I had an exam in a State and Local Government class where we were asked about the “Full Faith and Credit Clause” of the United States Constitution. I see a very big crisis coming in the future with Article IV here, very soon… What do you think? Continue reading
Fukushima First Responders beginning to get sick…
First responders to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown have begun exhibiting symptoms, illnesses and sicknesses that are tied to severe radiation exposure very recently — and not just Japanese and likely others, but US Naval first responders, as well.
More than 100 US military service members joined a lawsuit against the owner of the nuclear plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company, also known as TEPCO, stating that the exposure they received, which was deemed as safe by both TEPCO and the Japanese government was indeed, NOT safe.
Indeed, one female enlisted sailor aboard the USS Ronald Reagan, that spent roughly a month assisting efforts off the coast of Japan, stated that recently, her menstrual cycle has gone awry, causing excessive bleeding and has also received a recent diagnosis of asthma. Further, another sailor complains of lumps in his skin and in his jaw, along with stomach ulcers and unusual weight and hair loss. Frighteningly, when he was tested for radiation exposure after being on the deck of the vessel, the Geiger counter “went crazy” when it scanned his hands — as he was the sailor who lowered the American flag that was given to the Japanese people as a gesture of friendship. Having been flying during the disaster, it was likely the flag and rope were highly contaminated with radiation.
This having been said, I’m interested to know why the mainstream media isn’t covering this heavily, in America. I find it very interesting, actually.
- US sailors claim radiation sickness from Fukushima rescue (fox5sandiego.com)
- 70+ USS Ronald Reagan Crew Members, Half Suffering From Cancer, to Sue TEPCO For Fukushima Radiation Poisoning (ecowatch.com)
- Elephant In The Room: Fukushima (wearechange.org)
- More USA sailors afflicted by exposure to Fukushima radiation (nuclear-news.net)
- US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer (activistposter.wordpress.com)
- US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer (rinf.com)
- US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer (zerohedge.com)
- USS Ronald Reagan sailors to sue power company over alleged Fukushima radiation poisoning (wtkr.com)
- ZeroHedge: US Sailors, Assisting With Fukushima Clean Up, Crippled By Cancer (silveristhenew.com)
- Fukushima Is A Sacrifical ‘Death’ Zone by Epidemiologist (streetdemocracy.wordpress.com)
“Affluenza” — Yes, it’s real… BUT…
This latest psychologically defended condition of ‘affluenza,’ or, to put it simply coddled children who were never given boundaries of behavior in which to follow; does exist I believe. However, not as a legal defense to bad behavior. Brought to recent prominence by the Texas teen who’s driving under the influence of alcohol resulted in the death of another person, his legal defense team is claiming “affluenza” renders him harmless from the death of the individual.
It’s human nature to push our boundaries. That’s where adrenaline junkies get off, how racecar drivers push for that tenth of a second world record, or otherwise. In the same respect, it makes perfect sense that when people, children, especially, are given no boundaries for behavior, they’ll be apt to step outside the social norms.
Often, I go back to an intro to political theory course I took a couple of years ago… while I’d read many of the texts, everything from The Leviathan to Locke and Hobbes’ social contract theories, I’d never had a chance to academically put them to use and to critically analyze them before then. The Leviathan always comes to mind when I think about social contract issues. To live under the protection of a society, we give up our rights to that society, and we live under the rights that the Leviathan gives to us, to exit that State of Nature. This is what keeps us from going BACK to that State of Nature: a combination of subservience to the machine (that is the Leviathan), and fear of retribution from our fellow people and, more importantly, the Leviathan… or the Sovereign, or whatever term you chose to associate with “the State.”
Fortunately, the Leviathan also protects us from these people stricken with ‘affluenza.’ While I’m sure you won’t find it in ANY DSM text ever, I do believe the condition exists — however, it is upon US, as people living under the protection of the Leviathan and the Sovereign, to determine what behavior is conducive to the social contract that we accept, by simply existing in that society. If you don’t like rules, you vote to change them — you don’t take it upon yourself to sneak up behind the Leviathan with a dagger, or endanger others simply because “you” want to live your life your way — that endangers others. By simply existing in that society (admittedly with some exceptions), you contract to it the ability to be judged and punished by it. It’s as simple as that.
