Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Last Confessions of E. Howard Hunt
Bin Laden Offered Haven in Pakistan
Bush Declassifies Bin Laden Intel
Pakistan to Probe Alleged Arms Trading by Troops
U.S. Fears Over China Nuclear Weapons

Press For Truth
Documentary by 9/11 Widows

Confessions of a U.S. Mercenary in Iraq
Worms Hit the Big Time
This link is included in this week's picks not so much for its content - some readers of this blog know more about worms than the writer of the article - but for its position. The entire magazine section of the New York Times two weeks ago was given over to "eco-tecture," architectural innovations that are supposed to wean us from our much decried energy dependence. That the New York Times gave air time to ultra-'green' red worms should set off alarm bells in anyone who has been lulled by the illusion of a holding pattern in the news into complacency. Another noteworthy article in the issue was a profile of 9/11 and environmental activist Ed Begley. J.O.

Yangtze Flood Alert as Tibetan Glaciers Melt

From an article on French politics in The Daily Reckoning:

...Remember, for instance, Felix Faure, who died suddenly - in office - in1899. The priest arriving on the scene asked if the old man had still hadhis 'consciousness' about him when he died ('connaissance', in French is aword that can be translated as either 'knowledge' or 'acquaintance'). "Notso," replied the policeman, "she left by the side door."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Halliburton Putting 70% Capital Investment in Middle East

Actions speak louder than words. By putting its money where its mouth isn't, Halliburton reveals where it sees its future lying. J.O.
Iran-Iraq Pipeline

Granted, Iran has difficulty meeting its own domestic needs for gasoline but that's a refined product. Iran is still an oil exporter so this pipeline is puzzling. Since the Ceyhan pipeline is in jeopardy, its purpose could be to bypass the current instability in Turkey. Or it could be a European oil company outbidding the U.S. MCR

CO2 Emissions' Rise Outpaces Worst Case Scenario

This article underscores 's mantra that until you change the way money works, you change nothing. As long as the global economy continues to be a Ponzi scheme that relies on endless growth in a world that insists on remaining finite, we will continue our progress towards.... you fill in the blank. J.O.

Climate Change May Imperil Plants

Forget the notorious spotted owl, beloved object of ridicule of Bush I; climate change now threatens wild varieties of the humble potato and peanut. So who eats wild varieties anyway? you ask. Perhaps few do but as the article points out:

"Farmers and researchers often depend on wild plants to breed new varieties of crops that contain genes for traits such as pest resistance or drought tolerance, and that reliance is expected to increase as climate changes strain the ability of crops to continue to have the same yields as now, the group said in a statement." J.O.


Review of book on the "conspiracy theory" surrounding the JFK assassination.'

This review appeared in tandem with a bellicose review of Bugliosi's 1600 page tome asserting that Lee Harvey Oswald did it, period. The Bugliosi book had gotten front page coverage in the Times during the week so it's interesting that the Sunday Book Review is presenting a more balanced picture. J.O.

UK Cash Finances Terror, Says India
China's Seed-Breeding Satellite
Jon Stewart's "Misappropriation of 9/11"
Live Science Snowflake Gallery
The Inflation Lie
US government, Wall Street hide energy shortage and crisis with deceptive indicator

Larry Chin

In the past few days, news headlines have trumpeted and repeated what is a non sequitur, and a physical and logical impossibility:

Overall Inflation Eases, Gas Prices Up (Associated Press)

Despite Gas Prices, Inflation Eases (Boston Globe)

This nonsense as already become the basis for economic, political and financial decision-making across the country, and all over the world.

It is a lie. Here is why.

Rising energy costs are inflation. You cannot have one without the other. Energy, and energy-related material, is the lifeblood of modern industrial life. When the cost of energy (including oil, natural gas, electricity, and the products made with petroleum, such as plastic) goes up, the cost of everything goes up. This is inflation. When energy is depleted, while the use and demand for energy continues to increase, the price of energy skyrockets. Inflation, again.

It is a fact that the world is in the early stages of Peak Oil and Gas---permanent shortage, and permanent depletion. The world oil peak occurred in November 2005, according to renowned scientists, geologists and industry experts.

It is therefore a fact, with permanent shortage with high, rising and insatiable world energy demand, that rising inflation is not only a problem now, but also a permanent condition.

Why are the authorities hiding this?

Core inflation hides the truth about energy crisis

Simply defined, inflation is the increase in the average level of prices. However, there many different methods by which inflation is measured, and selectively reported by US government (primarily, the Bureau of Labor Statistics), the Federal Reserve Bank, Wall Street analysts, economists, the corporate media, and the rest of the US government.

