Thursday, March 31, 2011

Us Economy Under Obama

Clearly the Economy is getting worse under Obama’s administration….I thought he was going to change things?
All I see him do is showing his new clothes and his kids running around on shopping trips all over Washington DC.

Doesn’t Obama know that:

Don’t they know that there are people with NO health insurance?

People who don’t have enough food?

People are starving in the very streets he drives his Limo on?

Why has he forsaken us?

Obama doesn’t care less about the average American. He never did. This is all about payback for a bitter half-black man. He is delighting in his ability to now thumb his nose at white America. He never hid this, it’s the sheeple who had blinders on and refused to see.

Of course the economy is getting worse. We needed an ultra right wing Conservative in there, not a liberal Socialist.

As for people with no health insurance, the government must require all employers to provide these benefits to full time employees. Incentives can be offered to smaller companies, but the point is that those who want health insurance need to work forty hours a week like I do, and pay into it, like I do.

This may not be true in all areas, but in my area there are plenty of Help Wanted signs visible. Yes, they are minimum wage jobs, but these are the jobs that those with not enough food and no health insurance are qualified for, and these are the jobs they should be applying for.

As for what Obama does or doesn’t know about running this country, it’s clear that the answer is “not much.”

Radiation Worker With Over 20 Years Of Experience Comments on Japan Nucl...

Full meltdown in full swing? Japan maximum nuclear alert

Excessive radiation found beyond Japan's evacuation zone

Radiation levels in a Japanese village outside a government-ordered evacuation zone have exceeded one of the criteria for evacuation, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday.

The agency said it advised Japan "to carefully assess the situation."

Swedish embassy tells citizens to begin taking iodide tablets if within 150 miles of Fukushima — Includes Tokyo

Embassies ready iodide tablets, Japan Times, March 29, 2011:

… [T]he Swedish Embassy is recommending on its website that citizens within 250 km of the Fukushima plant take [iodide tablets] once every three days.

An embassy official was unavailable for comment.

“The recommendation by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority that all Swedes who are staying within a radius of 250 km from the Fukushima No. 1 power plant to take iodide tablets every three days is still valid,” the embassy’s website, last updated Saturday, says. “Best protection against radioactive iodine is to take iodide tablets before the exposure, as doing so afterward will prove too late.” …

Read the report here.

Japan nuclear crisis: evacuees turned away from shelters

Hundreds of people evacuated from towns and villages close to the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant are being turned away by medical institutions and emergency shelters as fears of radioactive contagion catch on.

Japan nuclear crisis: evacuees turned away from emergency shelters
A man sits inside a bar in central Fukushima. The situation at the Fukushima plant remains critical Photo: REUTERS

Hospitals and temporary refuges are demanding that evacuees provide them with certificates confirming that they have not been exposed to radiation before they are admitted.

The situation at the plant remains critical, with the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency yesterday that radioactive iodine-131 at more than 3,350 times permitted levels has been found in a sample of seawater taken from near the facility.

The water is the most highly contaminated sample taken from the sea and indicates that radiation from the core of one or more of the reactors, where fuel rods have partly melted, is leaking into the Pacific Ocean.

A spokesman for the agency said the radioactivity poses no immediate threat to human health because fishing has been banned close to the plant and iodine will have been "significantly diluted" before it comes into contact with marine species and then enters the food chain for humans.

The eight-year-old daughter of Takayuki Okamura was refused treatment for a skin rash by a clinic in Fukushima City, where the family is living in a shelter after abandoning their home in Minamisoma, 18 miles from the crippled nuclear plant.

"Just being forced to live in a shelter causes us anxiety," Mr Okamura, 49, said. "The institution's refusal to treat my daughter came as a great shock to us."

Medical experts have condemned those that are meant to be assisting the evacuees for turning them away. "This is a knee-jerk reaction based on the fear that these people are going to harm you," said Dr. Robert Gale, a haematologist at Imperial College, London, who is advising the Japanese government on health issues.

"If someone has been contaminated externally, such as on their shoes or clothes, then precautions can be taken, such as by removing those garments to stop the contamination from getting into a hospital," he told The Daily Telegraph. "That is very easy to do, but unfortunately I'm not surprised this sort of thing is happening."

Prejudice against people who used to live near the plant is reminiscent of the ostracism that survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 experienced. Many suffered discrimination when they tried to rent housing, find employment or marriage partners.

More than 65 years ago, Dr. Gale points out, far less was known about the effects of radiation on the human body and that it is "completely irrational" to turn evacuees away today.

Masataka Shimizu, the president of Tokyo Electric Power Co., has been admitted to a hospital to be treated for hypertension and dizziness. Shimizu had previously taken several days off after being taken ill as he oversaw efforts to bring the crisis at the nuclear plant under control.

Tsunehisa Katsumata, the TEPCO chairman, said that Shimizu would return to work soon and again take the lead in dealing with the crisis.

"We apologise for causing the public anxiety, worry and trouble due to the explosions at reactor buildings and the release of radioactive materials," Katsumata added.

There are also growing concerns about thousands of gallons of radioactive water that have collected in concrete trenches beneath the reactors. The water was sprayed on the reactors in the early days of the crisis in an effort to keep them cool, but now poses a serious hazard to the emergency crews given the task of bringing the plant back under control.

With experienced engineers close to exhaustion after working around the clock, TEPCO is reportedly offering up to Y400,000 (£2,995) per day for anyone willing to brave the rigours of the plant – with the employees now being described in the media here as modern-day samurai or "suicide squads."

The government announced that it will upgrade safety standards for nuclear power plants, a tacit admission that previous standards were inadequate, while Yukio Edano, the chief cabinet secretary, told a press conference that no estimates were being made on when the crisis might be under control.

The United States has confirmed that it plans to send robots to the stricken reactor. The robots will work in areas considered too dangerous for human emergency repair teams to operate in.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is also due to arrive in Tokyo on Thursday to express his solidarity with Japan as it struggles to cope with the world's worst nuclear crisis for more than a quarter of a century.

Proposal In The Texas Legislator Looking To Tax Internet Sales?

I remember hearing about when during the early day in the country. We heard of Taxation without representation. Now we have Taxation without hesitation.There is a hearings going on in the Texas House Ways and Means committee on proposed internet tax. Many supporters of the bill say a a tax on internet sales with companies connected to Texas would help bridge the gap of the 25 billion dollar shortfall. Many people do their shopping online to avoid paying the sales tax many retailers complain about.Some states do have very high sales taxes that do put a drag on the economy and come people will shop online to avoid these high sales taxes
I do not know what to say about this. We should support our local merchants who do provide a service and a good product.Paying a sales tax might be the little sacrifice we might have to make to keep the local economy afloat.Speaking for myself.Texas has a very modest sales tax rate. If I can not find what I need in town avoiding Wal Mart altogether. I will shop online. If it is true that people not paying a sales tax hurts business in Texas because people can avoid it altogether paying shopping online. Maybe it will be good for competition. On the other hand everything the government touches does turn to S^&t

Dylan Ratigan On The Economic Endgame: "Guess Who Goes Bankrupt Next? The Government"

Video - Dylan Ratigan with John Mauldin - Mar. 9, 2011

We are reaching the end of the debt super-cycle.

  • "Guess who goes bankrupt next? The government."
  • "The entire financial system is a credit fraud that is still subsidized by trillions of our tax dollars and through the money printing of the Federal Reserve."

Public Sector Workers Make Double than Private Sector Workers - Rand Paul on FOX Business News 02/29/11

Click this link ......

