Puppet MastersS

Bizarro Earth

Sean Lennon: Destroying Precious Land for Gas

Sean Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl
© NPRSean Lennon and his girlfriend, Charlotte Kemp Muhl.
On the northern tip of Delaware County, N.Y., where the Catskill Mountains curl up into little kitten hills, and Ouleout Creek slithers north into the Susquehanna River, there is a farm my parents bought before I was born. My earliest memories there are of skipping stones with my father and drinking unpasteurized milk. There are bald eagles and majestic pines, honeybees and raspberries. My mother even planted a ring of white birch trees around the property for protection.

A few months ago I was asked by a neighbor near our farm to attend a town meeting at the local high school. Some gas companies at the meeting were trying very hard to sell us on a plan to tear through our wilderness and make room for a new pipeline: infrastructure for hydraulic fracturing. Most of the residents at the meeting, many of them organic farmers, were openly defiant. The gas companies didn't seem to care. They gave us the feeling that whether we liked it or not, they were going to fracture our little town.

In the late '70s, when Manhattanites like Andy Warhol and Bianca Jagger were turning Montauk and East Hampton into an epicurean Shangri-La for the Studio 54 crowd, my parents, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, were looking to become amateur dairy farmers. My first introduction to a cow was being taught how to milk it by hand. I'll never forget the realization that fresh milk could be so much sweeter than what we bought in grocery stores. Although I was rarely able to persuade my schoolmates to leave Long Island for what seemed to them an unreasonably rural escapade, I was lucky enough to experience trout fishing instead of tennis lessons, swimming holes instead of swimming pools and campfires instead of cable television.

Though my father died when I was 5, I have always felt lucky to live on land he loved dearly; land in an area that is now on the verge of being destroyed. When the gas companies showed up in our backyard, I felt I needed to do some research. I looked into Pennsylvania, where hundreds of families have been left with ruined drinking water, toxic fumes in the air, industrialized landscapes, thousands of trucks and new roads crosshatching the wilderness, and a devastating and irreversible decline in property value.

Natural gas has been sold as clean energy. But when the gas comes from fracturing bedrock with about five million gallons of toxic water per well, the word "clean" takes on a disturbingly Orwellian tone. Don't be fooled. Fracking for shale gas is in truth dirty energy. It inevitably leaks toxic chemicals into the air and water. Industry studies show that 5 percent of wells can leak immediately, and 60 percent over 30 years. There is no such thing as pipes and concrete that won't eventually break down. It releases a cocktail of chemicals from a menu of more than 600 toxic substances, climate-changing methane, radium and, of course, uranium.


Is There Going To Be A Stock Market Crash In The Fall?

© The Economic Collapse Blog
Is the stock market going to crash by the end of this year? Are we on the verge of major financial chaos on a global scale? Well, this is the time of the year when investors start getting nervous.

We all remember what happened during the fall of 1929, the fall of 1987 and the fall of 2008. However, it is important to keep in mind that we do not see a stock market crash in the fall of every year.

Some years the stock market cruises through the months of September, October, November and December without any problems whatsoever. But this year conditions certainly seem to be right for a "perfect storm" to develop.

Technical indicators are screaming that a stock market decline is imminent and sources in the financial industry all over the world are warning that a massive crisis is on the way.

In fact, the Telegraph ran a story with the following shocking headline the other day: "Market crash 'could hit within weeks', warn bankers".

What you are about to read should alarm you. But it is not a guarantee that anything will or will not happen. When Ben Bernanke gives his speech at the Jackson Hole summit on Friday he could announce to the rest of the world that the Federal Reserve has decided to launch QE3 and that the Fed will be printing up trillions of new dollars.

If that happened global financial markets would leap for joy. So it is always a dangerous thing when anyone out there tries to tell you that they can "guarantee" what is about to happen in the financial world. There are just so many moving parts. But if we do not see major intervention by the governments of the world or by global central banks a major financial crisis could rapidly develop this fall.

