Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Post From Dylan Ratigan: Rescue Choppers Or Corporate Jets? The Biggest Fraud Of All

Submitted by Dylan Ratigan

I've been glued to my TV and computer all weekend watching the horrors unfold in Japan. I don't know very much about the Japanese budgetary situation, how much the clean-up is going to cost, etc. But I know that no one in Japan right now is worrying about the Japanese budget deficit, or whether there is any waste in the emergency services departments of local or national governments, or whether the emergency shelters holding millions of people could be provided any cheaper. At times like this, people are desperately hoping that someone can save their friends, family, and make sure that supplies move to people who need them.

And in all the footage of people being saved, I haven't seen one mega-bank rescue anyone. I saw help from a lot of volunteers, firemen, rescue workers, doctors, nurses, etc. But not one bank. And that was true during snowstorms in North Dakota, the floods in New Orleans, and the earthquake in Haiti. Oddly, though the banks are sucking up enormous amounts of our budgetary resources, they don't own rescue helicopters, they don't track earthquakes, they don't study tsunamis, and they don't deal with radiation poisoning.

According to Simon Johnson, roughly 40% of the increase in privately held government debt over the past few years is due to the financial crisis caused by these mega-banks. Yet, the Federal budget debate is centered on slashing spending on things that we actually need, things that, when a crisis happens, saves our lives.

Instead of taking back the money spent on these bailouts, the new "tea party" Republicans are instead trying to slash funds for the agency that warned our West Coast of the tsunami. How many millions of dollars did NOAA save by giving us due warning and letting us protect property? We'll never know, just as the Japanese can't know how many hundreds of thousands survived due to a strong infrastructure and well-funded preparations.

I don't mean to pick on the Republican leaders, though actually, yes, I do. Just cutting government programs sounds good, until your friend or family member is hanging on a rooftop somewhere praying for a rescue, a rescue that would have had to have been planned and pre-funded years before since helicopters can't actually be wished into existence upon demand. But let's be clear, the dynamic that is starving our government of revenue is one that the Democrats created from 2008-2010, when they allowed and encouraged the big banks to feed on the government trough. This bipartisan corrupt racket, where Democrats help banks loot and Republicans give the bill to the rest of us, needs to end.

What we are seeing, on our TV screens, is that dedicating resources to a government that works is the single best investment that we can make. And the idea that one single dollar more than necessary is going to the banksters is a giant fraud in and of itself.

Even though they think they deserve their millions in bonuses, no mega-bank does anything even remotely as noble as the people who study and prepare for the catastrophic events befalling our globe right now. If we saw something in, say, New York City, like a pandemic or a natural disaster akin to what is going on in Japan, I'm pretty sure that even these executives would change their minds, and wish that they had sucked up fewer of society's resources and allowed more emergency prep. Of course by then it'll be too late, and the best they'll be able to do is re-purpose some of their luxury helicopters to save their own hides.

As the debate in DC continues, remember what the Democrats and Republicans are agreeing to, in the form of spending cuts for us while banks continue to gorge on taxpayer subsidies and outright fraud. Their collusion isn't solving any of the actual problems in this country. It is, however, making sure that if or when we need our government, if or when any of us are ever in the situation in which Japanese citizens find themselves, it won't be there.

And that's the biggest fraud of all.


Everybody Hurts and Nobody Win

Dog Poet K-Transmitting.......

‘Always remember that Cheech and Chong could have done the dog thing better. Big up to Fifi!’

About a year ago... and I am assuming or presupposing most of what I say, because I don’t have the curiosity to go check and I am in the land of vitamin intensives at the moment which is why this post may take a lot longer than the usual half hour of rata tat tat ...because, I am reclining like the universe stretched out across itself and admiring the endless callipygian rondulars of its expanse, tailing away into the darkness like the passing of a comet or the taillights of a 1969 Cadillac El Dorado, with no bodies in the trunk.

I have to say that I misbehaved on purpose, regular, in former times, because it was the only way to keep the people pestering me to be a guru from turning me into one. Real event; I was sent to the Petersburg Reformatory, in Petersburg Virginia, around the time of the Robert Kennedy assassination for 60-90 days observation. It was a gladiator school and I don’t think they ever saw anyone like me come in there before. Surely, someone from that period can do the research because there have to be people still living that were there then like; John Reed, or Ian Fralich who did the Be-ins at P Street Park and owned a headshop; The Source? The MTA’s and some of the prisoners should still be alive. I was known as Leslie William Crook at that time. I’m not lying. After a few days they put the nametag ‘guru’ outside my cell where I held court.

They used to like to bring in the other guards to let them see me kick the tile walls with the ball of my foot and make them ring. I got a piece of flexible white cardboard and wrote The Supreme Grand Dragon on it and had pictures of The Beatles and The Maharishi all glued on. I had no idea what the title meant which was ironic. I was 23 years old and still in the kundalini uproar that lasted for 3 years from ’67 to ’70.

I was standing by the front cage on the day that Kennedy got killed and there was a TV playing. Off to my left was a dorm ward cell dormitory L shaped with 8 black guys and John Reed. They were all in there from catching the clap from raping some boy and they were a surly lot. While I was standing there, one of the MTA’s sad to me, “guru, close the door”. There was a door open to my right. It was a couple of feet away and out of my reach. I turned and said, “It’s coming to me and the door opened into my hand. The cats in the cell dorm went bananas as I then pushed it closed, boom!

One of the MTA’s said, “You’d better settle down in there or I’m going to send guru in after you. I walked right over to the cell door and said “Yeah” and they all jumped under their beds. True story.

Couple of times some guys snuck in to where I was, intending to rape me and I put them down like children. I took a sock and stuffed it with wet toilet paper and got ten plastic bottles and made myself a bowling alley in the main hall. I could add lots of color and highlights but I don’t need to.

One time I was on acid at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and I was bringing the waves in to shore with the reins of my hand and a writer from Newsweek came to me and wanted to write an article about me. The second time Elvis Presley found me, in Palm Springs; I was sitting on a park bench and doing that with cars pulling up to the stoplight. I know it all sounds like completely wacked out but it happened none the less. One of the readers here was with me when I was on a plane, hijacked from Albuquerque, New Mexico when some black nationalist hijacked the plane and I made friends with them. The Washington Post even printed my poem in praise of them. One of them sat with me and we chatted during the flight to Tampa. Then they went to Cuba. I asked them to take me with them but they wouldn’t. The FBI had a field day with that. It was even better than the story about when I met Charlie Manson. You might ask how come nobody ever heard about me. Well, I’m Les Visible.

I’m leaving out the really world shaking shit that happened but you can imagine, maybe. And I didn’t even get a t-shirt. I never got much of anything except the one thing I was looking for and he still likes to play hide and seek. So, I don’t want to play guru because I don’t know shit and I ‘know’ that I don’t know it. People were pretty cruel to me because of who I am routinely but there were some real bright spots and I have not forgotten one of then. They are why I am alive against all odds and when I write certain brutal poetry like Bad Leroy Bustin Caps, I know what I am talking about. I have faced down Bad Leroy more than once with no one but my invisible friends to help and people, who have gone driving with me know that almost anything can happen and that I will not let you down if you are my friend.

The thing is that no one owns Krishna or Hare and no one owns the Vedas. These traditionalists all have these pompous disputes with each other to pump up their own celebrity, when a common fool might know that god prefers a humble person. Any time some one comes around and grabs my coat about scripture and tells me I am not in line with his jumped up program of acquiring and regulating. It looks like a bank and its got something to do with money, somewhere, somehow, it has to do with money. I know what Dvaita is and I know what Advaita is. I know where Shankaracharya and Buddhism are comporting about the different, this, that, this... It’s just words....

I wrote that piece out of my sincere love for god and Hare Krishna is just a greeting too. It was only a poem in praise of what I hold in the dearest place in my heart. I didn’t think about attacking scripture and originally I had penned the poem to Ganesha. Somehow it comes back to me that you are laying in wait or something for me to do what? I don’t know. Maybe I am amiss at my studies. I don’t know the Vedas like you do. I know very little about my ineffable and all I have ever held on to was love. I might have abused love when I was young but Love was my goal all along. The search for truth drove me and I have never had anything to build with, or to make, except myself and my life is almost over now. I have not had an easy life, these few years with Susanne have been most of the ease that I have known and it does not ease. Still.

So I write a poem for my good friend Ganesh lord of the devic realm and I changed the title to suit you, which I did, because you have to have it your way. Yes! That is why it is now called Hare Krishna because it was originally called Lord Ganapati. I changed it for you personally and never told you, just to be agreeable with you. I know Lord Ganapati- Ganesha does not mind and Krishna does not mind but I wanted to be your friend and the friend of your fellowship. I was going to come and visit you at the Grand Kumbhamela. So I changed the name of the poem about the be all and end all to suit you, cause I don’t care and they don’t care; only you care.

I have no contact with you and.... Do you see? Now you come to my Facebook page and throw down on me like Krishna is your boy. What are you thinking? What is it that you should be thinking? You should not stop a person from making a prayer to God because he didn’t sign in.... or .... Or... I don’t know; buy a ticket on a ride called the Krishnasaurus?. Well, now everybody can listen to it and tell me if you think I did a bad thing. Anyway, I never actually had to mention you.