HOT: JPMorgan CEO says Hundreds of Municiplaities "Won't Make It"

In a speech before the United States Chamber of Commerce, JPMorgan Chase Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon told the audience:
I wouldn’t panic about what I’m about to say. You’re going to see some municipalities not make it. I don’t think it’s going to shatter America, I just think it’s a part of the credit cycle.
He went on to say that some municipalities will need to renegotiate their debt and it will be hundreds of them that may “not make it.”

Analyst Meredith Whitney has been essentially warning about the same thing but has been under attack for her comments from the muni bond industry and has faced extensive repeated attacks for her view in columns by FOX reporter Charlie Gasparino.

Nightly News stays mum on GE’s $0 tax bill

As the New Yorker's former press critic, A.J. Liebling, famously said, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." Perhaps that quotation is framed somewhere in a boardroom at the General Electric Corp., which owns NBC News.

In spite of robust profits of $14.2 billion worldwide, GE has calculated a corporate tax bill for 2010 that adds up to zero, via a creative series of tax referrals and revenue shifts. (This was, indeed, the second year running that the company—which has an enormous, and famously nimble, 975-employee tax division, led by former Treasury official John Samuels—paid nothing in U.S. taxes; indeed by claiming a series of losses and deductions, GE came up with a negative tax of 10.5 percent in the admittedly dismal business year of 2009, and realized a $1.5 billion "tax benefit.")

The curious thing about this year's tax story is that it turned up in many major news outlets, with one key exception: NBC News. As the Washington Post's Paul Farhi notes, the network's "Nightly News" broadcast, hosted by Brian Williams, has not mentioned anything about its corporate parent's resourceful accounting, even though the story has been in wide circulation in the business and general-interest press for nearly a week. "This was a straightforward news decision, the kind we make daily around here" network spokeswoman Lauren Kapp told the Post.

One press critic who begs to differ: Daily Show host Jon Stewart, who noted that the Nightly News found the time for a dispatch on the inclusion of slang expressions in the Oxford English Dictionary, such as "LOL" and "OMG." Of course, Comedy Central's corporate parent, Viacom, is also no slouch when it comes to tax strategy: Earlier this year it sold its struggling videogame unit Harmonix for $50—so that it could claim a tax credit of $50 million.

(Photo of Williams: Matt Sayles/AP)

Tokyo Electric says $24 billion loans not enough

TOKYO (Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power warned on Wednesday that a $24 billion bank loan was not enough to keep it afloat and pay for Japan's worst nuclear disaster, adding to expectations the government will step in to bail out the stricken company.

Asia's largest utility, whose share price has crashed nearly 80 percent since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that sparked the crisis, said its president had been hospitalized and Chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata will take over his responsibilities.

The prime minister and other lawmakers have lambasted Tokyo Electric, known as TEPCO, for its handling of the disaster. The utility has sown anxiety among the public by giving confusing radiation readings as it raced against time to prevent reactors from overheating and many Japanese say they don't trust what its officials say.

Katsumata told a news conference that TEPCO had not had time to estimate the financial impact of the disaster at its Fukushima nuclear plant but expected it to be "very severe."

The company had secured 2 trillion yen ($24 billion) in loans from lenders led bySumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, but that was not enough given fuel and other costs.

TEPCO would discuss with the government how to ensure it had adequate funding, he said, to get through a disaster that has caused radiation leaks, rolling power blackouts and the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

"There are lots of discussion about nationalization, but I will do my best to ensure TEPCO remains as a private company," Katsumata said.

Analysts see scant chance the company, which provides electricity to a third of the Japanese population, can survive in its current form.

"TEPCO will have to pay enormous reparations, counted in trillions of yen, so the government obviously has to do something about the firm," said Norihiro Fujito, senior investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

"But people wouldn't let the government keep pouring tax money into this company when it's like a bucket with holes in it."


Although likened by some to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill that hammered oil companyBP, TEPCO's financial standing and rapid deterioration in its share price may present Japan's government with a systemic problem more similar to the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008 and force it to act sooner to bolster the company than anticipated.

"It's not just about the nationalization of TEPCO. You have to look at all the banks that are lending to the company, it's obvious that investors are going to look at their situation with a huge dose of skepticism," Fujito said.

Shares in TEPCO, which closed at their lowest level in nearly five decades on Tuesday, dropped another 17.7 percent to 466 yen on Wednesday and were later untraded after the company said President Masataka Shimizu had been taken to hospital for high blood pressure and dizziness.

Shimizu has not been seen in public since a March 13 press briefing, and speculation had swirled about his leadership. His chairman said he had shown no intention to resign and was expected to be back at work soon.

TEPCO has been roundly criticized for its preparedness and response to the disaster.

As the company struggled to communicate what was happening at the site, Prime Minister Naoto Kan reportedly demanded at one stage that company executives tell him: "What the hell is going on?"

Experts have also questioned why so much spent fuel was kept at the plant and whether officials ignored concerns raised about its vulnerability to such a natural disaster.

The president of the company and four other senior officials were forced to resign in 2002 to take responsibility for suspected falsification of safety records.

Some investors see worse to come for the company.

"We believe the stock could go to zero," an executive at a hedge fund with $1 billion invested in Asia told Reuters on condition he wasn't identified. His fund he said has been buying TEPCO debt because "we think the Japanese government will guarantee or nationalize it."

"What we have been doing is that we have been looking at senior secured debt. We have been buying basically."

TEPCO has around $91 billion in debt, which excludes the latest loan but includes some $64 billion in bonds. The cost of insuring against default has jumped by as much 10 times since the quake, although that eased slightly after reports the government may step in to nationalize the company.

The spread on TEPCO's domestic bonds stayed at 200 basis points, with no buyers or sellers, according to a Wednesday report in IFR, a Thomson Reuters publication.

TEPCO's three-year CDS blew out to their widest level on record at 510 basis points (bps), meaning it costs $510,000 to insure $10 million of debt against default, IFR reported.

However, quotes on five-year protection narrowed significantly to a range of 380 bps to 420 bps from Monday's 450 bps. Before the disaster, five-year protection cost about 40 bps.

A de-facto government guarantee on its debt that any nationalization would infer will shore up bondholder confidence, but by then shareholders may see their equity wiped out.


Compensation and rebuilding claims are expected to be substantial. The government has evacuated 70,000 people from around the plant and is considering expanding that to include another 130,000 people.

The government has banned the sale of spinach from four prefectures around the plant and raw milk from the Fukushima prefecture.

TEPCO's cashflow is also under pressure as it pays more for alternative fuels and struggles to rebuild generation capacity.

Nomura Holdings analyst Shigeki Matsumoto said this month that TEPCO will have pay more than $1 billion every month on oil and gas to make up for lost capacity. With reactors likely to be off line for a long time, that expense will mount.

It was inevitable TEPCO would have to scrap four of its six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Chairman Katsumata told the news conference.

A government official told Reuters that TEPCO's annual revenue of around 5 trillion yen and assets of 12 trillion yen would be enough to keep the company going.

Other options to help TEPCO would be allowing it to raise electricity rates or for the government to pick some or all of the compensation claims.

But the prospect of a nationalization caused ripples with TEPCO shareholders.

Shares in TEPCO's main bank, SMFG, which is also a large shareholder with a 2.7 percent holding, fell 1.8 percent as the benchmark Nikkei average rallied 2.6 percent.

Dai-ichi Life Insurance, which is the second-largest shareholder in TEPCO with 4.1 percent stake, rose 3.6 percent after Deutsche Securities said the impact of TEPCO stock price fall is limited on its embedded value, a measure of an insurer's worth that includes the present value of future earnings from life insurance contracts.

