Sunday, January 31, 2016

Refugio oil spill pipeline might take five years to get back online

From:  PC Biz News

COMMENT - Notice the clean-up workers are not wearing the most essential part of clean up gear, respirators.  Evidently this is something journalists in the area are still overlooking.  Numbers of these workers will likely have reported flu-like symptoms.  First stage for petroleum poisoning.

by Alex Kacik

The pipeline that was responsible for the Refugio oil spill in May could take up to five years to get back online and the best-case scenario is 18 to 24 months, according to California Economic Forecast Director Mark Schniepp.

He spoke to a room full of the biggest oil players in Santa Barbara County, public officials and members of the Chumash on Nov. 5 about Santa Maria and the region’s economic future, which are inextricably tied to the oil and gas industry.

If Houston-based Plains All American Pipeline’s Line 901 remains dormant over the next three years, Santa Barbara County could lose out on an estimated $74 million, Schniepp told about 100 people at the Economic Action Summit at the Radisson in Santa Maria.  MORE

Plains accused of misleading oil spill victims into signing away rights

From:  PC Biz News

COMMENT -  Getting victims to sign off has been standard Operating Procedure for Big Oil for decades.  Nice someone noticed them doing it though.

Workers donned protective gear to clean up the Refugio oil spill.
Plains All American Pipeline has allegedly been misleading those who seek compensation for losses they incurred following the Refugio oil spill, according to a motion filed in federal court on Dec. 16.
The motion asserts that Plains is asking the claimants to forfeit the right to file or take part in any other claim in order to receive payment in the interim.
In Plains’ settlement agreement and release, it asks the claimant to “RELEASE, ACQUIT and FOREVER DISCHARGE Plains of all claims related to the above-described injuries.”
- See more at:
By Alex Kacik

Plains All American Pipeline has allegedly been misleading those who seek compensation for losses they incurred following the Refugio oil spill, according to a motion filed in federal court on Dec. 16.

The motion asserts that Plains is asking the claimants to forfeit the right to file or take part in any other claim in order to receive payment in the interim.

In Plains’ settlement agreement and release, it asks the claimant to “RELEASE, ACQUIT and FOREVER DISCHARGE Plains of all claims related to the above-described injuries.”  MORE

By   /   Thursday, December 17th, 2015  / - See more at:

Don’t allow oil trains to Phillips 66 refinery, SLO County staff recommends

From:  The Tribune 


Phillips 66 Co.’s proposal for its Nipomo Mesa refinery would threaten public health, safety and welfare, the staff report states

SLO County Planning Commission will consider the plan during a two-day hearing next week
Project opponents call the staff report a win for residents along one of California’s main rail lines


Byline: John Corrigan Daily News Staff Writer 

Buried nearly 8,000 feet beneath the slopes of Oat Mountain in the north San Fernando Valley is a vast reservoir of natural gas - 70 billion cubic feet of it, enough to supply more than 1 million homes for a year.

The 3,200-acre site in Aliso Canyon was once home to oil fields. Today, the Southern California Gas Co. uses jet engine-powered compressors to inject gas deep into the played-out fields, where it is stored for later delivery to customers.

On the surface, the setting is one of classic California beauty - oak-dotted hillsides that are green in spring, golden-brown in summer. But it is the underground geology that makes Aliso Canyon a perfect natural gas tank.

``Basically, you've got a sponge up against a granite wall,'' said Tom Schroeder, a Gas Co. field engineer at Aliso.

The ``sponge'' is sandstone - porous rock that can store large quantities of oil and gas in the spaces between the grains of sand.

Using many of the same wells that once pumped oil, the Gas Co. uses powerful compressors to force natural gas back into the ground - where it rests in the sandstone, trapped on three sides by granite and the fourth side by underground water.

``Right now we're injecting gas,'' said Dick Wiegman, the storage operations manager at Aliso. ``We'll store the gas all summer in preparation for the winter months - basically from early November through mid-March.''   MORE

SoCal Gas Knew Aliso Canyon Wells Were Deteriorating a Year Before Leak

More than 400 facilities holding huge storehouses of natural gas get little regulatory oversight as their infrastructure ages.

