© 2008 – 2024 John T. Burke, Jr.

Last Respects for Edgar Mitchell

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Edgar Mitchell.jpg

On Feb. 4, 2016, the sixth man to walk on the Moon, Edgar Mitchell died at age 85. He left the planet for the last time on the eve of the 45th anniversary of his arrival on the moon. It must have taken great courage to embark on that journey, as Apollo 14 was NASA’s first attempt at a moon mission since the ill-fated Apollo 13. Mitchell was accompanied on Apollo 14 by Stuart Roosa, pilot of the command module, Kitty Hawk, and Alan Shepard, who accompanied Mitchell on the lunar module, Antares (LM-8). Alan Shepard was America’s first astronaut. His Freedom 7 capsule soared into space atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket and returned without making an orbit. The mission was Project Mercury’s first baby step into space.

Apollo 14 was Alan Shepard’s only space flight after his Freedom 7 trip because an inner-ear disease left him grounded until it was surgically treated. Shepard died in 1988 at age 74. Shepard’s landing of the Antares on the lunar surface was heralded as the most accurate moon landing in the Apollo program.

Few people remember that the Apollo 14 crew had its own “white knuckle” experience: The crew experienced great difficulty attempting to establish a “hard dock” between the Antares and the Kitty Hawk before heading to the Moon. It took six attempts and nearly two hours before docking was established. Although no technical difficulties could be found to explain the problem, fears lingered that the Antares wound be unable to dock with the Kitty Hawk for the return trip, leaving Shepard and Mitchell stranded in space.

True believers in a religion known as, Scientism were quick to ridicule Edgar Mitchell, upon learning that the astronaut conducted “private” (unauthorized by NASA) ESP experiments with friends on earth during the Apollo 14 mission. Most of those critics held no scientific credentials beyond navel-gazing, while Mitchell held a PhD in aeronautics and astronautics from MIT since 1964. Worse yet, those critics soiled themselves when Mitchell discussed the forbidden truth about extraterrestrial space visitors during an April 19, 1996, interview on Dateline NBC. Mitchell’s subsequent participation in efforts to convince the United States government to release suppressed evidence concerning alien spacecraft became a subject of ongoing ridicule.

Although many news reports announcing Mitchell’s death noted his interest in the subject of UFOs, the flow of snark was attenuated in light of the somber circumstances. Since that day in February, there has been little – if any – ridicule about Mitchell’s interest in UFOs because the entire subject has actually gained a modicum of respect. In fact, many of the memorial articles about Edgar Mitchell spoke admirably of the astronaut’s quest to expose this truth.

On Feb. 6, 2016, Forbes published a great piece by Jim Clash, discussing Edgar Mitchell’s advocacy for disclosure of evidence concerning extraterrestrial visitations. This article is a “must read”. When asked for his opinion on why the government would keep this secret, Mitchell responded by mentioning a quote discussed in my last posting. Mitchell explained that the cover-up has gone beyond efforts by the government. The list of culprits includes a “cabal of money and military organizations” motivated by greed.

Billy Cox writes the De Void blog for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. De Void should be on the radar for anyone with an interest in the subject of UFOs. In his Feb. 9, 2016, posting, Billy Cox discussed Mitchell’s efforts to get government personnel released from their security oaths to an extent allowing them to discuss their knowledge about the UFO subject. Dr. Mitchell again speculated about the likely culprits behind the cover-up of extraterrestrial visitations.

Regardless of the government’s secrecy efforts on the subject of extraterrestrial contact, it will obviously be up to the space aliens themselves to inform earthlings of the truth. The government would not be able to stop them from doing so. Perhaps Dr. Mitchell is now in a better place to advocate for UFO disclosure from the only entities with authority to do anything about it.

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Remembering Ike

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A persistent feature of the 2016 Presidential election campaign has been Donald Trump’s steady stream of promises to “make America great again”.  The constant repetition of that mantra has motivated me to look back to the time when America was great – and to take another look at how our President was motivating everyone in this country to make such significant strides.

