LPAC-TV Weekly Report
Galactic Challenge Demands:
Obama Out! Let NASA Fly!
This is the third in a series of special LPAC-TV Weekly Reports, hosted by John Hoefle, and featuring Lyndon LaRouche and Sky Shields of the LaRouche Basement Team, on the subject of the literally Earth-shaking events taking place, as a result of cosmic occurrences in our galaxy and Solar System, as evidenced by the March 11 Japan earthquake and tsunami....
LaRouche: We're now in a situation, in which the existence of humanity is being challengedI don't say it's being menaced, it's being challenged. It's being challenged by a condition which is a product of a development, which is lawful in our galaxy. The process in this galaxy is affecting the behavior of the Solar System, the Sun most specifically. As a result of that, we have a threat of a chain of events, crucial events, volcanoes, so forth, which threaten humanity.
We could, despite our depleted conditionthe fact that science in the United States and Europe has been collapsing, essentially since the time of the assassination of first, John F. Kennedy, and then his brother Robert Kennedythere's been a long-term trend in the collapse of civilization, and science in particular, but also the economy, since those times.
And therefore, we have, for example, a population today among people under 21, which generally is not really human in terms of any of its capabilities for productive labor. They just have not been given that ability, nor the opportunity to practice it....
This Week's News
U.S. Economic/Financial News
April 1 (EIRNS)All the lying statistics pumped out by Federal and state agencies, filling the media, about the "vigorous economic recovery" which is "comin' 'round the corner," cannot hide the fact that the two largest states in the United States, California and Texas, are beyond bankrupt, and that their cowardly and ideologically-driven leaders are incapable of anything but presiding over mass murder of their states' poor, elderly, and disabled citizens. While the Democrats and Republicans are locked into an idiotic, and controlled dispute over raising taxes versus cutting spending to achieve a balanced budget, the state governments are collapsing into gridlock, education for the future is being savaged, and whole sections of the populations are being tossed onto a human scrap-heap.
For California, the recycled governor, Jerry Brown, shows that his years out of office taught him nothing. With a $25 billion-plus deficit, on top of years of deficits, and Draconian cuts, under his predecessor Arnie Schwarzenegger, he tried to draw four Republicanstwo in the State Senate, and two in the Assemblyto join with the Democrats to place a tax initiative on the ballot. "Just let the voters have a choice," he pleaded. And the Republicans argued back, "No new taxes." After six weeks of "negotiations," filled with promises that there could be a "bipartisan compromise," the usual occurred: The Republicans walked away, in spite of Brown imposing $12.5 billion of budget cuts! His hope that the other $12.5 billion of shortfall would be covered with tax increases shattered, he now is threatening to proceed with another $12.5 billion in cuts.
He has already cut higher education, health care, and social services to the bone, beyond what Schwarzenegger had done. Another $12.5 billion in cuts will leave poor children with no access to health care; the elderly with no health care or aid from the state, with a slashing of "at-home services"; cuts in education, drastically undermining the hopes of millions for higher education, as tuition hikes are certain, loans and grants will be cut, and the numbers accepted at state schools, including community colleges, cut dramatically. The cuts in funds to colleges and universities will further deplete research programs, in essential programs involving geologic and seismic studies. And the cuts in infrastructure will leave the state in even worse shape, to deal with evacuations, and aid from first responders, in a state threatened with problems ranging from earthquakes and tsunamis, to mud slides and forest fires, to water and power shortages.
Texas is facing a $28 billion shortfall, and its myopic, Bush-League governor, Rick Perry, is cheerfully willing to cut everything, going so far that even some Republicans are beginning to protest. Perry's main focus is education, with billions in cuts to education, which will result in mass firing of teachers, increased class sizes, and underfunded classrooms. Local school districts have responded to the cuts by ending special programs in science, languages, and cultureespecially musicbut the allocations for public schools still need an additional $7 billion in cuts, beyond what has already been agreed upon. The Legislative Budget Board estimates that the cuts demanded by the GOP will mean a loss of 335,000 jobs by 2013, as this is a two-year budget.
April 1 (EIRNS)The Obama Administration's report of about 200,000 new part-time jobs, and a nearly permanently shrunken U.S. workforce, brought smiles to Wall Street speculators on April 1, while inability to find a full-time job remained the reality for 30 million American workers.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said there was net job creation of 216,000 in March. Leaving aside that 44,000 of these "jobs" were actually only imputed by the BLS's computers, not actually found in its survey, virtually all of the jobs created, 197,000, were part-time, and overwhelmingly in financial services, leisure and hospitality, retail sales, and health care. Of these, 93,000 of the new part-time job takers need full-time work and can't find it. As for productive full-time unemployment: Construction employment fell again, manufacturing work rose by just 17,000.
The result is that America's "dropped-out work force" keeps swelling in the economic collapse, having increased by 76,000 in the past two months, and by 2,330,000 in the past year of supposed "slow but steady" growth. The labor force itself is 490,000 smaller than one year ago, although there are 3 million more Americans than in that time, and half that many should have been added to the workforce in a healthy economy. The rate of so-called participation in the labor force has fallen 0.7% over the year. And further, the number of Americans officially unemployed for a long period, more than 6 months, keeps growing; it is now 46% of all the officially unemployed, 6.1 million people. And if the "unofficial" (i.e., discouraged, dropped out) long-term unemployed were counted, that number would double.
