Unequal Protection — Chapter 2: The Corporate Conquest of America


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

The legal rights of the…defendant, Loan Company, although it be a corporation, soulless and speechless, rise as high in the scales of law and justice as those of the most obscure and poverty-stricken subject of the state. ~ Excerpt from the judge’s ruling in Brannan v. Schartzer, 25 Ohio Dec. 491 (1915)

While corporations can live forever, exist in several different places at the same time, change their identities at will, and even chop off parts of themselves or sprout new parts, the chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, according to its reporter, had said that they are “persons” under the Constitution, with constitutional rights and protections as accorded to human beings. Once given this key, corporations began to assert the powers that came with their newfound rights.

  • First Amendment. Claiming the First Amendment right of all “persons” to free speech, corporate lawsuits against the government successfully struck down laws that prevented corporations from lobbying or giving money to politicians and political candidates.1
  • Fourth Amendment. Earlier laws had said that a corporation had to open all its records and facilities to our governments as a condition

Book Review: ‘The Windup Girl’


From AMANDA KOVATTANA
Thanks to Energy Bulletin

Fabulous feast of apocalypse storytelling set in Thailand. Peak oil, climate change, genetically modified seeds gone bad, new plant diseases, new plagues. Add to that, interesting mutant technology that produces giant elephant hybrids for factory work and the highly erotic android of the title. Plus assortment of low tech energy sources filling the gap where fossil fuel power once lubricated commerce.

I have to hand it to Mr. Bacigalupi for his skillful use of Thai culture. He preserved my favorite parts of my home country, except of course the sex trade. But then it has become obligatory to feature the sex trade in books set in Bangkok, so I’m not holding it against him. (Where you have farangs [Westerners] in Bangkok you must have the sex trade. It is as much a reflection on white men as it is a global fascination with this infamy of Thailand.) In fact he is a moralist about it, using the degrading forces of the industry to drive the plot.

He also juggled the complexity of Thai politics, our obsession with ghosts and the famous Thai smile to good effect, plus I greatly appreciated his native-like respect for the Thai royal family by allowing royal smarts to play a crucial part in the survival game. Combined with the subplots of the various characters each vying to further their agenda, I felt this to be an entirely accurate description of how the world of trade

Thom Hartmann: No such thing as a safe level of radiation



~
Nuclear Meltdowns 101

Cluborlov

I am no nuclear expert, and that is probably a good thing. I did do a lot of reading about Chernobyl back when it happened. And now I am, as I was then, and as I am sure many of you are, getting really fed up with incomplete, inaccurate, misleading and generally unsatisfactory explanations that are being offered for what is going on at Fukushima. Either information is not available, or it is a flood of largely irrelevant technical minutia designed to thrill nuclear nerds but bound to bamboozle rather than inform the general reader. And so, for the sake of all the other people who aren’t nuclear experts and have no ambition of ever becoming one, here’s what I have been able to piece together.

What do they mean when they say “hydrogen explosions”? The hydrogen gas is being vented from inside the reactors and from spent fuel pools that are directly above them. Since it is very hot, it explodes as soon as it mixes with the outside air. It is formed from the rapid oxidation of the zirconium pipes that hold in the pellets of nuclear fuel. At Fukushima, some of the fuel pellets are made with uranium, while others are made with plutonium from reprocessed nuclear weapons. Zirconium is a metal which, like aluminum, instantly forms a thin, protective layer of oxide on contact

Cut The Unions, Hire The Girlfriends



From KEITH OLBERMANN
FOK News

The ham-handed self-serving greediness playing out in the background of Governor Scott Walker’s attempt to make Wisconsin into the central battle zone in the Koch Brothers’ attempt to end collective bargaining in this country, roared to the forefront Sunday night when the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that the supposedly financially imperiled state had enough money to hire State Senator Randy Hopper’s mistress.

Valerie Cass, a former Republican legislative staffer, was hired Feb. 7 as a communications specialist with the state Department of Regulation and Licensing. She is being paid $20.35 per hour. The job is considered a temporary post.

A lot of things in Wisconsin – especially those pertaining to one of Governor Walker’s State Senate henchmen – appear to be temporary:

His estranged wife, Alysia, issued a statement to WTMJ-TV (Channel 4) accusing Hopper, 45, of beginning an affair with Cass, 26, last year. He filed for divorce in August.