End Transmission

Japanese Passengers Set Off Radiation Meters At Chicago and Dallas Airports

There is no reason to panic about it. It was not radiation coming in from the jet stream or wind currents. Passengers flying for Tokyo and other cities in Japan have set off radiation meters at the airports. It come to say the Japanese government is not telling the truth about the severity of how bad the radioactive fallout is on the island. It has been reported the radiation detectors were set off at Chicago O'hare and Dallas Ft Worth airports found on the clothes of the passengers and in their luggage when the people passed through customs. To say low levels radiation was detected .I do not trust a word said because our government lies to us daily.
I am concerned about the pilots and flight attendants who have been exposed to radiation since much of these particles were on people clothes that set the detectors off. I am surprised there is no reports coming out of Hawaii at their airports since it is the nearest point of entry of the United States from the island of Japan.There is a sizable Japanese population on the islands of Hawaii.They probably took in many family members who were affected by the recent major earthquake. It would not come to me as a surprise if this news was suppressed from the people of Hawaii that passengers coming from Japan have set off the radiation detectors.
Lets wait and see. I am glad people are buying radio active detectors now and taking their own data.It is because we can not trust our government to give a straight answer anymore . I am glad people are taking it upon themselves to bring the truth to use and counter the government lies. If the government say we are all ok and do not worry just like they said about the BP oil spill. This will blow up in their faces too as another big lie to prove they can not be trusted anymore with good reason this time.

Geithner Speaks: Foreclosure Fraud Whitewash Agreement Coming Soon To A Blighted Neighborhood Near You

It's been clear for some time that the proposed agreement between the 50 state AG's and the banks and servicers is going to be a whitewash, a get-out-of-jail-free card, and an absolution of past sins all rolled into one. But the Calgary Herald reports comments made by Tim Geithner yesterday, which pretty much seals the deal. Geithner told the Senate Banking committee that a fraudclosure deal had to be reached quickly:

  • "It is very important that we try to bring this to bed as quickly as we can. I think all parties, not just the servicers, but the state AGs and the federal agencies have a strong stake in doing that.

Shahien Nasiripour also reports that the state AG's have been working hand-in-glove with the Obama administration and the various regulatory agencies in crafting the deal with banks and servicers, with the administration calling it a "shock and awe" approach that would lead to a potential $30B in reduced mortgage payments.

Clearly this is another Obama trial balloon. Luckily, we can count on Yves Smith to pop it. See here:

Yves points out that the proposed deal "reads like HAMP 2.0. Notice that the banks are NOT being required to make principal mods. The story simply states, 'reduce monthly payments.' So the $30 billion is presumably for a combination of servicer costs, payment reductions, and some second mortgage writedowns."

The fact that Geithner and the administration are now pushing to get a deal done -- any deal -- as quickly is possible, is highly suspicious. If we didn't know better, we would be inclined to think that Geithner and friends want to grant absolution to the banks and servicers before groups like Anonymous and Wikileaks are able to stir up any more trouble. As we discussed earlier, the BofA insider who is leaking documents and information to Anonymous has the potential to blow the fraudclosure issue wide open, exposing banks to many billions of dollars in liabilities. It would come as no surprise that Geithner would like to prevent such a scenario at all costs -- the rule of law be damned.


U.S. Debt Jumped $72 Billion Same Day U.S. House Voted to Cut Spending $6 Billion

National Debt Clock/Wiki Commons image
Terrence P. Jeffrey
CNS News

The national debt jumped by $72 billion on Tuesday even as the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution to fund the government for just three weeks that will cut $6 billion from government spending.

If Congress were to cut $6 billion every three weeks for the next 36 weeks, it would manage to save between now and late November as much money as the Treasury added to the nation’s net debt during just the business hours of Tuesday, March 15.

At the close of business on Monday, according to the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt, the total national debt stood at $14.166 trillion ($14,166,030,787,779.80). At the close of business Tuesday, the debt stood at $14.237 trillion ($14,237,952,276,898.69), an increase of $71.9 billion ($71,921,489,118.89).

Read Full Article

"The Falling Dollar" - Peter Schiff on CNBC's Fast Money Wednesday 3-16-2011

Japan May Stop Buying Our Debt- Rand Paul on FOX Business News 03/16/11

World energy crunch as nuclear and oil both go wrong

The existential crisis for the world's nuclear industry could hardly have come at a worse moment. The epicentre of the world's oil supply is disturbingly close to its own systemic crisis as the Gulf erupts in conflict.

Anthony Freda Illustration
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

Libya's civil war has cut global crude supply by 1.1m barrels per day (bpd), eroding Opec's spare capacity to a wafer-thin margin of 2m bpd, if Goldman Sachs is correct.

Now events in the Gulf have turned dangerous after Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to help the Sunni monarchy crush largely Shi'ite dissent, risking a showdown with Iran.

Russia's finance minister Alexei Kudrin warned on Wednesday that the confluence of events in Japan and the Mid-East could push oil to $200 a barrel in a "short-lived" spike, which would snuff out global recovery.

While there has been no loss of oil output in the Gulf so far, the violent crackdown in Manama on Wednesday left four people dead and risks inflaming the volatile geopolitics of the region. The rout of protesters encamped at the Pearl roundabout had echoes of China's Tiananmen massacre.

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MIT Experts Says No Significant Radiation Can Leak from Japan Reactor

Above is a live Geiger counter located in Los Angeles, California, USA that you can watch. If you want to watch it live go here. 60 is considered normal. From what I read there’s not much to get excited about unless it goes over 100.

Top nuclear scientists advise that the reactors at Fukushima damaged by a tsunami and quake cannot explode. Situation is contained.

Dr Josef Oehmen and a team of faculty and staff have set up an information page at MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering (NSE). For those concerned about the dangers at the Japanese nuclear disaster should visit the newly launched MIT NSE Nuclear Information Hub.

Earlier an initial public statement via a press release (edited by R Allan) advised the public of the following:

“Up front, the situation is serious, but under control. There was and will *not* be any significant release of radioactivity. By “significant” I mean a level of radiation of more than what you would receive on, say, a long distance flight, or by drinking a glass of beer that comes from an areas with high levels of natural background radiation. “

(Hat tip: Peter Dun).

What happened at Fukushima

The earthquake that hit Japan was 5 times more powerful than the worst earthquake the nuclear power plant was built for. (The Richter scale works logarithmically; the difference between the 8.9 quake and an 8.2 quake the plants were built for is not 8.9-8.2= 0.7. It is 5-fold.) So, the first hooray for Japanese engineering… everything held up. When the earthquake hit the nuclear reactors all went into automatic shutdown. Within seconds after the control rods had been inserted into the core and nuclear chain reaction of the uranium stopped. Now, the cooling system had to carry away the residual heat. The residual heat load is about 3% of the heat load under normal operating conditions.

The earthquake destroyed the external power supply of the nuclear reactor. Then the tsunami came much bigger than people had expected when building the power plant. The tsunami took out all sets of backup diesel generators.

When designing a nuclear power plant, engineers follow a philosophy called “Defense of Depth”. That means you build everything to withstand the worst catastrophe you can imagine. Then you design the plant in such a way that it can still handle one system failure (that you thought could never happen) after the other. A tsunami taking out all backup power in one swift strike is such a scenario. The last line of defense is putting everything into the third containment which will keep everything, whatever the mess (control rods in or out, core molten or not) inside the reactor.

When the diesel generators were gone, the reactor operators switched to emergency battery power. The batteries were designed as one of the backups to the backups, to provide power for cooling the core for 8 hours. And they did. Within the 8 hours, another power source had to be found and connected to the power plant. The power grid was down due to the earthquake. The diesel generators were destroyed by the tsunami. Mobile diesel generators were trucked in. This is where things started to go seriously wrong. The external power generators could not be connected to the power plant (the plugs did not fit). After the batteries ran out, the residual heat could not be carried away any more.

At this point the plant operators begin to follow emergency procedures for a “loss-of-cooling event”. This is the next step along the “Depth of Defense” path. The power to the cooling system should never have failed completely, but it did, so they “retreat” to the next line of defense. All of this, however shocking it seems to us, is part of the day-to-day training you go through as an operator, right through to managing a core meltdown.

It was at this stage that people started to talk about core meltdown. If cooling cannot be restored the core will eventually melt… after hours or days. The last line of defense, the core catcher and third containment, will come into play.

But the goal at this stage was to give the engineers time to fix the cooling systems by managing the heating in the core and keeping the first containment (the Zircaloy tubes containing the nuclear fuel) and second containment (our pressure cooker) intact and operational for as long as possible. Because cooling the core is such a big deal, the reactor has a number of cooling systems, each in multiple versions (the reactor water cleanup system, the decay heat removal, the reactor core isolating cooling, the standby liquid cooling system, and the emergency core cooling system). Which one failed, and when, is not clear at this time. So imagine our pressure cooker on the stove, heat on low, but on. The operators use whatever cooling system capacity they have to get rid of as much heat as possible, but the pressure keeps building up.

