Wednesday, June 29, 2011

President Drone speaks

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Fukushima fuck up

Japan's response to the Fukushima meltdowns has already been one of the lowest episodes of neo-liberal denialism. But this news bumps it up to a new level:
There is a common proven purge for cesium 137 called Prussian Blue (PB), but Japan blocks access to it with a tangle of catch-22s. Doctors abroad are counseled to use PB as quickly as possible for any "known or suspected radiocesium contamination" and can use a relatively simple urine test to assess cesium levels. In Japan, however, doctors can't prescribe PB without a ¥10 million "whole body radiation counter," but according to NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) there was only one such machine in all of Fukushima as of June 2 and it can only process ten patients a day.
By all means, read the whole thing.

Why Japan prefers its citizens to die of cancer rather than use a simple, cheap and effective response is where the vagaries of  neo-liberalism shows off its mindlessness. It's denialism after the fact, mindless cruelty hidden behind bureaucratic inertia.

What will it take to make the Japanese angry?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Too distracting

M K Bhadrakumar in the Asia Times points out that there will be a meeting in Tehran:

Within hours of Obama's announcement on Wednesday regarding troop drawdown in Afghanistan, Zardari will be heading for Tehran to confabulate with Ahmadinejad; two days later Karzai also arrives in the Iranian capital. Nothing brings out more vividly the extraordinary tilt in regional politics.

It will be interesting to see if this gets any US press will let us know about this meeting. So far nothing, but undoubtedly all eyes are turned to President Drone's speech later today.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Monju monster

Giving credit when credit is due, the NYT has a mind-blowing article about another Japanese nuclear reactor that is also having several or more probleminos.

The Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor — a long-troubled national project — has been in a precarious state of shutdown since a 3.3-ton device crashed into the reactor’s inner vessel, cutting off access to the plutonium and uranium fuel rods at its core.
This is not long after a fourteen year shutdown after a fire, and you cannot make up this shit:
Prefecture and city officials found that the operator had tampered with video images of the fire to hide the scale of the disaster. A top manager at the plant recently committed suicide, on the day that Japan’s atomic energy agency announced that efforts to recover the device would cost almost $21.9 million. And, like several other reactors, Monju lies on an active fault.
The control that the nuclear industry and their toadies in government (cough, cough, President Drone) have exerted over information around the world is truly amazing. The Monju program was the Japanese version of the Yucca Mountain solution to nuclear waste, and instead of solving anything, it is proving to be a huge and possibly lethal nightmare.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


If Ayman al-Zawahiri has been appointed al Qaeda's new leader, who appointed him?

Dr. Evil? Or President Drone?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's not war

President Drone has thought up a novel justification for his unauthorized bombing of Libya, seemingly illegal under the War Powers Act, it's not a war.

Bombing and killing people when not in a war used to be considered murder from a moral point of view, and I would also think that since the money it costs is being spent without Congressional approval, that also would have once been considered illegal.

But President Drone and the US has evidently moved beyond all this legal-schmegal folderol, the hit man in charge can kill anyone, at anytime, and it remains only for US citizens and the US Congress to sit and watch in wonder, at least when it's not too secret for their tender eyes.

To paraphrase the Talking Heads, substituting war for love:

When my war
Stands next to your war,
I can't define war
When it's not war.

It's not war.
It's not war.
Which is my face,
Which is a building,
Which is on fire.

When my war
Stands next to your war,
I can't define war
When it's not war.

It's not war.
It's not war.
Which is my face,
Which is a building,
Which is on fire.

I've got two wars
I've got two wars
And they go tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, like little birds
They're my two wars...
Count them one, two wars...
Count them one, two wars.
Which is my face
Which is a building
Which is on fire

[should be four wars, all tweeting like little birds]

It's not war.
It's not war.
Which is my face,
Which is a building,
Which is on fire.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Goodbye Gates

SecDef Gates has been doing his 'victory' tour, visiting many of the countries that he helped destroy, and some that helped him destroy them.

Strangely, his harshest words were for the helper countries, those of NATO, that have followed the US in all its colonial wars since 9/11 when the bar was set that if your weren't with the US, you were against it.

An objective look at the last ten years confirm what was predicted ten years ago, the entire exercise, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya, along with the covert war against Iran have been little more than an expensive boondoggle, enriching a few while impoverishing many.

Gates's fortune, to come after Rumsfeld, made him seem ultra-rational and competent, not to mention honest, but while he did not continue the massive escalation that Rummy would have undoubtedly pursued (Iran!), he was unwilling or unable to convert the adventures into anything but a useless continuation, with the accompanying destruction and impoverishment.