April 1 (EIRNS)Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Narayana Kocherlakota said on March 31 that the Federal Reserve may need to increase short-term interest rates, now near zero, by the end of 2011 if core inflation (which excludes food and energy price increases) continues to rise. Kocherlakota said he expects core inflation to increase from about 0.8% in late 2010 to 1.3% by the end of 2011. According to a nostrum called the "Taylor Rule," a increase in core inflation of 0.5% would call for an interest rate increase of three-quarters of a percentage point.
Kocherlakota is one of five regional Fed presidents with a vote this year on monetary policy, along with the Fed governors based in Washington. Two other regional Fed presidents with votesCharles Plosser of Philadelphia and Richard Fisher of Dallashave suggested they would favor raising interest rates in the future.
Global Economic News
March 29 (EIRNS)The Standard & Poors rating agency downgraded both Portugal and Greece today, saying that the European Union's new bailout rules may mean both nations eventually renege on their debt obligations. This is the second S&P downgrade of Portugal in a week, and leaves its paper one notch above junk. Predictably, yields on Portuguese bonds rose sharply.
The "consensus" line put out in the financial media is that Portugal will be able to meet its April 15 bond redemption of EU4.5 billion euros, barely, but that it will default on its June 15 redemption of another 4.5 billion, unless the country get an EU-IMF bailout before then. So, Portuguese President Cavaco Silva is being pressed to call new elections for early June, to try to get a compliant government in office just in time to slaughter its own population on behalf of the bankrupt Inter-Alpha Group. This is the Ireland scenario, Take 2.
The S&P note says that the March 24-25 EU Summit results "confirm expectations that sovereign debt restructuring is a potential pre-condition to borrowing and senior unsecured government debt will be subordinated to loans from the fund. Both features are, in our view, detrimental to the commercial creditors." In other words, both countries will have to get EFSF/ESM money, and that new debt will go to the head of the line, ahead of existing bondholders, who are going to get screwed.
March 29 (EIRNS)Sorghumthe world's fifth-ranking staple grain, after corn, rice, wheat, and barleyis the foremost cereal food for 40 million people in Sudan (North and South, where it's called "durra"), and for many other African nations. But sorghum is now under assault, for control by the British Empire agro-cartels, through gene-patenting and licensing, in the evil model used by Monsanto for corn, soybeans, cotton, and other crops over the past 30 years of blatant subversion of law.
In 2009, an exclusive patent right to the "invention" (as the corrupt U.S. patent office now terms it) of identifying and isolating a gene of wild sorghum from Tanzania (gene IS7173) was granted to applicants at Texas A&M University and the federal agriculture departments of the United States and Brazil. In turn, these agencies have moved to obtain patents in dozens of other nations, and to sell "licenses" to cartel companies to commercially develop seed traits and "products" using IS7173, for both sorghum as a food grain, for its biofuel use, and for transplant to other grains and forest plant life. Front in line are reportedly DowAgroScience, and Oji Paper Company (Japan-based wood products giant).
Sorghum originated in North Africa, and many varieties are to be found there and in east Africa. The desirable feature of the cartel-arrogated gene, is that it equips its sorghum variety to tolerate acidity and aluminum in the soil, thus overcoming a relatively widespread problem.
Last year the government of Tanzania tried to halt this wrongful patenting process, by seeking legal obstructions against the United States and Brazil. Tanzanian authorities rightly can claim that the private-patent grant to the Tanzanian sorghum gene, violates various multinational agreements set up in the past 20 years, which were nominally to respect poor nations' rights to get something back for their botanical germ plasm. In reality, these agreements were just sops, while the agro-cartels went right ahead and wrongfully claimed control over seeds and bio-science of the means to life.
In Sudan in 2007, for example, of the 6.7 million metric tons of grain supply utilized that year, 5 million was sorghum. Worldwide, the volume of the top grains produced was corn/maize (722 million metric tons), rice (659 mmt), wheat (606 mmt), barley (133 mmt) and sorghum (63 mmt)most of which latter in Africa.
April 1 (EIRNS)Dexia, one of the main and most arrogant providers of "toxic loans" to cities and local governments in France and elsewhere, is increasingly the subject of doubts regarding its viability and solvency.
Dexia emerged from the merger of the Belgian Crédit Communal and the French Crédit Local, both credit institutions more or less managed by their respective states, and turned into a predatory investment bank. Dexia, through FSA, made and then lost buckets of money with the U.S. subprime massacre, and never actually recovered.
Its "legacy division" (internal "bad bank") is still stuck with 1EU38 billion of toxic, unsellable mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Dexia remains the only French bank still under government management. As a result of its current bad results, even before the end of the stress tests, on March 30, Moody's rating agency declared that it has considered lowering Dexia's A1 rating, if nothing is done in the next 90 days to reduce its dependence on acquiring new capital from covered bonds.
Yesterday, following a successful Freedom of Information Act challenge by Bloomberg, the U.S. Federal Reserve released documents disclosing what banks borrowed how much from the Fed's discount window in October 2008 at the height of the financial meltdown: While U.S. banks were borrowing surprisingly little, on Oct. 24, Dexia through its New York branch borrowed $31.5 billion, leading the pack of mostly European banks at the handout.