Since the temblor struck, however, Dai-ichi shares have fallen about 16 percent compared with a decline of around 5 percent in the benchmark Nikkei 225 index.

($1=82.480 Japanese Yen)

(Additional reporting by Antoni Slodkowski, Tim Kelly and Nishant Kumar; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Chris Gallagher and Neil Fullick)

Source: Reuters US Online Report Business News

Air Force spending $4M a day on munitions in Libya

The U.S. Air Force's portion of the Pentagon's $550 million tab for the opening days of the Libyan military campaign was $50 million, senior service officials said Wednesday, and Pentagon discussions about a special emergency spending measure "are unresolved."

"The first thing we did" at the onset of the Libyan operation "was start tracking those additional costs," Air Force Secretary Michael Donley told the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The air service has spent $4 million a day just on the munitions it has fired to pound Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's military, Donley said.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz told the panel the service's costs should grow to about $70 million through the second week of the campaign.
read more

Who's more responsible: Charlie Sheen or Washington?

Brand new from Bankrupting America. Text below is from the youtube page.


At first thought, Charlies Sheen hardly seems like a model for fiscal responsibility. But, unfortunately, Washington is far worse.

Washington's habit of spending far more than it takes in has driven the country into debt. And our economic situation is projected to only get worse.

The solution is clear, but not easy: spending cuts.

History shows that reducing government spending leads to sustained economic growth. And that's something (even Charlie Sheen) can get behind.


Source List:

"Last year, Charlie made $30 million."

"Last year, Washington brought in 2.3 trillion dollars in taxes."

"What's not funny is that they [Washington] spent 30 million..."

"It took over 200 years, and every President from George Washington through Bill Clinton, to rack up a gross debt of 6 trillion dollars."

"In the last 10 years, we have more than doubled it.

"And at $14 trillion in 2011, it looks like we'll only need another nearly double it again."

"14 trillion is more than 130,000 dollars per US household."

Projections on interest on the debt:

Household Purchase Averages

"After World War II, the US government cut spending from 44 percent of the economy, to a mere 11 percent. What followed was one of the largest economic booms in US history."

Housing market: 13% of all U.S. homes are vacant

Dees Illustration
Les Christie
CNN Money

High residential vacancies are killing many housing markets, as foreclosed homes sit on the market and depress sale prices and property values.

And it's only getting worse: The national vacancy rate crept up to just over 13% according to last week's decennial census report. That's up from 12.1% in 2007.

"More vacant homes equal more downward pressure on home prices," said Brad Hunter, chief economist for Metrostudy, a real estate information provider.

Maine had the highest proportion of empty housing stock, at 22.8%. Other states with gluts of empty houses included Vermont (20.5%), Florida (17.5%), Arizona (16.3%) and Alaska (15.9%).

Read Full Article

Shareholders Sue BofA Over False and Misleading statements on Mortgage Recording Paperwork

Bank of America Corp. (BAC)’s board and some officers were sued by shareholders claiming they were hurt by false and misleading statements that hid defects in mortgage recording and foreclosure paperwork.

Bank of America “did not properly record many of its mortgages when originated or acquired, which severely complicated the foreclosure process when it became necessary,” according to the complaint filed today in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan. The bank also concealed that it didn’t have adequate personnel to process the large numbers of foreclosed loans in its portfolio, the shareholders said.

The bank’s stock traded at inflated prices, reaching a high of $19.48 on April 15, 2010, and fell almost 42 percent after the problems were disclosed, according to the complaint.

The directors and officers also hid the bank’s involvement in “dollar rolling,” omitting billions of dollars in debt from its balance sheet, according to the complaint. Bank of America later admitted it wrongly classified the transactions as sales when they were secured borrowing, according to the complaint.

In October, after news of improprieties at Bank of America and other large banks, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender temporarily halted foreclosures and admitted to possible irregularities.

The investors accused the board and senior management of a breach of fiduciary duty, abuse of control, a waste of corporate assets, gross mismanagement and unjust enrichment.

Lawrence Grayson, a spokesman for Bank of America, had no immediate comment.

The case is Thomas O’Hare v. Brian T. Moynihan, 103729/2011, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

JPMorgan Could be Forced to Repurchase Thousands of Risky Home Equity Loans

NEW YORK, March 28 (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) could be forced to repurchase thousands of home equity loans, after a judge ruled in favor of a bond insurer that argued it could build its case based on a sampling of loans.

The ruling against EMC Mortgage Corp, once a unit of Bear Stearns Cos, comes amid many lawsuits seeking to force banks to buy back tens of billions of dollars of mortgage and other home loans that went sour. JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns in 2008.

Syncora Guarantee Inc now can pursue claims concerning the entire 9,871-loan pool that backed a securities issue, according to the ruling late Friday from U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty in Manhattan.

The ruling lowers the hurdle for insurers trying to prove they were deceived by banks, and increases the potential that banks could be forced to buy back more loans.

Crotty rejected EMC's claim that Syncora be forced to show breaches related to individual loans.

Syncora had insured the interest and principal payments on part of a $666 million mortgage bond backed by the loans.

EMC is reviewing the ruling, said John Callagy, a lawyer for the company. A lawyer for Syncora, Philip Forlenza, declined to comment.

Syncora said it was misled before agreeing to insure investors who bought pieces of the bond, which was created in March 2007 by EMC and backed by the 9,871 home loans.

Once known as XL Capital Assurance Inc, Syncora contended that EMC breached its representations on 85 percent of the loan pool, based on a random sample of about 400 loans.

It said this prevented it from evaluating how risky it would be to insure the securities.

Crotty concluded that Syncora has "especially broad" rights because "it bears the greatest loss if the loans underperform and the other parties break their contractual obligations."

The judge also chided EMC for the speed with which it appeared to fix problem loans. He said EMC had remedied only 20 of the 1,300 loans Syncora had submitted for repurchase.

"EMC cannot reasonably expect the court to examine each of the 9,871 transactions to determine whether there has been a breach, with the sole remedy of putting them back one by one," Crotty wrote in a footnote.

The case is Syncora Guarantee Inc v. EMC Mortgage Corp, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 09-3106. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel and Clare Baldwin, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

Goldman Sachs Orders Employees Not to Leave Japan’s Irradiated Hellscape

Japan are sort of worried right now, on account of all the deadly cancer-dust everywhere. Some of them are even leaving for a while, just to be on the safe side. Not Goldman Sachs employees, though.

When staffers in Goldman's Tokyo offices asked for permission to work from a non-radioactive country until the safety issues were all worked out, the response was SHUT THE FUCK UP AND KEEP MAKING MONEY YOU PUSSIES.

Employees at the investment bank's Japan offices are worried about radiation levels affecting their families, the person said. Many were asking if they could temporarily relocate out of the country or perhaps move to a location in southern Japan, farther away from troubled nuclear power plants. The were told that they should not leave Tokyo, according to the person.... "The message was clear: no one is to leave. If you do leave, you can't come back and expect to still work for Goldman," the person said.

Honestly, if you value the health of yourself and your family over money, you probably shouldn't be working at Goldman Sachs in the first place. Lloyd Blankfein would go directly into the reactor core like Spock at the end of Wrath of Khan if he thought the margins looked good enough.

[Photo via Getty Images.]

Stuxnet, Japan Division (Michael Rivero)

House 'buyers strike' attempts to cripple the market

An online campaign launched by tax reform group Prosper has called on prospective house buyers to abstain from buying at Australian auctions in the coming weeks.

