinyurl.com/m385me). Founded by Arab Knesset Member Hanin Zoabi, I’lam does not hide its agenda: to question the legitimacy of Israel.

In 2000, Zoabi, a self-described Palestinian, co-founded the NGO I’lam, where she later served as director.

In an interview with the Bulletin in March, MK Zoabi stated that she supported Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and that she is not loyal to the state of Israel as currently constituted.

Zoabi also has had kind words to say about terrorism. She stated to Australian news outlet GreenLeft, “We don’t live in the territories, we cannot throw stones and we cannot participate in the legitimate resistance against occupation.”

I’lam is also is funded largely by Washington DC-based New Israel Fund, an American Jewish philanthropic foundation, which also sponsors Israeli-Arab NGOs Adalah and Mossawa. All these groups call for the removal of Israel’s Jewish identity.

Zoabi, as director of I’lam, helped draft and signed the Haifa Declaration, which called for the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

I’lam has claimed that the Hebrew media contains “encouragement for killing and destruction” and “call[s] for the destruction of cities…and killing children.”

I’lam also stated, “The Israeli media should not shape public opinion that is separate from its surrounding environment [the Arab world]…” and demanded that “the Israeli media to avoid the…patriotic performance that it adopts.”

I’lam claims that “tomorrow [Jerusalem] will be the focal point of the Arab and Islamic world...” I’lam’s publications are replete with terms such as “massacre” and “ethnic cleansing.”

In a video about the October 2000 Arab riots, I’lam accuses Israeli security forces of executing Arabs “…in cold blood at a range of two meters.”

In 2008, the organization held a conference in Ramallah with journalists from the PA which “aimed to develop and facilitate working relationships…”

The connection of I’lam to the Palestinian Authority is reflected by its hired personnel.

The current director of I’lam, Sanaa Hammoud, is a former consultant to the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department. Wadea Awawdy, a former board member, has worked as a correspondent for the official Palestinian Authority publication Al-Ayyam.

I’lam’s International Relations Coordinator Nasser Victor Rego has called Hamas a “genuinely emancipatory liberation and resistance movement…”

Nasser did not respond to requests for comment.

I’lam board member Anton Shalhat has previously been prevented from leaving Israel due to a recommendation from the security establishment that he may “harm the security of the state.”

In an e-mail statement to independent journalist Harris Phillipson, an NIF spokesperson wrote, “The New Israel Fund does not require ideological conformity from its grantees … What we look for in grantees is the ability and track record to make a difference in advancing real social change in Israel, and a general commonality of values. Supporting I’lam’s work in no way signifies that NIF agrees with their position on the right of return or other difficult issues, only that we expect them to conform to our very rigorous standards for using our grant to execute their work.”

Best Buy calls Twitter a job qualification

Twitter skeptics -- and they remain legion -- will find the idea silly … but it's not, particularly not in this case.

Of course Best Buy should be seeking Twitter experience in a candidate for a senior manager's position in "emerging media." Who would dream of landing such a job without first-hand knowledge of the most-hyped emerging medium in recent memory?

But that's not to say the company is going about measuring Twitter savvy in the right manner; its not.

Nor does it answer the more difficult question of who among us needs to be on Twitter for the sake of our employers and our careers. (It's a question we're grappling with right now at Network World.)

From a Computerworld Canada story:

A recent job posting on Best Buy Co Inc.’s Web site for a Senior Manager – Emerging Media Marketing position based out of the company’s corporate headquarters in Richfield, Minn. listed two preferred job qualifications: a graduate degree and 250+ followers on Twitter.

Basic qualifications for the position include a Bachelor’s degree, “two plus years of mobile or social media marketing experience” at the director or strategist level, “four plus years people or resource leadership experience” and “one plus years of active blogging experience."

Again, I'd want any candidate for such a job to be an active blogger and have a hand in Twitter. However, an arbitrary number of Twitter followers will not separate the dabblers from the more meaningfully experienced, as was noted by employment experts quoted in the story.

Anyone can accumulate followers on Twitter. The real questions are whether you're actively participating and realizing any tangible benefits from that participation.

Although I'm not interested in working for Best Buy, I do meet the company's Twitter threshold, having attracted 1,653 followers since taking the plunge eight months ago. Over that span, I have sent 2,552 Twitter messages -- roughly 10 Tweets a day, seven days a week. While not by any stretch a Twitter heavyweight, that does put me in the top 1 percent of 2.7 million accounts tracked by TwitterGrader.com.

Yet I remain wholly unconvinced that everyone needs to be on Twitter.

Yes for would-be senior managers of emerging media. Yes for technology trade-press editors. No for CEOs. (A recent survey showed only two Fortune 100 CEOs are on Twitter, and it seems to me they have more to explain than the non-Tweeting 98.) Maybe for most everyone else.

As for you, your job and your future aspirations? The best way to find out is to give Twitter a shot. It's free, it can't hurt, you might find you like it … and you never know when you might need a job at Best Buy.

(Update: Just stumbled across this item noting that Best Buy in general is big on Twitter and that company CEO Brian Dunn has an account, albeit one that just barely would qualify him for employment in his marketing department.)