Thursday, April 27, 2006

Worse than Watergate: Democracy Now! covers the vital parallel between Nixon's Watergate and the Bush Administration today

Folks, every patriot needs to listen to the great Americans interviewed today and yesterday on Democracy Now!

Yesterday's Show information: 1. Nat Hentoff on the Government Crackdown on Information From Whistleblowers to Journalists 2. FBI Seeks to Seize Control of Files of Deceased Investigative Journalist Jack Anderson 3. Pentagon Papers Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg to Government Insiders: Risk Prison to Leak Information Exposing Illegal Government Actions

Today's Show information: Nixon White House Counsel John Dean and Pentagon Papers Leaker Daniel Ellsberg on Watergate and the Abuse of Presidential Power from Nixon to Bush.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

8 U.S. nuclear reactors had "near misses" of an accident on the scale of Chernobyl since 1986.

Greenpeace Report: AN AMERICAN CHERNOBYL: Nuclear “Near Misses” at U.S. Reactors Since 1986

See above to download and read a 2006 study by Greenpeace using U.S. Nuclear Regulatory documents that looks at accidents that happened at U.S. nuclear reactors since 1986. They found among other things that in 8 cases accidents at U.S. nuclear power plants led to conditions that had a 1-in-1,000 chance of causing a total meltdown of the reactor core, meaning an accident on the scale of Chernobyl or worse.

On page 5 of the report it is revealed that nuclear reactors in Illinois not far from Chicago were responsible for 15 of 46 'frequent' near miss incidents that could have led to a reactor core meltdown and the explosion and release of radioactive clouds accross the region just like the Chernobyl disaster or worse. That means that since 1986, Illinois reactors have had 1/3 of the frequent near misses in the United States.

The report continues:

The reactors that experienced the most “near misses” since Chernobyl, DC Cook 1 and Dresden 3 [located 20 miles south west of Joliet], both have containments that offer the public little or no defense in the event of a meltdown.

Later, the report explains that in 1986 right after the Chernobyl disaster the Nuclear Regulatory Commission testified to Congress about how dangerous U.S. nuclear power was:

Less than a month after the disaster, NRC Commissioner James K. Asselstine testified that, "given the present level of safety being achieved by the operating nuclear power plants in this country we can expect to see a core meltdown accident within the next 20 years and it is possible that such an accident could result in off site releases of radiation which are as large as or larger than the releases estimated to have occurred at Chernobyl."

"While we hope that their occurrence is unlikely, there are accident sequences for U.S. plants that can lead to rupture or bypassing of containment in U.S. reactors which would result in the off-site release of fission products comparable or worse than the releases estimated by the NRC staff to have taken place during the Chernobyl accident."

"That is why the Commission told Congress recently that it could not rule out a commercial nuclear power plant accident in the United States resulting in tens of billions of dollars of property losses and injuries to the public."

Monday, April 17, 2006

A snapshot of the news today...

  • evidence now in that bush is planning an attack on iran (Seymore Hirsh in the New Yorker)
  • now 7 retired (many of them just retired) generals are calling for the resignation of rumsfeld. This response for just-retired generals is virtually unprecidented according to Retired Colonel Sam Gardiner on Democracy Now.
  • eight die in a horrible and cowardly palastanian suicide attack on israeli civilians
  • US military has broken U.S. law by arming Iraqi security forces that have then conducted human rights abuses.
    Democracy Now: Ex-ExxonMobil CEO Earned $150,000 Per DayIn business news, it has been revealed that Lee Raymond, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, received a total of $686 million in compensation between 1993 and 2005. That comes out to an average of nearly $150,000 a day.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Secret Domestic Spying U.S. Government is upon us...

From Democracy Now! today, two stories that should be gut-wrenching to those of us who want our country to be free of extra-judicial secret domestic spying. It is not acceptable for the administration to say that it is okay for them to clearly break the law in the 'cause' of securing the nation and rooting out 'terrorists.' Just like the pre-war Nazi regime, when is the line crossed between a country being a nominal democratic republic to that of a totalitarian regime?

For those that support the right of the administration to break the law to wiretap domestic-to-international calls or even domestic-to-domestic calls without FISA court review, I have to ask you this.

What proof are you given to support the administration's claim that it is only using the illegal NSA domestic wiretapping program to monitor calls from/to the U.S. and Al Queda?

You are given none.

The purpose of the FISA court is exactly to provide a means of popular monitoring of the actions of the secret government - the NSA, CIA, FBI and others. It is to provide that proof, that evidence. FISA was created after abuses made by the Nixion administration of domestic and international wiretapping in the name of national security but, it turned out, were actually used against their political enemies, public dissidents and citizens expressing legal, peaceful speech.

Why would anyone simply blindly trust, without any proof, that this administration is actually being truthful about anything, and particularly about domestic wiretapping when it says to just 'trust us' we're not using our massive wiretapping and monitoring systems for anything other than Al Queda.

The point is, the administration may be telling the truth about its illegal wiretapping program. But, we will never know if it is telling the truth because it is not letting us (meaning the people of the United States) see any evidence that it is telling the truth because it is side-stepping the FISA court.

Gonzales: Gov't Has Power To Monitor Domestic Calls
Back in Washington, the Bush administration is now suggesting it might have the legal authority to conduct surveillance on domestic communication between Americans without a court warrant. Until now the administration has maintained it only has the authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping of calls made to or coming from other countries. On Thursday Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the House Judiciary Committee. When he was asked if the president might order strictly domestic spy operations, Gonzalez said "I'm not going to rule it out." Congressman Adam Schiff of California said he found Gonzales statement to be very disturbing. Schiff said "If the administration believes it can tap purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court approval, there is no limit to executive power. This is contrary to settled law and the most basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers."

AT&T Whistleblower: AT&T Cooperated With NSA Over Spying
Meanwhile a retired AT&T telecommunications technician named Mark Klein has reportedly given a sworn statement that AT&T has been working with the National Security Agency to spy on Americans. Klein gave the statement as part of a lawsuit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against several major telecommunications companies. Klein reportedly also disclosed several internal AT&T documents that showed AT&T put a "dragnet surveillance" in place to help the NSA. Klein's statement and the documents have been put under seal. According to attorneys at EFF, the leaked AT&T documents supports the group's claim that AT&T is diverting Internet traffic into the hands of the NSA wholesale, in violation of federal wiretapping laws and the Fourth Amendment. EFF's staff attorney Kurt Opsahl said "Mark Klein is a true American hero. He has bravely come forward with information critical for proving AT&T's involvement with the government's invasive surveillance program."

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