The social media campaign that is gaining traction on the popular activist site GetUp! argues that a widespread house purchasing strike will inevitably bring the prices down to a more affordable level.

Australia is well known for its highly priced real estate and is considered to be one of the most overvalued housing markets, according to a survey conducted by the Economist magazine which calculated that they are 56 per cent over-priced.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics capital city price index Australian home prices have increased 77 per cent from December 2002 to the end of 2010.

Prosper suggests that a house price bubble is 'imminent', stating that warnings have been issued by a long list of agencies and experts, including the IMF, the OECD, The Economist newspaper, Jeremy Grantham and Steve Keen.

The campaign urges to people avoid buying into overpriced real estate and risk being hit with a severe housing price drop and overinflated debt repayments.

"When the Great Australian Land Bubble bursts – just as land bubbles all around the world have – the freshest buyers are totally exposed.

They face financial ruin as house prices fall below their debt. The crippling mortgage repayments become pointless,” Prosper campaigner David Collyer says.

Collyer and Prosper say that a protest-like strike is the only way to respond to 'ridiculous' current land prices.

"Some argue prices have arrived at a new and permanently high plateau, but the historical record shows reversion to the long term average – in every case without exception." Collyer says.

The Prosper website notes that there are over 900 Melbourne auctions scheduled for the weekend and 2700 over the next three weeks. Prosper believes this enough to decisively tip the market into oversupply.

US Uncut organizer shoved by police officer inside Bank of America

From coast-to-coast, more than forty cities joined in a day of action protesting the tax-dodging of massive corporations that they see as the real source of the country's deficit.

Saturday marked US Uncut’s second big nationwide protest. From coast-to-coast, more than forty cities joined in a day of action protesting the tax-dodging practices of massive corporations that they see as the real source of the country’s deficit.

“I’m tired of people calling for shared sacrifice and it’s all coming from the workers and nothing’s coming from the top,” says protester Dave Sonenberg. “I’m sick of companies like Bank of America not paying their taxes.”

Bank of America hasn’t paid a nickel in federal income taxes for the past two years, and in fact raked in an additional $1 billion in tax “benefits.” The bank is enjoying these profits after accepting $45 billion from taxpayers, which the company then got to count as a deduction when they paid back the money.

Big corporations get to play by a whole different set of rules, says tax expert Bob Willens of New York-based Robert Willens LLC:

It's also not unusual for a company to pay no federal taxes, while still paying state and local taxes, Willens said. Items that can be deducted for federal purposes aren't always deductible for state and local returns, he said. State taxes can also be based on the amount of capital deployed in a state, not pre-tax income.

This is why two-thirds of corporations in America pay no federal income taxes. If they were forced to, we're told, the whole country would suffer. Jobs would be lost, salaries slashed. Thank heavens we’ve avoided such calamity by allowing corporations to shape legislation in their favor.

In 2010, Bank of America handed out $2.2 million in campaign contributions to Congressional representatives and PACs (36 percent went to Democrats, 64 percent to Republicans). By throwing around that much cash, huge companies like BoA have a big say when it comes to crafting legislation that permits them to escape paying taxes, according to US Uncut organizer J.A. Myerson.

“The reason it’s not illegal is because they have bought and paid for the people who make the laws. The laws are made to accommodate this sort of nefariousness,” he says, adding that the process is wrong, and ordinarily that would mean approaching Congress to ask them to fix it, but there’s no point in attempting that when the system is so heavily rigged in favor of the rich and well connected. “So what US

Uncut is doing right now is not Capitol Hill lobbying because that doesn’t seem like it’s a fruitful avenue. It’s trying to directly undermine the ability of Bank of America to earn record windfall profits by depleting the public trust that they are an upstanding member of society.”

The rigged game has left citizens feeling burnt and angry. An activist named Sally says BoA’s practice of evicting people from their homes without the original mortgage notes is illegal, but that “illegal doesn’t seem to matter.”

Organizers created fake checks that represent what Bank of America should have paid in taxes during 2009 ($1.5 billion). The plan was to go into BoA, attempt to cash the checks, and then ask for a manager when the understandably flummoxed teller didn’t know what to do. US Uncut planners reminded the protesters to be courteous to everyone: the tellers, the manager and police. The process appeared to go on without a hitch until my cameraman and I went into BoA with US Uncut organizer Duncan Meisel.

The bank’s manager recognized Meisel from being part of the Uncut protests and immediately asked for the police to remove us. Meisel said he was in the bank to cash the check, and when the officer discerned it was fake (because it looks incredibly fake), he told us to leave, claiming we were giving the tellers “a hard time” before.

“Get out,” the cop ordered. “You want to get out or get a criminal summons?” At which point, my cameraman, Zach Roberts, stated he was a Bank of America customer, a credential that didn’t appear to impress the officer at all.

“You want to play games?” he asked. “Give me your ID.” Meisel stated that he intended to leave, but he also produced his wallet and extended it to the officer, who grabbed it and shoved Meisel backwards.

The police then detained Meisel inside BoA before ultimately giving him a ticket for disorderly conduct. Afterwards, Meisel harbored no ill feelings toward the officer. “It sounds like he had a bad day today, but it’s not anything personal. I know cops have it bad these days because there’s budget cuts coming from them. There’s budget cuts coming from everybody. I’d rather not have a summons, but I don’t hold it against anyone.”

Surviving Nuclear Toxicity

Dr. Mark Sircus

What does radiation do to us? It burns the cells, kind of like burning down a house. It is well known that radiation burns our cells by creating too much free radical damage. Now of course this is like talking Greek to medical officials and professors because if they knew this they would be on the bullhorn telling the public what to do to minimize free radical damage.

This is important information because just about everyone in the northern hemisphere, within a short period of time, will have to live with a gentle radioactive mist all around them and their children. We always have been surrounded by radiation but increasingly so in recent decades because of all the nuclear tests and accidents and use of nuclear materials in warfare (God forbid they are using depleted uranium weapons in Libya) and, of course, the wireless revolution.

But now comes our worst nuclear nightmare, an out-of-control nuclear station belching out plutonium and other very nasty nuclear materials. Imagine it as a mist for that is what it is. If you can conceive of Geiger counters around the world picking this up you know it’s raining nuclear particles just about everywhere. Within the space of only two weeks radiation is being reported in a huge area.

Okay, it’s only a light nuclear rain so far but who wants to go out even in a mild nuclear rain without a nuclear umbrella? But for those poor unfortunate souls who live and work within 50 miles of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, it’s a downpour, and perhaps ‘only’ a strong rain as far away as Tokyo. Now we understand why they tell people to stay indoors, the nuclear density (rain) in an area will only increase the longer the source continues to emit radioactive particles. Staying indoors only affords partial protection for the contamination seeps through in the air, water and food that we breathe and eventually eat and drink.

They can only say that this amount of initial radiation is safe because biological entities do have built in systems to handle very unsafe radioactive particles. Low levels of radiation speak about the quantity of nuclear materials, to their density, but not to the capacity of each nuclear particle to wreak havoc inside our cells by creating flurries of free radicals.

Free radicals are tremendously volatile molecules. When they are in the company of oxygen, they merge haphazardly with unsaturated fats to form peroxides. These peroxides cause grave, irreversible destruction to cells and the protective membrane linings that surround them. When escalating armies of free radicals overwhelm a person’s antioxidant defenses their health begins to burn down.