To maintain integrity of the pressure cooker (the second containment) pressure has to be released from time to time. Because the ability to do that in an emergency is so important, the reactor has 11 pressure release valves. The operators vent steam from time to time to control the pressure. The temperature at this stage was about 550°C. This is when the reports about radiation leakage starting coming in. Venting the steam releases radiation but it is not dangerous. The radioactive nitrogen and noble gases are no threat to human health as they decay in seconds.

During venting an explosion took place outside of the third containment (our “last line of defense”) and inside the reactor building. (Remember, the reactor building is not intended to keep radioactivity in… it is to keep weather out.) It is not yet clear what happened, but this is the likely scenario.

The operators decided to vent the steam from the pressure vessel– not directly into the environment, but into the space between the third containment and the reactor building (to give the radioactivity in the steam more time to subside). At the high temperature the core had reached, water molecules “disassociate” into oxygen and hydrogen – an explosive mixture. And it did explode, outside the third containment, and damaging the reactor building around it. It was that sort of explosion that caused the Chernobyl disaster, because it happened inside the pressure vessel which was badly designed and not managed properly by the operators. This was never a risk at Fukushima. The problem of hydrogen-oxygen formation is one of the biggies when you design a power plant (if you are not Soviet, that is), so the reactor is built and operated in a way it cannot happen inside the containment. It happened outside. It was not intended, but was OK because it did not pose a risk to the containment.

Steam was vented and the pressure was now under control. But if you keep boiling your pot, the water level will keep falling.

At the start, he core is covered by several metres of water to allow time to pass (hours, days) before the core gets exposed. Once the rods start to be exposed at the top, the exposed parts will reach the critical temperature of 2200 °C after about 45 minutes. This is when the first containment, the Zircaloy tube, fails. And this started to happen. The cooling could not be restored before there was some damage to the casing of some of the fuel rods. The nuclear material itself was still intact, but the surrounding Zircaloy shell had started melting. What happened next is that some of the byproducts of Uranium decay – radioactive Cesium and Iodine – started to mix with the steam. The big problem, Uranium, was still under control, because the Uranium Oxide rods were good until 3000 °C.

It is confirmed that a very small amount of Cesium and Iodine was measured in the steam released into the atmosphere. The operators knew that the first containment on one or more of the rods was about to give. This was the “go signal” for plan B.

Plan A had been to restore one of the regular cooling systems to cool the core. Why Plan A failed is unclear. One plausible explanation is that the tsunami also took away, or polluted, all the clean water needed for the regular cooling systems. The cooling water is very clean and demineralized (like distilled water). Pure water does not get activated much, so stays practically radioactive-free. Dirt or salt in the water will absorb the neutrons quicker, becoming more radioactive. This has no effect whatsoever on the core – it does not care what it is cooled by. But it makes life more difficult for the operators when they have to deal with activated (i.e. slightly radioactive) water. But Plan A failed. Cooling systems were down or clean water was unavailable. Plan B came into effect. This is what it looks like happened.

In order to prevent a core meltdown, the operators started to use sea water to cool the core. The plant is safe now and will stay safe. Japan is looking at an INES Level 4 Accident: Nuclear accident with local consequences. That is bad for the company that owns the plant, but not for anyone else. Some radiation was released when the pressure vessel was vented. All radioactive isotopes from the activated steam have gone (decayed). A very small amount of Cesium was released, as well as Iodine. If you were sitting on top of the plant’s chimney when they were venting, you should probably give up smoking in order to return to your former life expectancy. The Cesium and Iodine isotopes were carried out to the sea and will never be seen again.

There was some limited damage to the first containment. That means that some amounts of radioactive Cesium and Iodine were released into the cooling water, but no Uranium or other nasty stuff. (Uranium Oxide does not “dissolve” in the water.) There are facilities for treating the cooling water inside the third containment. The radioactive Cesium and Iodine will be removed and stored as radioactive waste in terminal storage. The seawater used as cooling water will be activated to some degree. Because the control rods are fully inserted, the Uranium chain reaction is not happening. That means the “main” nuclear reaction is not happening, thus not contributing to the activation.

The intermediate radioactive materials (Cesium and Iodine) are also almost gone at this stage, because the Uranium decay stopped a long time ago. This further reduces the activation. The bottom line is that there will be some low-level of activation of the seawater, which will also be removed by the treatment facilities. The seawater will then be replaced over time with “normal” cooling water. The reactor core will be dismantled and transported to a processing facility, just like during a regular fuel change. Fuel rods and the entire plant will be checked for potential damage. This will take about 4-5 years. The safety systems on all Japanese plants will be upgraded to withstand a 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.

I believe the most significant problem will be a prolonged power shortage. About half of Japan’s nuclear reactors will probably have to be inspected, reducing the nation’s power generating capacity by 15%.

Below is the predicted path of the radioactive plume that as of now is predicted to hit the West Coast of the United States sometime Friday 3/18/2011.

Source: John O’ Sullivan

Note from Editor: It seems we have some controversy about Dr. Josef Oehman. One of the comments to this post (below) noted that there is another view of Dr. Oehmen. Here is a link to the article ”The Strange Case of Josef Oehman” at Genius Now so you can read about him and make your own judgement about what is being said.

Ron Paul: We Will Vote Thursday To Order ALL Troops Out Of Afghanistan By The End Of This Year!

Rents Could Rise 10% in Some Cities

Renters beware: Double-digit rent hikes may be coming soon.

Already, rental vacancy rates have dipped below the 10% mark, where they had been lodged for most of the past three years.

“The demand for rental housing has already started to increase,” said Peggy Alford, president of “Young people are starting to get rid of their roommates and move out of their parent’s basements.”

By 2012, she predicts the vacancy rate will hover at a mere 5%. And with fewer units on the market, prices will explode.

Rent hikes have averaged less than 1% a year over the past decade, according to Commerce Department statistics, adjusted for inflation. Now, Alford expects rents to spike 7% or so in each of the next two years — to a national average that will top $800 per month.

In the hottest rental markets, the increases will likely top the 10% mark annually for the next couple of years. In San Diego, Alford anticipates rents will rise more than 31% by 2015. In Seattle rents will climb 29% over that period; and in Boston, they may jump between 25% and 30%.

With fewer home buyers on the market, rents are rising sharply
Chart: Census Dept. and

This is a sharp change from the recession, when many Americans couldn’t afford to live on their own. More than 1.2 million young adults moved back in with their parents from 2005 to 2010, said Lesley Deutch of John Burns Real Estate Consulting. Many others doubled up together.

As a result, landlords had to reduce prices and offer big incentives to snag renters.

Now that the recession is easing, many of these young people are ready to find new digs, mostly as renters, not owners. Plus, the foreclosure crisis continues unabated, and the millions losing their homes are looking for new places to live.

Apartment developers many not be able to keep up with this heightened demand, which will force prices upwards, according to Chris Macke, a real estate analyst with CoStar, which tracks multi-family housing trends.

“There will be an envelope of two or three years,” said Macke, “when the rise in demand for rentals will exceed the industry’s ability to meet it.”

Plus, Alford added, “there’s been a shift in the American Dream. We’re learning from our surveys that a huge proportion of people are choosing to rent.”

They’ve experienced the downsides of homeownership — or seen friends and family suffer — and don’t want to take the risks or pay the higher costs of homeownership.

Where homeownership costs are particularly high, there are many more renters than owners. In Manhattan, for example, only about 20% own their homes; in San Francisco, about of third of the population does; in Los Angeles, less than 40%; and in Chicago, about 44%.

There’s one factor that could rein in rent increases: the huge number of foreclosed homes that could hit the market over the next few years.

In many markets, like Phoenix and Las Vegas, there are neighborhoods filled with recently built, single-family homes going for fire-sale prices. When the cost of owning homes falls well below the costs of renting them, more people will buy.

“That’s always been the biggest competition for rentals,” said Deutch

U.S. working to move citizens from affected areas in Japan

Click to play

Washington (CNN) -- The State Department announced late Wednesday that it has approved the departure of family members of U.S. government personnel from certain areas of Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake, the tsunami and the nuclear power plant crisis.

Charter flights will be made available to the approximately 600 people, according to Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy.

"When we do a voluntary authorized departure, the State Department bears the expense of the transportation," Kennedy said.

"There are still commercial seats available out of Tokyo," he said. "However, because we do not wish to consume large numbers of seats that others might need, we are making arrangements to bring a couple of chartered aircraft into Tokyo for both the official U.S. government family members who have chosen to leave and for any American citizens who might need assistance."

Americans are urged to postpone all travel to the affected areas, the U.S. said, hours after expanding the recommended evacuation zone around the nuclear plants to a radius of 50-miles.

The Japanese government has told people to evacuate to at least 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the damaged reactors.

"The State Department has authorized the voluntary departure from Japan of eligible family members of U.S. government personnel assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, the U.S. Consulate in Nagoya, and the Foreign Service Institute Field School in Yokohama," the announcement said.