The total borrowing from all banks during that week climbed to $111 billion. The data showed that Germany's Commerzbank, Royal Bank of Scotland, and France's Société Générale all used the facility. Three of the major lenders, Royal Bank of Scotland, Depfa, and Dexia were propped up and had to be taken over by their governments to survive.
Dexia received billions of euros in capital and funding guarantees from France, Belgium, and Luxembourg during the credit crunch. Depfa was taken over in October 2007 by Hypo Real Estate Holding AG, which in turn was seized by the German government in 2009, and RBS, which had $11 billion outstanding from the discount window on Oct. 29, 2008, was a unit of Edinburgh-based HBOS Plc, which announced its takeover by London-based Lloyds TSB Group Plc in September 2008. Too Inter-Alpha to fail?
United States News Digest
April 3 (EIRNS)The left-liberal website FireDogLake.com prominently posted a piece by blogger Bin Quick on March 31 calling for President Obama to be ousted via Section 4 of the 25th Amendment of the Constitution:
"Barack Obama's failure to stand up to the Republican Party has endangered America's economy, social safety-net, and national security. Barack Obama is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and he doesn't have the required leadership qualities to lead the Democratic Party or America. I urge Vice President Biden and the Cabinet to remove Barack Obama under the provisions of the 25th Amendment, Section 4. In the event Vice President Biden and the Cabinet fail, I beg Sec. Hillary Clinton to resign immediately and announce her candidacy for President in 2012."
The article, entitled "My Pledge to the Democratic Party," was initially posted on the Bin Quick blog on Dec. 3, 2010.
April 2 (EIRNS)In what could be viewed as a pilot project for the death counselling promoted by Obama's Medicare administrator Sir Donald Berwick, 51 people were killed under Washington State's assisted-suicide law in 2010, after taking lethal medications prescribed by doctors. In Oregon, the only other state with a physician-assisted suicide law, 65 patients died last year after taking suicide concoctions prescribed by doctors.
In a press release, the Hemlock Society, aka Compassion & Choices of Oregon, boasts that suicide is becoming "a normal part of end-of-life care options."
But Margaret Dore, an attorney who has campaigned against assisted suicide, suggests that this "normalization" is precisely the problem. "With the normalization of suicide under the Oregon and Washington [physician-assisted suicide laws], other suicides became normalized as well," she is quoted as saying in the National Catholic Register.
April 2 (EIRNS)The AARP is not a do-good association of retired persons: It is a bought-and-paid-for front for Nazi health-care leader UnitedHealth. As of 2009, income generated by AARP from its huge membership base of over 35 million, constituted only about 17% of its revenue, because income from royalties was 46% of its revenue, from selling rights to use its logo to the big private, for-profit health insurance outfits, the biggest being British-run UnitedHealth.
This was one of the revelations made in a staff report released yesterday, during a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee. According to the report:
"United is AARP's largest business partner. As part of the United and AARP business agreement, all three of the Medicare insurance product lines are marketed under the AARP name brand. From 2007 to 2009, United's royalty payments to AARP have grown from $284 million in 2007 to $427 million in 2009, a 50% increase."
"Since 2002, income generated from AARP membership dues has increased 32%, or $60 million. However, during this same period, income derived from AARP's business relationships, primarily with insurance companies, nearly tripled, increasing by $417 million."
April 1 (EIRNS)A law passed by Congress in 1972, which provides nearly free care to almost all patients who need kidney dialysis, is now under attack in order to cut this treatment back for elderly patients under Medicare. A New York Times article today features various groups, such as a committee of the Renal Physicians Association, discussing guidelines to use when dialysis is "appropriate," rather than providing it to all in need. One question doctors are told to ask: Would I be surprised if this patient is dead within a year?
There are 400,000 dialysis patients in the United Statesand more than one-third of them are 65 or over. The cost of providing dialysis is thus increasing, now estimated at $40 to 50 billion this year. One doctor, Peter Aronson at Yale University School of Medicine, is quoted calling the program "so emblematic of good intentions misapplied. The question is how to dial it back."
In reality, this soft "human interest" report is a cover for the compulsory Hitler health policy for cutting treatment for the elderly, as the Blair-British NICE policy does. NICE mandates treating chronic kidney disease according to a "what is your life worth" calculus, and is notorious for denying dialysis for older patients with multiple illnesses. NICE-lover Dr. Donald Berwick, head of the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has followed suit. On Dec. 29, CMS decreed a new framework for paying for dialysis, which applies a point system depending upon "quality standards."
That's sophistical language for saying the elderly, who will never return to full health, should be denied dialysis, and die.
March 29 (EIRNS)In an October 2008 campaign debate, Obama called Michelle Rhee, "Washington's wonderful new superintendent." Indeed, when Michelle Rhee brought her school "reform" program to Washington, D.C. schools, along with her mass firings of teachers and closing of schools, there were immediate apparent successes.
But now, USAToday has exposed that those sudden, drastic improvements in test scores were likely all faked. The USAToday investigation focused on Noyes Middle School, a school whose performance was so good that Rhee twice in three years bestowed huge cash bonuses on both teachers ($8,000 apiece) and principal ($10,000). In 2009, Noyes was one of 264 schools nationwide to earn a "blue ribbon" award; in 2010, D.C. schools got $75 million from Obama's Race to the Top program, which is mostly based on test scores.