With the unfolding of the potential nuclear disaster in Japan, and the consequent potential for weather-carried radiation exposure in North America and the rest of the northern hemisphere, many people are asking what they can do to protect themselves from radiation damage. While most people are aware of the use of iodine supplementation to protect the thyroid from radioactive iodine fallout, most of the actual damage from radiation is due to runaway oxidative stress and consequent DNA damage.

This oxidative damage is due to a combination of a high production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) from the radiation exposure while the radiation simultaneously causes a depression of the natural antioxidant systems (mostly the glutathione system and superoxide dismutase).

Surviving nuclear toxicity is similar to the process of surviving heavy metals and chemical toxicity though the medical situation is worsened dramatically when even super low doses of high energy radiation enters the body. No one wants to be caught with even one particle of plutonium lodged in their lungs for there is no treatment that can guarantee it can reverse, stop, or even diminish the damage.

If you were to eat some plutonium-contaminated food you might have a chance of increasing the odds it will come out the other end if you were to partake of a naturopathic intestinal cleaning process that uses clay or some ingenious formulas that maximize the effect.

Once in the tissues it’s another level of cellular warfare that goes on between the radioactive particle, heavy metal or nasty toxic chemical molecules and our tissues and cells. Once any of these toxic insults penetrates into the cells themselves there is an array of defenses waiting to defend and protect. Obviously our cells need defenses in depth, meaning it’s one thing to protect the cell membranes and cytoplasm from oxidative damage and another thing to protect the nucleus and the DNA that resides there.

Unfortunately the rain is going to be around for a while though it will drop into the soil, our water and find its way quickly into our food supply. The radioactive half-lives, the time it takes for any particular type of radiation to lose half of its intensity, are[1]:

* Uranium 238: 4.5 billion years
* Uranium 235: 710 million years
* Plutonium 239: 24,100 years
* Strontium 90: 30 years
* Caesium 134: two years
* Caesium 137: 30 years (Caesium can be absorbed in food and water or inhaled as dust. It is easily taken up by plants and animals.)
* Ruthenium 103: 39 days; Ruthenium 106, about a year
* Iodine 131: 8 days

This suit is not the answer to radiation exposure though of course such a suit would come in handy if you actually had to work in a heavily exposed area. For life to remain relatively pleasant here on planet earth, we and our corrupted medical officials must become familiar with the entire system in the body that protects us from oxidative damage.

There is an antioxidant system that acts at the cellular level to protect sensitive cellular targets right down to the nuclear DNA level. It is not just the very popular enzyme glutathione but an array of enzymes and detoxification systems that work together to save our cells of oxidative stress when attacked by radiation, heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

Dr. Chris Shade writes, “While glutathione (GSH) is now the darling of the antioxidant world, few people are realizing that it is the “glutathione system” that is important and that it includes many enzymes (e.g. glutathione peroxidase or GPx, glutathione reductase or GR, glutathione S-transferase or GST, etc.) and a toxin transport system (i.e. the Phase III transporters MRP1 and MRP2 that move glutathione-toxin conjugates out of the body) to really work. And then beyond that there are enzymes that link the glutathione system with vitamin C, vitamin E, lipoic acid, CoQ10, and thioredoxin, creating an interconnected network of antioxidant, detoxification, and repair activity.”

It is important to be clear thatcellular antioxidants, detoxification/chemoprotection reactions and protein repair processes are all part of one integrated system and we need to support the whole system, not just one part of it to be really effective in dealing with radiation exposure.

Contemporary medicine recognizes few therapies for radiation injuries. Good supportive care, of course, is recommended—lots of fluids, infusions of blood-clotting platelets, and infection-fighting antibiotics is thought to be the key for acute radiation syndrome, an overall poisoning that can begin causing symptoms days to weeks after high exposure.

To guard against longer-term harm caused by low dosages, iodine can protect against future thyroid cancer by shielding the thyroid from only one type of fallout, radioactive iodine.

Medical physicist David Brenner, director of Columbia’s Center for Radiological Research, thinks that, “Before you can start to treat people, you need to know what radiation doses they got. If you take a guess and get it wrong, you might do more harm than good.” This is of course more allopathic hogwash. We do not have to wait and depend on medical testing when we know that we are being subjected to increasing levels of low-level radiation.

Cells in the bone marrow and GI tract are extremely vulnerable to radiation so they need to be protected. “They overreact to what should be reparable damage and commit cellular suicide,” says Dr. Andrei Gudkov of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. So we must create detoxification pathways that will allow the body to remove radioactive particles as quickly as possible.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says internal exposure to plutonium “is an extremely serious health hazard” as it stays in the body for decades, exposing organs and tissue to radiation and increasing the risk of cancer. Increasing the risk of cancer does not quite cover the seriousness of plutonium contamination. It is simply death squared.

So we have to come to a whole new understanding of all this in order to come to grips with what we have to do in the face of rising radiation levels coming from a nuclear plant that was under-designed to withstand the predictable tidal wave that came following an earthquake. Human ignorance coupled with arrogance ruled once again to create a nuclear disaster of immeasurable proportions, since we have no assurances that they will ever bring this nuclear site under control.

Fortunately for the average person learning exactly what to do is reasonably easy and even easier to put into action. Anyone can learn how to set up a nuclear field hospital in their home and start treating themselves and their loved ones effectively while doctors and their superiors sit it out helplessly with their own families.

The officials and established institutions of the world would rather go down with the ship than to admit their ignorance and refusal to learn anything new. Sorry for them, but we cannot wait for them to finally take the necessary steps to become aware. We live in a dangerous world of innumerous chemical types of toxins and incredible exposure to heavy metals, especially mercury, and now to increasing radiation.

To get a bird’s eye view of the hurricanes of toxicity we face on the parts per billion and million level it is helpful to know that air pollution in major cities is seen as being just as dangerous to health as the radiation exposure suffered by survivors of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. A 2007 study suggests high levels of urban air pollution cut short life expectancy more than the radiation exposure of emergency workers who were sent into the 19-mile exclusion zone around Chernobyl straight after the accident.

This means we do not have to be given any special permission to start treating ourselves, especially if we live in an urban center. In the world that is quickly arriving, only the intelligent and adaptable will survive. The ignorant and the stubborn and the human ostriches with their heads in the sand will perish and there is nothing we can do about that just like there is almost nothing they will be able to do to bring this nuclear nightmare under control.

Survival Medicine for the 21st Century, which I published four years ago, is in part a textbook in toxicology of low-level chronic exposure. There is so much necessary information to incorporate to get a full medical picture of the situation that we all jointly face. I intend to pull from this compendium of mine all the pertinent information and put it out in this urgent book Radiation Toxicity Syndrome that zooms in on the rising radioactive threat to our heath. We will put Radiation Toxicity Syndrome out at a greatly reduced price to facilitate wide distribution.

Four years ago Dr. Garry Gordon was talking about the existing situation about toxic metals and many of the common chemical exposures. “There’s no place to escape. Every leaf, every blade of grass is now provably coated with particulate matter, which comes from the burning of things like coal, and is carried on the air. So, the oceans are loaded with mercury. There’s nothing you can eat that doesn’t have these things.”

Special Note: Just about everyone who is writing about protocols for radiation toxicity is forgetting about the importance of magnesium salts. Magnesium is a crucial factor in the natural self-cleansing and detoxification responses of the body. It stimulates the sodium potassium pump on the cell wall and this initiates the cleansing process in part because the sodium-potassium-ATPase pump regulates intracellular and extracellular potassium levels. Cell membranes contain a sodium/potassium ATPase, a protein that uses the energy of ATP to pump sodium ions out of the cell, and potassium ions into the cell. The pump works all of the time, like a bilge pump in a leaky boat, pumping K+ and Na+ in and out, respectively. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg and I will write a full explanation and instructions for use in the next few days. Meanwhile load up on magnesium oil, magnesium bath flakes, Dead Sea salt and Epson Salts.

