Monday, September 29, 2008
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
The Ponzi Scheme
A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that involves promising or paying abnormally high returns to investors out of the money paid in by subsequent investors, rather than from net revenues generated by any real business. It is named after Charles Ponzi.
A Ponzi scheme usually offers abnormally high short-term returns in order to entice new investors. The high returns that a Ponzi scheme advertises (and pays) require an ever-increasing flow of money from investors in order to keep the scheme going.
The system is doomed to collapse because there are little or no underlying earnings from the money received by the promoter. However, the scheme is often interrupted by legal authorities before it collapses, because a Ponzi scheme is suspected and/or because the promoter is selling unregistered securities. As more investors become involved, the likelihood of the scheme coming to the attention of authorities increases.
FBI investigating companies at heart of meltdown
The FBI is investigating four major U.S. financial institutions whose collapse helped trigger a $700 billion bailout plan by the Bush administration, The Associated Press has learned.
Two law enforcement officials said Tuesday the FBI is looking at potential fraud by mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and insurer American International Group Inc. Additionally, a senior law enforcement official said Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also is under investigation.
The inquiries will focus on the financial institutions and the individuals that ran them, the senior law enforcement official said.
The law enforcement officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigations are ongoing and are in the very early stages.
Officials said the new inquiries bring to 26 the number of corporate lenders under investigation over the past year.
Spokesmen for AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac did not immediately return calls for comment Tuesday evening. A Lehman spokesman did not have an immediate comment.
Just last week, FBI Director Robert Mueller put the number of large financial firms under investigation at 24. He did not name any of the companies under investigation but said the FBI also was looking at whether any of them have misrepresented their assets.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
This morning I received the news that Keyboardist Richard Wright, a founding member of Pink Floyd has lost his battle with cancer.
The following song cycle is Richard's contribution to Pink Floyd's 1969 album Ummagumma.
Richard Wright Biography
For a collection of Richard's music, hop on over to the Music Vault.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Natural uranium is ubiquitous in our environment. It is present in the earth, the air we breath and the water we drink. As a species, we have thus always been subjected to uranium exposure. It is likely that this background radiation and heavy-metal exposure is responsible for a certain on-going “base” level of human disease and death experienced by our species since the dawn of time. However, uranium does not appear in nature in its purified metallic form, nor does it manifest itself in particulates of dust so fine (less than 5 microns in diameter) as to become deeply embedded in the lungs, nor does it take on the particularly insoluble crystalline structure of a ceramic. Unfortunately, all three of these characteristics describe the nature of depleted uranium when it is used in munitions. When U and DU burn (as happens when a DU shell strikes a hard object), an aerosol of these ultra-fine particles of uranium oxide ceramic form and can become dispersed far beyond the battlefield in which they were used. [Compendium of Uranium and Depleted Uranium Research 1942 to 2004]
The finely powdered Depleted Uranium, 1-2 microns in size, has been spread over Iraq and Kuwait during the gulf war - over 300 tons, and from Shock and Awe up through the present - 1,500 tons. This amount is equivalent to 14,218 Hiroshima bombs. DU has also been distributed throughout Yugoslavia during the Balkan Uprising and in Afghanistan since 2001.
This dust is being picked up by the dry winds that blow through the region and are being dispersed far and wide. From Mindfully.org:
"Did the use of Uranium weapons in Gulf War II result in contamination of Europe? Evidence from the measurements of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), Aldermaston, Berkshire, UK," reported the Sunday Times Online (February 19, 2006) in a shocking scientific study authored by British scientists Dr. Chris Busby and Saoirse Morgan.The report continues, informing us of an apparent cover-up of the evidence, keeping the information from the public.
The highest levels of depleted uranium ever measured in the atmosphere in Britain, were transported on air currents from the Middle East and Central Asia; of special significance were those from the Tora Bora bombing in Afghanistan in 2001, and the "Shock & Awe" bombing during Gulf War II in Iraq in 2003.
Out of concern for the public, the official British government air monitoring facility, known as the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), at Aldermaston, was established years ago to measure radioactive emissions from British nuclear power plants and atomic weapons facilities.By no means was this a small blip on the background radiation which could be ignored:
The British government facility (AWE) was taken over 3 years ago by Halliburton, which refused at first to release air monitoring data to Dr. Busby, as required by law.
The fact that the air monitoring data was circulated by Halliburton/ AWE to the Defence Procurement Agency, implies that it was considered to be relevant, and that Dr. Busby was stonewalled because Halliburton/ AWE clearly recognized that it was a serious enough matter to justify a government interpretation of the results, and official decisions had to be made about what the data would show and its political implications for the military.