Oh but this gets better and better. How did Ms. Cass wind up being hired by the state with no money, away from a Madison firm called “Persuasion Partners.”

Review and Refute: ‘The Vegetarian Myth’



From GINNY MESSINA
TheVeganRD

[Thanks to Ron Epstein: Response to book by author interviewed here]

Lierre Keith suffers from numerous chronic health problems. Unable to secure a diagnosis for most of them, she decided that the vegan diet she had followed for twenty years was to blame. But she wasn’t content to add a few animal products back to her diet. Instead, she set out to prove that healthy diets require copious amounts of animal foods and that small-scale animal farming is the answer to sustainability. To prove it, she has cobbled together information from websites (yes, she actually cites Wikipedia!) and a few popular pseudoscientific books.

It’s next to impossible to review this book; it is so packed with misinformation and confusion that refuting the claims could be another book itself. This is a long post, and it doesn’t begin to address all of the problems in The Vegetarian Myth.

I read the section on nutrition first. Since it’s my area of expertise, I figured it would give me some idea of the quality of her research and analysis. But quality isn’t at issue here because there is no research or analysis. Keith doesn’t bother with primary sources; she depends almost exclusively

George Carlin Knew Why They Call it ‘The American Dream’



From BILL BERRY
The Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Via Energy Bulletin

Ah, the week of St. Patty’s Day, and maybe the luck of the Irish will lead us to the pot o’ gold coins.

But don’t count on it. Not in Wisconsin, not in these times. Nonetheless, in honor of this hopeful holiday, when a saint evicted the snakes from the green island, we can go to that great American philosopher of Irish descent. Surely he can put the events of recent weeks in context.

We speak here of George Carlin, who left the earth too soon in 2008, but saw the future quite clearly, which may have hastened his departure. Thanks to the Internet, he will be forever with us, or at least until Big Brother yanks him away for being too subversive.

For now, you can find Carlin’s 2005 skit (NSFW), “The American Dream,” quite easily. I can’t, however, recommend it in this column, because it is indelicately laced with some of the “seven dirty words” that got him arrested at, appropriately, Milwaukee’s Summerfest in 1972. So promise you won’t go and find it, and if you do, I didn’t send you there. My parish priest would frown upon that.

I’ll clean things up here a bit, so you get the gist of the genius. It must be said that Carlin actually agreed with Gov. Scott Walker on education. As Carlin said, “Education sucks.” But their views diverge from that point. To wit:

The Vegetarian Myth



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Steve Martin: The Great Flydini



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Cooking the Perfect Steak



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Todd Walton: Cliff’s Bowl


From TODD WALTON
Under The Table Books
Mendocino

Cliff Glover recently gave us one of his bowls. Cliff is an excellent potter and a superb cook. Tall, and possessed of a magnificent froth of silver gray hair, Cliff and his partner Marion Miller share a house and ceramic studio a couple miles inland from the hamlet of Albion. Marcia and I met Cliff and Marion for the first time at one of Juliette White’s spontaneous dinners, Juliette being Cliff and Marion’s neighbor for many years. The mugs we drank from that night were Cliff’s mugs; and for my birthday two years ago, Juliette gave me a Cliff Glover teapot, an exquisite two-cupper. Juliette was a big fan of Cliff’s pottery.

The bowl Cliff gave us on Marcia’s birthday in February is now my favorite bowl, and possibly my favorite thing, after my piano and not counting myriad mammals—Marcia, friends, cats; although the trouble with cats…but that’s another story. Cliff made it clear when he gave us the bowl that even though he was giving it to us on Marcia’s birthday, the bowl was for both of us. I asked him to repeat that when I was sure Marcia was listening so there wouldn’t be any confusion…that the bowl was for both of us, or in legal terms: the bowl is our joint property.

My previous favorite bowl, which I still love, (though not as much as I loved her before I met Cliff’s bowl) was given to me by my dear friend Katje Weingarten, an extraordinary poet who lives in Vermont, which is crazy.