- What’s the future for ‘affluenza’ defenses? (usatoday.com)
- JILL PERTLER | Affluenza – blame the parents (kitsapsun.com)
- Texas ‘affluenza’ case incites anger, lawsuits and call for jail time (sacbee.com)
- ‘Affluenza’? (fashioningsociology.wordpress.com)
- Woes not over for Texas’ “affluenza” boy (nydailynews.com)
- Was it ‘affluenza’ or permissive parenting? (members.jacksonville.com)
- All the injustice money can buy (cnn.com)
- Texas judge pressured to give ‘affluenza’ teen drunk driver jail time (rawstory.com)
- All the injustice money can buy (rss.cnn.com)
The most distant galaxy found yet… …and it’s FAR.
Almost by accident, we’ve discovered the most distant intergalactic body yet; and it’s by no means close to us.
Designated z8_GND_5296, it was discovered by a combination of infrared and and deep optical telescopes by astronomers from from University of California, Riverside, in conjunction with the at the National Optical Astronomy Observatories University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. This was confirmed by imagery from the telescope at the Keck Observatory in Hawaii.
By examining the redshift of the galaxy, that is, the shift in light color produced by a moving object, similar to the doppler shift heard in a racecar as it passes by you, this shift allows astronomers and physicists to determine how fast and how far away an object is, as the shift distorts the image more and more to the infrared end of the spectrum. With a redshift of 7.51, and knowing the distance of the intergalactic objects between us and and that galaxy, we’ve been able to extract that the galaxy is over thirty BILLION light years away; and we are seeing it today as it appeared 13.1 Billion Light Years away.
What an incredible find! When they say our universe is a big place, they mean it!
- Astronomers discover most distant galaxy in universe (earthsky.org)
- Astronomers Discover the Most Distant Galaxy Yet (news.nationalgeographic.com)
- Astronomers Discover the Most Distant Known Galaxy (spaceref.com)
- ‘Most distant galaxy’ discovered (bbc.co.uk)
- Astronomers discover most distant known galaxy (latimes.com)
- Texas Astronomer Discovers Most Distant Known Galaxy (utexas.edu)
- New Galaxy Discovered Which Is The Most Distant Yet! (quadrantkeele.wordpress.com)
- Found: Most Distant Galaxy Yet, Age 13 Billion Years (blogs.discovermagazine.com)
- Discovered: the galaxy that’s so far away we’re seeing it as it was 13 billion years ago (independent.co.uk)
China’s call for a “De-Americanized” Future?
While this would, no doubt, be disastrous for the American economy, which is vastly based on the “full faith and credit of the United States government” of the United States dollar — could China’s own less-than-impartial statement that the future of the world should be “de-Americanized” have a point?
Partisan infighting in Congress, on top of massive trade deficits with China and Japan (among others) are threatening the faith the world has in the US government’s ability to pay the debts it has already racked up — even in simple interest payments on Treasury Bills and other things.
While there’s yet been a default on any obligation of the United States, if partisan gridlock doesn’t change in Washington, could it be an inevitable future?
Those on the right say our borrowing to fund the government and to pay our obligations say this is an unsustainable model do have a point. Borrowing forever with no intention to fix it will only result in a catastrophic failure — sooner or later.
However, liberal economics specifically state that when the economy is in a recession, or otherwise growing at an anemic rate, that it is the government’s duty to pump money into the economy to ensure that consumer confidence remains high and that people spend — particularly during problems like high unemployment or lower consumer confidence, the two silver bullets to economic futures. When people are scared (fiscally speaking) they withhold money; and not spending money grinds the economy to a halt. Very effectively.
Are both goals mutually exclusive? I don’t think so.
While a plan to begin to work down our debt obviously needs to be in place, because consumer confidence still hasn’t fully recovered from The Great Recession, this is where [neo?]liberal economics comes in. Adaptive economics, in particular. The economy “running itself,” particularly without any regulation, obviously doesn’t work as much as an authoritarian, centrally planned economy. A government buffer helps “prop up” the economy, while the wheels of the private sector continue to spin.
It’s a mess, but it’s one we can fix — if we come together and work the problem… and not just point fingers — and America can still be a leader in the world.
