Over the weekend thousands of Canadians united in over 130 communities from coast to coast to coast to demand a safer climate and a cleaner energy future.
Saturday’s national day of action to defend our climate and our communities from tar sands and pipelines was a powerful day for me. I work in Ottawa, and it can be tough to be at the heart of politics that are driving the problems rather than the solutions.
The truth is, I needed Saturday. I needed to be reassured that Canadians are ready to stand up for what they believe in, and that this movement is growing. We are up against some of the wealthiest companies in the world, companies that depend on pollution for profit. And in Canada, we are facing governments that are doing everything they can to ensure nothing gets in the way of the oil industry.
Over the years, the environmental movement has written hundreds and hundreds of reports and had thousands of meetings with decision makers, and while these things remain important, what we really need is people power. We need decision-makers to realize that Canadians want climate change to be taken seriously for a clean energy future.
After all, this is about a safe climate now for people around the world, and a safe climate tomorrow for our children. Every parent wants the best for their children, and that is not what we are offering to give them right now. If we allow business as usual, we will be handing over a planet rife with disasters far worse than the tragedy we are already seeing today in the Philippines, the U.S. Midwest, and even our own backyards.
Former Irish Prime Minister and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, said over the weekend amidst the ongoing United Nations climate talks in Poland that, “[W]e need a forward-looking leadership, and that won’t come from Canadian politicians unless it comes from the Canadian people.” And being here in Ottawa, I can assure you that she is absolutely right. We need to demand the future we want and we need to do it loudly, often and clearly. We need more days like Saturday.
Saturday gives me the confidence to walk into a meeting and assure people that building fossil fuel infrastructure like new pipelines will never be easy again. That Canadians care more than ever about the environment, our shared climate and a clean energy economy. And that this movement is growing.
We will keep coming together, in bigger and bigger numbers until these demonstrations become celebrations of the clean and safe energy future that we deserve.
DailyCensored.com – Breaking Censored News, World, Independent, Liberal NewsTPP: NAFTA on Steroids – DailyCensored.com – Breaking Censored News, World, Independent, Liberal News
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade deal from hell. It’s a stealth corporate coup d’etat.
It’s a giveaway to banksters. It’s a global neoliberal ripoff. It’s a business empowering Trojan horse. It’s a freedom and ecosystem destroying nightmare.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) calls it “a secretive, multi-national trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property (IP) laws across the globe and rewrite international rules on its enforcement.”
More on TPP below. New York Times editors support it. Two decades ago, they endorsed NAFTA.
On January 1, 1994, its destructive life began. It’s anti-labor, anti-environment, anti-consumer and anti-democratic.
Corporate giants love it. Why not? They wrote it. Hundreds of pages of one-size-fits-all rules benefit them.
They override domestic laws. A race to the bottom followed. NAFTA was a disastrous experiment. In November 1993, New York editors headlined “The ‘Great Debate’ Over NAFTA,” saying:
“The laboriously constructed agreement to phase out trade barriers among the US, Mexico and Canada, which this page has strongly supported, is likely to have a positive, though small, impact on US living standards and provide a modest boost to the Mexican economy.”
“Some American jobs would be lost to cheaper Mexican labor, other jobs would be gained because American exports would increase as Mexico’s high tariffs gradually disappeared.”
“Economics aside, Nafta’s defeat would suggest that the US had abandoned its historical commitment to free trade and would thus discourage other Latin and South American countries thathave moved toward more market-oriented economies in the expectation of freer world trade.
So-called “free trade” is one-sided. It isn’t fair. NAFTA proponents promised tens of thousands of newly created US jobs.
Ordinary famers would export their way to wealth. Mexican living standards would rise. Economic opportunities would reduce regional immigration to America.
NAFTA’s promises never materialized. Reality proved polar opposite hype. A decade later, about a million US jobs were lost.
America’s Mexican trade deficit alone cost around 700,000 jobs by 2010.
Official government data show nearly five million US manufacturing disappeared since 1994.
NAFTA alone wasn’t responsible. It reflected broken promises, lost futures, and other trade deals from hell to follow. TPP stands out. It’s NAFTA on steroids.
Since 2008, multiple negotiating rounds were held. They continue secretly. Twelve nations are involved.