Through FOIA releases, USAToday discovered that there was a pattern of "erasures" on Noyes and other schools' tests, that showed a statistically improbable percentage of wrong answers being changed to right ones. In one 7th grade reading exam in 2009, correct erasures occurred an average of 12.7 times per student, per test, while the national average in 1 time per test. System wide, 103 schools or over half of the schools in the DC system, showed deviations above the national average at least once since 2008.
Unfortunately, the real losers in this drama are the childrenthe future. Since the enraged voters of Washington, D.C. drove Rhee out of office last Fall, the test scores of Noyes students have suddenly dropped off, just as fast as they rose. In 2008, math proficiency at Noyes jumped 22%, to 84%. In 2010, these same students tested at only 52% proficiency.
March 28 (EIRNS)Cook County, Ill. Circuit Court Judge Moshe Jacobius has taken the unusual step of temporarily halting over 1,700 mortgage foreclosures, some dating as far back as 2001, after a law firm told the court that the cases contained altered documents. Cook County's major city is Chicago.
In a perverted sequel to the "robo-signing" scandal, Fisher and Shapiro, one of three "white shoe" law firms representing the "servicers," somehow admitted in open court that documents were altered after being signed by homebuyers. In what the Chicago Tribune refers to as a case of "sloppy paperwork," altered documents included, "addition of attorney fees, insurance costs, preservation costs, inspection costs and taxes on the property, costs that may have been incurred before or after the servicer signed the original affidavit." In many cases, signature pages were removed, then replaced after falsified documents were inserted. "Sloppy," indeed.
Not that this case was necessary to stress the importance of LaRouche's Homeowners and Bank Protection Act. Last year, Cook County had over 50,000 initial mortgage default notices filed; at year's end, over 70,000 active cases remained. Judge Jacobius has ordered law firm Fisher and Shapiro to notify affected homeowners, although it is not clear whether they have done so. Facts point to the law firms as the guilty parties, but the individual cases cannot be removed from the swill of the entire foreclosure mess. The stay on the 1,700 cases is not permanent; in fact, legal actions to clear it could start as early as April 4.
Ibero-American News Digest
April 2 (EIRNS)Leading Chilean seismologist, Armando Cisternas, has documented the role of French seismologist Fernand Matessus de Ballore, of the Ecole Polytechnique, in setting up and serving as the first director of the Chilean Seismology Service, from its founding in 1907 until his death in 1923. At the time he was recruited to set up the service by President Pedro Montt, Matessus de Ballore was the Ecole Polytechnique's Director of Studies.
As head of the new Chilean Seismological Service, Matessus de Ballore established "one of the best seismological networks of the time," Cisternas wrote in 2007, carrying out "an impressive work on the collection and interpretation of worldwide earthquake data." In fact, the first issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America published on its first page, a map of the distribution of seismological stations in Chile.
By the early 1970s, Chile's Seismological Service, based at the Geophysics Department at the University of Chile, had become the most advanced in Ibero-America, with 19 monitoring stations established along the length of the country, along the Pacific Rim of Fire. The university had trained several top-notch seismologists, and was able to send several students abroad for further training in the U.S. or Europe.
As reported by Dr. Cisternas, who teaches at both the University of Chile and the Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France, all this changed when the fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet took over in 1973, with the backing of the equally fascist banker Felix Rohatyn. The Seismological Service was gutted: decentralized, and effectively privatized, depriving Chile, the most seismically active nation on the planet, of a centrally functioning agency capable of monitoring and warning of seismic events.
Cisternas, a graduate of CalTech, speaks bluntly today about the state's responsibility in making the necessary investments, and ensuring there is a functioning, centralized seismological agency, capable of protecting the population from earthquakes and tsunamis. This is not a task for universities, he states emphatically. The state must act. Today, there are only six seismologists in all of Chile.
Since the Feb. 27, 2010 earthquake in Chile, measuring 8.8 on the Richter scale, Cisternas has pointed repeatedly to a 2007 study done by a group of Chilean and foreign seismologists who warned that the region of Concepcion-Constitucion in south-central Chile was the likely site for a major earthquake, and in fact that is where the 2010 quake occurred. It is also lunacy, Cisternas charges, that while Chile has established excellent standards regarding building construction to prevent earthquake damage, on a par with Japanese standards, there are no such standards regarding protection from a tsunami. How is it possible, he asks, that tall buildings, including hospitals, schools, and tourist hotels, are being built along the Chilean coast? In the event of a tsunami, they will all be washed away, and tens of thousands of lives lost. It is insane that the profit motive determines where certain buildings are built, rather than concern for human life, he argues.
March 30 (EIRNS)Citing Japan's experience, Mexican President Felipe Calderón convoked a meeting March 29, involving the Secretaries of Defense, Navy, Government, Public Security, and Treasury, and other civil protection and national security officials, and ordered that earthquake preparedness plans be reviewed.