- Retail group: Shutdown killing consumer confidence (utsandiego.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar (zerohedge.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making a Move Against the Us Dollar (aworldchaos.wordpress.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The US Dollar (businessinsider.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar (rinf.com)
- BRICS Medical Device Market Reports (prweb.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar (silveristhenew.com)
- Hey China, Stop Laughing at the U.S. (bloomberg.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar (planet.infowars.com)
- 9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
#2013Shutdown’s effect on Business and the Future of America…
One of my former (and future, no doubt!) professors from Eastern Michigan University, Dr. David Victor, posted this morning about a possible future oil boom for Iceland, noting that a recent survey and discovery shows Iceland sits on a *LOT* of the possible undiscovered oil reserves in the world, estimates place it at 13%. With the thawing of the northern ice cap, and the North Atlantic Current keeping ice from marring up the major ports of the island nation, all of these things could conspire to bring a well-needed boon to it’s economy.
However, another follower on Facebook of Dr. Victor, the Chair of CitrinGroup, also threw in his two cents, stating that while the Chinese are courting and betting on future oil producers, such as Iceland, the United States, already suffering an anemic economy, is wasting it’s time on policy matters that in the grand scheme of things, don’t really matter. I tend to agree.
The United States’ economy is JUST starting to gain traction, while sitting fairly stationery and spinning it’s wheels, begging to move forward since the crisis began in the Subprime Mortgage market in 2007. We’re finally starting to see forward momentum beyond the familiar numbers of “0.04% gains.” People are beginning to feel confident in the economic system again.
However, when people see the Government itself can’t get it together and pay it’s OWN bills, that’s when people begin to hold onto their OWN money, going “What if I find myself right back in 2008 again?” I admit, I found myself thinking twice when I made a relatively small purchase this morning, because the well-being of MY household budget is determined by the fiscal health of the Federal Government.
When recessions and slumps hit the nation, the Government is there to provide relief, to buffer the blow with benefits, stimulus and other some-such capital, by pumping money into the system. However, if that money is cut off too soon, the economy can slump again. Bad news breeds bad feelings. Bad feelings breed either a binge on spending, or a lack of spending, more often, the latter. When people stop spending, the economy grinds to a screeching halt — as we saw starting with the credit freezes of 2008. While one can argue the merits of policy on both sides of the aisle, the latest budgetary and policy debate is doing nothing but killing consumer confidence, and indeed, making foreign markets question the stability of the American economy.
While Obamacare is certainly an expensive program, so was the F-35 Fighter — which estimates have the cancelled fighter costing as much as a trillion dollars — a number often attributed to the cost of Obamacare. Oddly enough, I haven’t heard it mentioned once by Republicans on the Hill, even though it is now essentially a great waste of capital and expenditures.
Who’s right? Who knows. One thing I do know is — #2013Shutdown can be a death knell for the fragile traction the American economy took years to get.
- US shutdown starts hitting business (bbc.co.uk)
- US says shutdown hurting business (skynews.com.au)
- Here’s What the House Voted on to Avoid a Gov’t Shutdown – and How It Could Affect Obamacare (theblaze.com)
- A Depressed Bank Of America Predicts “Agreement Is Almost Impossible As Long As Obamacare Is On The Table” (wchildblog.com)
- Glenn Beck on Why He’s ‘All for’ the Looming Government Shutdown (theblaze.com)
- Shutdown Hitting Private Sector As Defense Contractors Furlough Workers (outsidethebeltway.com)
- Three Cheers the Shutdown (rinf.com)
- Shutdown to harm American economy: Obama (news.in.msn.com)
- Iceland On Cusp of Oil Boom? (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
- Three Cheers the Shutdown (counterpunch.org)
A Government Shutdown… what it means, and why you should care…
“Due to the failure of Congress to enact appropriations for fiscal year 2014, Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell tonight directed agencies to execute their plans for an orderly shutdown of the Federal government.”
An Albert Einstein Funny…
There’s a story about how Dr. Albert Einstein was traveling to Universities in his car, delivering lectures on his theory of relativity.
During one journey, his driver remarked “Dr. Einstein, I have heard you deliver that lecture about 30 times. I know it by heart and bet I could give it myself.”
“Well, I’ll give you the chance”, said the good Doctor. “They don’t know me at the next University, so when we get there, I’ll put on your cap, and you introduce yourself as Dr. Einstein and give the lecture.”
The driver delivered Einstein’s lecture without a single mistake. When he finished, he started to leave, but one of the professors stopped him and asked a complex question filled with mathematical equations and formulas. The driver thought fast. “The answer to that problem is so simple,” he said.
