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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

16 Statistics Which Prove That The American People Are Absolutely Seething With Anger

According to a whole host of polls and surveys, the American people are incredibly angry right now.  The American people are hopping mad at the government, the American people are hopping mad about the economy and the American people are hopping mad about the direction that this country is headed.  Never before in modern U.S. history have the American people been this angry.  There is vast disagreement about what the solutions to our problems actually are, but what everyone can agree on is that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now.  The statistics that you are about to read are mind blowing.  We used to be such a happy country.  Once upon a time we were one of the happiest places on earth.  But as the economy has fallen to pieces anger has been steadily growing.  If something is not done to turn the economy around eventually this anger is going to erupt in frightening and unpredictable ways.
The American people are not equipped to handle hard times.  We are incredibly spoiled.  Most of us have only known good times, and most of us have been taught that we will have endless prosperity all of our lives because we live in the greatest nation on earth.
Well, "the greatest nation on earth" is about to get a massive wake up call.  We are up to our eyeballs in debt and we are bleeding jobs, businesses and wealth at an astounding pace.  Our economy is dying right in front of our eyes, and most Americans have been so "dumbed-down" that they don't even realize what is happening.
But what most Americans do know is that things are "bad" and they want someone to "fix" things.  They know that something is "not right" and they want things to go back to the way things used to be.  The longer it takes for things to return to "normal", the angrier they are going to get.
The following are 16 statistics which prove that the American people are absolutely seething with anger right now....
#1 A new Washington Post poll has found that a whopping 78 percent of Americans are dissatisfied "with the way this country’s political system is working".
#2 That same poll found that only 26 percent of Americans believe that the federal government can solve the economic problems that we are now facing.
#3 Gallup says that Barack Obama's job approval rating has hit an all-time low of 39%.
#4 According to a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, Congress has a disapproval rating of 82%.
#5 A new Rasmussen survey has found that 85 percent of Americans believe that members of Congress "are more interested in helping their own careers than in helping other people."
#6 That same survey found that 46 percent of the American people believe that most members of Congress are corrupt.  That figure was a new all-time high.
#7 According to a different Rasmussen survey, only 17 percent of Americans now believe that the U.S. government has the consent of the governed.
#8 A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll discovered that 73 percent of the American people believe that the nation is "on the wrong track".
#9 A recent poll taken by Rasmussen found that 68 percent of Americans believe that we are actually in a recession right now.
#10 According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that lack confidence in U.S. banks is now at an all-time high of 36%.
#11 U.S. consumer confidence is now at its lowest level in 30 years.
#12 According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 90 percent of Americans believe that the economy is performing poorly.
#13 That same poll found that approximately 80 percent of Americans believe that it is "difficult" to find a job these days.
#14 According to one recent poll, 39 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. economy has now entered a "permanent decline".
#15 Another recent survey found that 48 percent of Americans believe that it is likely that another great Depression will begin within the next 12 months.
#16 According to a brand new Rasmussen survey, 48% of Americans believe that reductions in government spending are "at least somewhat likely" to result in civil unrest inside the United States.
So why doesn't the government step in and spend a whole bunch of money and make everything all better?
Well, the problem is that we have done this time after time before and now we are broke.
We have been living way, way beyond our means for decades and now the bills are coming due.
David Walker, the former Comptroller General of the United States, has been warning about our debt problem for years.  Walker says that the United States is heading for a "sudden and very painful" economic collapse....
"Here’s the bottom line. If you take the total liabilities of the United States – public debt, unfunded pensions, retiree health care, under funding with regard to social security, with regard to medicare, a range of commitments and contingencies – as of September 30 2010 we would have had to have had $61.6 trillion dollars in the bank in order to be able to defease those obligations."
The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. national debt should have been addressed many years ago when it was still relatively small.
At this point, there is no solution to our national debt problem under our current financial system.
Most state governments are also facing huge financial problems.  The state government of Illinois is so broke at this point that it can't even afford to bury the poor people that are dying.
But Illinois is not alone.  All over the country, state and local governments have been implementing austerity measures.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, state and local governments have slashed more than half a million jobs since August 2008.
That is a whole lot of good jobs that aren't there anymore.
But government debt is not the only debt problem that we are facing.  Personal debt is also a raging crisis.
According to USDebtClock.org, the total amount of personal debt in the United States is now over 16 trillion dollars.  The exploding levels of personal debt have created a tremendous amount of stress in households from coast to coast.
When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was in the middle class.  But today the middle class is shrinking at lightning speed.
According to author David DeGraw, 17.3% of all Americans were living in poverty during 2009.  Not only that, DeGraw also says that 9 major U.S. cities have a poverty rate of over 25 percent.
Can you imagine that?
In fact, there are some cities such as Detroit where the poverty rate is over 35 percent.
It is hard to believe what is happening to America.  Today, there are over 45 million Americans on food stamps.  That number has increased by approximately 12 percent in the last year alone.
There are currently 34 million Americans that need a full-time job.  Unemployment is rampant and there is intense competition even for part-time jobs that pay minimum wage.
So where did all of the jobs go?
Well, as I have written about previously, globalism is absolutely devastating our economy.  Millions of our jobs have been shipped to countries where labor is far, far cheaper and they aren't coming back.
In addition, millions of Americans that do still have jobs are also deeply struggling right now.  There are millions and millions of Americans that are working part-time jobs because that is all that they can find right now.  Millions of other Americans are flat broke and are discovering that their paychecks are "shrinking" due to inflation.  Wages have barely risen while prices for food and other necessities are skyrocketing.
Most families are really struggling to get by right now.
According to the Washington Post, the average yearly income of the bottom 90 percent of U.S. income earners is $31,244.
It is really hard to pay a mortgage and feed a family on that income.
The only people that seem to be doing well are at the very top.
The average yearly income of the top 0.1% of U.S. income earners is 5.6 million dollars.
Not that making money is a bad thing, but when an economic system funnels all of the rewards to the very top you know something is deeply broken.
The poorest 50% of all Americans now own just 2.5% of all the wealth in the United States.
A lot of poor Americans have literally fallen off the map.  The Daily Mailrecently did a feature on one tent city that has been constructed deep in a forest in New Jersey....
In scenes reminiscent of the Great Depression these are the ramshackle homes of the desperate and destitute U.S. families who have set up their own 'Tent City' only an hour from Manhattan.
More than 50 homeless people have joined the community within New Jersey's forests as the economic crisis has wrecked their American dream.
You can see shocking pictures of this tent city right here.
So it is no wonder why so many Americans are so angry.
If you lost your job or your home you would probably be angry too.
Most Americans just want to be able to go to work, make a decent living, pay the mortgage and provide for their families.
But in America today that is becoming increasingly difficult to do.
Our economy is a giant mess and the American people are becoming very angry.
If the economy gets even worse, they are going to become even angrier.
Storm clouds are gathering on the horizon.
Things are about to get very, very interesting.

