Friday, September 23, 2011

Obama Should Quit, but the Quiet Americans don't make him.

Obama Should Quit by Paul Street
On March 31, 1968, United States President Lyndon Baines Johnson told a national television audience that he would not seek and would not accept the nomination of the Democratic Party for another term in the White House. “When the address was over,” author Hampton Sides notes, “a euphoric Johnson leaped from his chair and bounded from Oval Office to be with family. ‘His air was that of a prisoner let free,’ the First Lady wrote: ‘We were all fifty pounds lighter and ever so much more lookin’ forward to the future’…The president described his mood this way: ‘I never felt so right about any decision in life.’”
Harassed and depressed by antiwar demonstrators, urban riots, rampaging youth, unruly professors and reporters, and a deadly colonial quagmire in Southeast Asia, Johnson felt that (as he later told historian Doris Goodwin) he “was being chased on all sides by a giant stampede coming at me from all directions.” And by Bobby Kennedy. He wanted out. He left and it felt good.
Read that paragraph, and you can see the failure of the left and the antiwar movement during the Obama years. You could say that Obama is mired in a deadly colonial quagmire in SouthWEST Asia. Other than that, none of these things that drove LBJ from office exist under Obama.

Obama has not been harrassed and depressed by antiwar demonstrations, despite escalating Bush's wars and starting his own.

Obama has not been harrassed and depreessed by urban riots or even protests, despite his offering of what was basically Herbert Hoover's economic recovery plan of money to the banks and tax cuts to the wealthy and making the size of the deficit more important than the homes and lives of Americans.

Unruly professors and reporters have basically been banned from American society. Professors are today removed from American universities if they believe and teach anything outside the narrow band of approved opinions. Reporters that criticized Bush were fired, and outside a fringe media there's no such thing as an unruly reporter.

There are no Bobby Kennedy's willing to challenge Obama in a primary.

Thus, we know why Obama will run for, and at this time apparently win, a second term. The lesson is that antiwar demonstrations, protests and urban unrest worked in the late 60's to remove a President who's policies were opposed by most Americans. The failure to have demonstrations, protests and unrests leaves Obama and the banker-Democrats free to be the favorite front-runner for four more years of war and a wall street economy.

The question for future historians will be why have Americans been so freakin quiet during these years.  They've lost their jobs and their homes. They pay exorbitant taxes to fund an over-sized military and so many wars overseas that they are becoming countless.  Yet, Americans refuse to do what history tells them has worked in the past to at least get a chance to for real change from this awful state.

Most of what's 'News' is Crap!

I hold a degree in nuclear engineering. So, in this area at least, I feel I'm competent to listen to what's on the news as someone who's at least somewhat knowledgeable in nuclear issues. From this one area, where I know enough to think on my own, I am left with the belief that most of what's on American 'news' is crap and lies.

 Lets review a little bit of 'recent' news'

 -- Saddam Hussein has a nuclear weapons program and is close to being able to nuke the US.

Well, we all know, if we stop and think about it, that this was total crap. It turns out the Saddam had shut down the nuclear program that he'd run with US and western european support when the sanctions kicked. This of course made total sense as a nuclear program is big and expensive and no matter how much 'oil for food' was scammed and leaked, Saddam still had a lot less money under the sanctions than he had before. And of course, the weapons inspectors who'd been in the country were telling us exactly the same thing. That they had uncovered Saddam's nuclear program, that it was shut down, and that the inspectors were just working to fill in some paperwork blanks to understand what had happened.

-- Iran has a nuclear program and is close to being able to nuke the US.

Well, its not official that this is total crap, but the signs sure point this way. Especially since its pretty much the same people saying this that told everyone that Saddam was going to nuke the US within months. Again, the inspectors consistently say they see no signs of Iran having anything other than a civilian nuclear program with no enrichment anywhere near the 95-98% levels they'd need for a bomb.

-- Fukushima. 