The government of Mexico City, where 20 million-plus people live atop the largely soft soils of a former lake-bed in a highly-active seismic area, announced that it will carry out 15 earthquake drills between now and the Sept. 19 anniversary of the 1985 earthquake in which over 10,000 people died. Public agencies' response to a simulated M8 quake were tested on March 28; drills of what to do in an earthquake were held in all public and private schools on April 1; drills will be conducted in hospitals the following Friday, residential neighborhoods the Friday after that, and so on, culminating in a citywide simulation on Sept. 19. Mexico City Gov. Marcelo Ebrard noted in announcing this that "the serenity and organization of the Japanese people in the last earthquake reminds us of the importance of being prepared for disaster and knowing how to act."
"In Mexico, There Will Be Earthquakes," El Economista columnist Enrique Campos Suárez wrote in a biting March 20 column questioning the government's and the population's actual commitment to do more than talk about the danger.
"In this country, instead of running out to protest against the Laguna Verde nuclear plant, which is in an area far from earthquakes and tsunamis, we should inspect what our buildings are made of, and procedures in case of earthquakes. Researchers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico inspected 50 Mexico City buildings, and found that 20% of them do not meet safety standards necessary to resist an earthquake," he wrote.
"There are areas in Mexico City where construction should not be allowed, because it is proven that the subsoil ensures magnification of the earthquake. In countries where there are quakes, and laws are respected, these areas are converted into parks," he wrote. "In Mexico ... they become future cemeteries."
March 30 (EIRNS)The March 23 CaribeWave II exercise, the first held to test the efficacy of a tsunami early warning system for 34 Caribbean nations, revealed that many participants' emergency preparedness plans, and the infrastructure needed to make such plans work, were significantly lacking.
The exercise was to test emergency responses to a fictitious 7.6 magnitude earthquake off the coast of the U.S. Virgin Islands, which generated a "dummy" tsunami whose waves reached up to ten meters in height. Simulated alerts were sent out from the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center and the West Coast and Alaska Tsunami Warning Center, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). National authorities receiving the alerts were to advise the public through sirens, text messages, e-mail, media outlets, and telephone.
The exercise did not involve moving populations, but according to Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, the UN agency which set up the early warning system, the people of the region "keenly followed the exercise." Indeed. They would no doubt like to know how governments intend to protect them in the event of a major natural disaster.
What were described as "gaps" in the transmission system included the fact that the alert message was not received by the Global Telecommunications System (GTS). There were also cases in which reception of messages via the Emergency Managers Weather Information Network (EMWIN) failed. Few mobile phone operators participated in the exercise at the national level.
In the Dominican Republic, authorities discovered that there were no evacuation plans. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, officials found that radio stations could broadcast an alert in Spanish, but not in English! In addition, the emergency broadcast signal was weak.
In Puerto Rico, which was participating in an exercise of this type for the third time, under the name LANTEX, many citizens reported that they never heard the sirens that were supposed to alert them. According to the National Weather Service, only 11 of Puerto Rico's 44 coastal municipalities are prepared to respond to a tsunami. Alfonso Jiménez Porrata, head of the Emergency Alert System, warned right after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami that his agency is not prepared to transmit information or instructions to the public, in the event of such a catastrophe. Towers and other infrastructure couldn't withstand a tsunami.
Western European News Digest
April 1 (EIRNS)Irish Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced before the Dail, yesterday, the government's commitment to sink another EU24 billion in taxpayers' money into the hopelessly bankrupt Irish banking system. Today, he elaborated that senior bondholders will not be made to "share" any of the burden, because the ECB had "solidly opposed" any such idea. "We said we wanted burden sharing," Noonan told RTE TV Friday, "but would not do it unilaterally."
Denouncing the government's policy, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said that the announcement "makes it quite clear who is dictating the agenda and who is pulling this government's strings.... Rather than go after over EU20 billion in unguaranteed bonds, the government is making ordinary citizens bear the burden of this debt. Rather than act in the interests of the Irish people they are acting in the interest of the banks."
Sinn Féin parliamentarian Sean Crowe simply said: "Burden sharing, my arse."
March 31 (EIRNS)Vosges Matin, a daily from the Vosges region in eastern France, covered the fact that Solidarity & Progress leader and longtime LaRouche associate Jacques Cheminade is out to get his signatures again for the 2012 Presidential elections, and that some of the local mayors are supporting him. The newspaper has covered Cheminade in the past, and probably got wind that some elected officials in this area are organizing a meeting for him in the coming period. "Two mayors from the Vosges region support him already on his website www.cheminade2012.fr," the paper says. "These are the mayors of Velotte et Tatignécourt and of Vermonzey."
March 31 (EIRNS)Following former Chancellor Helmut Kohl's defense of nuclear energy last week, before the elections, now top representatives of German industry are finally coming out against Merkel's nuclear moratorium, and are calling for a return to "rational and reliable economic policies." This comes after several days of shellshock following the CDU/FPD shellacking in the Baden-Württemberg elections, and the surge of the Greens in that state and Rhineland-Palatine.
Thursday's Financial Times quotes Dieter Hundt, president of the German Employers Association (BDA), who called on "politicians to return to good sense, rationality and reliability." He condemned the nuclear moratorium "as a big mistake."
Hans Peter Keitel, president of the Federation of German Industry, said in Stern magazine, that Germany must "take incredible care not to destroy our economic success in the debate about nuclear energy. Electricity in Germany must be safe, clean and affordable, or we will endanger the very foundations of our prosperity."