Although television has provided us with constant reminders of President Kennedy’s great oratory skills, that medium has offered us little of what his predecessor, President Dwight Eisenhower offered by way of motivational elocution.  After all, the years of the Eisenhower Presidency (1953 – 1961) marked the era when America’s middle class strengthened to the level where young families were buying newly-constructed, air-conditioned homes – as well as shiny, new cars – on a grand scale.

In honor of Ike’s birthday (October 14, 1890) it seems only fitting that we should look back at some of his most noteworthy statements:

Ike gave a speech before the National Association of Newspaper Editors on April 16, 1953.  Joseph Stalin had just died on March 5 of that year, and there was heightened pressure for increased military spending, as a result of the burgeoning arms race with Russia.  The never-ending debate on whether government expenditures should favor “guns or butter” became the key subject of this speech:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.

The ever-expanding rift between the Republican Party’s so-called “Freedom Caucus” and the mainstream Republicans has prompted many GOP commentators to quote the wisdom of President Eisenhower, when discussing this subject:

Extremes to the right and to the left of any political dispute are always wrong.

Many of the obnoxious political bloviators, who pollute the airwaves with their toxic commentary, would be wise to take heed of this sage advice from Ike:

Never question another man’s motive. His wisdom, yes, but not his motives.

President Eisenhower offered us another bit of important advice to keep in mind during an election year:

Never let yourself be persuaded that any one Great Man, any one leader, is necessary to the salvation of America. When America consists of one leader and 158 million followers, it will no longer be America.

When you ask most people to recall a quote made by President Eisenhower, the usual response is a reference to his warning about the unrestrained power of the military-industrial complex.  Those remarks were included in Ike’s farewell address, which he presented on television, when he left office on January 17, 1961 – three days before his term expired.  I suggest watching the entire speech.  It lasts only fifteen minutes and it has remained every bit as relevant today as it was in 1961.

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Bumsen Sie die Erbsenzähler!

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The perspective on the Greek crisis, fed to most Americans by way of the megabank-controlled, mainstream news media, has been based on criticism of a “leftist” or “socialist” Greek government.  The magic words, leftist and socialist are intended to portray the Greeks as the bad guys in the picture, whereas those characterized as the “good guys” – die Erbsenzähler (led by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble) are portrayed as patiently leading the petulant Greeks toward the path of financial responsibility.


Nothing could be further from the truth.  For starters, Alexis Tsipras of the Syriza party was not elected Prime Minister of Greece until January 26, 2015.  His predecessor, Antonis Samaras was a member of the New Democracy party.

Many bloggers and financial writers have been criticizing the European Central Bank’s handling of the Greek financial crisis since 2010.  Edward Harrison has written extensively on the subject at his Credit Writedowns blog.  On June 29, Mr. Harrison provided a history on the crisis:

First, let’s remember that back in 2010, most of the creditors to Greece were in the private sector, many of them banks in other Eurozone countries. At that time, the fragility of the European and global economy, and of the European banking system was much greater than it is now. And this caused Europe to panic. What’s more is the EU was able to corral the IMF into joining the EU in bailing Greece out, even though doing so broke its own rules and disregarded the analysis of its own economists. This was the original mistake and the whole chain of events since then has been a futile attempt to justify that original decision.

*   *   *

The most obvious answer is the weak banks. The now deceased former German Central Bank Head Karl Otto Pöhl said at the time that it was all about rescuing weak German and French banks – and rich Greeks too. This is most definitely true. For example, back in 2012, the FT’s James Mackintosh quoted JPMorgan which reckons only 15 billion euros of 410 billion in ‘bailout’ funds actually went to the Greek economy. The rest went to creditors of the Greek government.

The ongoing intransigence of the troubled nation’s troika of creditors (European Central Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the European Union) has drawn harsh criticism from a wide assortment of astute individuals.  From here in the States, Mike Shedlock (a/k/a “Mish”) has been a frequent – yet well-reasoned and balanced – critic of the Eurogroup’s stance.  Here is what Mish had to say on July 10:

German chancellor Angela Merkel has stated many times recently that Greeks got generous terms on its alleged bailout.