It took them months to admit that they had melted the cores within hours of the earthquake. They recently just admitted that three times as much radiation has been dumped into the ocean as previously admitted. Now it seems that they've 'redefined' the magnitude scale of earthquakes to declare that this was a '9.0' that couldn't have been expected. The real magnitude appears to have been around 8.3 or 8.4, and the reactors were supposed to be designed to handle that. The same liars that claim that only 39 people died because of Chernobyl say no one has died this time. But remember, some of the cancers caused by Fukushima' radiation won't even be known for up to 40 years.

-- Missouri river nuke plants.

In the US, two nuclear plants were in severe danger from the flooding of the Missouri River last summer. Both needed emergency dikes and sandbags to keep the water from critical areas. And remember the real lesson from Fukushima that the news doesn't want to talk about. Every operating nuclear plant has a core that is very hot and takes months to cool down. Until then, you must have pumps running to keep cool water flowing past this hot core to cool it. Failure of these pumps at Fukushima led to melting nuclear reactor cores within hours. Good thing those sandbags held, because if they hadn't the pumps at the reactors along the Missouri River would have lost the power their pumps needed. Of course, the American news presented this as a minor curiousity that people didn't need to be concerned with.

-- America attacks itself with dirty bombs.

Not exactly a breaking news story, as we've done this damage to ourselves over 50 years. But, still, don't count on CNN making a big deal that the one measurable result of the American nuclear weapons program is that we have places like Rocky Flats that won't be safe for human occupation for generations. Same with Hanford, WA, Savanah River Plant, and some of the canyons off the back of Los Alamos. Plus we have leaking tank after leaking tank of highly dangerous nuclear waste as a byproduct of making nuclear weapons. We've never fought a nuclear war, but you can find the spots in the US that are now fenced off (hopefully) and where our quest for nuclear weapons has destroyed parts of America as surely as if we'd launched 'dirty bomb' attacks on ourselves.

 As someone with a background in nuclear engineering, in at least this area, the news and information presented to Americans is absolutely horrible. At the very best its very bad and very biased reporting, when it doesn't seem like we are being fed out-right lies. I'm not an expert in say food-safety, so I can't judge how good or how accurate the 'news' is in telling us how safe the food we eat really is. But, I do have an education as a nuclear engineer, and from that background, the 'news' we are watching and listening to is horrible.

In my house, I've used the parental blocking features of my tv system to block all the American 24 hour news channels from my house. No CNN, no FAUX, no GE-TV (aka MSNBC, CNBC). I use my TV's controls to block all of this from my home. I'm not uninformed. And I benefit from not getting all the lies and misinformation fed to me. From what I can see in the nuclear area, I'm not missing much. My advice to anyone is that they do the same and turn these 'news' channels off.

[edit 9/26]
I wrote the above before I saw the following about a study from the Pew Research Ctr. Apparently, I'm with the vast majority of Americans in believing that the 'news' is crap.

Only one-quarter of those surveyed say news orgs get the facts right, a new low since 1985 when the question was first asked. Two-thirds (66 percent) say stories are often inaccurate, a new high. And nearly three-quarters of Americans believe that journalists try to cover up their mistakes, rather than admit them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf Condemns Little Piggy for Building Brick House. Film at 11.

 US Condemns Iran for Making Civilian Nuclear Sites Harder to Bomb
VIENNA – U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu accused Iran of nuclear "denial, deceit and evasion" on Monday, warning that Tehran's decision to move some uranium enrichment facilities to an underground bunker brings it closer to being able to producing the fissile core of a warhead.
Ok, as a nuclear engineer, that's just nonsense. Either that, or its an open announcement of American intentions of bombing Iran. Take your pick. Certainly, the location of the equipment has nothing to do with the physics of uranium enrichment. The same equipment works pretty much the same above ground or underground. You don't get better efficiency or higher levels of enrichment because you are underground.

The only way this statement could be anything other than nonsense is if you take into account the fact that an above ground facility is more susceptible to bombing from American or Israeli warplanes. So, this statement is either more goobly-gobbly nonsense from the American government about Iran's nuclear program, of which there has been a lot over the years, or its an open statement of American/Israeli intentions to create a massive disaster by bombing Iran's civilian nuclear facilities.