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Chinese currency quickening pace of appreciation


The change may seem minuscule. But for those who follow China's currency, 0.8% is practically a bonanza.

That's how much the Chinese yuan has appreciated against the dollar in the last week, its fastest pace in almost a year.

Monday showed no signs of slowing down as China's central bank set its so-called parity exchange rate at 6.395 yuan for each dollar, giving the Chinese currency a value of 15.64 U.S. cents, a record high. (The bank sets the rate in the morning before every currency trading session and allows the yuan to strengthen or weaken 0.5%.)

The yuan has gained 3.1% against the greenback this year and 6.8% since June 2010, when China depegged its currency from the dollar. Many analysts had expected the yuan to climb just over 6% for the year, but the last few days may give them reason to revise on the upside.

The uptick in appreciation is welcome news to trading partners who have long argued that China unfairly undervalues its currency to boost its exports. Reinforcing that view, China last weekreported its largest trade surplus in more than two years.

Diplomacy may be at play as well. The yuan's strengthening comes right before Vice President Joe Biden's arrival in China this week. The last time the so-called redback grew this fast was last September, when Washington was preparing a report on China's currency regime.

But more than anything, analysts say, the strengthening yuan has to do with China's growing battle with inflation, which hit a 37-month high in July, stoking fears of social instability the cost of food.

A mightier yuan would make imports cheaper and rein in the nation's over-abundant money supply.

The recent downgrade of U.S. government debt by Standard & Poor's has also raised doubts in Beijing about the merits of running large trade surpluses, which increase China's foreign-currency reserves. With few other viable ways to invest that money, China has accumulated about $1.2 trillion in U.S. Treasuries.

In a recent research note, Daniel Hui, a senior foreign exchange strategist at HSBC, said of the yuan's quickening appreciation:

[I]t is increasingly likely that this is going beyond just macro factors, and that domestic politics is becoming increasingly important.

We have long viewed [foreign exchange] policy as ultimately being the outcome of a domestic political process. Now, the U.S. sovereign downgrade by S&P as well as the seemingly increased potential for a third round of quantitative easing is stoking real debate [in China] as to the broader costs and benefits of China's choice of exchange rate policy. This, alongside recent domestic discontent, may have been enough to shift [foreign exchange] policy away from the previous stance, becoming more permissive and lessening the requirement for such large accumulation of dollars. If so, this new, accelerated pace of appreciation could last for some time.

The trend could also mean that China's central bank, which favors liberalizing the country's financial sector, is gaining ground against pro-export forces -- namely rich coastal provinces and their patron in the central government, the Ministry of Commerce.

The ministry has said that a sharp appreciation of the yuan would leave millions of factory workers out of jobs.

But Li Jie, head of the Reserves Research Institute at the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing, disagrees, telling The Times last week that a stronger yuan would help the country's manufacturers by reducing raw-material prices and wages.
"It would easily offset the pain of having more expensive exports," Li said.

Money and Company
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'Palestinians set date for statehood showdown at UN'

Click for full Jpost coverage

NEW YORK - The Palestinians set September 20th as the date for the much-anticipated vote over Palestinian statehood at the United Nations, according to AFP.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki informed UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will ask the international community to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state on the first day of the annual opening gathering at UN headquarters in New York.

“Abbas will personally present the request to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon... at the opening of the sixty-sixth session," he was quoted as saying by the French news wire. “[Abbas] will insist on this historic initiative and Ban Ki-moon will present the request to the Security Council.”

The announcement cast aside speculation that the Palestinians might quietly step back from their bid for statehood in response to mounting international pressure against it.

Israel adamantly opposes the Palestinian move saying a unilateral declaration of independence would be detrimental to the peace process.

In recent months it has been engaged in extensive diplomatic efforts to prevent a confrontation with Palestinians at the UN over statehood. The US has publicly said it would oppose such a vote in the Security Council and independent observers like theNew York Times have argued pressing for Palestinian independence given Israel's and the US's opposition would be “profoundly damaging to all involved.”

Last month, an open session at the Security Council on the Middle East turned into a dress rehearsal for the expected vote in September.

“With international political and financial support this plan has reached its objectives as acknowledged by the international community,” a Palestinian envoy told the Security Council. “We have completed our responsibilities and are ready to govern ourselves.We cannot keep waiting for Israel to negotiate with good faith.”

Israel retorted by saying Palestinians were deeply divided between Hamas and Fatah, which have fought each other in a civil war, and that recognition of Palestinian statehood would bring instability to the region.

“On behalf of whom will you present a resolution in September? Mr. Abbas or Hamas?” asked Israel’s ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor. “Will it be on behalf of both the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas terrorist organization, which advances a charter calling for the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews?"


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Extend and pretend no more

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First-ever animal with artificial information in its genetic code is created by scientists

Glowing: The artificial protein scientists introduced into the worms' DNA contained a fluorescent dye that glows cherry red under ultraviolet light

The world’s first animal with artificial information in its genetic code has been created by scientists.

The technique could throw open the possibility for scientists to create new, man-made properties in a wide range of animals.