Merkel is either a blatant liar or dumb as a rock. I believe the former. It is the bailed out banks in Germany and France that got generous terms.

To save French and German banks of €60 billion or so in losses on Greek bonds they never should have purchased in the first place, eurozone taxpayers are now on the hook for at least €326 billion.

Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” speech should have been suffixed with “to save the banks”.

Greek and eurozone taxpayers got the shaft and remain at risk.

On July 12, Mish shared his reaction to “THE Final Offer Before Grexit”, as presented by the Eurogroup:

The wording of this document makes it clear Germany wants to push Greece out of the eurozone.

Please review the final sentence of the proposal. Here it is again: “In case no agreement could be reached, Greece should be offered swift negotiations on a time-out from the euro area, with possible debt restructuring.”

If Greece turns down the offer, it gets “swift” negotiations on a “temporary time out“, including the possibility of restructuring.

In contrast Greece has no chance of restructuring if it accepts all of the above demands.

Tsipras would be a fool to accept this proposal.

As I have said all along, Greece’s best chance is to default, not pay back a cent, and initiate the reforms it needs to grow over the long haul.

Greece does not need the euro. No country does.

Economist Steve Keen did a wonderful job debunking all of the falsehoods, which have been relied upon to justify the imposition of an absurd austerity regimen on Greece.  Dr. Keen also pointed out why the troika – rather than the Greek government – would be at fault in the event of a Grexit.  Here is his July 6 BBC interview.

The Eurocrats are pressing their luck too far.  If this stupidity persists, we should expect some awful consequences.

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Nous Sommes Charlie!

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I have not been motivated to make a blog posting in quite a while.  One reason is that I have been too busy writing articles for which I can actually get paid.  Another reason is that I have been simply too disgusted by so many of the recent events during the past six months to bother with dwelling on them long enough to write something.

The recent outrage in Paris got me back here.  On one hand, I was annoyed by the milquetoast-y coverage of this event by most media outlets, and the equally-timid responses by public officials.  On the other hand, I was impressed by the fact that the Bloomberg website saw fit to run some of the very pictures which the Islamist psychos found so offensive.

What many people fail to understand is that Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion, did not want anyone painting, drawing or sculpting his image because he did not want people to worship those images.  It was a pretty good idea.  Unfortunately, authoritarian psychos began using that prohibition as an excuse to kill anyone who failed to adhere to it.  Once they began targeting people outside of the Muslim faith, they began infringing on the freedom of expression, which sane people hold dear.

The killings in Paris have sparked a number of public demonstrations.  Although candlelight vigils may have been appropriate when John Lennon was killed by a Jealous Guy, the outrage in Paris warrants some significant pushback.  We need to let those assholes know that the rest of the world will not be intimidated into submission to their psychotic authoritarianism.  One good way of delivering that message is to start publishing pictures of the Prophet Muhammad, whenever appropriate.  If that is what these creeps don’t want us doing, then we should do more of it.  It’s one thing to shout “Je Suis Charlie!” or “Nous Sommes Charlie!” but it’s another thing altogether to back that up with some action.  The most appropriate action would be to follow Charlie’s lead and post pictures of Muhammad.

One of the pictures which appeared on the Bloomberg website seemed especially appropriate.  It depicted a cover from a 2014 issue of Charlie Hebdo with the headline (in French), “If Muhammad Was Returning…”.  Muhammad was on his knees while a Jihadist held a knife to Muhammad’s throat.  Muhammad was saying, “I’m the Prophet, asshole!” and the Jihadist was responding, “Shut your trap, infidel!”  The magazine cover appears below:



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High-Frequency Trading Finally Draws Some Scrutiny

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I remember having a discussion with a friend, back in August of 2009, when I told him that he would soon hear quite a lot about “high-frequency trading”.  It took a bit longer than I expected for that to happen.  The release of the book, Flash Boys by Michael Lewis caused quite a stir.  Many of the book’s harshest critics emphasized that what Lewis “exposed” was actually an old story.  Much had already been written about high-frequency trading (HFT) years earlier.