Aldermaston is one of many nuclear facilities throughout Europe that regularly monitor atmospheric radiation levels, transported by atmospheric sand and dust storms, or air currents, from radiation sources in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.Much research out there tries to paint DU as harmless in the environment despite its 4.5 billion year half life. They point to relatively low radiation levels from it and compare it favorably against other forms of more active uranium isotopes. The problem is they are not taking into account the form in which it occurs as an aerosol which is easily inhaled yet hard to remove from the body due to its insolubility in water. Thus it remains in the body, causing cell damage over a long period of time:
After the "Shock and Awe" campaign in Iraq in 2003, very fine particles of depleted uranium were captured with larger sand and dust particles in filters in Britain.
These particles traveled in 7-9 days from Iraqi battlefields as far as 2400 miles away.
The radiation measured in the atmosphere quadrupled within a few weeks after the beginning of the 2003 campaign, and at one of the 5 monitoring locations, the levels twice required an official alert to the British Environment Agency.
One milligram of depleted uranium, a possible body-burden mass in terms of aerosols inhaled by front-line troops, produces over one million alpha particles and two million beta particles (from its decay products) every day. The chance of irreparable biological damage from some of these over the decades that depleted uranium remains in the lungs is quite significant -- just when depends on the laws of statistical probability.[Source]
What's more, as the depleted uranium dissolves into the bloodstream over the years, it migrates to other organs of the body. The majority finds its way to the kidneys, leading to nephritis; some settles more permanently in the lymph glands and bone, where the ravages of ionizing radiation can cause lymphoma and leukemia, chronic anemia and slow destruction of the immune system. Because detectable damage depends on probabilities, there can be no practical threshold below which exposure to ionizing radiation is harmless. This fact explains why four identically exposed individuals may develop quite different maladies or none at all.
There is also much evidence of DU's impact on reproductive health:
This problem is not confined to the Middle East. The fine particles are being distributed world wide on the natural wind currents that circle the globe.
The following picture shows a dust storm which has swept across Africa from the Middle East and headed out to sea, eventually to drop its load of DU contaminated dust on Florida.
It is long beyond time to stop the use of these weapons. We are poisoning the entire world, creating a wasteland for our children and their children.
International Coalition to Ban Depleted Uranium
All articles in this series - Link
Saturday, September 13, 2008
According to Cliff Schecter, author of The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him And Why Independents Shouldn't: "It is dangerous for a democracy when a presidential candidate can lie with impunity, change positions on a whim, and physically and verbally threaten others and virtually none of it is reported by a besotted media eagerly awaiting the next moment when he might slap their backs in friendship." TheReal McCain.com
Dick Cavett on McCain:
Every time I nostalgically try to regain my liking of John McCain, he reaches into his sleaze bag and pulls out something malodorous.
If there were a prize cake available, McCain’s lowbrow ad attempting to paint Obama as a virtual pornographer and peddler of sex to kindergarteners would take that pastry. Plate and all.
And it might be, if not instructive, at least fun to give McCain’s trash-peddling Karl Rove acolytes some truth serum and ask them if — in their heart of hearts — they really think Obama meant to call our Sarah a pig.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
“Each time I return to the
Arctic, I am shocked by how much ice has melted and how rapidly it’s happening.”
Polar Defense Project
Sunday, September 07, 2008
Saturday, September 06, 2008
My friend and fellow blogger Big Dan of the Big Blog has issued a challenge:
We need a "freudian slip" post from BlueBear, an all-encompassing GOP Freudian slip post!
Therefore I am calling on all my readers to chip in with your favorite Freudian Slip for GW* and his minions. Youtube or other videos of subjects making such statements are highly appreciated. Leave the links here in the comments or email links or videos to me firstname.lastname@example.org. I will give attribution to all whose links I use.
[I guess I have my own Freudian Slip thing going - I keep having to go back and correct the spelling because it keeps coming out "Fraudian Slip" - Hmmm]
Thursday, September 04, 2008
On September 23rd Michael Moore is set to release his new political documentary titled Slacker Uprising, chronicling his 62-city tour of swing state college campuses prior to the 2004 election.
In this film he takes aim at the Bush Administration as well as the pathetic voter turnout in our elcetions.
Teaming with Brave New Films he will be distributing the film for free downloading when it is released on September 23rd. He is also offering a DVD of the movie, including bonus material featuring Special Guests Joan Baez - America the Beautiful, Why People Like George Bush?, My Pet Goat, The O'Reilly Factor for Kids, Just Add Water and Heat - More Ramen and Clean Underwear, and more. The DVD will sell for $9.95.
To get your free download you need to go to Slacker Uprising, and put in your email address. (Don't miss the little box above to the left of the sign up box - you need to click it to certify you are a US or Canadian citizen - hey, what happened to Mexico?)
Additional information is available HERE.