Using this method, scientists could be granted ‘atom-by-atom control’ over molecules in living things.

Researchers from Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge modified the genetic code of nematode worms, 1mm long invertebrates with just a thousand cells in their transparent bodies.

The team proved their results using a fluorescent dye - the artificial protein they introduced into the worms’ DNA contained a fluorescent dye that glows cherry red under ultraviolet light.

For the method to have worked, the protein should be replicated in every cell of the worms’ bodies, so that the worms light up completely under the rays.

If the technique failed, there would be no glow.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2025281/Scientists-create-animal-artificial-information-genetic-code.html#ixzz1V9FMZjTl

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Heaviest show in decades disrupts transport in new zealand

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Ahmadinejad: Iran will respond 'decisively' to U.S., Israel attacks

Ahmadinejad, Iran - AP - 20.7.11
Iranian President Ahmadinejad warned that he would respond harshly to any attempts by Israel or the United States to launch a war against the Islamic republic in an interview with Russia Today news network on Saturday, saying Iran would give a “decisive response” to any strike.

“We have a saying in our language: If someone throws a smaller stone (at you), you should respond with a bigger stone,” the Iranian president said, adding, “we will defend ourselves within our capabilities.”

Ahmadinejad told the Russian news network that the U.S. and Israel “wish to do it (launch an attack against Iran), they want to do it, but they know about our power. They know that we are going to give them a decisive response.”

Despite this warning, the Iranian leader expressed hope in the interview that such a reality would never materialize, claiming there is no reason to launch a strike against Iran.

Ahmadinejad then went on to accuse Israel of being a regime that depends on terror, occupation and aggression.

The international community has called on Iran to halt its nuclear program, leveling sanctions against the Islamic country, however, Iran claims the program is for peaceful purposes and continues to enrich uranium.

Earlier this year, former Mossad head Meir Dagan said that an air force strike against Iran's nuclear installations would be "a stupid thing."

Dagan claimed that Iran has a secret infrastructure for its nuclear program which is working in parallel with the legitimate, civilian program, but only the latter is under international inspection.

"Any strike against that [the civilian program] is an illegal act according to international law," Dagan said. Dagan says that contrary to the situation in Iraq in which the nuclear plant of Saddam Hussein was bombed in 1981, Iran has dispersed its nuclear sites across the country, making an effective attack difficult. He added that Iran has a proven ability to move its nuclear infrastructures from place to place, in order to hide them from international inspectors and intelligence services.

"If someone in Iran decides to build a laboratory for centrifuges [for uranium enrichment] in the basement of some school he has no problem doing this," Dagan said.
Dagan warned that an air force strike against Iran has "potential for significant complications and it is best to avoid war(s) with non-beneficial results and also those with no lasting effect. It is important to remember that war is only one option among many alternatives."

The European Central Bank revealed it splashed out euro22 billion ($32 billion) last week -- more than it has ever done before

PARIS (AP) -- The European Central Bank revealed Monday that it splashed out euro22 billion ($32 billion) last week -- more than it has ever done before -- propping up the bond markets of Italy and Spain.

News of the big bond purchases came a day before the leaders of Germany and France meet to discuss the debt crisis that has engulfed Europe for over a year and a half. Speculation that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would be considering proposals for the eurozone to issue jointly guaranteed government debt appear to have been dashed, however.

Tuesday's meeting in Paris comes after a week of turmoil in financial markets, which was partly blamed on Europe's sprawling government debt crisis, which threatened to sweep up economic heavyweights such as Italy and Spain. Fears that the eurozone's third and fourth largest economies may find it too expensive to service their debts triggered the ECB's intervention in the bond markets.

France itself was caught in the crossfire last week, with investors worrying about the financial health of the country's banks and whether France would be the next country after the U.S. to lose its triple-A credit rating.

France and Germany, which together account for almost half of the eurozone's economic output, are taking the lead in pushing for reforms aimed at pulling the bloc out of its debt crisis.

"That is and remains a path of consolidation, of reform, strict adherence to a reworked stability pact that also includes sanctions," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert said.

The discussions will center on "measures for better agreement of financial policies," paving the way for enhanced economic governance, he added.

Officials for both Merkel and Sarkozy said Monday that eurobonds would not be on the agenda.

Eurobonds would be a major step toward the bloc's economic integration, and are billed by supporters as an overnight solution to the debt crisis. Italy, Greece, Belgium and Luxembourg are among the nations calling for eurobonds.

However, Germany has been adamantly against their creation. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble reiterated his opposition when he told German news magazine Der Spiegel that eurobonds were out of the question as long as the currency zone's 17 nations still run their own budget policy. Different interest rates for eurozone nations, he added, were needed to provide "incentives and the possibility of sanctions to enforce solid financial policy."

Schaeuble acknowledged that the EU must, and will, beef up its response to the crisis by assisting heavily indebted nations, but said "there won't be a collectivization of debt or unlimited assistance."

Merkel has long ruled out eurobonds, and Economy Minister Philipp Roesler joined the chorus Monday, describing jointly guaranteed debt as "the wrong way" out of the crisis.

"Eurobonds would mean that everybody shares the same interest burden which would be a punishment for (financially) sound nations," he was quoted as saying by German news agency dapd. "We cannot want this for Germany and for all other good states."

With Europe still scrambling to come up with measures to appease the markets, the European Central Bank has been taking a more central in dealing with the crisis, which has already seen Greece, Ireland and Portugal receive massive bailouts.

Analysts think a large chunk, if not all, of the euro22 billion the central bank spent last week was used to prop up the bond prices of Italy and Spain, who had seen their borrowing costs ratchet up sharply in the preceding weeks.

The ECB's purchases were the biggest weekly amount the bank has made under the emergency measure, exceeding the euro16.5 billion it laid out when it started buying Greek government debt in May 2010.