“I’m surprised you have to ask me that! In fact, to show you just how elementary it is, I’m going to ask my DRIVER to come up here and answer that question!”
China signals Lunar Landing within Decade…
“…we were done with the moon, ANYWAY — STUPID MOON!”
— Jon Stewart
In a spot from The Daily Show four years ago, Jon Stewart pokes fun at the fact that India found water on the Moon, that the United States missed in the last forty years of exploration. “Billions of gallons of it.”
Jon Stewart: “…I didn’t know NASA had a base in India!”
Aasif Mandvi: “THEY DON’T! This is the Indian Space Research Organization!”
Parody aside, the latest space news is that the People’s Republic of China, the rising super-power directly challenging the United States’ unchallenged military presence on, above or AROUND the world, is now setting it’s sights on a lunar landing.
Launching its own [uninhabited] test space station, designated Tiangong 1 (Heavenly Palace 1) in 2011, the Tiangong Space Program is China’s attempt to place a large, modular space station in orbit by the beginning of the next decade. From here, Chinese cosmonauts can conduct their own research and development, as well as support it’s own lunar program, free from the stranglehold the United States and it’s allies has had on Space for the last half-century.
China may be coming to space-faring late, compared to the United States, Russia and India, however, let’s look at the current setups: The United States has a minimal space program, with NO current flight ability of it’s own. Astronauts/Cosmonauts from the United States require the use of launch vehicles and equipment from the Russian Federation (and to a limited point, at this time, private companies such as SpaceX) to reach, resupply or restaff its interests aboard the International Space Station. Indeed, another sign of the times is the massive cut NASA took from the President’s pen, through Congress, in appropriations. The Space Shuttle was retired. The successor to the Space Shuttle, the Apollo-inspired Project Constellation, was cancelled, leaving the United States military and government’s ability to reach out to the stars in limbo for the foreseeable future.
Indeed, this was echoed by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “NASA is not going to the Moon with a human as a primary project probably in my lifetime,” he stated.
However, he continued: “…and the reason is, we can only do so many things,”
While he didn’t specifically elaborate, it’s possible that NASA’s future plans could lie elsewhere — specifically, landings on asteroids, or even Mars, in relatively short order.
While the cancellation of the Constellation Project puts a American landing on Mars anytime soon in question, as Orion was designed with the intention of being capable of travelling to both the Moon AND to Mars, will American innovation and the memories of the Space Race of the 1960s embolden American spirit in an even broader space race?
- China to launch unmanned lunar lander by year-end (kansascity.com)
- China lunar lander to launch in 2013 (bbc.co.uk)
- China to Robotically Roam the Moon by the Year’s End (dailytech.com)
- China continues incredible space push with lunar rover launch in 2013 (extremetech.com)
- China sets course for lunar landing this year (edition.cnn.com)
- VIDEO: China lunar lander to launch in 2013 (bbc.co.uk)
- China’s Preparations for its First Lunar Landing This Year – Guardian Express (topbreakingnews.info)
- China continues incredible space push with lunar rover launch in 2013 (richarddawkins.net)
- China sets course for lunar landing this year (cnn.com)
- China to launch unmanned lunar lander (globalnews.ca)
The Banking System isn’t getting better — it’s getting worse.
Having worked in finance for over half a decade, and now having been involved in high finance now nearly a decade, I’ve been exposed to now only the internal workings of how credit and finance works from the inside, but I’ve studied it extensively as a matter of interest, and I see a problem developing — some if it we all know about, the other parts, not so much.
While our individual finances are improving overall, I see a big problem developing with the same system that brought it down in 2007 — unregulated banking.
In the United States, from the 1700s to the early 1900s, there was banking crash roughly every 15 years. With the institution of strong regulation, particularly after the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the United States entered a golden age of banking.
How can this be? With over 100 years of 15 year booms and busts, why did it all of a sudden stabilize? Regulation. With strong, effective regulation, bank busts came to a halt. Not a SINGLE widespread bank bust occurred for over FIFTY years in America.