In fact, here at, I spent some time discussing that subject in the summer of 2009:  here and here.  I wrote about it on a few subsequent occasions in 2010: here, here and here.  More important, in March of 2013, I discussed how HFT had motivated me to avoid using stop-loss orders because of the “mini flash crashes”, engineered by HFT miscreants.

The publication of Flash Boys motivated Charles Schwab himself to discuss his longstanding objections to this sleazy practice.

Despite the cries of Wall Street apologists that Flash Boys was an “old story” which was no longer applicable to the present-day trading environment, Kevin Cook has written a few interesting things on HFT for Zacks Investment Research.  Cook explains how HFT is being used right now as well as how to cope with this situation.  I was particularly startled by Kevin Cook’s list of ten algorithm programs, which have exploited investors and traders with price behavior manipulation.

Although Attorney General Eric Hold-Harmless has promised to take action against HFT, I’m not holding my breath.

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Crazy Time Returns

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It’s time once again for the politicians and other attention-seekers from the lunatic fringe to return to the spotlight.  Politicians who Wingnutintend on running for the Presidency in 2016 are already preparing to launch their primary campaigns.  Because 2014 is a “midterm” year, the only voters who can be expected to vote in November will be the political zealots.  Despite the fact that Congressional terms last only two years, the cretins in Congress are confident that the only people who will bother to vote in their gerrymandered districts will be the dependable hard core.

Unfortunately, we cannot assume that Americans will wise-up and respond to the recent plea from Dallas Federal Reserve President Richard Fisher, by going to their local polling places to address the problem.

Meanwhile, those intent on becoming the Republican Party’s 2016 Presidential nominee are busy currying favor with the two men who dictate the party’s agenda:  Roger Ailes and Rush Limbaugh.  As a result, there is no such thing as too extreme in crafting a campaign message to voters.  With the midterms’ bringing increased attention to the lunatic fringe voters, politicians who are posturing themselves as Presidential candidates are busy preaching to the crazy choir.  This effort usually involves making personal appearances with the most polarizing, controversial individuals who haunt the airwaves with outrageous statements.  The logical consequence of this practice brought the Republicans their “Ted Nugent Moment” this past week.

In their desperation to find a “rock star” who could serve as a dependable spokesperson for Republican political candidates, somebody came up with the idea of appointing Ted Nugent to that role.  Nugent has “jammed” with fellow quasi-musician, Mike Huckabee and he has taken the stage with countless politicians from the far-right.

During the past week, a good deal of attention was focused on some choice remarks made by Nugent during a January 18 interview with  During the course of the interview, Nugent infamously said:

I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever-vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the Acorn community organizer – gangster Barack Hussein Obama – to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America.

Given the fact that Nugent himself bears a rather close physical resemblance to our simian ancestors, there was more than a little irony here.

After a number of news outlets seized upon Nugent’s remarks, those Republicans who know that support from the lunatic fringe is no guaranteed ticket to the White House were quick to put some distance between themselves and Nugent.

Nevertheless, as I pointed out on October 16, because Roger Ailes has made it the mission of Fox News to promote the wingnuts of the GOP, is the party becoming marginalized?  Will we soon hear from Nugent apologists who believe that there are elections to be won by speaking out in favor of some patriot who was forced to apologize for speaking his mind?

On the other hand, will the Republican Party’s “Ted Nugent Moment” be the first in a series of such events which motivate would-be Republican Presidential candidates to distance themselves from extermists?

Meanwhile, the Democrats appear resigned to accepting Hillary Clinton as their 2016 Presidential nominee.  We can assume that Hillary’s sycophants in the news media will attempt to portray anyone who dares to oppose her as some sort of “extremist”.  The cult of people I referred to in 2008 as the Hillarologists – those who believe that Hillary Clinton offers them the only hope of  seeing a woman in the White House during their lifetimes – will be ready for a fight.

Will another women rise up to challenge Hillary for the Democratic nomination?  I hope so.