While stocks took a pounding last week, the program boosted Italian and Spanish bonds, pushing their prices up and interest yields -- which move in the opposite direction -- down. High bond yields were what drove Ireland, Portugal and Greece to seek bailouts from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

The bank is temporarily shouldering the burden of fighting the crisis until national parliaments approve new powers for the European Union's bailout fund so it can buy government bonds or help recapitalize banks if necessary.

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Robert Zoellick: Global markets face a new 'danger zone'

World Bank chief Robert Zoellick has said that investors have lost confidence in the economic leadership of several key countries, warning global markets were in a

Zoellick said a convergence of events in the United States and Europe had rattled investors in countries already struggling to cap sovereign debt issues and unemployment.

"And what we've seen is that confidence is a fragile element of how the market economy works," the World Bank Group president told an Asia Society dinner in Sydney on Sunday.

"And I think that those events combined with some of the other fragilities... have pushed us into a new danger zone. And I don't say those words lightly."

He added that the United States had contributed to the drop in confidence in the markets following the bitter debate in Congress to ensure that the country did not end up with a disastrous debt default.

"It's not that the United States faces an imminent problem," he said.

"Frankly, markets are used to the United States playing a leading role in the economic system and leadership and so when they saw the 'Sturm und Drang' in Congress and with the executive, it made them uncertain about, well does the United States really know where it's going? And is it going to get there?"

The problems were more serious in the eurozone, he said, where the processes for dealing with sovereign debt and some competitiveness shortfalls had lagged.

"We're kind of moving from drama to trauma for a lot of the Eurozone countries," he said.

Financial markets have suffered highly-volatile trading conditions in recent weeks, on mounting concern that the eurozone debt crisis and weak US economy could help see the world fall back into recession.

Britain's benchmark index ended the week up almost 1.4pc, the first time in three weeks the FTSE 100 has finished in positive territory over five days.

A 15-day ban on the short selling of financial stocks in France, Italy, Spain and Belgium by the European Markets and Securities Authority contributed to Friday's rally.
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Experts: Fukushima 'off-scale' lethal radiation level infers millions dying

On this atomic bombing of Japan anniversary, at Hiroshima, radiation victims will call for an end to nuclear industry

Fukushima nuclear power plant radiation recordings of external gamma radiation have been so high this week, they went off scale said veteran nuclear expert Arnie Gunderson on Thursday after the famous physicist, Dr. Chris Busby told the Japanese people this week that radioactive air contamination there is now 300 times that of Chernobyl and 1000 times the atomic bomb peak in 1963, inferring that hundreds of millions of people are now dying from Fukushima radiation, including people in the United States.

If noticing unusual amounts of hair falling out, confusion, nose bleeds or other odd symptoms typical of radiation sickness, it might be due to the United States record high levels of radiation, now multiple times acceptable safety limits not only on the west coast, but also in other locations around the nation.

Because Fukushima radiation data retrieval and interpretation has been so complex or non-existent for the concerned public, citizen reporters in Japan and United States have now established easily accessible ways to view radiation levels on the internet.
Fukushima radiation depopulation unfathomable: Possibly 100s of millions deaths

Dr Janette Sherman, a highly respected physician and acknowledged expert in radiation exposure who has reported a north-east United States 35% baby death spike since Fukushima fall-out reached the nation, concurs with estimates that world wide, the Chernobyl Kill is one million people killed to date reported NOVA News. Extrapolating, worldwide deaths by Fukushima radiation could eventually be hundreds of millions of people, becoming the most significant depopulation event to date.

Dr. Chris Busby, world famous physicist, said tests conducted at the respected Harwell Radiation Laboratory in England demonstrate that airborne radiation in Japan is 1,000 times higher than radioactive “fallout” at the peak in 1963 of H-Bomb detonations by nuclear powers. In March, Busby had estimated that Fukushima radiation to be 72,000 times greater than what the United States released at Hiroshima.

"Let’s wipe the Tokyo Electric Power Company and the General Electric officials and policy makers off the face of the Earth, as they manifestly deserve," asserted Dr. Busby when addressing the Japanese this week.

Thirty-nine year nuclear industry veteran Arnie Gunderson of Fairwinds stated Tuesday,"There will continue to be enormous spikes for at least ten years."

Dr. Busby advocates not only independent studies of the nuclear catastrophe. He received a resounding applause when he told the Japanese people this week that in his opinion, scientists who said this accident was not a problem must be prosecuted.

"Many nuclear scientists said it was not a problem when the knew it was a serious accident. People who listened to those scientists and did not run away when they should have. Because of that, people will die."

Busby explained that the World Health Organization is tied to the Nuclear Industry so their research is bogus. In studying Fukushima, the World Health Organization expects to find no effects "and so that's what they'll find," he said.

According to Dr. Helen Caldicott, WHO's subjugation to the nuclear industry has been widely known since May 28, 1959, when at the 12th World Health Assembly, WHO drafted an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) granting the right of prior approval over any research it might undertake or report on to the IAEA, the group many people, including some journalists, think is a neutral watchdog but is, "in fact, an advocate for the nuclear power industry."

”The agency shall seek to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity through the world,” the founding papers state, as reported by The Age.

Latest nuclear 'peace, health and prosperity' spike

TEPCO discovered a hot spot location on the Fukushima nuclear power plant site a few days ago with lethal levels of external gamma radiation.
How the latest radiation spike at Fukushima might have been deposited and also how similar radioactive material would have been released off-site was presented this week by Gunderson, with over 25-years of experience in nuclear decommissioning oversight, co-authored the first edition of the Department Of Energy (DOE) Decommissioning Handbook. (See embedded Vimeo, "Lethal Levels of Radiation at Fukushima: What Are the Implications?", Arnie Gunderson, Fairwinds)

Gunderson noted that over 1000 REMs were released according to TEPCO earlier this week, an amount that, "if there, would mean death within a couple of days."

"Those kinds of exposures cause extensive neurological breakdowns that can't be reversed medically," Gunderson reported.

"To be anywhere near that for a couple of minutes would be a death sentence."

Gunderson has questioned how this hot spot could have been missed over 100 days.