Lets run through the list of his accomplishments:
Afghanistan - a bleeding wound with no exit in sight, especially after the 'surge'
Pakistan - dumped Musharraf, upped droning, sped up the ongoing disintegration
Iraq - allowed the Shiites to win the US inspired civil war, benefiting Iran
Libya - a naked oil grab that has great possibility to spiral out of control on the doorstep of Europe

His answer to all these US disasters is to blame the European part of NATO and thus absolve himself and the US. Europe certainly bears its share of the blame, but for its blind obedience rather than its lack of enthusiasm.

On the other hand, the new 'team' looks worse. Panetta brings nothing to the DoD, just as he brought nothing to the CIA. A placeholder, he must have at least the virtue of loyalty, the question is, to whom. Turning the CIA over to Petraeus is extremely dangerous, another sign that Obama doesn't hold the reins of his administration, and doesn't even want to.

After all, there's an election to be won.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Not so secret

NYT headline:
U.S. Is Intensifying a Secret Campaign of Yemen Airstrikes
President Drone is so interested in keeping this a secret that it's leaked to the New York Times. If it's really secret, after all, how can he earn more brownie points in the eye of the press and public for being such a stone cold killer?

And the Times, which evidently has a sense of irony equal to a pebble, sees nothing at all strange about it.

Farewell lecture

Mullen, like Gates, is going around the Satraps, doing his goodbye dance.

Shorter Adm. Mullen, departing Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speaking  in Egypt:
You are still ours, bitches.
And a picture that tells the five words above, at least:

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Liberating Libyan Lives

The UN mandate for action in Libya, to prevent civilian casualties, is proving to be what it looked like from the beginning, an excuse to help one side in a civil war and reap the benefits, no matter how many are killed and maimed.

Preventing civilian casualties is about the last objective of NATO, day and night air raids on Tripoli, watching as refugee ships sink in the Mediterranean sea, and round ups of ostensibly pro-Qaddafi civilians by the rebels show that the main objective is a pro-Western client state that can be economically exploited.

It may be the main benefit of the 'Arab spring' will turn out to be the countries of southern Europe, who have been given an example of how to act then your leaders are running your country for their benefit, and that of their bankster masters. The forces arrayed by the US, NATO, Saudi Arabia and Israel are probably too strong, at least for now, to avoid a rollback of the gains in the spring.

Meanwhile, Clinton meets with the rest of the counter-revolution, divvying up the spoils. 

Minding Mueller

Despite protests from within the FBI over the re-nomination of FBI Director Mueller to an abbreviated two year term (after the original ten), the Senate will undoubtedly confirm him. From the pre-9/11 ignoring of field officer's warnings that something was going on, to the 'find a patsy, quick' anthrax investigation, and crowning it with the blindness to financial crimes by the elite, Mueller has shown that he knows where the bodies are buried, and he ain't talking.

President Drone, one might think, would prefer to have his own man at the job. But such is his weakness and underlying cowardice, there was no way he could find anyone who would take the mauling he'd get in the Senate, knowing that the President didn't have his back.

In two years, of course, Obama will be in his second and final term (or not), the Senate might be wholly in Republican hands, and the choice will probably be to keep Mueller for another two years.

While launching drone attacks and sending death squads (he was obviously afraid to have Bin Laden in custody) might make Obama feel like a manly man, he has been unwilling to fight to set up an administration that is his, and not Bush's. Failure does not get much worse than that.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Clever Kan

The very weak Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has found a clever way to stay in office:
During a news conference late Thursday night, Kan indicated he will step down once the government has successfully brought the troubled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant to "cold shutdown" status.
TEPCO had previously announced that the plan was to achieve cold shutdown by November, but changed its story within weeks.

The way things are going at Fukushima, Kan might outlast Qaddafi, Obama, Merkel and Sarkozy.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Nice job, if you can get it

A newly-released study from the Congressional Research Service bolsters claims that the nation's largest banks profited off the Federal Reserve's financial crisis-era programs by borrowing cash for next to nothing, then lending it back to the federal government at substantially higher rates.
The report reinforces long-held beliefs that the banking system in essence engaged in taxpayer-financed arbitrage: They got money for free, then lent it back to Uncle Sam while collecting juicy returns. Left out of the equation are the millions of everyday borrowers, like households and small businesses, who were unable to secure loans needed to tide them over until the crisis ended.
And if you can do this once, why not do it again and again?
(h/t cryptogon)