"U.S. citizens should defer all travel to the evacuation zone around Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, areas affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and tourism and nonessential travel to the rest of Japan at this time," the announcement said.

The Pentagon announced late Wednesday that it also would assist in the departure of dependents of its military and Defense Department personnel from crisis areas in Japan.

The U.S. military has about 43,000 family members in Japan, but it is unclear how many are in the affected areas, said Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman.

CNN's Larry Shaughnessy contributed to this report.

Stocks Slammed As Inflation Spikes & Japan Nuke Fears Grow



Ellen Brown, April 8th, 2009

Dear President Obama:

The world was transfixed on that remarkable day in January when, to poetry, song, and dance, you gazed upon Abraham Lincoln’s likeness at the Lincoln Memorial and searched for wisdom to navigate these difficult times. Indeed, you have so many things in common with that venerable President that one might imagine you were his reincarnation in different dress. You are both thin and wiry, brilliant speakers, appearing on the national stage at pivotal times. Fertile imaginations could envision you coming back dressed in that African heritage you freed, to help heal the great scar of slavery and prove once and for all the proposition that all men are created equal and can achieve great things if given a fighting chance.

As Wordsworth said, however, our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; and if that is true, you may have forgotten a more subtle form of slavery from which Lincoln tried less successfully to free his countrymen. You may have forgotten it because it has been omitted from our popular history books, leaving Americans ill-equipped to interpret the lessons of our own past. This letter is therefore meant to remind you.

President Obama, we are now met on another battlefield of that same economic war that visited Lincoln and the Founding Fathers before him. For you to finish the work Lincoln started would be a poetic triumph no American could miss. The fate of our economy and the nation itself may depend on how well you understand Lincoln’s monetary breakthrough, the most far-reaching “economic stimulus plan” ever implemented by a U.S. President. You can solve our economic crisis quickly and permanently, by implementing the same economic solution that allowed Lincoln to win the Civil War and thus save the Union from foreign economic masters.

Lincoln’s Monetary Breakthrough

The bankers had Lincoln’s government over a barrel, just as Wall Street has Congress in its vice-like grip today. The North needed money to fund a war, and the bankers were willing to lend it only under circumstances that amounted to extortion, involving staggering interest rates of 24 to 36 percent. Lincoln saw that this would bankrupt the North and asked a trusted colleague to research the matter and find a solution. In what may be the best piece of advice ever given to a sitting President, Colonel Dick Taylor of Illinois reported back that the Union had the power under the Constitution to solve its financing problem by printing its money as a sovereign government. Taylor said:

“Just get Congress to pass a bill authorizing the printing of full legal tender treasury notes . . . and pay your soldiers with them and go ahead and win your war with them also. If you make them full legal tender . . . they will have the full sanction of the government and be just as good as any money; as Congress is given that express right by the Constitution.”

The Greenbacks actually were just as good as the bankers’ banknotes. Both were created on a printing press, but the banknotes had the veneer of legitimacy because they were “backed” by gold. The catch was that this backing was based on “fractional reserves,” meaning the bankers held only a small fraction of the gold necessary to support all the loans represented by their banknotes. The “fractional reserve” ruse is still used today to create the impression that bankers are lending something other than mere debt created with accounting entries on their books.1

Lincoln took Col. Taylor’s advice and funded the war by printing paper notes backed by the credit of the government. These legal-tender U.S. Notes or “Greenbacks” represented receipts for labor and goods delivered to the United States. They were paid to soldiers and suppliers and were tradeable for goods and services of a value equivalent to their service to the community. The Greenbacks aided the Union not only in winning the war but in funding a period of unprecedented economic expansion. Lincoln’s government created the greatest industrial giant the world had yet seen. The steel industry was launched, a continental railroad system was created, a new era of farm machinery and cheap tools was promoted, free higher education was established, government support was provided to all branches of science, the Bureau of Mines was organized, and labor productivity was increased by 50 to 75 percent. The Greenback was not the only currency used to fund these achievements; but they could not have been accomplished without it, and they could not have been accomplished on money borrowed at the usurious rates the bankers were attempting to extort from the North.

Lincoln succeeded in restoring the government’s power to issue the national currency, but his revolutionary monetary policy was opposed by powerful forces. The threat to established interests was captured in an editorial of unknown authorship, said to have been published in The London Times in 1865:

“If that mischievous financial policy which had its origin in the North American Republic during the late war in that country, should become indurated down to a fixture, then that Government will furnish its own money without cost. It will pay off its debts and be without debt. It will become prosperous beyond precedent in the history of the civilized governments of the world. The brains and wealth of all countries will go to North America. That government must be destroyed or it will destroy every monarchy on the globe.”

Lincoln was assassinated in 1865. According to historian W. Cleon Skousen:

“Right after the Civil War there was considerable talk about reviving Lincoln’s brief experiment with the Constitutional monetary system. Had not the European money-trust intervened, it would have no doubt become an established institution.”

The institution that became established instead was the Federal Reserve, a privately-owned central bank given the power in 1913 to print Federal Reserve Notes (or dollar bills) and lend them to the government. The government was submerged in a debt that has grown exponentially since, until it is now an unrepayable $11 trillion. For nearly a century, Lincoln’s statue at the Lincoln Memorial has gazed out pensively across the reflecting pool toward the Federal Reserve building, as if pondering what the bankers had wrought since his death and how to remedy it.

Building on a Successful Tradition

Lincoln did not invent government-issued paper money. Rather, he restored a brilliant innovation of the American colonists. According to Benjamin Franklin, it was the colonists’ home-grown paper “scrip” that was responsible for the remarkable abundance in the colonies at a time when England was suffering from the ravages of the Industrial Revolution. Like with Lincoln’s Greenbacks, this prosperity posed a threat to the control of the British Crown and the emerging network of private British banks, prompting the King to ban the colonists’ paper money and require the payment of taxes in gold. According to Franklin and several other historians of the period, it was these onerous demands by the Crown, and the corresponding collapse of the colonists’ paper money supply, that actually sparked the Revolutionary War.2

The colonists won the war but ultimately lost the money power to a private banking cartel, one that issued another form of paper money called “banknotes.” Today the bankers’ debt-based money has come to dominate most of the economies of the world; but there are a number of historical examples of the successful funding of economic development in other countries simply with government-issued credit. In Australia and New Zealand in the 1930s, the Depression conditions suffered elsewhere were avoided by drawing on a national credit card issued by publicly-owned central banks. The governments of the island states of Guernsey and Jersey created thriving economies that carried no federal debt, just by issuing their own debt-free public currencies. China has also funded impressive internal development through a system of state-owned banks.

Here in the United States, the state of North Dakota has a wholly state-owned bank that creates credit on its books just as private banks do. This credit is used to serve the needs of the community, and the interest on loans is returned to the government. Not coincidentally, North Dakota has a $1.2 billion budget surplus at a time when 46 of 50 states are insolvent, an impressive achievement for a state of isolated farmers battling challenging weather.3 The North Dakota prototype could be copied not only in every U.S. state but at the federal level.

The Perennial Inflation Question

The objection invariably raised to government-issued currency or credit is that it would create dangerous hyperinflation. However, in none of these models has that proven to be true. Price inflation results either when the supply of money goes up but the supply of goods doesn’t, or when speculators devalue currencies by massive short selling, as in those cases of Latin American hyperinflation when printing-press money was used to pay off foreign debt. When new money is used to produce new goods and services, price inflation does not result because supply and demand rise together. Prices did increase during the American Civil War, but this was attributed to the scarcity of goods common in wartime rather than to the Greenback itself. War produces weapons rather than consumer goods.

Today, with trillions of dollars being committed for bailouts and stimulus plans, another objection to Lincoln’s solution is likely to be, “The U.S. government is already printing its own money – and lots of it.” This, however, is a misconception. What the government prints are bonds – its I.O.U.s or debt. If the government did print dollars, instead of borrowing them from a privately-owned central bank that prints them, Uncle Sam would not have an eleven trillion dollar millstone hanging around his neck. As Thomas Edison astutely observed:

“If our nation can issue a dollar bond, it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good, makes the bill good, also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets money brokers collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%, whereas the currency pays nobody but those who contribute directly in some useful way.

It is absurd to say that our country can issue $30 million in bonds and not $30 million in currency. Both are promises to pay, but one promise fattens the usurers and the other helps the people.”

A Wake-up Call

Henry Ford observed at about the same time:

“It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning.”