"Earlier site maps do not show this high concentration of radioactivity in that area," he said. "More likely that this event happened over time. This radiation built up over time."

Gunderson said he wanted to put that into perspective and let the public know what is happening, saying the key is that it occurred in a vent.

It contained cesium and hot water that ran down the outside of the pipe and collected in the bottom, so the concentration got higher and higher as more water containing cesium came down. It was found in a stack condensing.

"Air was being pulled over that and exhausted into the air for a long period of time," he said.

"It speaks to how much radiation was released over the last 140 days, only a small amount compared to the total amount being released to the environment."

Nuclear insanity, 'Destroyer of Worlds' hits states but fixed by vaccines?

According to Gunderson, over the next ten years, there will be continued spikes in radiation on site, first where places bulldozed actually come to the surface in excavations.

"There will continue to be enormous radioactive sources that are unearthed," he said."When they get into these buildings to actually try to dismantle the plant, they are going to find even higher radiation levels than this one."

"At the bottom of the plant, the nuclear core has leaked out and is now lying like a pancake on the concrete floor, working its way down, but probably not through the concrete."

According to Gunderson, the bottom if the plant has even much more radioactive material leaking than the recent off-the-scale recordings.

"It's going to take ten or twenty years to clean up," he said.

The Japanese government has called for a voluntary cease of using compost materials from fallen leaves due to humus registering cesium over the government's acceptable radiation limits according to MSNBC World News Asia Pacific.

Following criticism of government radiation data being too difficult to interpret, organizations started collecting their own data. Now, the government is helping to interpret radiation readings found in air, water, grass, farm soil, trees and food.

Alexander Higgins is among citizen reporters in the United States who are rallying to provide accurate radiation monitoring data to Americans. This week, Higgins presented a new interactive website that clearly shows with maps and charts the radiation levels across the country.

Data on these pages reflect CPMs remarkably higher than government safety levels. For example, in recent days, Los Angeles radiation has been spiking higher than 300 CPMs, and Little Rock, higher than 250 CPMs. (See: "Real Time EPA RadNet Japan Nuclear Radiation Monitoring For Every Major City In The Entire US On A Single Page," Higgins, A.)

Global Security Newswire reported over one hundred million dollars allocated for drug research companies to address radiation sickness in the United States. Within less than a week of Fukushima's catastrophe onset, on Mar 16, U.S. bio-defense groups, that develop products for radiation leak effects from nuclear power plants and attacks and a number of anti-cancer drugs, were awarded a five-year $118 million contract to further develop "research and producing vaccines and immunotherapies directed at potential agents of bio-terrorism," according to Daily Finance.

"The government's concern is reflected in the 2004 passage of the BioShield Act, which created Project BioShield to fund countermeasures against a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack. The project has set aside $5.6 billion for the next 10 years for the government purchase of next-generation medical countermeasures, including improved vaccines, diagnostics, and therapeutics. The budget includes grants from the Department of Health and Human Resources to biotechs developing such bio-defense products. That $5.6 billion budget may now look insufficient. Already, there is talk among some senators for the need to bump up the nation's preparedness in the wake of the nuclear crisis in Japan." (Daily Finance)
As Americans struggle to survive amid the economic depression, Obama has allocated 39 billion dollars for the U.S. nuclear power industry, an industry that peace and justice human rights defender Dr. Caldicott has called "nuclear insanity" and the "Destroyer of Worlds."

Continue reading on Examiner.com Experts: Fukushima 'off-scale' lethal radiation level infers millions dying - National Human Rights | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/human-rights-in-national/experts-fukushima-off-scale-lethal-radiation-level-100s-millions-deaths#ixzz1VCjGJINS

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Fannie Mae promises to keep families in homes, but instead pressures banks to foreclose


In early December, a senior executive at Fannie Mae assured members of the Senate Banking Committee in Washington that the mortgage giant was doing everything possible to address the foreclosure crisis.

"Preventing foreclosures is a top priority for Fannie Mae," Terence Edwards, an executive vice president, told the panel. "Foreclosures hurt families and destabilize communities."

But confidential documents obtained by the Free Press show that Fannie Mae has pushed an agenda at odds with those public assurances.

The records cover Fannie Mae's foreclosure decisions on more than 2,300 properties, a snapshot from among the millions of mortgages Fannie handles nationally. The documents show Fannie Mae has told banks to foreclose on some delinquent homeowners -- those more than a year behind -- even as the banks were trying to help borrowers save their houses, a violation of Fannie's own policy.

Fannie Mae has publicly maintained that homeowners would not lose their houses while negotiating changes to mortgages under the federal Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP.

The Free Press also obtained internal records revealing that the taxpayer-supported mortgage giant has told banks that it expected them to sell off a fixed percentage of foreclosed homes. In one letter sent to banks around the country last year, a Fannie vice president made clear that Fannie expected 10%-12% of homes in foreclosure to proceed to sale.

Taken together, the documents offer an unprecedented window into how Fannie decides whether to allow borrowers to exhaust all options to keep their homes. "It's scary, it really is," said Leisa Fenton of Clarkston, who is among an untold number of people whose homes were sold in foreclosure even though they had been assured their homes were safe while they sought mortgage relief from Washington.

Her family's home was sold at auction in October. "We just keep praying the Lord is going to work it out," she said.

Alan White, a law professor at Valparaiso University and a leading national expert on the foreclosure crisis, reviewed the records for the Free Press and said they show Fannie Mae -- which is regulated by the Federal Housing Finance Agency -- is sabotaging the nation's foreclosure prevention efforts and helping drive down home values.

"Fannie just wants to clean up its balance sheet and get these loans off the books while taxpayers are eating these losses," White said, referring to the multibillion-dollar federal bailout of Fannie Mae in 2008 and the rising cost to taxpayers.

"And Treasury and the FHFA are letting them get away with it. It's a huge waste. Wealth is being destroyed, people are losing houses needlessly, and taxpayers are losing money."