Brian Seligman protests the methane leak in the Porter Ranch neighborhood of Los Angeles
Brian Seligman, protesting at a California Air Quality Management meeting, echoes the sentiments of many who fear many aging natural gas storage facilities could produce similar disasters. Credit: Reuters
Earlier this week, the massive methane leak spewing from an underground natural gas storage facility in California’s Aliso Canyon passed a symbolic milestone: its duration exceeded BP’s 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Now, a growing number of environmentalists, engineers and industry watchdogs say the disaster on the outskirts of Los Angeles could happen elsewhere. There are  more than 400 underground natural gas storage sites spread across 31 states, and, like Aliso Canyon, decades-old equipment is deteriorating at many of them.

Arkansas Frackquake Victims Commiserate With Oklahomans as Deadly Risks Grow

From:  Truth Out 

Friday, 29 January 2016 00:00  
By Julie Dermansky, DeSmogBlog | Report 

There is a general consensus in Oklahoma that the record-breaking number of earthquakes occurring in the state are caused by the disposal of fracking wastewater in injection wells. But there's no agreement on what to do to stop them.

"We are human guinea pigs in a fracking industry experiment," Angela Spotts, founder of Stop Fracking Payne County and a Stillwater, Oklahoma homeowner, told DeSmog. "Regulators tell us they can get the earthquakes under control as they tinker with the quantity that wastewater wells are allowed to inject into the ground. But despite their efforts, the quakes have continued." 

Spotts' group has called for a moratorium on injection wells that dispose of fracking wastewater. "Shutting the wells down stopped the earthquakes that hit Arkansas. That is what we need to do here too," Spotts said. 
Angela Spotts at the earthquake hearing in the State Capitol. (Photo: Julie Dermansky)Angela Spotts at the earthquake hearing in the State Capitol. (Photo: Julie Dermansky) MORE

Friday, January 29, 2016

Michigan Officials Quietly Gave Bottled Water To State Employees Months Before Flint Residents

CREDIT: AP Photo/Darron Cummings
John Whitaker, executive director of Midwest Food Bank, carries a case of water that was donated to Flint residents on January 27

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget decided to haul water coolers into the Flint state building in January of 2015 out of concern over the city’s water quality, a year before bottled water was being made available to residents, according to documents obtained by Progress Michigan. 

Flint switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River in April 2014, which is now known to have caused lead to leach into the city’s tap water. After two boil advisories were issued in August and September of 2014, the city sent residents a notice that the level of trihalomethanes (TTHMs), which can cause liver and kidney problems, had exceed federal limits, although they were told that it was still fine to use the water and no corrective actions needed to be taken. 

But concerns raised over water quality were enough for officials in the state’s capitol of Lansing to decide to give state employees the option to drink bottled water from coolers, rather than from water fountains. Coolers were placed next to the fountains on each occupied floor, according to the documents, and were to be provided “as long as the public water does not meet treatment requirements.”  MORE

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Wow! Rachel Maddow is Showing Us What Journalists are SUPPOSED to do! (Updated 2x)

From:  Daily Kos

Corrupt US Government Accuses Putin Of Corruption

by Paul Craig Roberts

The most corrupt government on earth, a government so utterly corrupt that it allows former executives of a handful of corrupt mega-banks to run the economic policy of the US solely in the interest of their banks, denying tens of millions of American retirees any interest income on their savings for 7 years and denying hard-pressed Social Security recipients any cost-of-living adjustments by falsifying inflation measures, a government so totally corrupt that it has destroyed seven countries and millions of Muslims solely on the basis of lies, this irredeemably corrupt government has accused the most admired political leader on earth of corruption.
The entire world outside brainwashed America, its EU vassals, and Nazified Ukraine is laughing. 

The United States, once admired, then feared, is now the laughing stock of the world. The CIA-controlled German media is being abandoned by the German people who have figured out that their media is nothing but a Washington propaganda operation against Russia. The backlash is so strong that the German media might not survive. 

Here is Stephen Lendman’s take on Washington’s latest attempt to demonize Putin:

by Stephen Lendman

Relentless US Putin bashing persists, reckless accusations made – including invading Ukraine and murder, evidence backing up claims absent. None exists.