March 29 (EIRNS)A team of Dutch geologists at the universities of Delft and Utrecht has proposed to build a permanent global grid of seismic measuring facilities on, as well as under, the ground. This is, as Kees Vuik, one of the scientists, has explained, to considerably broaden the tectonic knowledge base, and thereby provide a much more precise map of changes of temperature, seismic activity, and the like, by which one can tell what kinds and shapes of tectonic shifts occur in one region, and what effects they have on other regions. In particular, future larger quakes will be observable with this method, which would increase early warning periods for potential heavy quake zones.
March 31 (EIRNS)Police in Rome seized 20 International Bill of Exchange (IBOE) papers, for a value of $565 billion, and discovered an international ring that put such phony money through banks that discounted the fake bonds. Prosecutors say that there are 18 more IBOE bills in circulation, probably already in the "legal" financial system.
The Italians had been tipped off by U.S. intelligence, as a similar investigation is going on in the U.S.A. The phony bonds were counterfeited by the Mafia; the question is whether this is a bottom-top operation, or whether the Mafia has been commissioned from the top. Guess.
March 30 (EIRNS)In an open letter entitled "Subversion of due process and insufficiency of inquiry in the investigation into the death of Dr. David Kelly," three prominent British doctors have demanded that British Prime Minister David Cameron "endorse the request that an inquest be ordered." Excerpts from the letter follow:
"You will be aware that this important death, especially in the context in which it occurred, and the long subsequent fight for an inquest has been observed with mounting interest worldwide. Many will regard the response to the request for an inquest as a litmus test as to the good intentions and credibility of your government.
"If an inquest is denied, despite all the evidence carefully provided to the Attorney General, there is a real and grave risk that your government will be seen as continuing, and being complicit in, an enormous conspiracy to pervert the course of justice."
April 2 (EIRNS)Fully committed to keeping the seven older reactors offline even after the present three-month moratorium expires, the German government is facing the loss of EU200 million in taxes from the power plants. Rumors in Berlin have it that the government is thinking of increasing the nuclear fuel tax from EU145 per gram, to EU220. The fuel tax yields EU2.3 billion per year, and is one of the things that makes electricity from nuclear power plants much more expensive than in other countries.
RWE, Germany's major producer of nuclear power, meanwhile informed the press that it has filed a lawsuit against the government's moratorium decree.
April 1 (EIRNS)Yesterday's statement by the head of the French Nuclear Safety Authority (ASN) André-Claude Lacostethat it was considering a moratorium on the only nuclear plant under construction in France, the third-generation EPR in Flamanville, Normandysparked polemics and rumors throughout the country, that Lacoste was immediately called to the Elysée for a severe scolding which led him to "clarify" his statements later on that day.
In an interview in today's Libération, Lacoste said that his response to the question of a National Assembly deputy in the context of his briefing at the National Assembly, was "overinterpreted" by everyone. He said that he merely meant that "if the need for a moratorium were to be raised, it would be over the EPR under construction in Flamanville. I did not have in mind a moratorium in the administrative sense of the word, but the audit" of France's nuclear plants.
Lacoste gave two examples of future possible improvements in nuclear safety: the need to move the diesel generators for the cooling system higher, and the need to have a double enclosure surrounding the pools of spent fuel.
March 28 (EIRNS)A stunning video is circulating broadly on YouTube, which epitomizes the form that mass-strike patriotism is taking in Italy.
Italy is celebrating its unification's 150th anniversary, with performances of Verdi's opera "Nabucco"with its "Va Pensiero" chorus of Hebrew slaves which became a patriotic symbol of Italian fight for unification in 1861by Maestro Riccardo Muti, now chief conductor of the Chicago Symphony.
On March 12, as a part of the celebration of Italy's 150th anniversary, Muti opened the performance in Rome by denouncing the budget cuts in arts. When "Va Pensiero" was sung, the public applauded and called "Encore!" so many times, that Muti was prompted to say that Italy has also become a beautiful and lost Fatherland, as the lyrics say, and that they would perform it again, but that this time, the audience should sing too ... which they did! All the singers on stage and in the audience were moved to tears. This is the mass-strike in action!
April 1 (EIRNS)Regardless of whether the Libya intervention was warranted or not, President Obama is now caught up in his own lies about the nature of the Libyan military operation. According to a senior U.S. intelligence source, Obama has been lying through his teeth about the Libyan mission.
In his televised address on March 28, Obama claimed that the overall mission is strictly to prevent humanitarian disaster and to enforce the no-fly zone. This is a lie: The actual objective is to oust Qaddafi. The problem is that UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama lied to both Russia and China, to get them to simply abstain, rather than veto the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the military action.
Now the entire Permanent Five UN Security Council process is in shambles, as one after another Russian government official, from President Dmitri Medvedev to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, have indicated. The fact that Rice lied to Russia and China to secure their abstention, and then Obama lied to the American people in his statement about Libya, when he claimed that the "coalition" was not out to overthrow Qaddafi, have provoked a backlash.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who opposed any American involvement in the Libya operation from the outset, was on Capitol Hill on March 31 with Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen. In what was views as tantamount to a slap in the face to Obama, Gates declared that no U.S. troops would be on the ground in Libya as long as he remained Secretary. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is warning close colleagues that Obama is about to draw the United States, gradually, into a Vietnam-style quagmire, and she is furious at the double-cross by the President, Rice, and others.