Fannie Mae officials declined to be interviewed and would not address the issues raised in the records obtained by the Free Press, including a lengthy series of questions provided by e-mail.

But a former Fannie Mae executive, Javid Jaberi, whose name is on some of the documents, said the internal records merely reflect an effort by Fannie Mae to get banks to respond more quickly when loans are delinquent, even if that means pushing some foreclosed homes to sale.

In an interview Wednesday, Jaberi said there is plenty of blame to go around. Borrowers often didn't understand their options. Banks weren't doing enough to help borrowers to get mortgage relief. And HAMP's documentation rules, he said, were too complex.

"Everyone is to blame," Jaberi said, including Fannie Mae.

Fannie spokesman Andrew Wilson said in a statement Fannie is "committed to preventing foreclosures whenever possible."

"We encourage homeowners to reach out as early as possible ... to pursue modifications and other foreclosure prevention solutions."

Various lenders -- Bank of America, GMAC Mortgage, CitiMortgage and Chase -- would not discuss Fannie's policies.
Records reveal foreclosure tactics

Fannie Mae and many of the nation's top banks have faced considerable criticism for doing little to stem foreclosure sales, which grew by 1.6 million last year. Investigations by other news media outlets showed that Fannie Mae (and the banks that directly service home loans) help only a sliver of people promised relief, and often delay or bungle applications for modifications. Other reports showed Fannie has punished banks that were too slow to foreclose.

The documents obtained by the Free Press indicate, for the first time, that Fannie wasn't simply indifferent to helping homeowners, but launched a concerted effort to force seriously delinquent borrowers from their homes.

Fannie's foreclosure policy -- what an August 2010 document calls "our new delay initiative" -- focused on homeowners more than 12 months late on their mortgages, including people actively negotiating loan modifications. That stance conflicts with the government's (and Fannie's) rules, which are meant to insulate people while they seek loan relief under HAMP.

Mortgage companies, of course, can't wait forever for delinquent borrowers to catch up on their payments. But critics argue that Fannie Mae's confidential foreclosure policy is not only at odds with its public assurances, but adds to the inventory of vacant homes across the nation and lowers property values for everyone.

According to White, the Valparaiso professor, foreclosing on a home typically costs Fannie Mae far more than a successful loan modification. But, he and others say, Fannie is willing to absorb higher losses because it knows taxpayers -- not Fannie Mae -- will eventually reimburse the loss.

Since 2008, when the government took over Fannie Mae and its sister company, Freddie Mac, the mortgage giants have cost taxpayers $141 billion, with estimates that the bill could eventually reach as high as $389 billion.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are significant players in the foreclosure crisis; they own or guarantee more than half of all existing single-family mortgages and about two-thirds of all new U.S. home mortgages. Fannie also administers the U.S. Treasury Department's $29.9-billion foreclosure prevention initiative -- Making Home Affordable, which includes HAMP -- that was launched by President Barack Obama in 2009.
Everyone loses

Fannie Mae doesn't lend directly to homeowners. It buys loans from banks, guarantees them, and relies on the banks to service the loans directly. Fannie funds its mortgage investments by issuing debt securities in domestic and international capital markets.

Fannie Mae, according to rules outlined on its Web site, has told banks that service its loans that they "should not proceed with a foreclosure sale" until a borrower has been evaluated for a loan modification under HAMP. That squares with HAMP's written rules, which forbid banks from completing foreclosures without first weighing a person's eligibility for a modification.

According to RealtyTrac, which tracks U.S. foreclosures, 1.6 million homes were sold in foreclosure last year, including 78,704 in Michigan. It's unclear from the records how many could have kept their homes had Fannie not enacted its confidential foreclosure policy.

Metro Detroit leaders say Fannie Mae's actions are destabilizing neighborhoods and driving down home values. They pleaded with federal regulators to help.

"Local governments are trying to keep people in their homes and keep property values up, and here you have a government bureaucracy ripping (those efforts) to shreds," said Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano.

"It doesn't make sense."

Adam Taub, a Southfield lawyer who works with people trying to save their homes, said Fannie is "being very, very aggressive, very proactive, in trying to kick people out. ... They're putting a lot of pressure on" the banks.

He said he had several cases in which banks were willing to modify loans but Fannie Mae was unwilling to cooperate. He said he had no way to know whether Fannie's policy affected those cases.

"They're making their books look better, and making neighborhoods look worse, and that hurts everybody's property values," Taub said.

The confidential records reviewed by the Free Press include notations on more than 2,300 homes in which banks asked Fannie to delay foreclosure sales while homeowners sought modifications or other relief, including short sales -- in which a lender lets the borrower sell a home for less than what is owed.

In one instance, from August 2010, Bank of America requested a 45-day delay for a Wisconsin homeowner who owed $124,610 and was 32 months delinquent. The bank said the borrower was applying for a loan modification through HAMP and "it appears that all financial documents have been received and we are waiting for an underwriter to be assigned."

Fannie Mae's response: "Per our new delay initiative, any loan over 12 months deliq must be on an active payment plan with monthly payments coming in. Therefore, this request to postpone is declined. Please proceed to sale."

IndyMac Mortgage Services sought a delay for a Hawaii borrower who provided all records required by HAMP. The homeowner, 22 months behind, owed $412,225. Fannie: "Proceed with foreclosure."

The records do not identify any homeowners by name.

Wilson, the Fannie Mae spokesman, would not address these or other specific documents, saying only that Fannie evaluates delay requests case by case and has approved some delays "if the situation warranted it."

Indeed, Fannie officials approved some brief delays, records show -- with conditions.

In October, Bank of America sought a delay for a California borrower who was 24 months behind, owed $230,449 and had filled out a HAMP loan package. Fannie agreed to delay sale until early November, but noted:


Meg Burns, chief of policy at FHFA, which oversees Fannie Mae, said foreclosure sales are delayed "all the time. We suspend foreclosure processing all the time. ... There are plenty of postponements."

Burns said if anyone is to blame for home losses, it's the banks for not dealing sooner with homeowners.