Expert Who Predicted Previous California Earthquake Says Another Imminent


Jim Berkland Website

Thanks to The Automatic Earth

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TEPCO Director Weeps After Disclosing Truth About Fukushima Disaster
Thanks to Anna Taylor

The Daily Mail has released a dramatic picture showing the emotional exhaustion of TEPCO managing director Akio Komori who is openly weeping as he leaves a conference to brief journalists on the true situation at Fukushima, following his acknowledgment that the radiation spewing from the over-heating reactors and fuel rods was enough to kill some citizens. “A senior Japanese minister also admitted that the country was overwhelmed by the scale of the tsunami and nuclear crisis. He said officials should have admitted earlier how serious the radiation leaks were. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said: ‘The unprecedented scale of the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan, frankly speaking, were among many things that happened that had not been anticipated under our disaster management contingency plans.” This is precisely as Zero Hedge had expected would happen all along, following our recurring allegations of a massive cover up by the Japanese government. And furthermore as we predicted a week ago when we said that continued government lies and subversions

I want you to do your best to put an end to this crazy system that is based on greed and anger and ignorance


From DEMOCRACY NOW

JUAN GONZALEZ: Last night, Democracy Now! reached a prominent Japanese cultural anthropologist and environmentalist, Keibo Oiwa. He is the founder of the Sloth Club, Japan’s leading “Slow Life” environmental group.

KEIBO OIWA: My name is Keibo Oiwa. I’m speaking from Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan. And I’m a professor at the university. And as a professor, I am wondering what I can do from here. And I’m very afraid that already radiation is out flowing, and that would affect especially pregnant women and younger children, small children. So, I’m trying to organize a kind of a network where people in the western Japan who can accept pregnant women and people with children from the eastern part of Japan. And so far, many people already have raised their hand, saying that, you know, they are welcoming people coming from the eastern part of Japan.

And what I want to say at this point to the people outside of Japan is that they should try to stop all the nuclear power, you know, eliminate or stop right now. Especially I’m very concerned about California, you know, like the West Coast of the United States, where there are lots of earthquakes.

Small Actions Amid Chaos


From PEAK OIL HAUSFRAU
What I do in lieu of watching television

[Update: See TRIBES below]

Riots and toppling governments in the Middle East, states taking drastic measures to balance their budgets, oil and food prices rising. The implications of all this turmoil are enough to make me start breathing into a paper sack. I can’t affect what happens in Libya or Wisconsin, but I can take action where I am, not only on my (semi-) urban homestead but also in my neighborhood and city.

Our neighborhood is beginning to organize, starting with small, simple actions like setting up a Facebook page, organizing a LitterBlitz, having regular meetings and newsletters with helpful information (weatherizing programs, useful resources, encouraging community action), and applying for trees for a tree-planting. We also hope to set up a neighborhood patrol. Eventually I hope that these baby steps with will result in greater community cohesion and trust that can be leveraged to build resilience.

Transition OKC continues to work toward supporting and expanding our local food capacity – the ability to feed ourselves. We have been facilitating meetings of a group of local food advocates for the past six months to help strengthen the existing network of local farmers and food entrepreneurs. Our TOKC team is also planning to host a Permaculture Design Course in the fall. I have wanted to take a full permaculture course for many years

Will Parrish: On The Roosting of Nuclear Chickens


From WILL PARRISH
Laytonville

Less than a decade after the United States visited a nuclear iki-jigoku (“hell on earth”) upon the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki, instantaneously killing at least 150,000 and delivering countless more Japanese people to the grim reaper of gruesome radiation sickness, three of America’s leading nuclear technology boosters embarked on a promotional tour across Japan. Their purpose was to help swing Japanese public opinion in favor of the country’s infant civilian nuclear power industry, which was poised for a windfall of technological and financial assistance from the United States.

The international liaison was part of then-US President Dwight Eisenhower’ “Atoms for Peace” program, a Cold War diplomatic offensive aimed at providing nuclear technology loans and exports to so-called “developing” nations, so as to render them reliant on western capitalism for development of their energy infrastructures, rather than on the Soviet Union. A 1955 National Security Council directive framed the matter thusly: “[Atoms for Peace will] strengthen American world leadership and disprove the Communists’ propaganda charges that the [US] is concerned solely with the destructive uses of the atom.”