The conditions are certainly right for a stock market collapse, and we could easily see a repeat of what happened back in 2008.

The truth is that the second half of 2012 looks a little bit more like the second half of 2008 with each passing day.

Cowboy Hat

The American way: Corporate bribery and political corruption on display at Republican, Democratic conventions

Republican Convention
© Tim Boyles/Getty Images
The world was spared one day of the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida thanks to the arrival of Hurricane Isaac, which forced the organizers to delay the proceedings until Tuesday. For the next three days, however, the degradation and corruption of the American political system will be on full display.

There is in this year's quadrennial conventions an unabashed flaunting of the role of corporate money in what passes for American democracy that goes beyond even the debased levels of previous presidential elections. The Republicans go out of their way to present themselves as the paid stooges of corporate America. The Democrats are a bit more devious - but only a bit.


'Free' Market Economy: Indian government gifts tens of billions to big business through privatization

Manmohan Singh
A great deal of the handout occurred directly under the watch of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
The supreme government auditing authority of India, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), has released three damning reports accusing India's Congress Party-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government of facilitating the looting of public wealth by the biggest domestic corporations to the tune of Rs. 38 trillion (about US $75 billion). This staggering sum eclipses by far the unprecedented $40 billion losses estimated by CAG in the 2G (second generation) mobile-phone spectrum allocation scandal that rocked the Indian establishment in the latter half of 2010.

The CAG reports examine the handover of coal fields to private corporations for free, the privatization of the New Delhi airport, and the licensing and status of "ultra mega-power projects," electric generation projects that are each meant to generate at least 4000 Mega Watts using coal. The 2004-2011 period covered by the CAG reports coincides with the term in office of the current Congress Party-dominated UPA alliance, which first came to power in 2004 and won a second term in 2009.


'F-bomb' banker fingered

Richard Meddings
© unknownRichard Meddings
The Standard Chartered Bank executive whose expletive-filled anti-US rant stands at the center of allegations that the bank improperly did business with Iran appears to be Richard Meddings.

Meddings, 54, the Oxford-educated finance director at the UK bank, angrily dismissed concerns by his New York colleagues in 2006 that doing business with Iran's despotic regime could sully the bank's image, it is alleged.

"You f - ing Americans," Meddings shot back. "Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we're not going to deal with Iranians?"

The rant was contained in a report by New York's Department of Financial Services, which may suspend Standard's banking charter because it did business with Iran for nearly 10 years - in violation of US law.

Comment: Be aware of who is the master.

Light Sabers

West's Oil Embargo on Iran Fails after Tehran Boosts Supply to 2mln bpd

© Fars News Agency
An Iranian official underlined failure of the US and EU ban on Iranian crude supplies, announcing that the country has increased daily exports to over 2 million barrels this week.

"Fortunately, the efforts made by Iran to increase oil exports and confront the sanctions have yielded results," the informed source told FNA on the condition of anonymity on Tuesday.

He stated that Iran's oil exports have reached the pre-sanctions level, "A daily volume of over 2mln barrels of crude oil has been exported from Iran to different destinations in recent days."

In June, Iran announced that it will increase its crude oil exports to 3 million barrels per day (bpd) by the next three years.

Star of David

Israel ex-soldiers say Israeli troops regularly abuse Palestinian kids

A Palestinian girl cries as Israeli soldiers detain her mother at a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh
Jerusalem - Former Israeli soldiers who served in the occupied territories say that mistreatment of Palestinian children by troops is "routine" and occurs even at times of relative calm.

A collection of over 30 testimonies published on Sunday by Breaking the Silence, a group of ex-servicemen critical of army practices, says physical violence, often arbitrary, is used against very young children.

"The testifiers depict a routine in which Palestinian minors, often under 10 years of age, are treated in a manner that ignores their young age," says the 72-page booklet.