FHFA officials also noted that Fannie and Freddie are adopting new rules in October that provide incentives and penalities to encourage servicers to work with delinquent borrowers at an early stage.

Edward DeMarco, FHFA's acting director, has said the new policies should give homeowners a greater understanding of the process and minimize taxpayer losses by ensuring loans are serviced efficiently and fairly.

FHFA also noted that since Fannie and Freddie were taken into conservatorship, they have completed more than 900,000 loan modifications.

Fannie Mae's foreclosure policy is also being applied to seriously delinquent borrowers in programs other than HAMP, records show.

In one case last October, Bank of America sought a delay for a Michigan borrower seeking a loan modification who owed $65,542 and was two years behind, but whose finances were improving.

"Borrower is reflecting positive monthly cash flow of $914.77 and may be able to afford a modified payment," the bank wrote. Fannie refused, noting the lengthy delinquency: "Proceed to sale."

Ira Rheingold, executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates, said, "It's rarely in anyone's best interest to kick out a struggling homeowner who is trying to stay in their home, particularly in cities like Detroit whose housing market is devastated."

He said it's absurd Fannie is taking actions "devastating to the homeowners and communities they're supposed to be serving. It really is obscene."

Jamison Brewer, a lawyer with Michigan Legal Services in Detroit, said Fannie's actions are contrary to what borrowers seeking modifications are being told -- that foreclosure sales are put on hold while they apply for HAMP.

"Our tax money went into Fannie," he said. "It's just ridiculous."

Requests for short sale delays are likewise being denied, the internal records show.

In October, Bank of America sought a delay for a California borrower who owed $416,786, was 13 months behind, and trying to close a short sale. "LOAN IS IN DOCUMENT COLLECTION PHASE," the bank noted. "FILE HAS HAD 0 PREVIOUS POSTPONEMENTS." Fannie Mae declined, noting simply, "Too delinquent."
Sticking taxpayers with the losses

White, the Valparaiso professor, said Fannie's decision to target homeowners who are more than a year delinquent doesn't allow for changes in some people's financial situations, such as a new job or higher pay.

He is among a bipartisan collection of critics who say Fannie is less concerned with helping homeowners than in pushing the cost of troubled mortgages to taxpayers.

For example, White said, if a home with a $200,000 mortgage is foreclosed and Fannie nets $80,000 from its sale, Fannie loses $120,000. But because Congress authorized the Treasury Department to reimburse Fannie as part of the government's takeover, taxpayers eat the losses.

"Fannie would rather foreclose all the bad and marginal mortgages now, even at very high loss rates, while losses are on the taxpayer, so that when it is once again a private company, these risky mortgages will be gone, and will not result in losses for its shareholders," he said.

"Treasury and Congress have given Fannie a blank check, but Fannie knows the checkbook will be taken away sooner or later."

Fannie Mae has made it difficult in other ways for borrowers to keep their homes.

Take the case of a woman represented by lawyer Lorray Brown of the Michigan Poverty Law Program.

The Eaton County woman lost her home in foreclosure and was facing eviction when she persuaded a bank to lend her $170,000 to buy the property back from Fannie Mae. Brown said Fannie initially rejected her client's offer, insisting on the full $184,000 the woman owed -- $14,000 more than the woman could raise.

Fannie did not accept the woman's offer until January, after months of wrangling. Had Fannie Mae won the fight, it would certainly have spent more than $14,000 on legal fees and foreclosures costs while displacing a family and leaving another home vacant.

Fannie lawyers referred questions to headquarters, which declined to comment.

Well before Edwards, the Fannie Mae executive, testified before the Senate committee that the mortgage giant was doing all it could to prevent foreclosures, Fannie Mae was making plans to punish banks that were not selling foreclosed homes quickly enough, records show. The records obtained by the Free Press buttress documents reported by the Washington Post earlier this year.

"Fannie Mae is suffering delays in the processing of its foreclosures," according to one unsigned, Aug. 31, 2010, memo. The memo, a "talking points" summary for Fannie Mae management, outlined its plans to fine banks for delaying foreclosure on seriously delinquent homeowners.

As an example, the memo notes, a bank would be fined $5,218 at the time of foreclosure on a house with a mortgage balance of $121,000 and 22 months late.

The memo said Fannie Mae was initially targeting mortgages 18 or more months delinquent to "scrub and clean up servicers' existing portfolios."

In a June 18, 2010, letter, Jaberi, then Fannie Mae's vice president, also cited fines in a letter to GMAC.

"Fannie Mae urges you to begin more closely managing delays in the processing of our foreclosure cases as soon as possible," Jaberi wrote, adding: "You must keep the contents of this letter and the requirements confidential."

In the interview Wednesday, Jaberi confirmed that versions of that letter went to all banks that serviced Fannie Mae mortgages.

Fannie Mae also sent letters in June 2010 warning at least six lenders that Fannie projected and expected "approximately 10%-12% of monthly foreclosure inventory will go to sale."

Bert Ely, a banking consultant based in Alexandria, Va., who reviewed the letters for the Free Press, said they show Fannie "wants to force these default situations into a foreclosure sale" and raised questions about whether Fannie is setting arbitrary targets.

"When you have a uniform approach like that, it makes you wonder whether they are just pushing action by the servicers irrespective of local market conditions," he said.

Kurt Eggert, a law professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., who has testified before Congress on mortgage issues, said it's unrealistic to expect banks to hit uniform targets because "they have a different mix of mortgages. ... And some are much better at modifying mortgages than others."

Jaberi denied that Fannie took a cookie-cutter approach with banks. Fannie was merely "trying to create a dialogue between Fannie Mae and the servicer. ... These are nonperforming assets and need to be resolved. ... We were putting more pressure on the servicers to do their jobs."

Alys Cohen, staff attorney for the National Consumer Law Center, noted that Fannie threatened no punishment to banks that denied a loan modification to qualified homeowners, but did threaten to punish banks that didn't foreclose fast enough.

"That results in many qualified homeowners ending up in foreclosure," she said.