They include America, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. Others are invited to join.
At issue is agreeing on unrestricted trade in goods, services, rules of origin, trade remedies, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barriers, government procurement and competition policies, and intellectual property (IP).
It’s about eliminating fundamental freedoms. It’s circumventing sovereign independent rights. Corporate power brokers want unchallenged control.
They want global rules and standards rewritten. They want supranational powers. They want them overriding national sovereignty. They want investor rights prioritized over public ones.
They already rule the world. Imagine giving them more power. Imagine no way to stop them.
Imagine a duplicitous president. Obama’s in lockstep with their wish list. He intends giving them everything they want.
Public Citizen is independent. It’s our voice. Its work entails “ensur(ing) that all citizens are represented in the halls of power.”
Its Global Trade Watch (GTW) monitors TPP developments. It calls it “a stealthy policy being pressed by corporate America. (It’s) a dream of the 1%.” It’ll:
• “offshore millions of American jobs,
• free the banksters from oversight,
• ban Buy America policies needed to create green (and many other) jobs (as well as) rebuild out economy,
• decrease access to medicine,
• flood the US with unsafe food and products,
• and empower corporations to attack our environment and health safeguards.”
Hyped benefits are fake. Reality is polar opposite what corporate shysters claim. Everything accruing from TPP benefits them. It does so by undermining what matters most to ordinary people.
Lori Wallach heads GTW. Ben Beachy is research director. Last June, they headlined their New York Times op-ed “Obama’s Covert Trade Deal.”
He’s committed to open government, he claims. His policies reflect otherwise. He’s negotiating TPP secretly.
It’s “the most significant international commercial agreement since the” World Trade Organization’s 1995 creation, said Wallach and Beachy.
Congress has exclusive “terms of trade” authority. Obama systematically refuses repeated congressional requests to release the entire draft agreement being negotiated.
He “denied requests from members to attend (sessions) as observers.” He “revers(ed) past practice” snubbing them.
He “rejected demands by outside groups” to release the draft text. George Bush never went that far.
Obama’s “wall of secrecy” had one exception. About “600 trade ‘advisors,’ dominated by representatives of big business,” got access to what Congress was denied.
TPP overrides American laws. It requires changing them. Otherwise trade sanctions on US exports can be imposed.
Wall Street loves TPP. It prohibits banning risky financial products. It lets banksters operate any way they want without oversight.
Congress has final say. Both houses will vote on TPP. Ahead of doing so, they’ll have access to its full text.
Why later? Why not now? Why not earlier? Why not without enough time for discussion and public debate?
Members won’t get enough time to examine TPP carefully. Maintaining secrecy as long as possible prevents public debate.
Obama wants TPP fast-tracked. He wants it approved by yearend. Until March, Ron Kirk was Obama’s trade representative.
He was remarkably candid. He said revealing TPP’s text would raise enormous opposition. Doing so might make adopting it impossible.
According to Wallach and Beachy:
“Whatever one thinks about ‘free trade,’ (TPP secrecy) represents a huge assault on the principles and practice of democratic governance.”
“That is untenable in the age of transparency, especially coming from an administration that is otherwise so quick to trumpet its commitment to open government.”
On October 30, a newly formed Friends of TPP caucus was formed. Four House co-chairman head it. They include Reps. David Reichert (R. WA), Charles Boustany (R. LA), Ron Kind (D. WI) and Gregory Meeks (D. NY).
They sound like earlier NAFTA supporters. They claim TPP is important for US jobs, exports and economic growth. They lied saying so.
Wallach commented separately. TPP is hugely hugely destructive, she said. It’s more than about trade. It’s a “corporate Trojan horse.” It has 29 chapters. Only five relate to trade.
The others “either handcuff our domestic governments, limit food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establish new powers for corporations.”
They promote offshoring jobs to low-wage countries. They ban Buy America. Corporations can do whatever they please. Instead of investing domestically, they can use “our tax dollars” to operate abroad.
They can exploit national resources freely. They’ll have “rights for min(ed) (commodities), oil, gas” and others “without approval.”
TPP includes all sorts of “worrisome issues relating to Internet freedom.”
It provides a back door to earlier failed legislation. It resurrects SOPA, PIPA, ACTA and CISPA provisions. It tramples on fundamental freedoms and national sovereignty.