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Fifty Years of Lies

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On November 22, a large number of tools within the mainstream media will be congratulating themselves for “successfully” covering-up the conspiracy involving the assassination of President Kennedy.  Although many people accept the Warren Commission’s “single bullet theory” version of the tragedy – during this long stretch of time, an entire library full of books refuting different aspects of the “official” explanation has been published.

If you read only one book about the Kennedy assassination (or if you already have but all this anniversary stuff has aroused your interest in getting the true story) I recommend Lamar Waldron’s new book, The Hidden History of the JFK Assassination.  I’m on chapter 8 right now and I have to stop writing, so I can get back to it.  Warner Brothers will be releasing a new film, Legacy of Secrecy, (the title of Waldron’s previous book on this subject) which includes some of the new book’s revelations.  The film features performances by Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Rather than presenting the sort of Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory which we saw in Oliver Stone’s film, JFK, Waldron presents a more simple conspiracy:  New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello and his Tampa associate, Santo Trafficante, Jr. wanted JFK dead because he and Bobby Kennedy had been riding roughshod over the Mafia.

Nevertheless, the book presents other related facts which the reader can put together to conclude that there were many related criminal acts which facilitated and helped cover-up the conspiracy.  Most notable among them was that the hypocritical, crooked, closet queen – Gay Edgar Hoover – obviously had known about it in advance but did nothing to stop the plot because he hated the Kennedys.  After reading seven chapters of this book, I have already learned about two documented cases wherein informants had notified the FBI about Marcello and Trafficante’s plot to kill JFK approximately one year before the hit took place.

The cover-up was facilitated by the fact that Kennedy had been orchestrating the overthrow of Fidel Castro, with the help of Cuba’s number three man:  Commander Juan Almeida.  The Warren Commission and others attempted to cover-up the conspiracy because a revelation of the truth would have exposed the plot against Castro while jeopardizing Almeida, who remained in power until 1990.  Marcello and Trafficante had their men infiltrate the Cuban coup attempt so that any revelation of their involvement in Kennedy’s killing would expose Almeida and the coup plot, potentially setting off World War III.  The Mafiosi also had a sub-plot arranged to make it appear as though Oswald was just one of many people working for Castro to kill Kennedy.  This added more pressure for a cover-up among those who were actually oblivious to what really happened.  The need to prevent World War III was paramount, since the assassination took place only one year after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

There is plenty of other good stuff in the book, so I won’t spoil it for you.  The “big picture” which becomes very clear is that delving into the ugly truth behind the JFK assassination conspiracy is like turning over a rock – you learn all sorts of other grim facts about those vested with the power of running this country, the dishonesty of the mainstream news media and the out-of-control hubris of the National Security Gestapo, which we are reading about on a more frequent basis these days.


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Has Fox News Destroyed the Republican Party?

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It was more than two years ago when ABC News televised Terry Moran’s interview with David Frum, former speechwriter for George W. Bush.  On March 23, 2010 – the day after the interview – the ABC News website ran this piece by David Schoetz, which included an embedded video of the interview.  As we can see from the article, Moran’s interview with Frum was right on target:

Among the comments Frum made to “Nightline” was the assertion that “nobody ever won an election by spitting at his political opponents” and that “anger trapped the [Republican] leadership.”  But it was this exchange, which you can see starting at the 2:20 mark, that is generating some buzz today: Moran: “It sounds like you’re saying that the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs, hijacked the Republican party and drove it to a defeat?”  Frum: “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us and now we’re discovering we work for Fox.  And this balance here has been completely reversed. The thing that sustains a strong Fox network is the thing that undermines a strong Republican party.”  Our report posed the question: Will Democrats pay a price for pushing through health care at any cost? Or are Republicans the ones in trouble for the way they chose to fight?  We know where Frum stands.