Putin is vilified for forthrightly defending Russian sovereign independence, supporting a multi-polar world, and challenging Washington’s imperial agenda – at the same time seeking world peace and stability along with mutual cooperation among all nations.

Comments by US officials reflect administration policy. Britain’s BBC is state-owned, controlled and operated. Propaganda substitutes for credible news and information.

Its correspondent Richard Bilton asked US Treasury Department Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) director Adam Szubin “if Putin is corrupt.”

He lied, saying “(i)n our view, yes. . . He supposedly draws a state salary of something like $110,000 a year.” 

“That is not an accurate statement of the man’s wealth, and he has long time training and practices in terms of how to mask his actual wealth.”

With no corroborating evidence, Szubin claimed Washington has known for “many, many years he’s been “enriching his friends, his close allies, and marginalizing those who he doesn’t view as friends using state assets.”

“Whether that’s Russia’s energy wealth, whether it’s other state contracts, he directs those to whom he believes will serve him and excludes those who don’t. To me, that is a picture of corruption.”

The reliable Saker justifiably calls Putin “one of the greatest Russian leaders ever.” He “secured his place in history.”

“(I)n a little over a decade, he brought her back as a world power capable of successfully challenging the AngloZionist Empire.” 

His overwhelming 90% popularity reflects it, even during current economic hard times because of low oil prices perhaps heading lower.

At the same time, he hasn’t so far been able to change a US-created system established during the Yeltsin years. In the 1990s, so-called Western “advisers” turned post-Soviet Russia “into a US colony.”

Reforming its economy remains Putin’s most pressing internal challenge. He’s part of the solution, not the problem.

Szubin’s accusation is part of Washington’s longstanding campaign to vilify him. It’s had no effect on the vast majority of Russians supporting him – nor on his status as arguably the world’s most preeminent geopolitical leader, a master chess player, making Obama look buffoon-like in comparison.

Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed Szubin’s accusation, calling it “pure fiction,” Britain is complicit in vilifying him. 

A BBC Panorama documentary focused  on his “wallet,” his alleged “secret riches,” providing no evidence of his involvement in corruption – accusations without credibility.

Throughout his presidential years, he’s been irresponsibly bashed – Western presstitutes repeating state-sponsored misinformation and Big Lies.

All independent leaders Washington doesn’t control are targeted the same way – especially ones courageous enough to challenge its imperial agenda responsibly.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 
His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

Visit his blog site at

A Crazy Establishment Demands ‘Sanity’

Exclusive: As support grows for anti-Establishment candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, a frantic Establishment is demanding that Americans “stay sane” and vote for one of its approved candidates. But is it sane to follow advice that has led to endless wars and a disappearing middle class, asks Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

With ever-growing hysteria, the Establishment is begging, cajoling and warning American voters not to elect a rogue President from the Right or the Left, neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders, but to accept instead one of the “sane” mainstream options. Yet, the unspoken truth is that the American Establishment has been off its rocker for decades.

It was, after all, Official Washington’s Establishment – led by the neoconservatives and their sidekicks, the liberal interventionists – that embraced President George W. Bush’s catastrophic invasion of Iraq in 2003. However, as costly as that decision was in terms of blood and money and cascading chaos – now destabilizing Europe – the Wise Men and Women imposed virtually zero accountability on themselves or other chief culprits.

Indeed, many of the same neocons who architected the Iraq disaster are listed as top foreign policy advisers to the “sane” candidates, such as Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. And Hillary Clinton not only voted for the Iraq War but seemed to learn no lessons from what she only grudgingly acknowledged was a “mistake.” As Secretary of State, she sided with Democratic “liberal interventionists” to engineer another “regime change” in Libya that has led to another failed state, further spreading chaos across the region.MORE

Monday, January 25, 2016

Exxon insists class-action denial correct

Property owners suing Exxon Mobil failed to prove that they and other landowners along the Pegasus pipeline have enough in common to merit class-action status, the oil company said in its argument against an appeal of a federal judge's decision dismissing the case.

 "The district court did not abuse its discretion in decertifying the class," Exxon Mobil and subsidiaries Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. and Mobil Pipe Line Co. said in an 83-page document filed in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis. 