“Think about all the things that would be really hard to get into effect as a corporation in public, a lot of them rejected here and in the other 11 countries, and that is what’s bundled in to the TPP,” said Wallach.
“And every country would be required to change its laws domestically to meet these rules.”
“The binding provision is each country shall ensure the conformity of domestic laws, regulations and procedures.”
Negotiations are secret. Nothing is discussed publicly. Details leaked out. TPP includes hugely unpopular policies. It forces them on member countries.
It overrides domestic laws protecting people and ecosystems. It’s predatory capitalism at its worst writ large. Obama fully supports it. Lawmakers hadn’t seen it until last year.
They got access to a single chapter. Examining it is severely restricted. Their office is denied a copy. They alone can read it. Their staff is denied permission.
They can’t take detailed notes. They can’t publicly discuss what’s in it. Technical language makes it hard to understand what they read.
Congressional approval is likely. Lobby pressure is intense. “Everything is bought and sold,” said Wallach. “Honor is no exception.”
The reason there’s no deal so far “is because a lot of other countries are standing up to the worst of US corporate demands,” Wallach explained.
For how long remains to be seen. If TPP is adopted, public interest no longer will matter. The worst of all possible worlds will replace it. Corporate rights will supersede human ones. A global race to the bottom will intensify.
Signatory countries will be legally bound to support loss of personal freedoms. Sovereign laws won’t protect against poisoned food, water and air.
Ecosystems will be destroyed. Millions more jobs will shift from developed to under or less developed nations.
Corporate power will grow more exponentially. Fundamental human and civil rights may erode altogether. Not according to Times editors.
On November 5, they headlined “A Pacific Trade Deal.”
A dozen nations want a deal by yearend, they said. They want it to “help all of our economies and strengthen relations between the United States and several important Asian allies.”
It bears repeating. TPP is a trade deal from hell. It’s a stealth corporate coup d’etat. It’s a freedom and ecosystem destroying nightmare. Times editors didn’t explain.
They lied to readers. They betrayed them. They repeated their 1993 duplicity. Millions affected understand best.
An October 8 White House press release lied. It called TPP “a comprehensive, next-generation model for addressing both new and traditional trade and investment issues, supporting the creation and retention of jobs and promoting economic development in our countries.”
“The deepest and broadest possible liberalization of trade and investment will ensure the greatest benefits for countries’ large and small manufacturers, service providers, farmers, and ranchers, as well as workers, innovators, investors, and consumers.”
Times editors endorsed what they haven’t read. TPP provisions remain secret. Leaked information alone is known.
Times editors willingly accept Obama misinformation as fact. Twenty years ago, they got NAFTA wrong. Here they go again.
They’re mindless about secret negotiations. Public concerns don’t matter. Corporate interests alone count.
Subverting national sovereignty is OK. So is empowering transnational giants without oversight. They’ll be able sue countries for potentially undermining future profits.
Times editors support the worst of corporate excess. Doing so shows which side they’re on.
Fundamental freedoms aren’t important. Corporate rights drive The Times’ agenda. Its editors explained nothing about fast-track authority.
Max Baucus (D. MT) chairs the Senate Finance Committee. He supports fast-tracking. Doing so hands congressional authority to Obama.
Proper hearings are restricted. Debate is limited. Amendments can’t be introduced. The Senate can’t filibuster. Congress can only vote up or down.
It can happen virtually out of sight and mind. It can happen with scant media coverage. It can happen with none at all. It can become law with practically no public awareness.
Imagine corporate America getting coup d’etat authority with hardly anyone knowing what happened. Imagine the consequences if it does. Imagine today’s America becoming worse than ever.
Times editors stressed how Obama wants TPP to be “an example for the rest of the world to follow.”
Imagine one more than ever unfit to live in. Imagine a president promising change to believe in promoting it.
Imagine Times editors endorsing what demands condemnation. Imagine not explaining what readers most need to know.
Imagine substituting misinformation for truth and full disclosure. Imagine all the news they call fit to print not fit to read.
A Final Comment
On November 13, Public Citizen headlined “Leaked Documents Reveal Obama Administration Push for Internet Freedom Limits, Terms That Raise Drug Prices in Closed-Door Trade Talks.”