There are, however, many different definitions of inflation. In recent years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Fed have selectively emphasized one version, core inflation. Core inflation is the statistic that excludes costs of energy and food.

Given the fact that 1) daily existence in modern life demands various forms of hydrocarbon energy, 2) a vast array of basic material is derived from hydrocarbons (such as plastic), and 3) food and food production depend on hydrocarbons (fertilizers, irrigation and pesticides, energy needed to run machinery, etc.), the exclusion of food and energy costs in the measure of inflation is, therefore, a lie.

The selective use of core inflation is a cover-up that is routinely assisted by corporate media that, knowingly and unwittingly, promotes the illusion of a “growing economy with inflation under control, or non-existent”.

Meanwhile, what is the truth? Consider these:

Inflation looms as oil prices soar

Oil and gas project costs reach new highs

Gas costs $1,000 more annually than in 2001

The price of every form of energy (oil, gas, electricity) is going through the roof, as are other costs of everyday survival: health care, housing, and education.

In The Peak Oil crisis: alarms are sounding (May 17, 2007), Tom Whipple of the Falls Church News-Press writes:

“Across the world, alarm bells are starting to clang. Above every gas station, a large sign is proclaiming that prices are on an unstoppable climb towards un-affordability. In Paris, the International Energy Agency has announced that the demand for oil is likely to exceed the supply later this year, unless, of course, OPEC steps up production. In the Middle East, OPEC spokesmen reiterate time after time that all is well, there is plenty of oil, and there is no need to increase production…. The Chinese just announced that their April oil imports were 23 percent higher than last April’s. Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela---everywhere you look---there are unmistakable warnings of troubles to come.”

Ordinary people are being defrauded and lied to. It does not take a degree in economics or finance to see this. Even people who do not pay attention to the news intuitively know and feel the increasingly crippling effects of real inflation every day, at the gas pump and everywhere else. They are watching their money disappear. The crisis is palpable.

Will the real inflation please stand up?

If core inflation is a deceptive statistic, where, then, does one find a more realistic measure? That is found in what is known to economists as headline inflation. Headline inflation includes the cost of energy and food.

A few contrarian observers have pointed out that headline inflation tells much more of the truth.

Charles Bean, chief economist of the Bank of England said in August 2006 that the US Federal Reserve is wrong to focus on core measures of inflation that exclude energy prices. According to Bean, “it should focus on headline inflation, which is much higher. Including energy and food costs, US consumer price inflation is running at an annual rate of 4.1 percent, against 2.7 percent for core inflation”. He also pointed out correctly that energy prices were rising for the same reason the price of many manufactured goods are falling: the rise of China and other emerging market economies. Bean’s controversial statement came at the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming symposium. (Since Bean’s statement, energy prices have risen, which suggests that inflation is even higher than Bean’s 4.1 percent estimate).

In a piece titled “Inflation reporting errors continued”, Barry Ritholtz concludes that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been “consistently under-reporting inflation over the past 8 years.” Worse, the amount of the discrepancy has widened dramatically, with “the gap between core and headline is now greater than it was in the early 1980s, and---hard as it may be to imagine---we are only slightly off the spread of the terrible 1970s.” The BLS and the Federal Reserve, according to Ritholtz, have deviated from reality, even though others around the world see the disconnect… “The basket of goods and services that is measured is so massaged and hedonically adjusted”, that it no longer reflects reality.

In Ritholtz’ view:

“The US consumer is confronted with rapidly rising costs for food, energy, health care, housing, education expenses. Indeed, even as both the everyday survival expenses (shelter, food, energy) and the larger family expenses (doctors, college, etc.) have exploded, there has been little correlation to what economists and the BLS have informed them. Despite the contradiction, there is little inflation in the official stats. It is as if economists are asking consumers, ‘Who are you gonna believe, us, or your lying eyes?’”

“If we are to judge inflation on a broader scale, we would undoubtedly come to the conclusion that, like the rest of the world, the US has an inflation problem.”

Ritholtz also notes that the highly respected Bill Gross of PIMCO (the largest manager of bonds in the United States) sees the same thing. Gross states: “A bigger threat to asset markets…comes not from slower economic growth in the short-term, but inflationary pressures towards the end of our secular timeframe. Since 1967, average differences in headline vs. core inflation have essentially been zero, despite distinct periods of cyclical variation. Now however, with globalization so dominant and Chinese/Asian appetites for oil, soybeans and iron ore amongst other commodities so voracious, it’s hard to envision an extended period of lower headline US increases.”