The American promotional contingent in Japan, which arrived in May 1955, was comprised, respectively, of the man perhaps

Nuclear Waste is the Killer Not Being Discussed and It Will Be Around for the Next Quarter Million Years


From THOM HARTMANN

[Repeat after me: THEY. ARE. INSANE. -DS]

You need to know this.  As the death toll soars from last Friday’s 9.0 earthquake and tsunami – 50 Japanese nuclear plant workers are putting their lives on the line to prevent another catastrophe in Japan – nuclear meltdown.  All 6 GE Mark I reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant are dangerously close to melting down – but that’s not even the worst of it.  Sitting on top of each reactor are pools of nuclear waste that contain larger amounts of harmful radiation than the reactors themselves.

And there are reports that those pools of waste are overheating – catching fire – and spewing that highly toxic radioactive waste into the atmosphere.  It’s like a massive dirty bomb being constantly detonated over the plant. Late last night – the remaining workers at the plant were evacuated due to extreme levels of radiation detected when pressure was relieved from one of the reactors.  Those workers returned shorty after the radiation subsided.

While their heroics should be recognized – it’s starting to look like they’re playing a losing game of whack-a-mole.  As they desperately try to cool one reactor with seawater

Class Warfare, the Final Chapter


From MICHAEL PIRSCH
Truthout
Thanks to Janie Sheppard

“There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” -Warren Buffett to The New York Times, November 26, 2006

There is overwhelming evidence that we are entering the final chapter of class warfare in the US. Today, in the “public arena,” it is forbidden to say class warfare, and many citizens do not regard themselves as working class. The assault on language comes compliments of the propaganda apparatus, which includes: public relations, marketing, corporate media and the entertainment industry, universities, think tanks and so on. Its purpose is to distract our attention from serious matters so we can focus on trivial matters – usually involving consuming. Edward Bernays, the founder of the modern propaganda industry, described the process:

Those who manipulate the unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government. We are governed, our minds molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested largely by men we have never heard of … in almost every act of our lives whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires that control the public mind.[1]

Rosalind Peterson: Japan’s Nuclear Power Plants – Radiation Exposure (Repost)


From ROSALIND PETERSON
Redwood Valley

Notes on Nuclear Power Plants & Emissions

Why would the west coast USA be in danger from Meltdown of Nuclear Power Plants in Japan?

[Update: Worst Case Scenario Imminent]

[Update: We are insane: Time Lapse Map of Every 2053 Nuclear Explosions since 1945 -DS]

The prevailing jet stream winds are blowing from Japan directly across the Pacific ocean to the west coast of the United States (and then would move east on the Jet Stream). Any airborne radiation would make its way across with the jet stream, reaching the U.S. in approximately 36 hours, depending on the actual speed of the jet stream.

It is possible that early radioactive releases are already airborne and heading toward the United States.

Japan has 55 Nuclear Power Plants with 11 More planned for operation in the near future. A fast-breeder reactor is to be re-opened in the near future (this plant was closed in 1990, due to serious problems).

U.S. EPA Glossary of Radiation Terms & Other Information – March 12, 2011
http://www.epa.gov/radiation/glossary/index.html

U.S. EPA Radiation Protection Website

Unequal Protection, Chapter I: The Deciding Moment?


From THOM HARTMANN
Truthout

No laws were passed by Congress granting corporations the same treatment under the Constitution as living, breathing human beings, and none has been passed since then. It was not a concept drawn from older English law. No court decisions, state or federal, held that corporations were or should be considered the same as natural persons instead of artificial persons. The Supreme Court did not rule, in this or any other case, on the issue of corporate personhood.

Chapter 1: The Deciding Moment?

The first thing to understand is the difference between the natural person and the fictitious person called a corporation. They differ in the purpose for which they are created, in the strength which they possess, and in the restraints under which they act.

Man is the handiwork of God and was placed upon earth to carry out a Divine purpose; the corporation is the handiwork of man and created to carry out a money-making policy.

There is comparatively little difference in the strength of men; a corporation may be one hundred, one thousand, or even one million times stronger than the average man. Man acts under the restraints of conscience, and is influenced also by a belief in a future life.

Lucy Neely: Mendocino County Food Policy



From LUCY NEELY
The Gardens Project

On March 1st, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to recognize and support the establishment of a Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which intends “to collaborate with institutions, businesses, and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality.”