“US Demands in Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Text, Published Today by WikiLeaks, Contradict Obama Policy and Public Opinion at Home and Abroad.”
TPP’s leaked text reveals Obama demands limiting Internet freedom. He wants restricted access to lifesaving medicines.
He wants all TPP signatory countries bound the the same deplorable rules.
He lied claiming TPP reduces health care costs. It has nothing to do with advancing online freedom as he promised. It’s polar opposite on both counts.
According to Public Citizen:
“It is clear from the text obtained by WikiLeaks that the US government is isolated and has lost this debate.”
“Our partners don’t want to trade away their people’s health. Americans don’t want these measures either.”
Obama’s in the pocket of Big Pharma. He’s a Wall Street tool. He represents other corporate interests. He spurns popular ones. He lies claiming otherwise. He repeatedly avoids truth and full disclosure.
He lied about Obamacare. It’s an abomination. It’s a scam. It’s a scheme to enrich insurers and other healthcare giants.
TPP is a global scam. It’s an assault on fundamental freedoms.
Reports indicate around half the House members strongly oppose it. Others lean that way. According to Lori Wallach:
“This could be the end of TPP.”
“All these other countries are like, ‘Wait, you have no trade authority and nothing you’ve promised us means anything. Why would we give you our best deal?’ Why would you be making concessions to the emperor who has no clothes?”
It bears repeating. TPP is a trade bill from hell. It’s a stealth corporate coup d’ etat. Killing it is essential.
The alternative is losing fundamental freedoms. It’s destroying national sovereignty. It’s making healthcare less affordable. It’s undermining what ordinary people value most.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.
It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
You may recall that on To Tell the Truth the host would begin by reading a statement from a person with an unusual story or profession. Then, a celebrity panel would question three contestants who claimed to be that person. Afterwards, the panelists would vote on whom they believed was the real person. Finally, the host would say, “Will the real [name of person] please stand up?” (Some episodes are still availablehere on YouTube.)
The difference is that the contestants on To Tell the Truth would try to tell similar, plausible stories so as to stump the panel. In the non-game-show world of energy forecasting, the IEA–a consortium of 28 countries, all net oil importers except for Canada and Norway–plays all three contestants and does not even attempt to be consistent. So, it’s possible that the agency is just a collective mental case withmultiple personality disorder.
However, one has to allow for the fact that the IEA is not just one person or one voice. Still, if the agency were a single person, what it has released over the last year as official pronouncements would likely have a psychiatrist reaching for theDSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition).
Last November in its 2012 World Energy Outlook (WEO), the agency noted rising U.S. oil production and even predicted that the United States would become energy self-sufficient by 2035 (a doubtful call, in my view). It also noted that growing oil demand in the Asia has more than outweighed declines in European and U.S. consumption, keeping upward pressure on prices. It said that growth in Iraq’s oil exports was not a sure thing. While the 2012 WEO is really a rather optimistic document on supply, it did not paint an especially rosy picture, indicating that obtaining the supplies of oil necessary to meet projected demand was not a foregone conclusion.
Then, only six months later came the agency’s so-called Medium-Term Oil Market Report which read like an ad for the North American oil and gas industry. The agency touted a “supply shock” in oil from American tight oil fields unleashed by a new kind of hydraulic fracturing–a shock that would send “ripples throughout the world.” Unlike six months earlier, worldwide supply was supposed to take flight on the wings of fracking.
This enthusiasm didn’t last long. In its latest report, the just-issued 2013 World Energy Outlook, the agency sounded like a group of Gloomy Guses noting that “Brent crude oil has averaged $110 per barrel in real terms since 2011, a sustained period of high oil prices that is without parallel in oil market history.”
The report goes on to say, “The capacity of technologies to unlock new types of resources, such as light tight oil (LTO) and ultra-deepwater fields, and to improve recovery rates in existing fields is pushing up estimates of the amount of oil that remains to be produced. But this does not mean that the world is on the cusp of a new era of oil abundance.” The most recent forecast calls for rising oil prices in real terms through 2035. This is in part because the agency expects that “no country replicates the level of success with LTO” that we are seeing in the United States today.