Here is a similar discussion:

Except for inflation, there's no inflation
In “Lies About Inflation”, Jack Douglas argues that the official measures of inflation, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) does not include housing prices, which have soared in a Housing Bubble of recent years, and that education, retirement costs, medical and health care costs are grossly undercounted.
What are the US government and Wall Street working so hard to hide, and why are they hiding it? According to Douglas:
“The CPI does include the soaring costs of energy and food, so the Fed and the Big Media have cut them out by referring to the ‘Core CPI Inflation,’ which is a totally ad hoc number they get by cutting out energy and food costs. But have you ever met an American, or any human being, who could live without food or energy? The Fed pretends it is cutting out the heart and core of inflation by cutting out food and energy because these are ‘variable.’ But, of course, all prices are variable and this variability is the very reason one wants to keep measuring them: if they were not variable, it would be absurd to measure them more than one time.
“First, they do not want consumers to know that the American economy is in a desperate situation. If people knew the truth, they would save, not spend, and would insist the government stop running up immense debts to pay-off its rich Party members and fight unwinnable wars.
“If people saved, the Fed believes in Keynesian Ideology the economy would shrink, so they lie to get people to borrow and spend to pump-up the economy. The government and Fed poured out vast oceans of paper dollars over the past six years in a desperate Keynesian attempt to revive investment, income, consumption and growth to kick-start the economy after the Crash of the Nasdaq Bubble (created by earlier Fed floods of dollars to ‘pump-up the economy’) six years ago erased over 8 trillion dollars.
… “Second, they hide inflation to keep down the inflation-adjustment wage and retirement benefits to tens of millions of Americans at the lower end of the income scale, which saves big corporations and the government tens of billions of dollars a year.
“The Fed and the rest of the government failed to kick-start a real investment boom and growth. They produced an immense burden of debt, inflation, bubbles, and distortions of the whole global economy. Now all of that is unwinding faster and faster: we are spinning down faster and faster in a vortex of contraction that will most likely produce a ‘free fall’---a Great Crash.”
[Note: I do not endorse all of the political views of this web site. However, Douglas’ view is on target. -LC]

An honest, accurate picture of post-Peak Oil economic reality, and the resulting public outcry, would cause a systemic crash, stock market collapses, and the end of “consumer confidence”. Without consumer spending and debt, the fragile economy would lose one of last remaining legs it is teetering on. There would be no more “pump” in “pump and dump”, and the Wall Street casino would close.

Off the cliff, into the dark

Governments, corporations and policy makers all over the world have been aware of Peak Oil and Gas for a long time, and have engaged in desperate actions to prepare for its many effects, including inflation. On February 28, 2007, the US General Accounting Office (GAO) published a report to Congress entitled Crude Oil: Uncertainty about Future Oil Supply Makes it Important to Develop a Peak and Decline in Oil Production. The authorities simply do not want the public to be privy to their machinations.

The global architects who manage a teetering global system that profits from criminality and mass murder---who have lied about 9/11, and lied in order to wage illegal wars of conquest all over the world---would not hesitate for one second to lie about inflation. In the words of Mike Ruppert, author of Crossing the Rubicon, there are too many “psychological and moral limitations that no political leaders and few human beings can see beyond” to count.

The lying will not end. Far important is the need to develop the ability identify the lies, and deal with the reality that they are being told to ignore.

As Tom Whipple warns, there are immediate problems:

“…Right now, on top of every American’s agenda should be the question of whether we are going to get through the summer without shortages and gas lines---opinions are mixed.

“Earlier this week, Matthew Simmons of Twilight in the Desert fame, suggested that prospects for an uninterrupted summer of driving may be worse than government spokesmen have been letting on.

“Where does all this leave us? The short answer is, in an increasingly grim situation. When respected analysts say our gasoline situation is beyond the tipping point and that at least some of us are likely to be sitting in gas lines before Labor Day, we should heed the warning. Looking at the broader, worldwide picture, the situation is equally grim. When the normally staid International Energy Agency starts issuing a stream of dire warnings about shortages or much higher prices before the year is out, we should start thinking about a markedly different future.”

This future includes rising, and eventually permanent, inflation.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

EPA Whistleblower Alleges More Fraud Across the Board: Another Cautionary Tale as Peak Oil Approaches

Jenna Orkin*

The following article is targetted to the community whose lives and health were directly affected by 9/11. The information on Peak Oil will not be news to readers of this blog. But if there is any saving grace to be found in the environmental disaster of 9/11, it is in its use as a cautionary tale for the larger looming disaster of Peak Oil. As more Ground Zero workers die, as the catastrophic health consequences to Lower Manhattan residents, students et al of the environmental disaster of 9/11 become more widely known and as the public recognizes the pervasiveness of the lies perpetrated on them by the government and their amanuenses, the mainstream media, perhaps people will finally wake up to the need to do their own research and take charge of their own destinies.