Lyndon LaRouche said early on in the Libya crisis, that Gates and Clinton are in a near-impossible situation, because Obama is a psycho. They are trying to make the best of a total mess. As Gates made clear on the Sunday talk shows on March 26, he hopes and prays that Qaddafi will either be killed or forced to take a deal and leave Tripoli.
The defection of Mussa Kussa, Libya's chief of intelligence and foreign minister up until March 30was a psychological blow to Qaddafi. Now Qaddafi's son, London School of Economics dandy Saif al-Islam, has sent a personal emissary to London to try to cut a deal for a transfer of power to him, and a guarantee of no international prosecution. The chances of such a deal being worked out are unknown at this point.
A week ago, a group of military officers tried to kill Qaddafi, reports a Washington intelligence source, but the attempt failed, and the officers were all killed. After the incident, Qaddafi ordered all his top generals to bring their entire families to the Qaddafi compound, to make sure there are no more defections.
On the battlefield, even with covert U.S. and European "contractors" giving weapons training and other military support, the rebel forces are showing themselves to be a ragtag bunch of untrained civilians, with more heart than brains or military experience. Gates has insisted that the bulk of the military operations to maintain the no-fly zone and protect Libyan civilians be transferred to the Europeans, which means that there will likely be a total fiasco. Unless someone succeeds in taking a pot-shot at Qaddafi and bringing this conflict to a sudden, merciful end, the Libyan affair is starting to look more and more like a slide into a quagmire.
April 1 (EIRNS)In some Arab countries, protesters defied the rulers' strong-arming and took to streets on the traditional Muslim prayer day.
In Syria, where the protesters called it a Day of Martyrs in memory of those who were killed by security forces last week, it was another violent day. Thousands of Syrians shouting "We want freedom!" took to the streets, defying security agents who tried to beat them back with gunfire, tear gas, and batons, witnesses and activists said. At least three people were killed, bringing the death toll from two weeks of protests to at least 75.
In Oman, demonstrators demanded the release of protesters who have been imprisoned. Witnesses say at least one demonstrator was killed following clashes after Friday prayers in the industrial port town of Sohar, where anti-government protests first erupted in late February. Reports indicate that security forces fired water cannons and used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in the northern part of the country.
In Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh is holding on to power by his fingernails in the face of massive demonstrations and defections from his rank and file, tens of thousands of rival demonstrators rallied in the streets of the capital, Sana'a, some showing support for the government, while others protesting against it. Anti-government protesters gathered outside Sana'a University to call for an immediate end to Yemeni Saleh's 32-year rule.
In Jordan, the protesters, calling themselves March 24 Youth, held their rally in an Amman suburb after a similar protest in a central square the previous week had been broken up by security forces, leaving one dead and 120 injured. The protesters demanded the dissolution of parliament and the resignation of Prime Minister Marouf Bakhit. Jordan's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, urged King Abdullah II to intervene and propose a package of reforms that ensure respect for freedom, and to avert divisions that happened in other Arab countries.
In Bahrain, where thousands of Saudi troops have poured in to muzzle the protesters, the British-Saudi plan to unleash a sectarian bloodbath within the Muslim community, continues unabated. The official line is: Bahrain is back to business as usual. Shi'ite protesters are off the streets after a month of paralyzing demonstrations, the ruling al-Khalifa family says. But police checkpoints dot the highways around the tiny Sunni-led kingdom. Saudi tanks are deployed around the lavish shopping malls in the capital.
April 4 (EIRNS)U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and former Iran-Contra criminal Elliott Abrams are trying to use the political unrest in the Arab world to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in an attempt to revive the 1996 neo-conservative/Likudnik playbook for regime change, titled "Clean Break: A New Strategy for Security the Realm." That document, prepared for Benjamin Netanyahu in his first term as Israeli prime minister, identified Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Syria's Assad for immediate overthrow, to be followed by [U.S.] war against Iran. From the election of Bush and Cheney in 2000, until 2003, when the invasion of Iraq began, Lieberman and Abrams, who was then at the National Security Council, were among those spreading the disinformation used to justify the Iraq War.
Syria, like every other Arab country, is being hit with a mass-strike wave, driven by a revolt of young people against the economic misery coming from the global financial collapse. Lieberman and Abrams have wanted a military intervention against Assad since at least 2000, and are now using the unrest to again try to target Assad for the Qaddafi treatment. Speaking on Fox News Sunday, March 27, Lieberman said Assad could be the next target of the Libya "precedent"i.e., air strikes and overthrow.
Abrams was even more direct in an op-ed in the Washington Post March 26, headlined "Ridding Syria of a Despot," where he says Assad should be overthrown because of his support for the elected Palestinian government party in Gaza, Hamas, and for Lebanon's Hezbollah. This would be a stepping stone for overthrowing the regime in Iran, he argues.
March 29 (EIRNS)Speaking to the media, Siraj Hasan, director of the Bangalore-based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) said Indian scientists are moving closer to launching three projects that are proposed to be part of a global effort to study the impact of an overheating sun. "The Sun is entering a phase known as solar maxima, a period of intense heating that sees an increase in the number of solar flares and in the formation of sun spots. The phase lasts five to six years and follows a period called solar minima, a phase of low activity. The entire cycle lasts about 11 years," Hasan said.