"Appellants failed to meet their burden to demonstrate the commonality, typicality and adequacy requirements" under federal civil procedural rules "because the class claims could not be resolved without extensive individual inquiries into the state of the pipeline on each individual landowner's property," Exxon Mobil wrote in the document filed Thursday. MORE

Hillary: Karl Rove Behind Attacks

From:  NewsMax

COMMENT - Does Hillary really expect anyone to believe she and Rove aren't two of a kind?  Corporate Flunkies, both of them.  

By Greg Richter   |   Sunday, 24 Jan 2016 12:21 PM

Republican operative Karl Rove is behind an attack ad aimed at turning Iowa caucus-goers against her, Democrat Hillary Clinton said Sunday on "Meet the Press." 

Clinton was asked by moderator Chuck Todd whether big banks paying her more than $200,000 per speech hurt her credibility.

Clinton responded that she gave speeches to a "wide array of groups," after ending her stint at President Barack Obama's secretary of state.MORE

Davos: The Intensive Care Unit of the New World Order

From:  Gary North

COMMENT - How long until we have dragged them into court and delivered justice?  

by Gary North

Every January, the richest people in the world get together to meet at Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum. 

Also present are the best and the brightest in the Keynesian community, whose plane fares and hotel rooms are taken care of. These are the hired hands.

Every year, everyone hopes he is going to hear some great speech that will transform his business or his career. Everybody thinks at the end of the sessions that he must have missed the big speech, once again, the same way he missed it last year.

Austrian school economists are not invited to the festivities. That's because they don't think that Keynesian central planning and Keynesian central banking have much of a future. They keep saying so, and this message is not congenial to the World Economic Forum. MORE

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Detroit collapsing into third world status as water supply becomes too toxic to drink... America's infrastructure imploding

From:  Natural News

Toxic chemicals

(NaturalNews) Already pressured by a collapsing economy and a financial state of emergency, the people of Flint, Michigan, were also deprived of clean water in 2014, when the state decided to switch the city's water source to the notoriously mucky Flint River in a bid to save money. In the absence of proper treatment, the water eroded the lead service lines and put all residents in danger. Although the lead-poisoned locals and children are now forced to deal with the consequences of this reckless act for the rest of their lives, the city and state officials responsible have yet to pay any noteworthy price.

As another man-made disaster quietly turns into past, the nearby rundown areas of Detroit are faced with a similar threat. Alongside miserable poverty, bad pipes and neglected water treatment systems are dragging Detroit into third-world status.

Was Flint only the beginning?

After almost two years of drinking toxic water, the people of Flint were finally acknowledged in October 2015. In the meantime, the high levels of lead found in drinking water translated into brain damage, learning disabilities and pregnancy issues for the residents. Children have been permanently hindered in their natural development. But it took until January 2016 for the government to mobilize the National Guard and begin distributing bottled water and filters in Flint.

What lesson do we have to learn from this? Wouldn't the residents of Flint be much healthier today had they listened to their own instincts and stopped drinking tap water when it started smelling funny? Most importantly, has the government done anything to help prevent this from happening elsewhere in America?

People in Detroit living in third-world conditions

Not only are the residents of Detroit on the brink of facing the same disastrous water situation, but it seems that most of them can't afford running water to begin with. According to Detroit census records, 60% of households with children under 18 live in poverty. Of the 200,000 water customers in Detroit, 108,000 are 60 days past due on bills, and their water has consequently been shut off, leading many to collect rainwater for daily use.

The horrible truth doesn't stop here. Darrel Earley is the emergency manager who oversaw the switch of Flint's water source. The same Darrel Earley is now in charge of Detroit's public schools.

Recently shared photos taken by teachers from Detroit are shocking, to say the least, but speak a thousand words for the current status of the city. Five days a week, children and teachers are faced with black mold, toilet water leaking through the ceiling, mushrooms growing out of the walls and extreme cold.

Elsewhere, in America...

Flint and Detroit are not singular cases in America, where the entire infrastructure is headed for collapse. From 2013 to 2014, city officials in Sacramento, California, were literally experimenting with a cheaper water treatment option on the unknowing residents. The result? For almost a year, Sacramentans were exposed to toxic chemicals that raise the risk of cancer, miscarriages and birth defects.