What’s really happening here? Is the IEA getting better at seeing the future? Not really. What’s happening is that the IEA is being asked to do something which it cannot possibly do: accurately predict oil supplies 22 years into the future. So, given this impossible task, the agency responds by following current trends (and industry hype) and then extrapolating them.
Now that the IEA has had a chance to re-examine the industry’s claims in light of more experience with tight oil development, it is backing off its previous assessment in its Medium-Term Oil Market Report from May. Fatih Birol, chief economist for the IEA, told the Financial Times that he would now characterize rising oil production in the United States as “a surge, rather than a revolution.” He expects OPEC to become dominant once again in oil markets early in the next decade. The Financial Times characterized the report as predicting an oil supply crunch.
But, will the IEA have a change of heart once again? It might, depending on what it hears from industry sources and what it chooses to believe. But, the takeaway from the last year of IEA projections is not that the agency is suffering some sort of breakdown, but that it has been given an impossible task that in the volatile world of oil supplies has it casting about for a coherent story. In short, it is trying to tell the truth without knowing the truth for the simple reason that in this case the truth cannot known. That has made it a poor contestant in its own real-life episode of To Tell the Truth stretched out over the past year.
It is a fool’s errand to try to predict the future of world energy supplies. But, it is even more foolish to base our public policy, business and personal decisions on such predictions.
P. S. There is a minor acknowledgement that such forecasts are exercises in futility in a disclaimer at the end of the 2013 World Energy Outlook summary. The disclaimer reads: “The IEA makes no representation or warranty, express or implied, in respect of the publication’s contents (including its completeness or accuracy) and shall not be responsible for any use of, or reliance on, the publication.” This is standard boilerplate, I know. But, it is not the kind of language that inspires confidence.
The thousands of people who punch in every day at what is arguably the world’s most dangerous workplace are accustomed to facing risks.
But now workers at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have embarked on their most precarious operation since the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami triggered meltdowns and explosions at the facility.
On Monday, select crews from Tokyo Electric Power Company began removing hundreds of highly radioactive spent fuel rods from a cooling pool inside a rickety reactor building, a job that is unprecedented in scale, and where one wrong move could have disastrous consequences.
Fuel rod quick facts
Workers at Fukushima Daiichi plan to remove more than 3,100 fuel rod assemblies from four reactor buildings.
Tokyo Electric Power Company officials say 80 of those assemblies are cracked — 70 in the reactor one building. They say holes and cracks in the damaged assemblies could cause radioactive particles to leak out.
Six teams of six workers will operate the crane to move the assemblies to the special containers. Each team can only work for two hours a day — they rotate to keep the operation moving, to minimize radiation exposure.
The amount of radioactive cesium-137 in the pool holding the fuel rod assemblies is said to be the equivalent of roughly 14,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs.
“It’s a totally different operation than removing normal fuel rods from a spent fuel pool,” Shunichi Tanaka, the chairman of Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority, said recently.
“They need to be handled extremely carefully and closely monitored. You should never rush or force them out, or they may break. I’m much more worried about this than I am about contaminated water.”
TEPCO’s checkered track record
But given that TEPCO has not exactly won over the Japanese public with its handling of the catastrophe, and that the amount of radioactive cesium-137 in the pool is said to be the equivalent of roughly 14,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs, this next step is turning into a crucial test for the beleaguered utility as much as it is an engineering challenge.
Few in Japan or abroad seem convinced that TEPCO can pull this off, given the company’s checkered track record.
This is the same utility, they point out, that used false inspection reports years ago to cover up faults at Fukushima Daiichi; that dismissed warnings in 2008 that a monster tsunami could engulf the plant; that waited weeks to admit meltdowns even happened in March 2011, and that waited many months to acknowledge radioactive water is leaking into the Pacific Ocean.
It has also held back key information and stumbled from problem to problem over the past two-and-a-half years.
In fact, TEPCO has performed so poorly that a task force for Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party is recommending it be split up so that the job of decommissioning the wrecked plant would be separated from the utility’s power-generating role.
The fuel rods to be removed over the next 12 months or so are mostly in reactor four, which was offline when Fukushima Daiichi was shaken by powerful tremors and swamped by towering waves.