Today we the people are starting to understand our banking and monetary system, and we are shocked, dismayed, and furious at what we are discovering. The wizard behind the curtain turns out to be a small group of men pulling levers and dials, creating an illusory money scheme that, behind all the talk and bravado, is mere smoke and mirrors. These levers are controlled by a privately-owned, unaccountable central bank called the Federal Reserve, which has recently dispensed billions if not trillions in funds to its banker cronies, without revealing where these monies are going even under Congressional inquiry or in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. As Chris Powell pointed out recently in conjunction with an FOIA request brought by Bloomberg News, which the Fed declined to comply with:

“Any government that can disburse $2 trillion secretly, without any accountability, is not a democratic government. It is government of, by, and, for the bankers.”4

There was a time when private central bankers were the heavyweights in control, able to run their ultra-secret agenda with impunity; but that era is coming to an end. The bankers are scrambling, trying to patch up their crumbling creations with schemes, bailouts and sleight of hand. That effort, however, must ultimately prove futile. As investment adviser Rolfe Winkler said in a recent article:

“The great Ponzi scheme that is the Western World’s economy has grown so big there’s simply no ‘fixing’ it. Flushing more debt through the system would be like giving Madoff a few billion to tide him over. Or like adding another floor to the Tower of Babel. To what end? The collapse is already here. The question is: How much do we want it to hurt? Using the public’s purse to finance ‘confidence’ in a system that is already kaput may delay the Day of Reckoning, sure, but at the cost of multiplying our losses. Perhaps fantastically.”5

The bankers are on the run, feverishly trying to use the collapse of the current system to steer us toward an “Amero”-style North American currency, or a one-world private banking system and privately-issued global currency that they and only they control. We the people will not accept those solutions, however, no matter how bad things get. We demand real solutions that empower us, not further enslave us.

Abraham Lincoln had such a solution. President Obama, you can finally bring his monetary solution to fruition. Manifest the vision of Lincoln, Jefferson, Madison and Franklin, and we the people will make sure you are placed in the pantheon of our greatest leaders and are revered for all time. America’s greatest days can still be ahead of us; but for this to happen, we need to expose and root out the deceptive banking scheme that would enslave us to a future of debt and increasing homelessness in this great country our forefathers founded. The time has come for democracy to rise superior to a private banking cartel and take back the power to create money once again. Such a transformation would represent the most epochal and empowering shift that humanity has ever seen. As you recently said:

“This country has never responded to a crisis by sitting on the sidelines and hoping for the best. Throughout our history we have met every great challenge with bold action and big ideas.”

Your words are a timely reminder of our long legacy of action and bold solutions in the face of adversity. Can we do this? Yes we can.

Originally posted on Yes! Magazine Online April 7, 2009.

For more information, see the writings of a variety of money reformers including David Korten, Richard Cook, Stephen Zarlenga, Michael Hudson and this author; articles collected at and; the documentary videos “The Money Masters” and “Money as Debt;” and proposed legislation by Congressman Dennis Kucinich to nationalize the Fed, and by Congressman Ron Paul to audit it (HR 1027).

Ellen Brown developed her research skills as an attorney practicing civil litigation in Los Angeles. In Web of Debt, her latest book, she turns those skills to an analysis of the Federal Reserve and “the money trust.” She shows how this private cartel has usurped the power to create money from the people themselves, and how we the people can get it back. Her earlier books focused on the pharmaceutical cartel that gets its power from “the money trust.” Her eleven books include Forbidden Medicine, Nature’s Pharmacy (co-authored with Dr. Lynne Walker), and The Key to Ultimate Health (co-authored with Dr. Richard Hansen). Her websites are and

See Ellen Brown, “Borrowing from Peter to Pay Paul: The Wall Street Ponzi Scheme Called Fractional Reserve Banking,” (December 29, 2008).

Congressman Charles Binderup in a 1941 speech, “How America Created Its Own Money in 1750: How Benjamin Franklin Made New England Prosperous.” Binderup quotes historian John Twells on this point.

E. Brown, “Turning the Tables on Wall Street: North Dakota Shows Cash-starved States How They Can Create Their Own Credit,” (March 11, 2009).

Chris Powell, “Fed Refuses to Disclose Recipients of $2 Trillion,” GATA (December 12, 2008).

Rolfe Winkler, “More Debt Won’t Rescue the Great American Ponzi,” Option Armageddon (March 9, 2009).

Special thanks to CC for his invaluable help with this article.

Official UN Forecast: 'Diluted' Radioactive Fallout Heading To US West C...

Jonathan Campbell: Nuclear Nightmare In Japan

“Extremely High” Levels of Radiation Now Being Released Near Fukushima

Earthquakes, Earthworms, and Earth Changes!

Japanese Nuclear Disaster: Live Report from Japan and Breaking News

U.S. raises new alarm over Japan nuclear crisis

Temperature of Spent Fuel Pools at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant According to IAEA

The spent fuel pools are usually kept below 25C

Unit 4

14 March, 10:08 UTC: 84 ˚C

15 March, 10:00 UTC: 84 ˚C

16 March, 05:00 UTC: no data

Unit 5

14 March, 10:08 UTC: 59.7 ˚C

15 March, 10:00 UTC: 60.4 ˚C

16 March, 05:00 UTC: 62.7 ˚C

Unit 6

14 March, 10:08 UTC: 58.0 ˚C

15 March, 10:00 UTC: 58.5 ˚C

16 March, 05:00 UTC: 60.0 ˚C

Crisis at Japan’s Fukushima plant could reach worst level on nuclear accident scale, U.S. think-tank warns

Top US Officials: Japan Nuclear Reactor #4 Completely Breached, In Full Meltdown, Releasing Lethal Radiation – US Expands Evacuation Area To 50 Miles According to Testimony today extremely high levels of radiation have been released BEFORE today.

Officials are now reporting extremely high levels or radiation are now being released. Spent fuel rods are exposed and this disaster has taken a turn for the worse.

Official: Spent fuel rods exposed, heightening concerns

Tokyo (CNN) — Spent fuel rods in Unit 4 of Japan’s stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been exposed, resulting in the emission of “extremely high” levels of radiation, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Wednesday.

“What we believe at this time is that there has been a hydrogen explosion in this unit due to an uncovering of the fuel in the fuel pool,” Gregory Jaczko told a House energy and commerce subcommittee hearing. “We believe that secondary containment has been destroyed and there is no water in the spent fuel pool, and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.”

The water served to both cool the uranium fuel and shield it. But once the uranium fuel was no longer covered by water, its zirconium cladding that encases the fuel rods heated, generating hydrogen, said Robert Alvarez, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies and a former official with the Department of Energy.

Read Entire Article

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Explosion Rocks Quake-Hit Japanese Nuke PlantPossible Full Scale Meltdown In Japan – Live UpdatesExplosion At Reactor #3, Problems With Reactor #2 As Fear Of Full Scale Nuclear Crisis Grows

How the NY Fed Gifted an Extra $15.7 Million to Wall Street Today

As part of the Federal Reserve's ongoing QE2 program, nearly each day, the NY Fed purchases US Treasury securities from a select group of primary dealers in what is called a permanent open market operation (POMO). Ordinarily, the auction begins at 10:16 am and ends at 11:00 am Eastern. While the exact mechanics of the operations are not public, the NY Times published an article about the team that manages them here, divulging a few details, which we subsequently analyzed here.

Only minutes before today's auction was scheduled to complete (while most, if not all, offers from the primarily dealers were presumably in), the European Union’s energy commissioner warned of ‘further catastrophic events’ at Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant. Shortly thereafter, the NY Fed cancelled the POMO--to our knowledge, an unprecedented act. According to Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge, Reuters reported the cancellation at 10:57 or 10:58 am.

In the minutes that followed, equities and other risk markets tumbled, while the very 5 and 7 Year Treasury Notes the Fed would end up buying surged in price over 50 bps (0.50%). At 11:24 am, after prices had settled a bit (though were still materially higher than before), the NY Fed restarted the POMO, which finally closed at 12:04 pm. It would end up purchasing a total of $6.580 billion in Treasury securities (reported at par), with a heavy concentration in the 5 Year tenor at $5.089 billion (of which $3.209 billion had been issued by the Treasury in the last two months).

Using 5 Year Note futures as a proxy, we have calculated the difference in average price between what the NY Fed would have paid had it not cancelled the first auction versus what it actually ended up paying: $15.7 million ($12.1 million for the 5's and $3.6 million for the 7's). This amount was simply pocketed by the primary dealers and is now a liability of the Federal Reserve, and putatively the US taxpayer.

The below chart illustrates the sequence of events with the 5 Year Note futures (click for large image).

It is now incumbent upon the NY Fed to issue an explanation detailing its decision making process today. Just why did it cancel the auction when prices were starting to move in its favor (against the dealers)? If Mr. Frost, who supervises the purchase operations at the NY Fed, was telling the truth when he told the NY Times, "We are looking to get the best price we can for the taxpayer", then why did the opposite occur today?

Indeed Zero Hedge has chronicled how the Fed serially purchases the richest spline in its operations, to the benefit of the primary dealers (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). We also reiterate and incorporate herein our previously expressed concerns regarding the NY Fed's black box computer program that virtually runs the Fed's daily auctions. Just who programmed it, and how does it assess "fair value"?

As is usually the case with the Federal Reserve, there are more questions than answers.

Update: Reuters has backtracked with the following:
EU Energy Commissioner did not say a catastrophe was going to happen, he just expressed his fear - spokesman

All Mizuho ATMs In Japan Have Stopped Working

Mizuho, the second-largest financial services company in Japan, has just locked out its customers from accessing their cash. Whether or not this is related to Zero Hedge reports from yesterday that the same bank is unable to complete ¥570 billion in transactions in unclear. What is clear is that we can only hope that those who need cash are calm and collected enough not to start a physical run on whatever bank deposit branches are open. From Reuters: "Mizuho Bank said on Thursday that all of its automatic teller machines (ATM) throughout Japan have stopped working. The bank did not immediately give a reason for the outage." One can only hope that the most recent ¥5 trillion injection was sufficient to keep the liquidity in the banking system online. Alas, should the Mizuho situation not be promptly fixed, we anticipate more injections from the BOJ before the night is out.