While a majority of this process took place in the 80s and 90s, the arguable beginning was the Nixon Shock; a term attributed to the end of the Bretton Woods system in the United States, when Nixon unilaterally wrote off the US Dollar’s ability to be converted into Gold; the United States Dollar became a free-floating value currency, which caused the US Dollar to become a reserve currency in many nations of the world — massively increasing it’s value. In the 1980s, this trend continued: deregulation became the buzz word. With more risks, banks could make more money with the same hard cash in it’s accounts.
The most hardcore change, in my opinion came during the Clinton administration, when Congress approved the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999, signed by Bill Clinton in November of that year. This VERY important piece of legislation turned banking regulation on it’s head: Glass-Steagall was an instrument that separated Main Street banks from Wall Street banks. In english, this means regular depositor banks (such as Bank of America, or Huntington Bank or Chase Bank) could play the stock market and make investments with depositor money that it otherwise barred from doing under the 1930s legislation, just like Investment banks and corporations can and do.
Seen as a vestige of post-Crash and pre-/post-World War II stabilizing legislation, it was, at the time, seen as unnecessary. However, when deregulation began picking up steam in the 1980s, things happened in short order:
– The 1980s and 1990s Savings & Loan Crises: Savings and Loan thrifts were given many of the same powers as banks under deregulation legislation signed by President Carter in 1980; without the same regulations banks were subject to. With the massive take-off of real estate lending, (outstanding mortgage debt was $700 Billion-ish in 1970, and nearly doubled to $1.2 Trillion in 1980), S&L’s took massive risks by lending out more money than they should have, on top of rising interest rates caused many institutions to fail. This was failure to such a degree the United States had never seen.
– Repeal of Glass-Steagall Act: With the S&L failures still fresh on the minds of financiers and politicians, many argued further deregulation was required to avert such a disaster in the future. Congress passed Gramm-Leach-Bliley and it was signed by President Clinton at the twilight of his Administration. By the end of the next Administration (G. W. Bush), only EIGHT years later. the United States was reeling from the worst banking and credit crisis it had seen since the dawn of the 20th century, and it was spreading throughout the world. The FDIC began publishing lists of bank failures every Friday, conducting raids on banks it or the State controllers deemed in danger of failing, or already had, legally — and, for the first time in history, the FDIC, the Federal Depositors Insurance Corporation’s funds went NEGATIVE from insuring lost depositor money.
All of these took place within 25 years of the beginning of banking deregulation in the United States — AFTER an over 50-year golden era for banking in the United States where bank failure was almost unheard of, to the point where bank failures and bank runs were becoming regular weekly news events on Friday nights.
Even more disturbing, the largest four banking institutions in the United States, the four largest banks (Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorganChase and Wells Fargo) are now THIRTY percent LARGER than they were in 2007!
How can the next banking crisis be softened, if not stopped?
– Reconstitute a Bretton Woods-like system for the American economy: peg it with something convertible to stabilize the possible future crash of the US Dollar. This would, in general, lower the value of the dollar, however, the dollar would be safe from a crash, or other cataclysmic disaster brought on by a perceived lack of confidence in the American financial system, which is all that currently “holds up” the American economy and the value of the US Dollar.
– Reinstitute a Glass-Steagall Law. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to gamble with depositor money. When banks buy futures or invest in trusts or mutual funds with depositor money, it’s the same as taking it down to the Casino and betting on a three-of-a-kind. In fact, I’d be willing to bet on a CASINO win, over futures and stocks, at the moment.
- Elizabeth Warren Introduces 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act (crooksandliars.com)
- Glass-steagall, or America Is Doomed! a Moment of Truth in Atlanta (thepeoplesvoice.org)
- Cantwell to Summers: “Do a mea culpa” if you want to chair the Fed (seattlepi.com)
- Impact of Deregulation: the Gutting of Glass-Steagall and its Relation to the Financial Crisis of 2008 (occupyfinancebook.wordpress.com)
- Pam Martens ~ Senator Warren Drops A Bombshell In Senate Hearing: Bipartisan Bill To Restore Glass-Steagall Being Introduced (shiftfrequency.com)
- Elizabeth Warren Introducing A Bill That Would Be Wall Street’s Worst Nightmare (businessinsider.com)
- Elizabeth Warren and John McCain want Glass-Steagall back. Should you? (washingtonpost.com)
- The 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act (readersupportednews.org)
- These States Want Congress To Break Up Big Banks (thinkprogress.org)
- Warren and McCain try to bring back Glass-Steagall (tv.msnbc.com)