In the subsequent hydrogen explosions and fires, debris rained down on the large pool that holds 1,533 fuel rod assemblies —1,331 used and 202 unused. Another roughly 1,500 assemblies in the three other reactors are to be removed as well.
Workers spent months shoring up the structure and the pool, fearing another strong quake could trigger a catastrophe.
TEPCO spokesperson Tatsuhiro Yamagishi told CBC News that along with cesium-137 and cesium-134, the radioactive isotopes contained in the fuel include strontium-90, radium-226, uranium-235, and plutonium-239, which has a half-life of approximately 24,000 years.
Yamagishi admits engineers don’t know exactly how many assemblies have been damaged. The current estimate is that 80 have cracks.
“We are managing different types of risks,” he said. “We are evaluating each case right now.”
John Froats, an associate professor and nuclear engineer in residence at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, says those risks can probably be dealt with if handled carefully.
“The Fukushima Daiichi plant evolution is no doubt complicated by the plant damage and debris,” he said. “These complications can be managed by careful inspection to understand the state of systems and equipment and the fuel, and then by careful planning of the step-by-step tasks that need to be achieved.”
TEPCO workers have already removed a good amount of debris, checked some fuel rod assemblies to make sure they weren’t corroded by the seawater that was used to cool the pool in the early days of the crisis, and stabilized the building.
- Crippled Fukushima reactor to get ice wall
- Removal of fuel rods begins at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant
They’ve also successfully removed two unused rod assemblies. This week they began using the specially constructed crane to extract the fuel units one-by-one, keeping them underwater as they move them into specially-designed containers and then to another location on site.
In a corporate video on the TEPCO website, a deep-voiced narrator cheerfully runs through a simplified version of the process.
“Moving the spent fuel out of the damaged reactor building and into safe, permanent storage lays the groundwork for moving forward with cleanup and remediation of the damaged reactor building,” the video says.
In the video, TEPCO also calls the removal of the fuel rod assemblies from the reactor four building “a milestone” in the recovery of Fukushima Daiichi.
The world is watching
Certainly, it’s a key part of the decades-long decommissioning process now underway, and perhaps key to the company’s survival.
But while utility managers have no choice but to show they’re up to the task, the reality is they’re tackling a challenge none in their industry has faced before, and they’ll be carrying out the work knowing people around the world will be watching with critical eyes.
Among the critics is Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a science journalist and engineer who helped build part of reactor four at Fukushima Daiichi (and who later admitted to helping cover up a manufacturing flaw with the unit).
As he sees it, “TEPCO is a selling-electricity company, not an engineering company.
“It is quite apparent that TEPCO doesn’t have enough ability to cope with the problems in progress now. That’s why [it] has made a lot of mistakes.”
Tanaka, who calls the current state of the nuclear plant “hopeless,” says that while the utility has plenty of experience in normal fuel removal work, this job is different because of the possibility that some of the rod assemblies have been damaged.
And although TEPCO spokespersons insist their inspections and those by outside experts confirm the reinforcement of the reactor building has made it seismically sound, Tanaka maintains the structure is still vulnerable.
“I think it is very dangerous,” he says. “Furthermore, this very difficult work is going to be done in an earthquake-prone country.”
TEPCO was given permission in late summer to take on the removal of the fuel rods. But just before the operation begain U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited the facility to offer American help.
“The success of the cleanup also has global significance,” Moniz said. “We all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely.”
French president tells Israeli MPs that such a situation would be a threat to Israel and a threat to the region.
Last updated: 19 Nov 2013 10:15
Hollande reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution despite Israeli settlement building [AFP]
|Francois Hollande, the French president, has told Israeli MPs that his country would not allow Iran to secure a nuclear weapon, saying that such a situation was a threat to Israel and the region.
To loud applause inside the Israeli parliament, Hollande said: “We have nothing against Iran, or its people, but we cannot allow Iran to get nuclear arms as it is a threat to Israel and the region.”
“We will maintain the sanctions as long as we are not certain that Iran has definitively renounced its military programme.”
Al Jazeera’s Mike Hanna, reporting from Jerusalem, said Hollande’s “words were music to Israeli ears”.
On a future state of Palestine, Hollande told the Israeli parliament that Jerusalem must be the future capital of both Israel and a future Palestinian state.