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Eurozone bank buys record €22bn in bonds to contain euro crisis

Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel are meeting in Paris today (consilium.eu)

The European Central Bank last week spent a record €22bn buying euro-zone government bonds in a bid to prevent the eurozone debt crisis spreading, a move that is likely to fuel debate on the creation of eurobonds.

The buying spree represented the most the central bank has spent since it first began bond-buying in May last year in response to the Greek debt crisis.

It also shows the scale of the challenge faced by the bank in keeping down the borrowing costs of Italy and Spain, the eurozone’s third and fourth largest economies.

The bond buyback programme - supposed to be a temporary measure while politicians attempt to solve the eurozone’s problems – is controversial among ECB policy-makers.

It is most strongly opposed by Jens Weidmann and Juergen Stark, German members of the bank’s governing council, who feel the bank is moving into political territory.

However, the bank has felt itself compelled to move as various agreements by EU politicians over recent months have failed to draw a line under the crisis.

A July deal to allow the eurozone rescue fund to buy bonds – which the ECB keenly wants to come into force – has first to be ratified by member states.

The extent of last week’s purchase, revealed by the bank yesterday, came on the eve of a meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris today (16 August).

Last week Sarkozy said the meeting would result in “extremely ambitious euro zone governance proposals”.

The most talked-about issue – though informally – is the mutualisation of eurozone debt through the creation of eurobonds.

Germany has officially said this is a no-go area and will not be discussed during today’s meeting.

"The German government has said on numerous occasions that it does not believe Eurobonds make sense and that's why they will not play any role at tomorrow's meeting," spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Monday.

However, behind the scenes the issue is being increasingly discussed.

An article on Sunday in German daily Die Welt indicated that Berlin was coming around to the idea of eurobonds and cited an anonymous government source as saying that maintaining the eurozone with all its members is an “absolute priority” for Germany.

The idea also has some support from industry.

The head of the German export Group BGA said Eurobonds are needed to avoid a global depression.

"The alternative is the markets attack Italy, then France, we lose our AAA rating and then it's our turn. This is a downward spiral that would lead to a worldwide depression," Anton Boerner told Reuters news agency.

"What have we achieved then?" Boerner said. "We'll end up paying three times over. This way we pay just once."

Leading economists share the same view.

“Unless some framework like European bonds are promoted, it's going to be very difficult for the troubled eurozone countries to be able to meet their financial requirements,” Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz told the BBC’s Newsnight programme on Monday.

Eurobonds would lower the borrowing costs of struggling eurozone countries but raise the costs of Germany and other countries currently considered a safe bet by markets – something that many politicians in northern better-off eurozone countries balk at.

It would also likely imply further significant EU fiscal integration – currently a topic of heated debate in Germany – the eurozone’s paymaster.

Euro zone banks close to asking ECB for dollars

(Reuters) - Dollar funding costs for euro zone banks have trebled in three weeks and are expected to rise further, possibly forcing lenders to ask for greenbacks from the European Central Bank for the first time in a year.

A massive sell-off in stocks, led by banks, have prompted investors and banks to hoard funds and made them increasingly reluctant to lend dollars to euro zone lenders.

The increasing tension in money markets has led some in the markets to draw parallels with the freeze that followed the 2008 collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers.

"I'm not sure we will see the same apocalyptic scenario as in 2008 ... Now (the lack of trust) is getting to the point where it will be cheaper to tap ECB dollar funding," said FxPro chief economist Simon Smith.

The ECB has a swap line with the U.S. Federal Reserve that allows the ECB to provide banks with unlimited dollars but it has been dormant for the past 12 months as banks have so far been able to borrow greenbacks more cheaply in the market.

This is about to change. The three-month euro/dollar cross currency basis swap, which shows the rate charged when swapping euro interest payments on an underlying asset into dollars, has reached minus 95 basis points, levels not seen since November 2008.

Banks seeking ECB dollars would pay a little over 100 bps at the auctions held every Wednesday.

While analysts say there would now be a stigma attached to banks seeking dollars, once bidding in the ECB tenders became cheaper than seeking funds in the market, FX basis swaps should stabilise at just over what the ECB charges. During the Lehman freeze basis swaps hit levels below minus 300 bps.

"It (the swap) could go up to 10 bps (over what the ECB charges) given that the ECB's tender is one-week and the basis swap we are looking at is three-months so it could be a term premium there," said Morgan Stanley strategist Elaine Lin.

The dollar swap line, together with the already widely used unlimited euro loans of up to six months, are among the key advantages the euro system has compared with how things stood at the time of the Lehman crisis. Analysts expect the ECB to make even more liquidity available if needed.

"If things go on like this even more measures may be introduced. The ECB should be capable of avoiding a Lehman-type scenario," said Commerzbank strategist Benjamin Schroeder.


European Central Bank cash can keep the euro zone interbank system afloat in the near term, but analysts say current provisions would be insufficient if Italy were forced out of bond markets, as Greece, Portugal and Ireland have been.

European banks may be able to deal on their own with writedowns on their holdings of Greek government debt, but analysts say some have too much Italian debt on their books to cope without asking for more capital.

"If Italy will have problems issuing bonds we will have a complete blow-out of the (euro) banking system," said ING strategist Alessandro Giansanti.

The key indicator to watch is Italian 10-year bond yield levels, which had risen sharply as investors feared the euro zone crisis could engulf the country.

Yields have retreated from over 6 percent to about 5 percent helped by ECB bond purchases, but as happened with the three countries already swamped by the crisis, this may only be a temporary reprieve.

The 7 percent level is widely seen as the line beyond which investors shy away from financing a euro sovereign, throwing it into the arms of Germany, France and others for help.

"If yields get to 7 percent ... It's a major systemic global risk, you could see a global meltdown," says RBS rate strategist Harvinder Sian.

"Bank debt, basis spreads everywhere would widen out very aggressively, bank stocks would crumble, you would see a 1 percent handle, maybe lower, on the U.S. 10-year."

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