During solar maxima, charged particles such as protons and electrons emitted by the Sun's fiery storms or flares, get trapped in Earth's magnetic field, producing currents. These currents, when strong, are capable of producing electrical disturbances that can affect the Earth, Hasan explained. Countries in high latitudes, such as Alaska, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Russia, are particularly affected by the occurrence, he said.
The three projectslaunching of the special telescope on a satellite named Aditya in 2013 under the supervision of the Indian Space Research organization (ISRO); the NLST (National Large Solar Telescope); and the multiple-application solar telescope, or MAST, which is being installed in Udaipur in collaboration with Ahmedabad's Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) to study the magnetic activity on the Sun's surfacewill study the effects of solar maxima in space and on the Earth, to help estimate how much thermal insulation would be required in spacecraft carrying astronauts. India's first manned space mission is scheduled for 2015. "All the three projects will give a comprehensive picture of activities happening from the Sun's surface to atmosphere in small and large scale," Hasan said.
These studies are expected to help scientists predict eruptions of solar flares and take precautionary measures, said Arnab Rai Choudhuri, an astrophysicist at the Indian Institute of Science. "It takes two days for the flares to reach the Earth's atmosphere, and we can take precautions such as shutting down electronic equipment on satellites to avoid damage, or declare non-flight zones, particularly in polar regions," he said.
March 30 (EIRNS)The government of Jiangsu Province in China is encouraging residents to report abnormal natural phenomena, or abnormal animal behavior, as possible indications of coming earthquakes. The rule posted for discussion proposes that earthquake departments follow up such warnings from the public within five working days. The rule also mandates that kindergartens, schools, hospitals, and other buildings that often contain many people be built to a higher standard to withstand quakes. It also presents a list of public-works projects that must be tested for their ability to hold up during earthquakes.
In 2008, after an 8.0-magnitude earthquake in southwestern Sichuan province killed nearly 70,000 people, many Chinese citizens went to Internet blogs and bulletin boards to report that an abnormal migration of tens of thousands of toads had occurred shortly before the disaster in the vicinity of the epicenter of the earthquake. The behavior was seen as an omen, but is now seen as based on science, not superstition.
March 30 (EIRNS)According to officials of the Japan Meteorological Agency, there was an increase in earthquakes in the vicinity of the 13 active Japanese volcanoes after the quake, including Mt. Fuji. The surge in seismic activity has been observed in active volcanoes ranging from the Kanto region to Kyushu.
Myanmar: A 6.8 magnitude quake was registered in Shan state of northeast Myanmar on March 24. Severe localized damaged resulted, with a death toll that may be as high as 200. The faults in Myanmar are not technically on the Rim of Fire.
Thailand: The Thai Seismic Bureau determined that three smaller quakes (4.0, 3.0, 3.4) experienced after the Myanmar quake, were not aftershocks, but were three unrelated quakes centered on fault lines in Thailand. The Thai government then called a meeting for April 7, of key agencies involved in meteorological and other scientific affairs, along with agencies having civil-defense duties and responsibility for safety and rescue operations, to work out and review long-standing emergency measures.
Indonesia: The island chain is the single country most at risk from increased seismic activity. Indonesia has about 500 volcanoes, nearly 130 of them active and 68 classified as dangerous. The two largest volcanic explosions in historic memory (in the 19th Century) were in Indonesia, and the 2004 earthquake and tsunami off Ache, Sumatra Indonesia, killed more than 250,000 people around the Indian Ocean.
* Both Mount Karangetang, on Siau Island, northern Indonesia, and Mount Bromo in Probolinggo, East Java, are in eruption. Karangetang has forced 1,200 to evacuate, while Bromo has seen a rise in volcanic activity in the past few days as consecutive eruptions spew thick grey plumes into the air
* An earthquake measuring 5.1 struck off North Sulawesi in eastern parts of Indonesia, March 28.
* On the same day, Germany transferred the ownership of the German-Indonesian Tsunami Early Warning System to Indonesia. The system consists of seismometers, sea-level sensors, and GPS land stations.
Russia: Important seismic events are reported in Far Eastern Russia near the city of Ust-Kamczatsk on the Kamchatka peninsula to the North of Japan.
* Almost simultaneously with the Japanese quake, two Russian Kamchatka volcanoes erupted. The Kizimen and Sheveluch eruptions were accompanied by earthquakes. Ash plume rose 4.5 miles above the crater. According to Russian media reports, the first cloud of dust covered the city of Ust-Kamczatsk. Over five thousand people are forced to stay at home.
* On Feb. 21, two strong quakes were registered in the region, a 6.6 and a 6.5.
March 30 (EIRNS)Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of the Philippines Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE), has been taking the Philippine government to task for the Philippines' unpreparedness for a natural disaster such as major earthquake or tsunami. A study prepared in 2004 by the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology concluded that the Philippines is almost completely unprepared. Angara said that the study's recommendations have been essentially ignored.
The study warns that, should a relatively modest, 7.2-magnitude earthquake shake the West Valley Fault, which runs through eastern Metro Manila, 170,000 homes would collapse, 340,000 more would suffer damage, 34,000 people would die, and 114,000 would fall to injury. It could also cause widespread fires that would claim the lives of an additional 18,000 people.
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