Not long ago, much of central Texas found itself on the brink of a similar disaster, when local officials uncovered the fact that their drinking water tested over federal legal limits of radioactive radium, so much so that the local scrapyard turned down the steel water pipes because they were too radioactive. It seems that the water was so contaminated, that it would result in one additional cancer patient for every 400 people.

Whether in Texas, California or Michigan, it seems that the people are the last to know about the health hazards they are exposed to. In light of all these events and possibly many to follow, we strongly recommend that every citizen should be prepared to filter, purify and store their own water.

Sources include:

Woody Guthrie lived in Fred Trump’s Beach Haven apartment complex for two years.

by Will Kaufman

Disclosure statement

Will Kaufman received funding from the Broadcast Music Industry Foundation (BMI-Woody Guthrie Fellowship).

The Conversation is funded by Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Knight Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Alfred P Sloan Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation and the Simons Foundation. Our global publishing platform is funded by Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

In December 1950, Woody Guthrie signed his name to the lease of a new apartment in Brooklyn. Even now, over half a century later, that uninspiring document prompts a double-take.

Below all the legal jargon is the signature of the man who had composed “This Land Is Your Land,” the most resounding appeal to an equal share for all in America. Below that is the signature of Donald Trump’s father, Fred. No pairing could appear more unlikely.  MORE

Winston Churchill: Britain’s “Greatest Briton” Left a Legacy of Global Conflict and Crimes Against Humanity

From: Global Research 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Cruz Campaign Peaks Early, Faces Brutal Counterattacks

by Andrew Kreig

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz seemed poised for victory in the Iowa caucuses over most of the past month but has suffered tough counterattacks from critics within his party at the worst possible time for him.
Ted CruzAs often happens in presidential politics, Cruz's difficulties arose from rivals in his own party.
Setbacks cascaded just as he began leading several polls beginning in December for the first national contest, the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 1.
Cruz's momentum in Iowa is fueled by its strong base of evangelical Christians and tea party enthusiasts, along with his other logistical advantages over rivals. These include Cruz's unusually strong and controversial initiative to use data harvested from Facebook users to target them with pinpoint precision.
But a cascade pf sudden attacks during recent days are hurting Cruz and could doom his candidacy because of the primary calendar, which magnifies the importance of a few states in ways especially harmful to the Texas senator  if he slips in Iowa.
In fact, the Trump ascendancy in recent days arguably represents the most astonishing reversal of fortune among presidential candidates in modern history during a two-week period.
Today's column provides an overview of these developments, which are explored more fully in a series to be published here over the next few days. Topics include:
  • GOP fears of a Trump nomination, illustrated by establishment attack on Trump during the Jan. 12 party-vetted GOP reply to President Obama's State of the Union address;
  • Cruz's growing strength illustrated by his controversial data mining operation and rejection of Trump's overture to join a Trump-led GOP ticket next fall;
  • Trump's challenge to the eligibility of the Canadian-born Cruz to be presidency under the Constitution's requirement of "natural born" citizenship;
  • Revelation that Cruz received $1.2 million in loans from Goldman Sachs and Citibank that he failed to report as funding for his successful campaign that year for a U.S. senate seat for Texas;
  • Opposition to Cruz from GOP leaders, including Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, former GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole, and others.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jane Mayer's "Dark Money" Book Reveals Koch Brothers Paid Firm Run by Former NYPD Chief to Smear Her

From:  DeSmogBlog

The just-published book “Dark Money,” penned by New Yorker staff reporter Jane Mayer, reveals that the Koch Brothers hired the former commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD— and his daughter, a former FBI agent  to smear her as a “plagiarist” in the months after the release of her August 2010 bombshell article on the Kochs.

That article, titled “Covert Operations,” served at the time as one of the first in-depth pieces of long-form investigative journalism on David and Charles Koch and the influential right-wing political and climate change denial Tea Party network they had Frankensteined. Mayer's book exposes that the Kochs hired the firm Vigilant Resources International, run by former NYPD head Howard Safir and his daughter Jennifer Safir (the former FBI special agent), to do dirty work on their behalf.