9/11 research is a rabbit-hole of Byzantine complexity full of snares and delusions and peopled with false friends, lunatics, earnest lost souls and a few heroes. It's not necessary to understand all the nuances of science and bureaucracy that allowed the government to get away with mass murder, blame it on swarthy foreigners (of whom many are eager accomplices) and use the incident as (in the words of the Cheney, Jeb Bush et al cabal, the Project for a New American Century) "a new Pearl Harbor." At this critical juncture in human history, it's only necessary to understand why they did it. The motive was Peak Oil, a disaster which will affect everyone on the planet, about which all must enlighten themselves and for which all must prepare.
May 6 Environmental scientist Dr. Cate Jenkins of the EPA issued a complaint today alleging fraud by the United States Geological Survey, OSHA, EPA and New York City, among others, in reporting corrosive Ph levels following the attacks of 9/11. Sent to Hillary Clinton, Chair of the Subcommittee on Superfund and Environmental Health, and later to the FBI for investigation, the complaint also alleges that EPA has engaged in fraud regarding Ph levels dating back to 1980.

Continuing a career of whistleblowing that began when she exposed Monsanto's coverup of the toxic effects of Agent Orange, Jenkins points out that WTC dust was so alkaline (ie caustic), it would have caused irreversible tissue damage to the lungs in the form of chemical burns. "Corrosivity would have acted directly to cause respiratory chemical burns," the complaint says, "and also would have increased the toxic properties of other pollutants from the WTC by facilitating their entry into the body through the respiratory system." Alkalinity, therefore, may be a major cause of the severe and in some cases lethal respiratory effects manifesting themselves in thousands of Ground Zero workers and unknown numbers of residents, office workers and students exposed to the air downtown after the EPA declared it 'safe to breathe.'

The Jenkins complaint accuses USGS of falsifying its own Ph data; the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of using dangerously outdated medical references; and EPA of "actually changing the numbers" from one publication to the next. Several samples were given an alkalinity reading of 11 by EPA, under the bar for triggering a federal response whereas Jenkins alleges they were above it. The change is also significant because the difference between 11 and 12 represents not a difference of 9% but of one order of magnitude; a sample rated 12 is ten times as corrosive as one rated 11.

Jenkins also accuses EPA of falsifying the Ph level known to cause chemical burns in its superfund regulations back in 1980. In addition it accuses scientists at Rutgers University of performing tests in a way designed to minimize alkalinity, for instance by focussing on dust that had been dissolved. However, "some materials, like mostly insoluble WTC dust, have a high 'alkaline reserve capacity,' the ability to release caustic levels of hydroxyl ions over extended periods of time as they slowly dissolve."

The complaint underscores the subtle ways in which the government and those dependent on its grant money deceive and endanger the public. The devil is in the details, making it necessary for laymen who might wish to leave their fate in the hands of experts and authority figures to educate themselves instead.This need has long been known to victims of AIDS and other diseases which traditionally have stumped doctors. 9/11 spread that need to the population at large, even those who were not obviously affected. And, however misguided and often lunatic many of their efforts, that public is stumbling towards the truth first exposed by Mike Ruppert of that the Bush administration not only profited from the attacks which provided them with the justification for an assault on civil liberties as well as on Iraq and Afghanistan, it orchestrated them.

But as Fletcher Prouty, the character played by Donald Sutherland, says in JFK, the real question now is not "who?" or "how?" but "why?" The motive for 9/11 was Peak Oil. It is this looming disaster (which does not mean the end of oil resources but the decline from peak production which, in a world of rising demand, triggers skyrocketing prices) that will have a catastrophic effect worldwide.

The government and their lackeys, the press, would have the public believe that the problem is soluble with ethanol, hybrids and sundry other alternative energy sources (which are wonderful on a small scale) and technofixes. Thus the public believes that a vague but expert 'they' will come up with something as they always have, particularly when 'they' have the sort of financial incentive that necessity brings.

And a tree will grow to the moon if you just give it enough money.

But again, the devil is in the details. Ethanol takes almost as much energy to produce as it ultimately provides. And using corn for cars means having less for people. Hybrid cars use more energy to make than they end up saving. All the supposed 'solutions' to the energy crisis come with serious caveats.

There is no magic bullet that will allow business to continue as usual. What is needed is an overhaul of the way money works, a system which currently requires infinite growth in a world whose resources are painfully finite. A steady-state economy that does not depend on interest or globalization but on locally grown food is the only way out.

The general public now realizes that it was disastrously naive to trust the government and the mainstream press after 9/11. They realize it was naive to trust them in the lead-up to the Iraq war. Perhaps this history has been repeated often and tragically enough that it does not need to play out again in the peak oil disaster but instead will be redeemed.

plaintiff in Benzman vs. EPA

Other Resources