Linda Helland is a Public Health employee who has been organizing with the Food Policy Council since its beginning. Linda is generous of spirit and energy. She chats earnestly with the mail man and rides a bicycle even when the sky is spitting. I asked to interview her for this article, and as she came out to meet me in the foyer of Public Health and escort me back into the bowels of the building, she seemed more tired and stressed than usual. Upon my inquiry, she spoke of layoffs and low morale, program cuts and parsimony. So we made some tea and sat down to talk about the Food Policy Council (FPC).

FPCs are springing up around the country. The first formed 25 years ago in Knoxville, Tennesse, and now there are more than 100 FPCs nationwide, primarily on the city and county level. Increasing numbers of funders are requiring that communities have an FPC to be eligible for grant funding.

The Mendocino County FPC emerged from the Local Food Summit of May 2010. Organizers of the Summit,

James Houle: Shut Down California Nukes NOW! (Updated)


The nuclear plant near San Clemente, run by Southern California Edison

From JAMES HOULE
Redwood Valley

It takes a disaster to wake us up to the vulnerability of life on this precarious planet. California has very large nuclear power plants at two locations: San Onofre (between LA and San Diego) and Diablo Canyon (near San Luis Obispo) which contain a total of four nuclear reactors.  They have operated for 30 years and will be obsolete in another 10. They have many similarities to the three units in Japan that have already gone into meltdown, and have released massive amounts of radioactivity to the atmosphere:

First, our nukes are located near active earthquake faults long overdue for a major shift in the earth’s crust.

[Update: I was taken on a tour of the cliffs below the San Onofre Nuclear power plant by a geologist in 1980. He showed us that the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant is sitting directly on a right face vertical earthquake fault line. ~Ed Oberweiser, Mendocino Listserv]

Second, they are located right on the shoreline and subject to the same dangers as in Japan, where tsunamis knocked out their emergency cooling water pumps, after their primary cooling systems were knocked off line by the earthquake itself.

Third, they are near major population centers.

What a nation of morons we are



From JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER

There was Japan, standing quietly offstage all these years, minding its own business, more or less – though unwinding financially and socially at some very deep level for two decades, debt rising around everybody’s ankles like a silent, insidious tsunami, population dying back, young people demoralized by the “salary-man” culture with its meager consolation of nightly drinking sprees ending in micro-hotels with rooms like funerary vaults – Japan, who had been horrifically chastened after its mad military-industrial outburst of the last century, who shook all that off to become the world’s most dependably, civilized nation.

And now, the sorrows of Job.

The world was very busy watching the ME/NA countries go batshit in history’s center ring, but the spectacle of wreckage in Japan, unfolds now like the slow-motion blossoming of some gigantic evil chrysanthemum and you get the ominous idea that this is only the start of a story that will grind on and on as more bodies are discovered and the nuclear fiasco burns deeper and Japan’s finances enter a death spiral. How could you watch those videos of the sickening wall of black water that slammed through Sendai without wondering how many doomed people it carried unseen beneath the rafts of cars, and the sideways ships, and the eerily floating houses?

I tried to follow the story on American cable TV Sunday night but with the exception of stolid, dogged CNN, all the other news channels were playing one sordid and titanically stupid program after another:

Lewis Black on Nuclear Holocaust



[A reminder of past and present BS. NSFW. ~DS]
~

Counterpunch: Don’t Worry, It’s Just a Little Radiation

First the Quake, Then the Lies

From KARL GROSSMAN

And with the major malfunction at the Fukushima nuclear power plant comes the lies…

That’s the way it’s always been when it comes to nuclear technology: deception has always been a central element in the push for it.

As desperate efforts were made Friday to keep coolant flowing—to prevent a nuclear meltdown—“radioactive vapor” was being released from the plant, reported the Associated Press. It quoted Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano as saying the amount of radioactivity was “very small.”

And it “would not affect the environment or human health,” added AP.

Really.

The Nuclear Energy Institute, the U.S. nuclear industry trade group, presented a page on its website devoted to the post-earthquake situation involving nuclear plants in Japan which opened with pronouncement: “The Japanese prime minister and the industry’s safety agency say all plants in the country are safe and that there has been no radiation release from any reactors. Utilities there are managing

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