As the battle over Obamacare began to reach a boiling point, Fox News televised a discussion between Bill O’Reilly and Charles Krauthammer on September 26 entitled, “Is Ted Cruz the new leader of the Republican Party?”  Krauthammer was less enthusiastic about Cruz than the fawning O’Reilly.  Krauthammer pointed out that the battle Cruz was waging against Obamacare was doomed and that Cruz was simply attempting to position himself as the next GOP Presidential candidate.  As an aside, I find it curious that those who tout the sanctity of the Constitution are so willing to ignore Article Two, Section 1, which states (in part):

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Here is what Wikipedia provides concerning the controversy over this issue:

As Cruz was born in Canada, various commentators from the Austin American-Statesman[97] and the Los Angeles Times,[98] discussed Cruz’s legal status as a natural-born citizen. Because he was a U.S. citizen at birth (since his mother was a U.S. citizen who lived in the U.S. for more than 10 years as required by the Nationality Act of 1940), most commentators believe Cruz is eligible to serve as President of the United States.[10][99][10][100] After hearing that according to legal experts he is a dual citizen of Canada and the U.S., Cruz announced on August 19, 2013 that he would renounce his Canadian citizenship.[101]

I enjoyed the last sentence, which stated, “After hearing that according to legal experts he is a dual citizen …”  One would have thought that Cruz might be a legal expert himself, since he graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.  In any event, any plans Cruz had made for the Presidency were certainly destroyed by the government shutdown fiasco.  Of course, Cruz will always remain popular with his hard core supporters, despite the fact that he has alienated the Republican Party itself, and he has no chance of getting elected – even in the unlikely event that he should become the GOP nominee.

Cruz will always be haunted by his recitation of Green Eggs and Ham during his pseudo-filibuster, which Krauthammer aptly pointed out was simply an attempt to upstage the filibuster conducted by Rand Paul over the use of drones.

The bigger question concerns the devastation this fiasco has caused for the Republican Party.  As David Frum pointed out, the hero worship Fox News brings to the wingnuts of the GOP empowers those characters, making the GOP a party of extremists.  Although a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll showed that 74 percent of Americans disapproved of the way Congressional Republicans handled the budget crisis, the more important issue concerns the extent to which the GOP has sustained long-term damage as a result of this episode.  If it causes Republicans to become unelectable, they will have Fox News to blame.


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More Ugly Truth about Fukushima

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As radioactive water continues to leak out of containment tanks and into the Pacific Ocean, more truth is leaking out concerning the efforts to cover-up the significance of the Fukushima disaster from the very beginning.

Immediately after the disaster was first reported, I recognized the familiar smell of a cover-up.  Here is some of what I wrote on March 14, 2011, just three days after the event:

Since the Fukushima nuclear crisis began, we were given spotty, uninformative reports about the extent of the damage to the critical equipment, despite assurances that the “reactor vessels remain intact”.

*   *   *

A good deal of the frustration experienced by those attempting to ascertain the status of the potential nuclear hazards at Fukushima, was obviously due to the control over information flow exercised by the Japanese government.  I began to suspect that President Obama might have dispatched a team of Truth Suppressors from the Gulf of Corexit to assist the Japanese government with spin control.

During the subsequent weeks and months,  I found it necessary to express my disgust over the cover-up of the hazard’s severity on more than a few occasions, such as here, here, here and here.  Despite the fact that the first three of those four pieces were written in 2011, a good deal of the information contained therein would come as a surprise to most Americans.

Not included in the foregoing list of links was what I had to discuss about contamination of the Pacific Ocean back on May 12, 2011 – just two months after the earthquake and tsunami:

In the United States, the EPA has apparently become so concerned that the plume of radioactivity may have contaminated fish, which are being caught off the Pacific coast and served-up at our fine restaurants – that the agency has decided to cut back on radiation monitoring.  That’s right.  Thorough radiation testing of water and fish causes too much transparency – and that’s bad for business.  Susanne Rust of California Watch discussed the reaction this news elicited from a group called Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (Public Employees – uh-oh!):

The EPA and the Food and Drug Administration increased their radiation monitoring efforts after a massive earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan set off the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.

But on May 3, the EPA announced [PDF] in a press release that it was falling back to a business-as-usual schedule of radiation monitoring, citing “consistently decreasing radiation levels.”