Nuclear Power Plant Explosion "Could Be Worst Case Scenario!"

80K US Cancers Caused by Bomb Test Fallout - 15K of Them Fatal Critics Call for Public Health Response, Compensation, Radiation Truth Commission

An estimated 80,000 people who were born or lived in the United States in the past 50 years have contracted or will contract cancer because of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, according to an analysis of government studies. Well over 15,000 of them are estimated to be fatal.

The government exploded 215 A- and H-bombs above ground between 1951 and 1963, half at the Nevada Test Site and the others in the Pacific Islands.

The study, prepared by the National Cancer Institute and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), estimates some of the radiation doses and cancers that resulted from the open-air tests. It is the first study to find that heavy radiation doses contaminated the United States following nuclear explosions outside the country - Soviet tests in Kazakhstan, U.S. and British explosions in the Pacific.

"This report and other official data show that hot spots occurred thousands of miles away from the test sites," said Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). "Hot spots were found as far away as New York and Maine." The Guardian’s Julian Borger explained that the tests sent plumes of debris into the atmosphere to be blown around the Earth and dumped highly radioactive isotopes in the form of rain.

The CDC investigation was mandated by Congress after a 1997 National Cancer Institute report that dealt only with the iodine-131 in the fallout. That study showed extensive exposures across the country (See Fall 1997 Pathfinder), and found that iodine-131 poisoning caused around 75,000 thyroid cancers, ten percent of which are estimated to have been fatal. It revealed that the bomb tests spread "more than 100 times" the radioactive iodine than the government acknowledged at the time of the tests.

"The 1997 report indicates that some farm children, those who drank goat’s milk in the 1950’s in high fallout areas, were as severely exposed as the worst exposed children after the 1986 Chernobyl [reactor] accident. Such exposure creates a high probability of a variety of illnesses," said Dr. Makhijani. "Yet the government did nothing to inform the people in these affected areas."

The CDC report examined 18 additional isotopes that were spewed by the bomb tests, including strontium-90 and cesium-137, which are dangerous for between 280 and 300 years. Moreover, cesium-137 makes up 40 percent of total fallout in a given test. Together, a test’s cesium, zirconium-95, carbon-14 and strontium-90 make up 76 percent of the total radioactive fallout from most tests.

James Glanz in the New York Times reported that these poisons can be carried thousands of miles, "potentially causing leukemia, breast cancer, liver cancer and other types of cancer."

USA Today said the CDC report found that about 22,000 cancers, half of them fatal - from melanoma to breast cancer - were likely caused by external exposure to the fallout. Thousands of additional cancers were caused by internal exposure, including 550 fatal leukemias and 2,500 thyroid cancer deaths from inhalation or eating contaminated foods.

Those most seriously harmed will have been children and pregnant women. Reuters reported that, "No U.S. resident born after 1951 escaped exposure." The Guardian says the same, adding, "all organs and tissues of the body have received some radiation exposure."

The President’s Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments found in 1995 that the government knew "the possibility of external beta burns is quite real," and "that those injuries would cause a public uproar that would prevent them from using test sites in the U.S." The Air Force recommended that the weapons test site be located on the East Coast, but the advice was rejected because of cost analysis.

"The message is we are all downwinders," said Bob Schaeffer of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, who noted that the study was supposed to have been completed by July 2000.

Frustration over the long delay was aggravated by the fact that only an executive summary has been made public. Bill Burton, an aide to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), said that while the summary was dated August 2001, it was not received by Harkin until this February. Harkin complained that there should be "no more stalling" and urged release of the full study.

In the 1950’s - under threat of a lawsuit by Kodak - the government informed photographic film producers of expected fallout patterns so they could protect their film supply. But did nothing to inform milk producers so that they could protect a vital component of the food supply. (See Winter ’97/’98 Pathfinder.)

"It is late in the day," said Lisa Ledwidge, a biologist working for IEER. "The government should not only urgently formulate a health and compensation response strategy with public involvement; it should implement it without any further delay."

"Now is the time for people from nuclear weapons states to call for truth from their governments. Right here in Idaho we know the news is grim. There are hot spots all over the inter-mountain West," said Margaret Macdonald Stewart, of the Snake River Alliance. "Now," Steward said, "the job - the government’s job - is to take the news to small towns all over [the country] and help unsuspecting people whose health has been damaged by nuclear weapons."

"The United States has a compensation program for Nevada Test Site neighbors who are geographical downwinders. But this is clearly not enough," explained Ms. Ledwidge. "There are hot spots thousands of miles from tests sites and the new definition of ‘downwinder’ should include all of them."

"The new fallout maps and radiation dose estimates show that nuclear weapons states not only harmed their own people but also people in other countries," said Dr. Makhijani. "It is high time for the United Nations to create a Global Truth Commission that would examine, in detail comparable to the U.S government studies, the harm that has been inflicted upon the people of the world by nuclear weapons production and testing. Nuclear weapons states owe an honest accounting, treatment, and compensation to the victims of the nuclear age."

The CDC/NCI progress report, a fact sheet, and official fallout maps are posted on the IEER web site: . The report and maps are also scheduled to be posted at the Centers for Disease Control’s site: .

Atmospheric Nuclear Testing at the Nevada Test Site

One hundred atmospheric nuclear tests were detonated at the Nevada Test Site (originally the Nevada Proving Grounds) between 1951 and 1963. The first Nevada series, code-named Ranger, was conducted during January and February 1951, immediately after President Harry S. Truman had approved the establishment of a continental test site in Nevada. The United States’ first post-World War II nuclear tests had been conducted in the Pacific. During the early years, testing schedules remained on a campaign basis, alternating between the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and the Pacific Proving Ground. Generally, larger tests were conducted in the Pacific—the highest-yield U.S. test was Bravo with fifteen megatons, detonated at Bikini Atoll, while the highest-yield test at the NTS was Hood, at seventy-four kilotons.

In the early days of testing, there was an urgent need to understand the science and engineering of these powerful new weapons, their use on the battlefield, and their effects. Tests were conducted for a variety of reasons—to test and prove new designs, to assess the effects of nuclear weapons, to develop warheads for specific delivery systems. Meteorologists monitored weather patterns, pilots flew airplanes through the radioactive clouds to sample radiation levels, and scientists “chased” fallout clouds across the Nevada desert to better understand offsite impacts. Nuclear device designs were developed by scientists at the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories. Los Alamos was the first, having been established during World War II to develop the first atomic bomb. The University of California Radiation Laboratory (later Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), began testing weapon designs at the NTS in 1953.

Ranger, the first test series at the NTS, was conducted in early 1951 with nuclear devices designed by Los Alamos scientists and airdropped from bombers out of Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The next NTS series, Buster-Jangle, was a joint Los Alamos-Department of Defense (DoD) operation conducted during October-November 1951. The series tested both new weapons configurations and weapons effects. The DoD tests were designed to better understand the cratering capabilites of nuclear weapons for the battlefield. The test code-named Sugar was the only test ever detonated at the surface, on the ground in Nevada—as opposed to an airdrop, tower, or balloon shot. It created a crater twenty-one feet deep and ninety feet wide. Buster-Jangle also involved the first troops from the U.S. Army’s Atomic Maneuver Battalion, stationed at Camp Desert Rock outside the test site town of Mercury. Between 1951 and 1955 thousands of military personnel from all service branches served at Desert Rock, participating in maneuvers at the test site, witnessing atomic blasts from trenches, marching toward ground zero after detonations and collecting radiation effects information.

The 1953 test series, Upshot-Knothole, was significant for its above-ground testing and its impacts on citizens in surrounding communities. This series was also the first time that the Livermore laboratory fielded tests at the Nevada Test Site. The first test of the operation, code-named Annie, was a Los Alamos device and was also the first conducted with the Federal Civil Defense Administration (FCDA). Two typical American houses were built at 3,500 and 7,500 feet from the Yucca Flat ground zero where a sixteen-kiloton device was detonated from a 300-foot tower. The houses were stocked with food, furnished, and populated by clothed mannequins. Automobiles donated by leading U.S. manufacturers were placed in the path of the blast. The simulation of an atomic attack also tested underground shelters containing mannequins at varying distances from the blast. For the first time, an atomic test was televised, with civil defense personnel and the media witnessing it from an area dubbed News Nob.

For the Encore test of May 8, 1953, 145 ponderosa pines were brought from Kyle Canyon to the NTS and placed in concrete bases. They were subjected to the blast as an experiment to determine the effects of an atomic attack on a forest. The May 19, 1953 test, code-named Harry, used an important new weapon design. Later dubbed “Dirty Harry” by communities downwind of the test site in Nevada and Utah, it produced the highest level of off-site contamination of any continental U.S. test.