[1] Sources: International Atomic Energy Agency, U.S Environmental Protection Agency, U.S National Center for Biotechnology Information; Georgia State University) (Compiled by GwladysFouche and Alister Doyle

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Japan copes with 21st-century dark age

TOKYO — The first pitch of Japan's baseball season has been pushed back so people don't waste gasoline driving to games. When the season does start, most night games will be switched to daytime so as not to squander electricity. There will be no extra innings.

Tokyo's iconic electronic billboards have been switched off. Trash is piling up in many northern cities because garbage trucks don't have gasoline. Public buildings go unheated. Factories are closed, in large part because of rolling blackouts and because employees can't drive to work with empty tanks.

This is what happens when a 21st-century, technologically sophisticated country runs critically low on energy. The March 11 earthquake and tsunami have thrust much of Japan into an unaccustomed dark age that could drag on for up to a year.

"It is dark enough to be a little scary. ... To my generation, it is unthinkable to have a shortage of electricity," said Naoki Takano, 25, a pony-tailed salesman at Tower Records in Tokyo's Shibuya district, normally infused by neon lights.

The store has switched off its elevators and a big screen that used to play music videos late into the night, a situation Takano expects to last until summer.

Japan's energy crisis is taking place on two fronts: The explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear compound and the shutdown of other nuclear plants owned by Tokyo Electric Power have reduced the supply of electricity to the capital by nearly 30 percent.

Nine oil refineries also were damaged, including one in Chiba, near Tokyo, which burned spectacularly, creating shortages of gasoline and heating oil. Gasoline lines in the northern part of Honshu, Japan's main island, extend for miles. About 30 percent of gas stations in the Tokyo area are closed because they have nothing to sell.

Economists say it is difficult to parse out how much is the result of actual scarcity and how much comes from hoarding.

"We are close to getting back to the gasoline capacity we had before the earthquake, but we are hearing demand has been two- to threefold the normal volume," said Takashi Kono of the policy-planning division in the natural-resources and fuel department at the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. "With that much demand, of course we're looking at a shortage."

Energy analysts expect the gasoline crisis to ease in coming weeks as supply lines reopen and panic buying subsides. The electricity shortage, however, is likely to linger for months and might worsen as the weather warms up and people try to turn on their air conditioners.

Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun newspaper on Tuesday quoted an unnamed senior official of Tokyo Electric, which serves 28 million customers, as saying rolling blackouts could last a year.

Electricity is the talk of the town. Newspaper readers pore over detailed schedules of rolling blackouts. Many movie theaters are closed, companies have switched off unnecessary lights and advertising, restricted use of elevators and shortened working hours.

For now, gasoline shortages are disrupting both daily life and relief efforts.

In Akita, 280 miles north of Tokyo, the few gas stations that are open have lines extending as long as a mile and limit purchases to 4 gallons. It would hardly be worth the wait, except that people want gas for emergencies — for example, if they need to flee radiation from the crippled nuclear plant.

The lack of gasoline for delivery trucks has aggravated shortages of key products, especially milk, bread, batteries, toilet paper and mineral water.

Some left homeless by the quake and tsunami have cars but can't use them, while relatives who otherwise would rescue them don't have the gas to reach coastal areas. People trying to flee the dangerous spewing nuclear plant in Fukushima were unable to do so because their gas tanks were empty.

Across Japan, a sympathetic public has been energized to help earthquake victims with collections of clothing, blankets and food. But there is no way to distribute the aid to victims.

The electricity shortage will be even harder to fix.

Besides the damage to the nuclear reactors, two thermal power plants were knocked out by the earthquake. And the energy grid in Japan is split in two, a peculiarity that means the energy-starved north cannot borrow from the south.

On the baseball diamond, Japan's Pacific League, which has a team in Sendai near the quake epicenter, has pushed back its season opener until April 12 to allow for rebuilding and energy conservation. The Central League has delayed its opener by four days, until March 29. Both agreed to avoid night games and extra innings.

If there is a silver lining to the crisis, energy analysts say, it will be an awakening about energy efficiency and conservation.

"It is going to be a different world," said David Von Hippel, an energy analyst with the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, a think tank. He predicts the nuclear accident at Fukushima will turn Japanese public opinion against nuclear power and force a closer look at energy efficiency.

"They'd done a very good job at improving efficiency in the first two oil shocks in 1974 and 1979, but since 2000, the curve has been pretty flat," he said.

With energy twice as expensive as in the United States, Japan is a world leader in energy-efficient appliances, but homes often are poorly insulated and bright lights are kept on late into the night for advertising.

"You see these all-night vending machines lit up 24/7," Von Hippel said.

Yoko Ogata, 68, of Akita, said young Japanese will have to take a cue from the generation that remembers the deprivation after World War II.

"The young people take it all for granted," Ogata said. "They don't know how to cope with shortages the way that we do."

The scope of the disaster does appear to be motivating the younger generation to take action. Students at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo organized a campaign for earlier bedtimes to save electricity.

"Lights out at 9 p.m.!" the students wrote on Mixi, Japan's popular social-networking site. If "I go to bed three hours early, and I did this for a week, that means I would have saved 21 hours — almost a full day of electricity — and I can pass that energy on."

Glenn Beck & G. Edward Griffin Talk About The FED

U.S. Cities Trying To Pump Up Economy By Minting Coins

Utah House Stamps Gold, Silver As Legal Tender

Source - Salt Lake Tribune

It may not fold as conveniently as dollar bills, but the Utah House took a first step Friday to recognize gold and silver as legal tender.

It voted 47-26 to pass HB317 by Rep. Brad Galvez, R-West Haven, and sent it to the Senate. The measure would recognize as legal tender gold and silver coins issued by the federal government — not just their face value, but also their value in gold and silver or to a collector.

It also would order the state to study whether Utah should establish an alternative form of legal tender, such as one backed by silver and gold.

“This is a step in preparedness, a step in security,” Galvez said, “that allows us to be able to help hold up our economy as the dollar continues to shrink.”

Continue reading...

Why You Should be Freaked Out About the Stock Market

Phoenix Capital Research
Zero Hedge

I doubt you will see this chart in the mainstream media any time soon... if EVER.

This is a chart of the US monetary base. In simple terms, it charts how much money the Fed has pumped into the system (at least that it admits). So it’s a kind of visual of the Fed hitting the PANIC button: when the monetary base explodes higher, the Fed is FREAKING out.

You'll note that during the Financial Crisis the Fed didn't do much until the autumn of 2008 when it pumped nearly $1 trillion into the system. Think about that, the Fed didn’t go nuts pumping money until the stuff REALLY hit the fan.

You'll also note that there's only one other time when the monetary base went absolutely vertical: TODAY.

Indeed, the Fed has pumped nearly $500 billion into the system since the start of 2011. Don't even try to tell me this is QE 2. If it was then the monetary base should have spiked in late 2010, NOT in 2011.

Read Full Article

US experts unsure about Fukushima situation

Greenpeace team member holding a
Geiger counter in Fukushima
© AFP/GREENPEACE Christian Aslund

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US experts have expressed uncertainty about the seriousness of the situation at Japan's Fukushima nuclear complex, steering clear of speculation whether the core of one of the reactors there had been damaged.

