Saturday, November 28, 2009
I really couldn't resist. A Finnish band with Russian Army back-up singing "Sweet Home Alabama".
The clip was entitled Action of Anti-Fascists at the walls of the Kremlin and makes use of the never ending flow of emotion from WWII.Laying flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at the Kremlin changes the conversation in Russia. It clearly places an awkward question on the lap of the state such as: Are we fascist now? Who really won? Turning the tables on corporate/government control is essential to genuine freedom.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
A NASA satellite has detected unexpected melting in the East Antarctic ice sheet. As recently as 2005 it was felt this was an area gaining ice. Now, according to NASA, the opposite is occurring:
"Using gravity measurement data from the NASA/German Aerospace Center's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (Grace) mission, a team of scientists from the University of Texas at Austin has found that the East Antarctic ice sheet-home to about 90 percent of Earth's solid fresh water and previously considered stable-may have begun to lose ice.
The team used Grace data to estimate Antarctica's ice mass between 2002 and 2009. Their results, published Nov. 22 in the journal Nature Geoscience, found that the East Antarctic ice sheet is losing mass, mostly in coastal regions, at an estimated rate of 57 gigatonnes a year. A gigatonne is one billion metric tons, or more than 2.2 trillion pounds. The ice loss there may have begun as early as 2006. The study also confirmed previous results showing that West Antarctica is losing about 132 gigatonnes of ice per year.
"While we are seeing a trend of accelerating ice loss in Antarctica, we had considered East Antarctica to be inviolate," said lead author and Senior Research Scientist Jianli Chen of the university's Center for Space Research. "But if it is losing mass, as our data indicate, it may be an indication the state of East Antarctica has changed. Since it's the biggest ice sheet on Earth, ice loss there can have a large impact on global sea level rise in the future."
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., developed the twin Grace satellites. The University of Texas Center for Space Research in Austin has overall Grace mission responsibility. Grace was launched in 2002.
More information on Grace is online at http://www.csr.utexas.edu/grace/ and http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/.
Monday, November 23, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
The USDA reports that 14.6% of American families were considered "food insecure" in 2008. Interestingly the Bush administration wanted to stop these reports.
"In 2008, 85 percent of U.S. households were food secure throughout the entire year, but 14.6 percent of households were food insecure at least some time during that year, up from 11.1 percent in 2007.
This is the highest recorded prevalence rate of food insecurity since 1995 when the first national food security survey was conducted."
Meanwhile in Janesville WI, where GM has recently closed a plant, the UAW/GM Holiday food drive has ended after 25 years of service:
"JANESVILLE--The UAW/GM Employee Assistance Program holiday food drive of 25 years won’t happen this year.
“It just leaves a big hole in my heart and in the community,” said Marv Wopat, who has led the effort since the beginning with Nurse Nancy Nienhuis.
Wopat and Neinhuis made the heart-wrenching decision two weeks ago not to conduct the program this holiday season after two months of discussions, Wopat said.
Knowing what they had to have and don’t have, after so many years, brought them to their sad, depressing conclusion.
“There’s no way to get the money,’’ Wopat said.
“Our employees were the main source of all our money. We’d go up and down the line and collect the money,’’ he said.
The impact will be felt communitywide."
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
While the MSM contiues to hype the "recovery" a few key issues go unreported that suggest the economy has long-term issues that will affect the U.S. economy over the next few years and decades. The Guardian reports on Peak Oil concerns that have tended to fall by the wayside in the so-called American recovery. These in them selves show why this is not likely to be a traditional down turn:
"The world is much closer to running out of oil than official estimates admit, according to a whistleblower at the International Energy Agency who claims it has been deliberately underplaying a looming shortage for fear of triggering panic buying.
The senior official claims the US has played an influential role in encouraging the watchdog to underplay the rate of decline from existing oil fields while overplaying the chances of finding new reserves.
The allegations raise serious questions about the accuracy of the organisation's latest World Energy Outlook on oil demand and supply to be published tomorrow – which is used by the British and many other governments to help guide their wider energy and climate change policies.....
Now the "peak oil" theory is gaining support at the heart of the global energy establishment. "The IEA in 2005 was predicting oil supplies could rise as high as 120m barrels a day by 2030 although it was forced to reduce this gradually to 116m and then 105m last year," said the IEA source, who was unwilling to be identified for fear of reprisals inside the industry. "The 120m figure always was nonsense but even today's number is much higher than can be justified and the IEA knows this.
"Many inside the organisation believe that maintaining oil supplies at even 90m to 95m barrels a day would be impossible but there are fears that panic could spread on the financial markets if the figures were brought down further. And the Americans fear the end of oil supremacy because it would threaten their power over access to oil resources," he added.