For the Upshot-Knothole Grable test, the military was trying to determine the feasibility of an atomic cannon for the battlefield. In preparation for the test, two 280 mm cannons were brought to the NTS from Fort Sill, Oklahoma, along with artillery crews. After many practice rounds, on May 25, 1953, an atomic shell was fired from a cannon at Frenchman Flat, detonating at 524 feet with a yield of fifteen kilotons. This was the first and last use of a nuclear artillery shell. It was determined that the cannon and shell would be too heavy to maneuver on the battlefield. The cannon, nicknamed “Atomic Annie,” is at Fort Sill.

It is estimated that the Upshot-Knothole tests as a whole could have been responsible for nearly one-quarter of all radiation exposure due to the continental testing program. Many illnesses are believed to have been the results of fallout; lawsuits and federal government compensation programs have resulted from the years of atmospheric testing at the NTS. Ranchers reported impacts to their livestock and some milk supplies were compromised. Many families and communities in the Intermountain West, along with test site workers and military veterans, report living the legacy of this era through ongoing pain, suffering, and loss.

On May 5, 1955, another FCDA test, code-named Apple-2, was conducted, involving much more elaborate civil effects experiments than the 1953 Annie shot. The twenty-nine kiloton device was placed at the top of a 500-foot tower in Yucca Flat. More houses were built, using different materials and exteriors at differing distances from ground zero. Tours of the Nevada Test Site allow the public to see the remains of weapons effects tests conducted during the 1950s. These relics include the remnants of the Apple-2 tower at ground zero, houses, shelters, steel frames, a bank vault, and other structures.

Experiments on mice, dogs, and other animals were conducted during atmospheric testing. The animals were subjected to the atomic blasts and then analyzed by biologists, veterinarians, and medical personnel. In 1957, for the Plumbbob series, pens were built near the Mercury highway to keep 1,200 swine that would be used for various experiments. They had been specially bred due to the similarities in pig and human physiology. For some experiments, pigs were outfitted in various types of clothing material, including military uniforms. For the thirty-seven-kiloton Priscilla test on June 24, 1957, more than seven hundred anesthetized pigs were placed in stations at various distances from ground zero to better understand the effects of atomic weapons on human beings. On July 5, 1957, Hood, the largest atmospheric test at the NTS, was conducted with a yield of seventy-four kilotons. The August 31, 1957, Smoky event yielded forty-four kilotons, after which thousands of military troops conducted post-shot exercises. In the 1970s, congressional inquiries and medical studies were conducted into the effects of exposure of service personnel during the Smoky test due to incidents of cancer among the troops.

In the fall of 1958, the largest series to date was conducted at the NTS, code-named Hardtack II, consisting of thirty-seven tests within a two-month period. The reason for the great number of tests within a short time was that President Dwight D. Eisenhower had declared that on October 31, the United States would enter into a unilateral nuclear testing moratorium. The Soviet Union followed suit.

However, in September 1961 the Soviet Union resumed its testing program, including a fifty-eight-megaton test, the largest nuclear device ever detonated. The United States returned to testing at the NTS, in the Pacific, and in other locations. The NTS tests were primarily underground with most atmospheric tests in the Pacific. The Sedan test of July 6, 1962, was a large-scale excavation experiment for the Plowshare program, investigating peaceful uses of nuclear detonations for the creation of harbors, channels, dams, etc. The device was buried and detonated 635 feet beneath the desert floor. With a yield of 104 kilotons, Sedan exploded into the air and created a crater 1,280 feet wide and 320 feet deep. The general public can view the Sedan crater during tours of the NTS.

In spite of the return to testing, during the next few years progress was made on a treaty prohibiting certain kinds of nuclear tests. On July 17, 1962, a low-yield, joint Sandia National Laboratories/Department of Defense experiment code-named Little Feller I was the final atmospheric test conducted at the NTS. The United States continued to test in the atmosphere in other locations, primarily the Pacific. On August 5, 1963, the U.S. and the Soviet Union signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty (LTBT), banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere, as well as in the ocean and in space. The era of above-ground nuclear testing in Nevada had ended.

Suggested Reading:

Barton C. Hacker. Elements of Controversy: The Atomic Energy Commission and Radiation Safety in Nuclear Weapons Testing, 1947-1974. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

Richard L. Miller. Under the Cloud: The Decades of Nuclear Testing. Woodland, Tex: Two-Sixty Press, 1991.

Nevada Test Site Guide. Las Vegas: U.S. Department of Energy Nevada Operations Office, 2001.

A. Constandina Titus. Bombs in the Backyard: Atomic Testing and American Politics. 2nd ed.. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2001.

Suggested Links:

United States Nuclear Tests: July 1945 through September 1992. Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy, 2000.

The Nevada Test Site Oral History Project. University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

U.S. Department of Energy, Nevada Site Office.

The Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas.

Mary Palevsky

Japanese drop giant waterbombs on stricken reactors as Foreign Office promises rescue charter flights to get Britons out of Tokyo

  • 17,000 British nationals could be evacuated as last ditch efforts are made to stop nuclear catastrophe
  • Cooling pool for spent fuel rods has 'boiled dry' in one reactor
  • Japan has 48 hours to avoid 'another Chernobyl'
  • Foreign Office provides free-of-charge rescue flights from Tokyo
  • Rich scramble to book private jets out the country as fleeing passengers pack Tokyo airport
  • French say Japanese have 'visibly lost essential control' as they urge their citizens to get out

Plans are being drawn up to evacuate every British national in Japan amid mounting fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Thousands of Britons were last night warned to leave Tokyo and all other areas under threat of radiation poisoning.

The Foreign Office is even chartering additional planes to ensure that all British citizens can leave the country on free-of-charge rescue flights - as thousands of terrified passengers cram into Tokyo airport attempting to flee.

It comes as the Japanese authorities resorted to dumping water on over-heating reactors at the Fukushima nuclear plant from helicopters in a desperate last-ditch attempt to stop a catastrophic meltdown.

Experts have warned that they have 48 hours to avoid another Chernobyl.

Scroll down for video report

Desperate: A military helicopter dumps water onto the number three reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant today

Desperate: A military helicopter dumps water onto the number three reactor at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant today

Japan's Self-Defense Forces's helicopters scoop water off Japan's northeast coast on their way to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in
Japan's Self-Defense Forces's helicopter scoops water off Japan's northeast coast on its way to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okumamachi

Dangerous mission: the helicopters dropped four loads on the reactor as pilots were restricted to 40 minutes flying time over the Fukushima plant

Leaving: Worried residents wait to enter the Immigration Bureau of Japan in Tokyo yesterday as they evacuate the city in the wake of the earth quake and nuclear meltdown that has caused concern around the world

Leaving: Worried residents wait to enter the Immigration Bureau of Japan in Tokyo as they evacuate the city in the wake of the earthquake and fears of a nuclear catastrophe. Foreigners need re-entry permits in advance if they plan to revisit the country

Chaos: Passengers crowd Mar Haneda International Airport outside Tokyo as foreigners scramble to flee the country amid radiation fears



The Foreign Office says Britons should still try to get commercial flights out of Japan if possible.

However it has chartered several planes for free-of-charge rescue flights which will fly to Hong Kong, from where victims can make arrangements to make it back to the UK.

There will be no charge for British nationals and their immediate families who were 'directly affected' by the tsunami. However those who were not badly caught up will have to pay £600 per person for the chartered flights.

The plights of Britons will be assessed on a case-by-case basis according to the personal trauma they have suffered. Those deemed to have been directly affected could include those who were in the area of the disaster as well as those whose relatives have died or have lost all their possessions.

The advice to flee – echoed by other countries around the world – followed a meeting of the Cabinet’s emergency Cobra committee to discuss the meltdown-threatened Fukushima nuclear plant.

It heightened suspicions that the crisis at the plant – already ranked the second-worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl – is worse than the Japanese authorities have publicly let on.

Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters began dumping seawater on the damaged reactor of Unit 3 at the Fukushima complex at 9.48am local time this morning as Defence Minister Toshifumi Kitazawa told reporters that emergency workers had no choice but to try the water dumps before it was too late.

The aircraft dumped at least four loads of at least 2,000 gallons each, on the reactor, though much of the water appeared to be dispersed in the air.

The dumping was intended both to help cool the reactor and to replenish water in a pool holding spent fuel rods. The plant's owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said earlier that the pool was nearly empty, which might cause the rods to overheat.

American officials have also said that they believe the fuel holding pools at reactor three and four have boiled dry causing 'extremely high' radiation levels.

That means that nuclear fuel rods at both the reactors could overheat further and release more radiation.

Even when removed from reactors, uranium rods are still extremely hot and must be cooled for months, possibly longer, to prevent them from heating up again and emitting radioactivity.