Dave Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, an independent advocacy group that has been a nuclear industry watchdog for 40 years, said there had been reports that the reactor vessel for Unit 3 at the power plant had been breached.

But he also noted that there was some data put out by the Japanese Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency that the reactor vessel was still intact.

"So, it's contradictory data," Lochbaum told reporters Friday. "I think that's reflective of the situation over there. There's quite a bit of damage in quite a few areas. There's not a lot of instrumentation available. There's not a lot of access available for workers to go through the facility and more accurately assess conditions in lieu of the instrumentation that's spotty at best."
Lochbaum added that he thought it was going to take a while to fully identify what happened at Fukushima and why.

Two weeks after the 9.0-magnitude March 11 quake and subsequent tsunami seriously damaged the ageing nuclear plant in northeastern Japan, rescue work is still under way to avoid a major nuclear disaster.

Radiation levels have surged in the seawater in the area and there are concerns that fuel rod vessels or their valves and pipes are leaking.

More than 27,000 people are dead or missing after the quake and tsunami.

According Edwin Lyman, a physicist who works for the group, even the worst case scenario may not be as bad as it might appear.

If the reactor vessel is breached and the reactor core falls into the containment, Lyman noted, the uranium release would be on the order of one to 10 percent, and for plutonium and less volatile isotopes, it would probably be less than one percent.

"So, if the vessel breaches and the containment failure is still delayed significantly, then you have more played out and less environmental release," the scientist pointed out.

Ian Hutchison, professor of nuclear science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that radioactivity in the water around the plant was not necessarily surprising given the amount of water sprayed onto and pumped into the reactors.

"I am not particularly alarmed," he noted on CNN television.

Steve Kerekes, senior director of communications for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said his organization did not have enough information about the situation with the Fukushima reactors to draw conclusions.

When asked what can be expected if the the reactor vessel is breached, he answered: "This is a speculative question, we have to wait and see."

According to Adrian Heymer, senior director of strategic programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute, even in the worst case scenario, there should not be significant harm to the public.

"It should not have additional harm to the public," he said. "The Japanese authorities are taking all the necessary measures."

© AFP -- Published at Activist Post with license

Fukushima probably exceeds Chernobyl and there is no end in sight

60 Minutes: New Corporate Tax Havens

Japan Nuclear Reactor Engineer Confesses To Criminal Coverup, Fukushima Has Always Been ‘Time Bomb’

Fukushima engineer confesses to participating in criminal coverup, says flawed steel in Reactor 4 has always been a ‘time bomb’

‘Just days after the 9.1 mega-earthquake and tsunami hit off the east cost of Japan, a former employee of Hitachi Ltd. (6501) came forward saying that he helped cover up a flawed steel protective vessel that was installed in the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Reactor 4 core in 1974. Mitsuhiko Tanaka told Bloomberg that the defective steel in the $250 million vessel was a very serious “time bomb” just waiting to go off, as it represents the key protective unit for the reactor’s core.

Though Reactor 4 was not running at the time of the quake and tsunami, its cooling pool contains a number of spent fuel rods that require proper cooling in order to prevent a serious meltdown. Earlier this week, reports indicated that the pool is empty, and that it seems to have a crack or hole that is preventing it from being effectively refilled, which could spell disaster for the 130 tons of uranium inside the reactor.’

According to the Bloomberg report, a mistake during the final construction process of the vessel caused the steel walls to become warped. Based on regulatory guidelines, the cylinder should have been scrapped, said Tanaka, but because doing so would have potentially bankrupted the company, his bosses asked him to come up with a quick fix — and he complied.

After figuring out a way to reshape the flawed vessel and make it look as though nothing was wrong, Tanaka was awarded a three million yen bonus from Hitachi, which also gave him a certificate honoring his “extraordinary” work.

Years later when asked to participate in a documentary on the Chernobyl disaster, Tanaka says he became convicted over what he had done, and decided to come forward with the truth. When he told the Japanese Trade Ministry about the coverup in 1988, they allegedly refused to do anything about it, saying that because Hitachi had denied the accusations, they must not have been true.

For corporate media source see this Bloomberg article.

Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4

One of the reactors in the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant may have been relying on flawed steel to hold the radiation in its core, according to an engineer who helped build its containment vessel four decades ago.

Mitsuhiko Tanaka says he helped conceal a manufacturing defect in the $250 million steel vessel installed at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi No. 4 reactor while working for a unit of Hitachi Ltd. (6501) in 1974. The reactor, which Tanaka has called a “time bomb,” was shut for maintenance when the March 11 earthquake triggered a 7-meter (23-foot) tsunami that disabled cooling systems at the plant, leading to explosions and radiation leaks.

“Who knows what would have happened if that reactor had been running?” Tanaka, who turned his back on the nuclear industry after the Chernobyl disaster, said in an interview last week. “I have no idea if it could withstand an earthquake like this. It’s got a faulty reactor inside.”

Tanaka’s allegations, which he says he brought to the attention of Japan’s Trade Ministry in 1988 and chronicled in a book two years later called “Why Nuclear Power is Dangerous,” have resurfaced after Japan’s worst nuclear accident on record. The No. 4 reactor was hit by explosions and a fire that spread from adjacent units as the crisis deepened.

Also see this LA Times article.

Lack of data from Japan distresses nuclear experts

Nuclear scientists and policy experts say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Fukushima has left gaping holes in their understanding of the nuclear disaster nearly two weeks after it began.

How did Japanese workers at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant jury-rig fire hoses to cool damaged reactors? Is contaminated water from waste pools overflowing into the Pacific Ocean? Exactly who is the national incident commander?

The answers to these and many other questions are unclear to U.S. nuclear scientists and policy experts, who say the quality and quantity of information coming out of Japan has left gaping holes in their understanding of the disaster nearly two weeks after it began.

At the same time, they say, the depth of the crisis has clearly been growing, judging by releases of radioactivity that by some measures have reached half the level of those released in the Chernobyl accident of 1986, according to new analysis by European and American scientists.

The lack of information has led to growing frustration with Tokyo Electric Power Co., known as Tepco, and the Japanese government, which has parceled out information with little context, few details and giant blind spots. It has left the international community confused about what is happening and what could come next.

9/11 Victim’s Family Crying Out For Truth – Help Them Get It!

Tens of thousands of 9/11 victim’s family members, architects and engineers have all joined together and have proved the Government is lying about the events that occurred during 9/11. Help them get the truth and closure by spreading this message.

Help get this new ad on the air, donate at — RememberBuilding7 is a non-partisan effort led by 9/11 family members to raise awareness of the destruction of World Trade Center Building 7.

Meet the Family Members, Architects and Engineers

What is Building 7?

Building 7 was a 47-story skyscraper that was part of the World Trade Center complex. It would have been the tallest high-rise in 33 states. It collapsed at 5:20 pm on September 11, 2001. It was not hit by an airplane and suffered minimal damage compared to other buildings much closer to the Twin Towers.

Video compilation of Building 7‘s destruction (no sound):

Building 7 in relation to the rest of the World Trade Center complex:

Building 7

To learn more about Building 7, visit “7 Facts about Building 7”, which includes photos of Building 7 before, during and after its destruction.

7 Facts about Building 7

Building 7 was a 47-story skyscraper and was part of the World Trade Center complex. Built in 1984, it would have been the tallest high-rise in 33 states in the United States. It collapsed at 5:20 pm on September 11, 2001. It was not hit by an airplane and suffered minimal damage compared to other buildings much closer to the Twin Towers.