A second senior IEA source, who has now left but was also unwilling to give his name, said a key rule at the organisation was that it was "imperative not to anger the Americans" but the fact was that there was not as much oil in the world as had been admitted. "We have [already] entered the 'peak oil' zone. I think that the situation is really bad," he added."
The Independent gives further voice to these concerns that once again suggest that American powers that be feel the need to supress or marginalize the implications on American society while we watch the Palin media circus:
"In an interview with The Independent, Dr Birol said that the public and many governments appeared to be oblivious to the fact that the oil on which modern civilisation depends is running out far faster than previously predicted and that global production is likely to peak in about 10 years – at least a decade earlier than most governments had estimated.
But the first detailed assessment of more than 800 oil fields in the world, covering three quarters of global reserves, has found that most of the biggest fields have already peaked and that the rate of decline in oil production is now running at nearly twice the pace as calculated just two years ago. On top of this, there is a problem of chronic under-investment
by oil-producing countries, a feature that is set to result in an "oil crunch" within the next five years which will jeopardise any hope of a recovery from the present global economic recession, he said.
In a stark warning to Britain and the other Western powers, Dr Birol said that the market power of the very few oil-producing countries that hold substantial reserves of oil – mostly in the Middle East – would increase rapidly as the oil crisis begins to grip after 2010.
"One day we will run out of oil, it is not today or tomorrow, but one day we will run out of oil and we have to leave oil before oil leaves us, and we have to prepare ourselves for that day," Dr Birol said. "The earlier we start, the better, because all of our economic and social system is based on oil, so to change from that will take a lot of time and a lot of money
and we should take this issue very seriously," he said.
"The market power of the very few oil-producing countries, mainly in the Middle East, will increase very quickly. They already have about 40 per cent share of the oil market and this will increase much more strongly in the future," he said.
There is now a real risk of a crunch in the oil supply after next year when demand picks up because not enough is being done to build up new supplies of oil to compensate for the rapid decline in existing fields.
The IEA estimates that the decline in oil production in existing fields is now running at 6.7 per cent a year compared to the 3.7 per cent decline it had estimated in 2007, which it now acknowledges to be wrong.
"If we see a tightness of the markets, people in the street will see it in terms of higher prices, much higher than we see now. It will have an impact on the economy, definitely, especially if we see this tightness in the markets in the next few years," Dr Birol said.
"It will be especially important because the global economy will still be very fragile, very vulnerable. Many people think there will be a recovery in a few years' time but it will be a slow recovery and a fragile recovery and we will have the risk that the recovery will be strangled with higher oil prices," he told The Independent.
In its first-ever assessment of the world's major oil fields, the IEA concluded that the global energy system was at a crossroads and that consumption of oil was "patently unsustainable", with expected demand far outstripping supply. "
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Sunday, November 08, 2009
While the usual xenophobic speculation is churned in right-wing media sources after the massacre at Ft. Hood, a more concerning form of extremist infiltration has been going on in the armed forces for years without much notice. This would be neo-Nazis and white supremacists gaining access to military training and Lord knows what else courtesy of the U.S. Defense Department. The Stars and Stripes reported thus:
"In 2006, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) released a report asserting that “thousands” of active-duty troops like clarkpatrick88 could have hate group affiliations. The law center said that some military officers conceded that recruitment and retention pressures forced them to look the other way when presented with overwhelming evidence of hate group membership.
Later, the FBI said it suspected hundreds of servicemembers had been recruited into extremist groups."
Opposing Views notes this is a problem identified since at least the 1990s:
"The SPLC again brought the problem to the attention of Pentagon officials in 1996, after three neo-Nazi soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg murdered a black couple in North Carolina in a ritualistic, racially motivated slaying. Pentagon regulations were strengthened following an investigation by an Army task force and hearings by the House Armed Services Committee.
But a decade later, military recruiters, under intense pressure to meet quotas for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, appear to have lowered recruiting standards, according to the SPLC's 2006 report. The report revealed that large numbers of neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists were joining the armed forces to acquire combat training and access to weapons and explosives.
In 2008, the FBI released an unclassified report that supported the SPLC's findings. This past April, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report stating that right-wing extremists currently pose the most significant threat of domestic terrorism and expressing the concern that they may attempt to exploit the combat training and experience of returning veterans.
The SPLC letter notes that since 1994 the military has discharged more than 12,500 servicemembers simply because of their homosexuality. "It seems quite anomalous that the Pentagon would consider homosexuals more of a threat to the good order of the military than neo-Nazis and other white supremacists who reject our Constitution's most cherished principles," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project, which monitors extremist activity."