*   *   *

“With the Japanese nuclear situation still out of control and expected to continue that way for months and with elevated radioactivity continuing to show up in the U.S., it is inexplicable that EPA would shut down its Fukushima radiation monitoring effort,” said Jeff Ruch, executive director of the watchdog group, in a statement.

*   *   *

According to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, the EPA has proposed raising their guideline radiation limits, or Protection Action Guides.  These values are used to guide decision makers about when a clean up is needed after a nuclear incident.

According to Ruch, the new clean up standards are “thousands of times more lax than anything the EPA has ever before accepted.”

Documents obtained by the watchdog group [PDF] via the Freedom of Information Act indicate the EPA made a decision to approve the revised guidelines months ago, but has yet to make a formal announcement.

The latest disclosures concerning the magnitude of the hazards involved – as well as the efforts by TEPCO and the Japanese government to cover-up such information – have sparked widespread outrage.  With a plume of radioactive water on its way to the West Coast, an assortment of experts – none of whom have any credentials to support a claim of expertise on the subject of the bio-effects of ionizing radiation – are busy telling people not to worry.  They want us to believe that the radioactive water in the plume will be harmless.

Not only are such claims unscientific (no current data, no readings on radiation levels) they are obviously being made to convince the public of something that will, more than likely, be proven as untrue.

As I have said at least five times before:  If you are in search of honest information about the hazards resulting from this disaster, Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer of Fairewinds Associates, provides regular updates on Fukushima.  For more specific information on the latest radiation hazards affecting the West Coast, be sure to visit the site run by Michael Collins:, where you can also find links for obtaining radiation measurement devices.

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Smelling Even Worse

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When I first heard about the fatal car crash which killed Michael Hastings, I immediately became suspicious.  A brand-new Mercedes involved in a single-vehicle accident blew up and burned in an unusually-devastating fire.  A Mercedes Benz?  Not likely.  This case smells.

Since that time, much has been written and uploaded to the web, including this surveillance video of the crash actually taking place.  Unfortunately, it is of marginal quality, although it could be useful if an expert would enhance the image to verify or refute the eyewitness account of an explosion (or fire) in the vehicle before it struck the post.

A video blogger operating from Japan named James Corbett prepared a very thorough video presentation of some of the more useful information on this case.  The video runs for 45 minutes and includes several interviews of Hastings himself, conducted by Cenk Uygur and others.

What becomes immediately apparent is that Hastings was not only pushing back against the corporatist, mainstream media – he was confronting and busting the chops of the tools who feed America the bullshit most people accept as “news”.  The video presented by Corbett, entitled Crashes of Convenience: Michael Hastings includes a number of these confrontations.

It’s no wonder this guy got whacked.  He was really rocking the boat.

Since the incident first happened, reporter Kimberly Dvorak of San Diego 6 has been turning over all the right rocks, exposing what the mainstream media would rather ignore.  This July 8 broadcast clip and article contain some very revealing information.  Although the LAPD was quick to announce “no foul play”, Mercedes Benz representatives informed Ms. Dvorak that the LAPD never found it necessary to seek their assistance in their investigation of this event.

Although a toxicology investigation is under way, Ms. Dvorak reported that Los Angeles officials took it upon themselves to cremate Michael Hastings’ body against the wishes of his family, before sending it to his parents in Vermont.  In other words, just in case the convenient conclusion might happen to be reached – that Hastings was drunk at the time of the crash – nobody will ever be able to refute it.  The fact that the body was cremated sends a big hint that driver intoxication will be used as the official explanation for this event.

A number of reports have disclosed that Hastings was working on a story about the CIA and NSA at the time of his death.  He expressed concern that the spooks were onto him.  Ms. Dvorak reported that this story did not die with Hastings.  He deliberately kept his wife in the dark about it to protect her safety.  Smart move.  Nevertheless, some of the information Hastings uncovered is apparently “out there”.  If Hastings’ killers were trying to kill that story, it’s a bit early to claim victory.