The story, as Mayer told it in “Dark Money,” began when she received a January 3, 2011 email from her New Yorker editor, David Remnick.   MORE

Pressure Mounts on Clinton as She Lashes Out at Intelligence Community Over Email Probe

From:  NewsMax 

COMMENT -  Strike One, Loose with emails and insisting on her own server.  Strike Two, Benghazi, which mattered less than chatting with Sidney Blumenthal.  Strike Three, Aiding the Bush Administration to bring on the invasion of Iraq for oil money, from which Hillary raked in her share of profits.  Now, it is beginning to make sense. 

Image: Pressure Mounts on Clinton as She Lashes Out at Intelligence Community Over Email Probe 

Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign Wednesday accused the intelligence community’s top oversight official of conspiring with Republicans in the Senate to leak sensitive information about her personal e-mail server. That's a risky move, considering that it has produced no hard evidence of a conspiracy and the accused parties are denying it.

The public dispute between the former Secretary of State and the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community reached new heights following Tuesday’s report by Fox News on a letter sent by inspector general I. Charles McCullough to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker. In the letter, McCullough stated that he had received sworn declarations from two separate intelligence agencies that cover “several dozen e- mails” on Clinton's private server. These e-mails were determined by these agencies to contain information that should have been treated as secret, top secret, and “SAP,” an abbreviation that refers to “special access programs,” which are among the most sensitive in the government.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon told me in an interview Wednesday that the campaign believes that McCullough and the Republican senators worked behind the scenes to orchestrate a series of events that would lead to the disclosure of those declarations.  MORE

Low fossil fuel prices hindering climate change fight, says IMF

From:  The Guardian

COMMENT - And this is one of the reasons we need to ensure Big Oil bleeds accountability; to raise their costs and the price of oil so  they can be purged from the market entirely.   Told you so!

International Monetary Fund suggests prolonged period of low oil, coal and gas prices could discourage further adoption of cleaner energy sources
Oil prices have fallen by more than 60% in the past 18 months.
Oil prices have fallen by more than 60% in the past 18 months. Photograph: Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty
The International Monetary Fund has issued a warning before a meeting of the Opec oil cartel that permanently low fossil fuels are choking off investment in renewable sources of energy and hindering the fight against climate change.

Oil prices rallied slightly amid reports – later denied – that Saudi Arabia plans to announce a 1m barrels a day production cut at the talks in Vienna on Friday. The price of Brent crude was up more than 2% at just under $43.50 in early trading on Thursday.

But an assesment of the energy market from the IMF, co-authored by its chief economist Maurice Obstfeld, said a global carbon price was needed to reflect the true cost of burning fossil fuels and to provide resources for investment in green technologies.  MORE

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The 21st Century: An Era Of Fraud —

by Paul Craig Roberts

In the last years of the 20th century fraud entered US foreign policy in a new way.  On false pretenses Washington dismantled Yugoslavia and Serbia in order to advance an undeclared agenda.  In the 21st century this fraud multiplied many times. Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Libya were destroyed, and Iran and Syria would also have been destroyed if the President of Russia had not prevented it.  Washington is also behind the current destruction of Yemen, and Washington has enabled and financed the Israeli destruction of Palestine.  

Additionally, Washington operated militarily within Pakistan without declaring war, murdering many women, children, and village elders under the guise of “combating terrorism.”  Washington’s war crimes rival those of any country in history.
I have documented these crimes in my columns and books (Clarity Press).

Anyone who still believes in the purity of Washington’s foreign policy is a lost soul.
Russia and China now have a strategic alliance that is too strong for Washington. Russia and China will prevent Washington from further encroachments on their security and national interests. Those countries important to Russia and China will be protected by the alliance.  As the world wakes up and sees the evil that the West represents, more countries will seek the protection of Russia and China. 

America is also failing on the economic front.  My columns and my book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism, which has been published in English, Chinese, Korean, Czech, and German, have shown how Washington has stood aside, indeed cheering it on, while the short-term profit interests of management, shareholders, and Wall Street eviscerated the American economy, sending manufacturing jobs, business know-how, and technology, along with professional tradeable skill jobs, to China, India, and other countries, leaving America with such a hollowed out economy that the median family income has been falling for years. 