Get out: A growing number of countries are joining the UK in organising flights to evacuate their citizens from Japan

Get out: A growing number of countries are joining the UK in organising flights to evacuate their citizens from Japan

Enlarge Collecting water: The Self-Defense Forces's helicopter scoops seawater on Japan's northeast coast en route to the Fukushima plant

Collecting water: The Self-Defense Forces's helicopter scoops seawater on Japan's northeast coast en route to the Fukushima plant

Enlarge Last ditch: A Japanese military helicopter can be seen in the top left of the picture as it dumps water onto reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima nuclear plant

Last ditch: A Japanese military helicopter can be seen in the top left of the picture as it dumps water onto reactors 3 and 4 at Fukushima nuclear plant

Emergency workers are struggling to keep a constant supply of water pumping into the holding pools and officials last night admitted that much of the monitoring equipment in the plant was broken and it was impossible to monitor the situation.

'We haven't been able to get any of the latest data at any spent fuel pools. We don't have latest water levels, temperatures, none of the latest information,' an official said. There are also frantic efforts to restore power to the coolant pumping system that was knocked out by the tsunami on Friday.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that along with the helicopter water drops, special police units would use water cannons - normally used to quell rioters - to spray water onto the Unit 4 storage pool. The high-pressure water cannons will allow emergency workers to stay farther away.

One French expert warned that the plant is just hours away from disaster. Thierry Charles of the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety told the Telegraph: 'The next 48 hours will be decisive. I am pessimistic because, since Sunday, I have seen that almost none of the solutions has worked.'

Nuclear reactor: What is going on
Thousands face terrifying radiation checks



The design of the reactors at the stricken Fukushima power plant has been called into question for almost 40 years.

As far back as 1972, experts said the Mark 1 should be discontinued because its containment vessel was not as robust as alternatives.

One report said such reactors had a 90 per cent probability of bursting should the fuel rods overheat and melt in an accident.

A clutch of engineers also resigned their posts rather than carry on with a project they deemed to be unsafe.
In a nuclear reactor the containment vessel is considered the last line of defence to stop a meltdown.

It is usually a steel and cement ‘tomb’ and is designed to stop the melting fuel rods sending lethal radiation into the atmosphere.

The cheaper Mark 1s, however, are less robust, smaller, and have long been thought to be more likely to fail in an emergency.

They were designed in the U.S. in the 1960s by the utility giant General Electric.Five of the six reactors at the Fukushima plant are Mark 1s.

In 1972, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission said the design should be discontinued because it was more susceptible to explosion and rupture from a build-up in hydrogen – which may have happened at Fukushima. In 1975 engineer Dale Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric quit work on a Mark 1 because they did not feel comfortable about safety.

About 17,000 British nationals are thought to be in the country, mostly in Tokyo. Last night’s Foreign Office warning stopped short of ordering them to leave the country – a diplomatic gesture which will be welcomed by the Japanese government.

But officials conceded that in reality most Britons will have few options but to leave Japan if they want to heed the advice.

Thousands of Japanese citizens are already fleeing Tokyo for the south.

Officials yesterday insisted there was no significant risk to human health in Tokyo, which is less than 140 miles south of Fukushima.

But Europe’s energy chief Guenther Oettinger warned the huge plant was ‘effectively out of control’ – sparking fears of a meltdown, which could send a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere.

He warned of ‘further catastrophic events, which could pose a threat to the lives of people on the island’. Mr Oettinger predicted the dire situation could take a further turn for the worse ‘within hours’.

The Japanese public was also unconvinced by its government’s reassurances. The mayor of Minimisoma, which is 12 miles from the Fukushima plant, said: ‘We weren’t told when the first reactor exploded, we only heard about it on television. The government doesn’t tell us anything. We are isolated. They’re leaving us to die.’

The Foreign Office insisted there was ‘no real human health issue’ outside the 20-mile exclusion zone surrounding the plant.

But it warned that panic caused by the crisis meant there were ‘potential disruptions to the supply of goods, transport, communications, power and other infrastructure’ in Tokyo.

Officials confirmed that contingency plans were being drawn up for an airlift of British nationals if the crisis worsens.

The United States is also evacuating the family members of officials stationed in Japan.

The warning came as the Japanese maid the increasingly desperate attempts to contain the crisis at the Fukushima plant.

A core team of 180 emergency workers has been at the forefront of the struggle at the plant, rotating in and out of the complex to try to reduce their radiation exposure.

But experts said that anyone working close to the reactors was almost certainly being exposed to radiation levels that could, at least, give them much higher cancer risks.

'I don't know any other way to say it, but this is like suicide fighters in a war,' said Keiichi Nakagawa, associate professor of the Department of Radiology at University of Tokyo Hospital.

Escape: residents gather up their belongings and form a queue as they wait to board a bus out of Sendai, north eastern Japan, yesterday

Escape: residents gather up their belongings and form a queue as they wait to board a bus out of Sendai, north eastern Japan, yesterday

Destroyed: Damage after the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, is seen in this satellite image taken 9:35 am local time (0035 GMT)

Destroyed: Damage after the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, is seen in this satellite image taken 9:35 am local time (0035 GMT)


Foreign companies have started pulling their staff out of Tokyo as fears of a nuclear catastrophe mount.

Multinational corporations have triggered emergency plans as power cuts have paralysed large swathes of the Japanese capital.

Some companies are already moving staff to other cities in Japan or sending overseas workers to nearby financial centres, such as Sydney.

Around 200 employees at the French bank Societe Generale are being transferred from Tokyo, while US fund managers BlackRock and Fidelity have started shifting trading staff to Hong Kong and Singapore.

German banks – including Commerzbank – have also notified staff to pull back.

Around 50 BMW workers and their families have taken up the car giant’s offer to repatriate all of its foreign workers.

But UK banks HSBC and Barclays last night insisted that it was ‘business as usual’ for their operations in the Japanese capital.

Yesterday a further fire broke out, two more reactors were reported to be overheating and concerns were growing about two pools used to store spent radioactive fuel. If a reactor overheats – and its casing is breached – dangerous radioactive material could be blown for miles. Several countries advised their citizens to evacuate.

France, one of the world’s leading users of nuclear energy, said its citizens should get out Japan. Industry Minister Eric Besson said: ‘Let’s not beat about the bush. They have visibly lost essential control. That is our analysis, even if it’s not what they are saying.’

French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet described the crisis as ‘catastrophic’ and said the latest information ‘does not lead to optimism’.

There are 2,000 French still in the Tokyo area. Australia also urged its citizens to consider leaving Tokyo and the quake-affected areas.

And the U.S. advised all Americans living within 50 miles of Fukishima to evacuate or take shelter indoors.

Russia said the crisis was moving towards a grim conclusion.

Sergei Kiriyenko, who presides over the bulk of the country’s nuclear facilities, declared: ‘Unfortunately, the situation is developing under the worst scenario.’

Explosions rocked the site on Saturday and Monday when hydrogen gas – released to ease pressure inside the sealed cores – ignited at reactors 1 and 3. On Monday hydrogen blasts hit reactor 2 and reactor 4, damaging its roof.

Experts believe that the reactor 2 blast cracked the 80-inch steel and concrete containment unit surrounding the radioactive core – triggering a radiation leak.

Last night temperatures were rising out of control in reactors 5 and 6. Scientists are also concerned about falling water levels in two tanks used to store and cool spent fuel rods.


Investors endured a roller-coaster ride on the global stock markets yesterday.

The index of leading shares in Tokyo bounced back from its recent slump but there was heavy selling elsewhere including London and New York.

The Nikkei 225 gained 5.7 per cent to 9,093.72 having lost more than 16 per cent of its value on Monday and Tuesday in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami.

But shares in Europe and the US tumbled again as the Japanese crisis, violence in the Middle East, rising unemployment in Britain and deepening debt in the Eurozone hammered confidence.

The FTSE 100 index was down 97.05 to 5598.23 in London – wiping £25billion off the value of Britain’s biggest companies – while the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost more than 150 points in New York.

Water in at least one of the pools is boiling. If its rods are exposed to the air they could overheat, releasing radioactive material into the air.

Steam rose from the pool alongside reactor 3 yesterday. Nuclear experts said the solutions being proposed to prevent leaks were ‘last-ditch efforts’.

But they added that if temperatures inside the reactors are kept down, the plant could be safe within a week.

The chief of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory Jaczko, warned that all the cooling water had gone from one of the spent fuel pools.

That would mean there is nothing to stop the fuel rods getting hotter and ultimately melting down and if the outer shell of the rods ignite with enough force, it could propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area.

'I hope my information is wrong,' said Jaczko. 'It's a terrible tragedy for Japan.'

Japan's nuclear safety agency and Tokyo Electric Power, which operates the complex, denied the claim and utility spokesman Hajime Motojuku said the 'condition is stable' at Unit 4.

Earlier, however, another utility spokesman contradicted that by saying the officials' greatest concerns were the spent fuel pools, which lack the protective shells that reactors have.

'We haven't been able to get any of the latest data at any spent fuel pools,' said Masahisa Otsuki.

'We don't have the latest water levels, temperatures, none of the latest information for any of the four reactors.'

Extreme measures: There are temporary radiation cleaning shelter, set up by across the affected area including Nihonmatsu city in Fukushima

Extreme measures: There are temporary radiation cleaning shelter, set up by across the affected area including Nihonmatsu city in Fukushima

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