7 Facts about Building 7

1) If fire caused Building 7 to collapse, it would be the first ever fire-induced collapse of a steel-frame high-rise.

2) Building 7’s collapse was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

3) According to a Zogby poll in 2006, 43% of Americans did not know about Building 7.

4) It took the federal government seven years to conduct an investigation and issue a report for Building 7.

5) 1,400+ architects and engineers have signed a petition calling for a new investigation that would include a full inquiry into the possible use of explosives for the collapse of Building 7.

6) Numerous witnesses say the possibility of demolishing Building 7 was widely discussed by emergency personnel at the scene and advocated by the building’s owner.

7) Building 7 housed several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center, more commonly known as “Giuliani’s Bunker”.

Building 7 — Before Collapse

Building 7 was as far from the towers as several other large buildings outside of the WTC complex. It was more than 300 feet from the nearest wall of the North Tower. Building 6 stood between the North Tower and Building 7 as seen in this map:

Building 7

Photos of Building 7 in normal conditions:

Building 7 WTC Building 7WTC Building 7

Building 7 — During Collapse

Building 7

For videos of the collapse, click here.

Building 7 — After Collapse

Aerial view of Building 7‘s after September 11th, 2001.

Building 7 Collapse

Building 7

What about World Trade Center Buildings 3, 4, 5 and 6?

In addition to the Twin Towers and Building 7, the World Trade Center complex included buildings 3, 4, 5, and 6. Compared to Building 7, all of these buildings were severely damaged, first by falling rubble from the tower collapses, then by fires that burned for hours. Although these buildings were in critical condition, none of them collapsed.

Wallace: Government shutdown may be near

The possibility of a government shutdown that disrupts everything from Social Security checks to pay for soldiers overseas is growing more and more likely, Republicans in Congress say.

Florida Republicans say negotiations with Democrats in the U.S. Senate have gone so badly that they are now resigned to a shutdown happening.

"I see that it is more and more likely that there is going to be a government shutdown," said U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, a Republican who represents most of Charlotte County. "I don't see how we can avoid it."

Earlier this month Congress approved a temporary three-week spending bill that will expire after Congress returns from its spring recess. After that, Rooney, R-Palm Beach County, said there will be no more continuing resolutions to fund the government.

Rooney said he worries that a shutdown will be far worse than than what happened in the 1990s when Congress hit a similar impasse over the budget. Rooney said those shutdowns mostly resulted in non-essential services being closed, such as museums. But this time, Rooney said, Social Security and military pay will be affected.

In a separate interview on Friday, U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, said he, too, thinks Congress is headed for a government shutdown. He said Republicans are not going to pass any more temporary spending bills without bigger spending cuts to the federal budget.

But as certain as Rooney and Ross are that the federal government is heading for a shutdown, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is certain it will not.

The Democratic U.S. senator said during a stop in Sarasota last week that cooler heads will prevail and stop the government from shutting down.

Making sure 'motel kids' don't go hungry

Anaheim, California (CNN) -- In the shadows of Disneyland, often referred to as the "happiest place on Earth," many children are living a reality that's far from carefree.

They are living in cheap motels more commonly associated with drug dealers, prostitutes and illicit affairs.

It's the only option for many families that are struggling financially and can't scrape together a deposit for an apartment. By living week to week in these cramped quarters, they stay one step ahead of homelessness.

"Some people are stuck, they have no money. They need to live in that room," said Bruno Serato, a local chef and restaurateur. "They've lost everything they have. They have no other chance. No choice."

While "motel kids" are found across the United States, the situation is very common in Orange County, California, a wealthy community with high rents and a large number of old motels. In 2009, local authorities estimated that more than 1,000 families lived in these conditions.

When Serato learned that these children often go hungry, he began serving up assistance, one plate at a time. To date, he's served more than 270,000 pasta dinners -- for free -- to those in need.

"Kids should not be suffering," Serato said. "[I had] to do something."

Serato, 55, has always given back to the community where he achieved his American dream. When the Italian immigrant arrived in the U.S. 30 years ago, his poor English skills forced him to settle for a job as a dishwasher. But within five years, he had become chef and owner of the Anaheim White House, an Italian restaurant that is now a local hot spot.

In 2003, he created Caterina's Club, which raises money for underprivileged children. The charity is named after Serato's mother, who taught him how to cook at the family's trattoria in Verona, Italy.

When she came to California in 2005 to visit her son, he took her to the local Boys & Girls Club, the main recipient of the charity's funds. There, they saw a small boy eating a bag of potato chips and learned that this snack was his supper.

Bruno said his mother was shocked by the boy's meager meal. She had raised seven children and always made sure food was on the dinner table, even during the lean years after World War II.

"My mama ... her whole life was to feed kids," he said.

The Seratos found out that the boy lived in a motel with his family. The situation was so common in the area that the Anaheim Boys & Girls Club had a "motel kids" program, where vans pick up the children after school and drop them off at the motels every night. While these children receive free breakfast and lunch through school programs, their parents often don't have the resources to give them dinner.

Caterina found it unacceptable that the children would go to bed without supper. Speaking in rapid Italian, she made her feelings clear to her son.

"Mom said, 'Bruno, you must feed them the pasta!' " Serato recalled.

When he discovered that this meant feeding around 70 children, he demurred. But his mother insisted. He went back to his restaurant and prepared 70 pasta dinners to serve at the club.

His mother helped him that first night, and Serato has maintained the ritual nearly every night for more than six years -- even through the recession.

The economic downturn was a challenge, though. Serato lost 30% to 40% of his customers, and the number of children he fed each night more than doubled. He often found himself giving away more meals than he served in his restaurant, and he was forced to refinance his home to keep going. But Serato found that his work with the children helped sustain him, at least on a personal level.

"So many nights ... it was not too many customers," he said. "[To] know that I served 150 kids ... it made me feel better."

Today, Serato's business has rebounded, and his program feeds nearly 200 children, in two locations, seven days a week. He also pays for drivers to transport the kids to the Boys & Girls Club, and he has purchased another van. All told, he estimates that the endeavor costs him around $2,000 a month.

Do you know a hero? Nominations are open for 2011 CNN Heroes

Michael Baker, the executive director of the Anaheim Boys & Girls Club, says many of the "motel kids" he serves depend on Serato's meals. He also relishes the irony of the situation.

"These are some of the poorest kids in Anaheim eating from one of the most exclusive restaurants every night," he said. "I love that!"

Carlos Gomez, 12, has lived in a motel room with his family -- a total of six people -- for almost his entire life. He and his younger brother Anthony often eat Serato's pasta, and his father, Martin, says it's a relief to know that his children can get a free meal.

"I no longer worry as much, about them [coming home] and there being no food," he said. "I know that they eat over there at [the] Boys & Girls Club."

This spring, Serato plans to expand his program to an additional 100 kids a night, and he will partner with another organization to give 100 children three meals a day.

He is also calling on other restaurants around the country to work together to feed "motel kids." He believes that providing just a few dinners a night could make a significant difference.

"Every restaurant in the country -- Chinese, Indian, Mexican, French -- let's do it all together," Serato said. "We would have no hungry children."

Serato's love for the children is clear, but he's quick to give all of the credit to his beloved "mama" back in Italy. Although she suffers from Parkinson's disease, he still talks to her via Skype every morning and believes that if she knew how their work has grown, she would be proud.

Although his mother made him start the work, he now says he could never stop helping the children.

"They're customers," he says with a smile. "My favorite customers."

Want to get involved? Check out the Caterina's Club website at and see how to help.