And note that all of this is still over civilian facilities that are producing only domestic reactor grade levels of enrichment and nothing anywhere near bomb-grade levels of enrichment as regularly confirmed by IAEA inspectors. In some ways, one could well say that Iran is no closer to producing a nuclear weapon with the facility underground than above ground because the odds of it happening appear to be zero in either case with the IAEA inspectors keeping watch.

People always need to understand that building a nuclear weapon doesn't happen in someone's garage. During the Manhattan Project, the US government created three new secret cities in Tennessee, New Mexico and Washington state. It could be smaller today because we know more today, but we still aren't talking about building a nuclear weapon with two test tubes and a beaker in someone's garage. This is why inspections worked and were accurate in Iraq, and there's no reason not to believe that IAEA inspections aren't working and aren't accurate in Iran.

But still, this really just sounds a lot like the fake headline above. The Big Bad Wolf is complaining that the Piggies are daring to build a brick house, calling it a severe provocation to wolf rights to attack little piggies. And that such provocations can only be answered by pre-emptive strikes against the little piggies before the little piggies can successfully move into their brick house. Tell the file photo department to find a photo of Secretary Chu huffing and puffing to run with the story.

Secretary Chu of course runs the worlds largest nuclear weapon production line, and is lobbying Congress for billions of dollars in which to build new facilities to 'modernize' nuclear weapons. Talk about the Big Bad Pot calling the kettle black.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back to the Skunk

Sad and Happy About Palestinian Statehood Bid by Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery is someone who should always be read concerning matters in the middle east. Not only is he a famous peace activist, but he's been around long enough to have fought in the 1948 war, been a part of the kibbutz's, and been a leading voice in the Israeli Peace Movement ever since. And a wonderful philosopher and writer.

“Will this be the happiest day of your life?” a local interviewer asked me, referring to the approaching recognition of the State of Palestine by the U.N.
I was taken by surprise. “Why would that be?” I asked.
“Well, for 62 years you have advocated the establishment of a Palestinian state next to Israel, and here it comes!”
“If I were a Palestinian, I would probably be happy,” I said. “But as an Israeli, I am rather sad.”
Let me explain.

Its worth following the link above to read the whole article and thus the full explanation. But here's a couple of highlights.

Three days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu told Cathy Ashton, the pathetic “foreign secretary” of the European Union, that he would agree to anything short of Palestinian statehood. That may sound strange, in view of the “historic” speech he made less than two years ago, in which he expressed his support for the two-state solution. (Perhaps he was thinking of the State of Israel and the State of the Settlers.)
In the few remaining weeks before the U.N. vote, our government will fight tooth and nail against a Palestinian state, supported by the full might of the U.S. This week Hillary Clinton trumped even her own rhetorical record when she announced that the U.S. supports the two-state solution and therefore opposes any U.N. vote recognizing a Palestinian state.

Again, maybe SOS Hillary thinks the second of the two states will be Settler's State?

One of the beautiful things about Mr. Avnery's thinking and writing is that he always is proposing a positive solution of what the world could become if only we'd choose to act towards peace instead of war.

According to the army, the Palestinians will get rubber-coated bullets and tear gas, but not the “Skunk.” The Skunk is a device that produces an unbearable stench which attaches itself to the peaceful demonstrators and will not leave them for a long time. 
I am afraid that when this chapter comes to an end, the stench will attach itself to our side and that we shall not get rid of it for a long time indeed.
Let’s give free rein to our imagination for just one minute. Imagine that in the coming U.N. debate something incredible happens: The Israeli delegate declares that after due consideration Israel has decided to vote for recognition of the State of Palestine. The assembly would gape in disbelief. After a moment of silence, wild applause would break out. The world would be electrified. For days, the world media would speak of nothing else.
The minute of imagination has passed. Back to reality. Back to the Skunk.