“France’s position is known: a negotiated settlement, with the state of Israel and the state of Palestine both having Jerusalem as capital, coexisting in peace and security,” he said.
Israel seized and occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 war and later illegally annexed it. It views the entire city as its “eternal and indivisible capital”.
He had earlier called for a complete halt to Israel’s illegally building settlements on land the Palestinians want for a future state.
Speaking on his first official visit to the Palestinian territories, Hollande said that settlement construction was problematic for peace negotiations, which have been limping along for more than three months with little sign of progress.
“France demands a full and complete halt to settlement activity,” he said in Ramallah in a joint news conference with his Palestinian counterpart, Mahmoud Abbas.
“Settlement activity complicates the negotiations and makes it difficult to achieve a two-state solution,” Hollande said.
Since Israeli and Palestinian negotiators returned to the table at the end of July, Israel has made several announcements of thousands of new settler homes, angering the Palestinian negotiators. The Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has recently said those activities were to be suspended.
On Friday October 5, 2012, the BLS released what was arguably the most important report of Obama’s first term: the final jobs number, and unemployment rate before the November 2012 presidential election. As so many predicted, it “plunged” from 8.1% to 7.8% allowing the president to conduct countless teleprompted speeches praising the success of his economic recovery. It also served as the basis for the infamous Jack Welch tweet: “Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers” and prompted the pro-Obama media to quickly brand all those who questioned it as conspiracy theorists. The Atlantic did perhaps the most exemplary job in its task to discredit the “random anonymous cranks” who challenged the bullshit spewed by the administration’s manipulative economic data reporting apparatus. From The Atlantic’s Unemployment Plummets To 7.8%.
The unemployment rate plunged to 7.8 percent in September, its lowest level since Barack Obama took office in 2009. In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics made big revisions to data from previous months, showing huge increases in the number of jobs being created over the last three months. Total employment from the “household survey” also showed an increase of 873,000 jobs last month, the biggest one-month jump since June of1983.
Not only has the unemployment rate gone down, but the report also undercut one of the key criticisms of previous drops in the number—that it was because the “participation rate” went down. That rate has actually gone back up, which means unemployment is down because people are actually getting work, not because they’ve stopped looking. Public sector jobs also went up, as did the average number of hours worked per week.
This report looks so good for President Obama that conspiracy theorists are already alleging that the fix is in. And not just random anonymous cranks, but supposedly serious business people, like former General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Rick Santelli of CNBC, noting that the rate has dropped below the magical number of 8 percent, said, “You can let America decide how they got there.” When one side is convinced that something smells rotten, you know it’s good news for the other guy.
As we noted his comment at the time…
“the current trend of these [jobs] numbers is so different from the current trend of any other numbers. If you were looking for conspiracies (and I’m not), you only need to change a certain number.”
Of course, who cares if the “conspiracy theories” were substantiated by actual data. Such as the following from the same day:
An Odd Arima-X-12 Statistical Aberration?
Here’s a peculiar statistical aberration:
- Household Survey people employed: +873,000 (source)
- Part-time jobs for economic reasons: +582,000 (source)
-> 582,000 divided by 873,000 = 0.666666666666*
Aka: precisely two thirds. Whatever are the odds… Goalseeking much Arima-X-12?
Or this also from the same day:
Reason For Today’s Unemployment Rate Plunge: Part-Time Jobs For Economic Reasons Surge Most Since QE1 Announcement
We already noted the absolutely stunning surge in reported Household Survey jobs which “added” 873,000 jobs, or the most since 2003and the second most in the past decade, which was just a little bit off the Household Survey used in the monthly NFP jobs changes, which came at 114,000, or about 8 times less. But what was the reason for this epic jump in Household survey jobs? Simple, and those who have read our series on America’s transition to a part-time worker society know the answer. The reason is that the number of part-time people employed for economic reasons soared by 582,000 to 8,613,000, the most since October 2011, and the largest one month jump since February 2009, when “restoring” confidence in the economy was all the rage… and just before the Fed announced the full blown QE1 in March of 2009. Odd symmetry.
So putting it all together, what does this mean for the true state of the US economy? Recall back in September one of our Charts of the Daywas the number of Unemployed and Underemployed for the month of August, which was 25.8 million. Readers may be surprised to learn that when putting it all together, in September this number increased to 26.2 million.