Entitled "Children and Youth: Soldiers' Testimonies 2005-2011," it covers a period after the second Palestinian intifada, or uprising, of 2000-2005.

"Although the events described here took place after the peak of the second intifada, at a time perceived as calm and uneventful from a 'security' standpoint, the reality that emerges from the testimonies shows that harsh treatment of Palestinian children continues unabated," it says.


Iran to Continue Cooperation with IAEA

Iran's permanent envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh reiterated Tehran's commitment to continued cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog agency and its full compliance with the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and IAEA statute.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) foreign ministers here in Tehran on Tuesday, Soltaniyeh stated that Tehran has not ignored its commitments "even for a moment" and always showed the necessary cooperation with the IAEA.

"Over 5,000 man-day inspections have been made of Iran's nuclear facilities during the last few years," Soltaniyeh reminded, adding, "Despite these inspections, no evidence has ever been found since 10 years ago to substantiate diversion in Iran's nuclear activities."

On Sunday, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Fereidoon Abbasi also underlined Tehran's preparedness to continue talks with the IAEA.

"We are ready to cooperate with the IAEA in the framework of technical issues and on the basis of logical arguments," Abbasi said in Tehran at the time.

"When they intend to visit a place, they should present enough reasons to be allowed to carry out further inspections and talks" based on those reasons, he added.

Iran and the IAEA on Friday held daylong talks in Vienna, Austria.

The talks were held between Iran's Residing Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asqar Soltaniyeh as head of Iran's negotiating team and Herman Nackaerts, the agency's Deputy Director-General and Head of the Department of Safeguards.

Heart - Black

Flashback Who Really Murdered Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman? Part 2

"T" Stands For "Torture" In The Brave New Gulag Archipelago.

The illegal return of murder suspect Ian Huntley to secure psychiatric prison for another 28 days of drugs and "truth therapy", highlights the reintroduction of Witch Trials and Inquisitions in the "War on Terror"

There is a precedent for Huntley's psychiatric abuse. During 1996, Australian remand prisoner Martin Bryant was held in illegal strict solitary confinement for 150 days, and "helped" by psychiatrists and psychologists until he finally pleaded guilty to the Port Arthur massacre. At no time did Australian police ever try to corroborate Bryant's false "guilty" pleas.

Ian Huntley, who stands accused of the murder of British ten-year-old girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, was rushed from Rampton high-security psychiatric prison to a court at Peterborough in Cambridgeshire at noon on 10 September 2002. Having run the gauntlet of the obligatory media hate mob pre-positioned outside in the street, Huntley was rapidly processed through the Magistrates Court to the [higher] Crown Court in less that one hour, an all time record for the British legal system which normally allows eight days for this process.

Once in the Crown Court, Huntley was charged with attempted "Conspiracy to pervert the course of justice", for allegedly lying to police during their investigations. Having been charged with this further startling offence, Ian Huntley was immediately remanded back to Rampton high security psychiatric prison for a further 28 days of psychiatric evaluation.


Hollande takes up where Sarko left off as Paris police evict Roma gypsies

Police prevent Roma children and their parents from appealing for help at the local commune offices
French Interior Minister Manuel Valls today ordered police to destroy a Roma camp in his political powerbase and to deport illegal immigrants living there.

Officers armed with truncheons and shields moved in to the settlement in the Paris suburb of Evry, where he was mayor for 11 years from 2001.

By late morning more than 70 people including women and children had been evicted from caravans and makeshift huts, with most expected to be returned to Romania.

The raid is particularly significant because it shows the Socialist firebrand is determined to 'clean up illegal immigrants in his own back yard', said a party colleague.

The source added: 'Valls particularly wants to end the Roma problem - by breaking up a camp in his constituency he is showing he means business.'

A deportation order for residents of the camp was signed by the local Socialist mayor Francis Chouat who said: 'In addition to being unhealthy, the site is extremely dangerousness.'