Today 50% of 25 year-old Americans are living with their parents or grandparents because they cannot find employment sufficient to sustain an independent existance. This brutal fact is covered up by the presstitute US media, a source of fantasy stories of America’s economic recovery.

The facts of our existence are so different from what is reported that I am astonished. As a former professor of economics, Wall Street Journal editor and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy, I am astonished at the corruption that rules in the financial sector, the Treasury, the financial regulatory agencies, and the Federal Reserve.  In my day, there would have been indictments and prison sentences of bankers and high government officials. 

In America today there are no free financial markets.  All the markets are rigged by the Federal Reserve and the Treasury. The regulatory agencies, controlled by those the agencies are supposed to regulate, turn a blind eye, and even if they did not, they are helpless to enforce any law, because private interests are more powerful than the law.

Even the government’s statistical agencies have been corrupted. Inflation measures have been concocted in order to understate inflation. This lie not only saves Washington from paying Social Security cost-of-living adjustments and frees the money for more wars, but also by understating inflation, the government can create real GDP growth by counting inflation as real growth, just as the government creates 5% unemployment by not counting any discouraged workers who have looked for jobs until they can no longer afford the cost of looking and give up.  The official unemployment rate is 5%, but no one can find a job.  How can the unemployment rate be 5% when half of 25-year olds are living with relatives because they cannot afford an independent existence?  As John Williams (shadowfacts) reports, the unemployment rate that includes those Americans who have given up looking for a job because there are no jobs to be found is 23%.

The Federal Reserve, a tool of a small handful of banks, has succeeded in creating the illusion of an economic recovery since June, 2009, by printing trillions of dollars that found their way not into the economy but into the prices of financial assets.  Artificially booming stock and bond markets are the presstitute financial media’s “proof” of a booming economy.  
The handful of learned people that America has left, and it is only a small handful, understand that there has been no recovery from the previous recession and that a new downturn is upon us.  John Williams has pointed out that US industrial production, when properly adjusted for inflation, has never recovered its 2008 level, much less its 2000 peak, and has again turned down.
The American consumer is exhausted, overwhelmed by debt and lack of income growth. The entire economic policy of America is focused on saving a handful of NY banks, not on saving the American economy. 
Economists and other Wall Street shills will dismiss the decline in industrial production as America is now a service economy. Economists pretend that these are high-tech services of the New Economy, but in fact waitresses, bartenders, part time retail clerks, and ambulatory health care services have replaced manufacturing and engineering jobs at a fraction of the pay, thus collapsing effective aggregate demand in the US. On occasions when neoliberal economists recognize problems, they blame them on China.

It is unclear that the US economy can be revived. To revive the US economy would require the re-regulation of the financial system and the recall of the jobs and US GDP that offshoring gave to foreign countries. It would require, as Michael Hudson demonstrates in his new book, Killing the Host, a revolution in tax policy that would prevent the financial sector from extracting economic surplus and capitalizing it in debt obligations paying interest to the financial sector. 

The US government, controlled as it is by corrupt economic interests, would never permit policies that impinged on executive bonuses and Wall Street profits.  Today US capitalism makes its money by selling out the American economy and the people dependent upon it. 
In “freedom and democracy” America, the government and the economy serve interests totally removed from the interests of the American people. The sellout of the American people is protected by a huge canopy of propaganda provided by free market economists and financial presstitutes paid to lie for their living. 

When America fails, so will Washington’s vassal states in Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan.  Unless Washington destroys the world in nuclear war, the world will be remade, and the corrupt and dissolute West will be an insignificant part of the new world.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Utility May Have Understated Health Threat From Porter Ranch Gas Leak

 Interesting video

LOS ANGELES ( — The utility whose leaking natural gas well has driven thousands of Los Angeles residents from their homes has publicly understated the number of times airborne levels of the cancer-causing chemical benzene have spiked over the past three months, the company’s own data suggests.

In trying to reassure the public there’s no long-term health risk from the leak, Southern California Gas Co. has said in news releases and FAQs on its website that since the crisis began, just two air samples briefly showed elevated concentrations of the substance.

But a closer look at the online data by The Associated Press and outside experts actually shows that a dozen samples from the Porter Ranch community contained at least twice the amount of benzene that Southern California air regulators consider the normal background level. MORE