Or this also from the same day:
The Strangest Number In Today’s Jobs Number
While we already presented the explanation for the dramatic drop in today’s unemployment report (almost entirely driven by the surge in part-time jobs for economic reasons, hardly a thing to be proud of as more and more full time jobs, especially those on Wall Street, are a thing of the past, while the transition to a part-time worker society has been documented extensively in the past here), there is another number that is by far the most perplexing in today’s NFP dataset: that showing the employment of workers in the 20-24 year age category (both seasonally adjusted andunadjusted). See if you can spot the outlier in the chart below.
And many more other such reports posted on this site on the same day, alleging fabrication which as it turns out courtesy of the just released stunning disclosure by the Post, were absolutely spot on since the number was, you guessed it, manipulated.
The Post’s John Crudele reveals the details on a data manipulation scandal, which we exposed back in October 2012, but this time with the actual “dirty details” that has the potential to be so big, Obama will need to start another YouTube-fabricated, false flag war just to distract from this latest scandal.
In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.
The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.
And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.
Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.
And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.
“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.
The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.
Ironically, it was Labor’s demanding standards that left the door open to manipulation.
Labor requires Census to achieve a 90 percent success rate on its interviews — meaning it needed to reach 9 out of 10 households targeted and report back on their jobs status.
Census currently has six regions from which surveys are conducted. The New York and Philadelphia regions, I’m told, had been coming up short of the 90 percent.
Philadelphia filled the gap with fake interviews.
“It was a phone conversation — I forget the exact words — but it was, ‘Go ahead and fabricate it’ to make it what it was,” Buckmon told me.
Census, under contract from the Labor Department, conducts the household survey used to tabulate the unemployment rate.
Interviews with some 60,000 household go into each month’s jobless number, which currently stands at 7.3 percent. Since this is considered a scientific poll, each one of the households interviewed represents 5,000 homes in the US.
Buckmon, it turns out, was a very ambitious employee. He conducted three times as many household interviews as his peers, my source said.
By making up survey results — and, essentially, creating people out of thin air and giving them jobs — Buckmon’s actions could have lowered the jobless rate.
Buckmon said he filled out surveys for people he couldn’t reach by phone or who didn’t answer their doors.
But, Buckmon says, he was never told how to answer the questions about whether these nonexistent people were employed or not, looking for work, or have given up.
But people who know how the survey works say that simply by creating people and filling out surveys in their name would boost the number of folks reported as employed.
Census never publicly disclosed the falsification. Nor did it inform Labor that its data was tainted.
“Yes, absolutely they should have told us,” said a Labor spokesman. “It would be normal procedure to notify us if there is a problem with data collection.”
* * *
During the 2010 Census report — an enormous and costly survey of the entire country that goes on for a full year — I suspected (and wrote in a number of columns) that Census was inexplicably hiring and firing temporary workers.
I suspected that this turnover of employees was being done purposely to boost the number of new jobs being report each month. (The Labor Department does not use the Census Bureau for its other monthly survey of new jobs — commonly referred to as the Establishment Survey.)
Last week I offered to give all the information I have, including names, dates and charges to Labor’s inspector general.
I’m waiting to hear back from Labor.
I hope the next stop will be Congress, since manipulation of data like this not only gives voters the wrong impression of the economy but also leads lawmakers, the Federal Reserve and companies to make uninformed decisions.
Don’t hold your breath: the reason is that this particular instance manipulation is merely the tip of the iceberg – since virtually all data out of the BLS is manipulated and fabricated, as we report each and every month, the last thing the legislative and certainly the executive want is to offer the general public a glimpse of just how deep the rabbit hole goes. Because it goes very, very deep.
One can only hope this forces at least some more people to wake up about the sad farce this once great nation has devolved to in its quest to destroy the middle class.
The only real good news, as noted above, is that yet another conspiracy theory is forever cast into the void, and going forward the only thing the random, but manipulated, number generator out of the Bureau Of Lies And Subterfuge will be good for, is to prod the just as pathetic HFT algos into a buying frenzy when month after month the economy is painted with rosy brushes, even as millions forever drop out of the labor force, never to return