November 01, 2009

Quotes from the great depression

September 1929

"There is no cause to worry. The high tide of prosperity will continue." — Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury.

October 14, 1929

"Secretary Lamont and officials of the Commerce Department today denied rumors that a severe depression in business and industrial activity was impending, which had been based on a mistaken interpretation of a review of industrial and credit conditions issued earlier in the day by the Federal Reserve Board." — New York Times

December 5, 1929

"The Government's business is in sound condition." — Andrew W. Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury

December 28, 1929

"Maintenance of a general high level of business in the United States during December was reviewed today by Robert P. Lamont, Secretary of Commerce, as an indication that American industry had reached a point where a break in New York stock prices does not necessarily mean a national depression." — Associated Press dispatch.

January 13, 1930

"Reports to the Department of Commerce indicate that business is in a satisfactory condition, Secretary Lamont said today." - News item.

January 21, 1930

"Definite signs that business and industry have turned the corner from the temporary period of emergency that followed deflation of the speculative market were seen today by President Hoover. The President said the reports to the Cabinet showed the tide of employment had changed in the right direction." - News dispatch from Washington.

January 24, 1930

"Trade recovery now complete President told. Business survey conference reports industry has progressed by own power. No Stimulants Needed! Progress in all lines by the early spring forecast." - New York Herald Tribune.

March 8, 1930

"President Hoover predicted today that the worst effect of the crash upon unemployment will have been passed during the next sixty days." - Washington Dispatch.

May 1, 1930

"While the crash only took place six months ago, I am convinced we have now passed the worst and with continued unity of effort we shall rapidly recover. There is one certainty of the future of a people of the resources, intelligence and character of the people of the United States - that is, prosperity." - President Hoover

June 29, 1930

"The worst is over without a doubt." - James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor.

August 29, 1930

"American labor may now look to the future with confidence." - James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor.

September 12, 1930

"We have hit bottom and are on the upswing." - James J. Davis, Secretary of Labor.

October 16, 1930

"Looking to the future I see in the further acceleration of science continuous jobs for our workers. Science will cure unemployment." - Charles M. Schwab.

October 20, 1930

"President Hoover today designated Robert W. Lamont, Secretary of Commerce, as chairman of the President's special committee on unemployment." - Washington dispatch.

October 21, 1930

"President Hoover has summoned Colonel Arthur Woods to help place 2,500,000 persons back to work this winter." - Washington Dispatch

November 1930

"I see no reason why 1931 should not be an extremely good year." - Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., General Motors Co.

January 20, 1931

"The country is not in good condition." - Calvin Coolidge.

June 9, 1931

"The depression has ended." - Dr. Julius Klein, Assistant Secretary of Commerce.

Quotes compiled by Tim W. Wood -

250,000 displaced in Pakistan's Waziristan offensive

Press TV - November 1, 2009 17:52:13 GMT

As Islamabad's military operation against pro-Taliban militants in South Waziristan entered its third week, Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmad, chief of the government's Special Support Group, told reporters on Sunday that between 244,000 and 250,000 people living in the region have migrated to the neighboring towns of Dera Ismail Khan and Tank for their lives.

The army had earlier put the number of civilians fleeing the conflict zone in South Waziristan at 200,000. Tens of thousands of people are also trapped in the tribal region with an estimated population of 300,000.

Ahmad says one or two percent of the population preferred to stay in the region to look after their property and that 405 tons of rations have been allocated to them.

Pakistan has claimed a string of successes during its offensive in South Waziristan. However, it is not possible to verify any information provided by the army, since communication lines are down and journalists and aid workers are denied access to the area.

The army says it has killed hundreds of militants since it launched the offensive code-named "The Mother of all Battles" three weeks ago. Pro-Taliban militants, who have carried out retaliatory attacks across Pakistan, deny the claim.

About 30,000 Pakistani troops have been deployed to South Waziristan to take on an estimated 12,000 militants based in the northwestern tribal area.

Islamabad has vowed to clear the region of militants in one month.

Video: South Africans 'fought in Gaza war'

Al-Jazeera English

November 1, 2009

Efforts to prosecute those who may have committed war crimes in Israel's war on Gaza have spread beyond the Middle East.

Lawyers say the docket contains evidence that South Africans took part in the fighting.

"We've identified about 75 South Africans who we believe served in the IDF at one point or the other," Boda says.

"We believe that there is prima facae evidence against all of them. We have informants from South African police stations, whose identity we are currently protecting for their safety, who have pinpointed which of their fellow South African police force reservists went to Gaza to fight in the war. We have pictorial evidence as well."

Feroze Boda, based in Johannesburg and working on behalf of two local pro-Palestinian organisations, says the soldiers should face court action for their involvement.

Imran Garda reports from Johannesburg.

Toxic waste trickles toward New Mexico's water sources

"it might not always be safe to live here."
-Santa Clara Gov. Walter Dasheno

Running water

Radioactive debris has been found in canyons that drain into the Rio Grande.
(Brian Vander Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Reporting from Los Alamos, N.M. - More than 60 years after scientists assembled the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, lethal waste is seeping from mountain burial sites and moving toward aquifers, springs and streams that provide water to 250,000 residents of northern New Mexico.

Isolated on a high plateau, the Los Alamos National Laboratory seemed an ideal place to store a bomb factory's deadly debris. But the heavily fractured mountains haven't contained the waste, some of which has trickled down hundreds of feet to the edge of the Rio Grande, one of the most important water sources in the Southwest.

So far, the level of contamination in the Rio Grande has not been high enough to raise health concerns [at least among those whose careers depend on their not raising a concern, there is no safe level of exposure to plutonium]. But the monitoring of runoff in canyons that drain into the river has found unsafe concentrations of organic compounds such as perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket propellant, and various radioactive byproducts of nuclear fission.

Laboratory officials insist that the waste doesn't jeopardize people's health because even when storm water rushing down a canyon stirs up highly contaminated sediment, it is soon diluted or trapped in canyon bottoms, where it can be excavated and hauled away.

"We are seeing no human or ecological risk," said Danny Katzman, director of the lab's water stewardship program. "We won't be surprised on occasion to see a higher than normal reading. But those higher values last for 40 minutes during a flood, and maybe two hours out of a year."

Much surface contamination, however, becomes embedded in sediment or moves down into groundwater. That subterranean migration poses the greatest long-term danger to drinking-water wells and ultimately the Rio Grande.

"When you see a child's footprints and Tonka toys in canyons where there is plutonium, there is reason to believe that a lot more work needs to be done to make the environment safe," said Ron Curry, secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department.

In 2002, the department issued an extensive cleanup order stating that waste at Los Alamos may pose "an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment." Laboratory officials accused the department of exaggerating the threat and resisted the order for several years before agreeing to a revised plan to scrub about 2,000 dirty sites by 2015.

As part of that effort, about 300 monitoring wells and gauges have been installed. Contaminated soil is being removed from canyon bottoms. Wetlands are being planted and small dams built to arrest the flow of polluted storm water. In the summer, the lab began loading some of its hottest radioactive waste into sealed containers by remote control and trucking it to a federal underground storage facility in Carlsbad, N.M.

Ambitious as it is, the plan deals with surface sites, not tainted aquifers. About 18 million cubic feet of waste is sequestered at Los Alamos. No one knows how it is slipping through scrambled layers of rock described by Katzman as "unbelievably complex geology."

Moreover, scientists at Los Alamos say they haven't determined where all of the waste was buried across the laboratory's 40-square-mile property. And they acknowledge that some of the monitoring wells used to measure contamination in deep groundwater may have failed to detect certain radioactive isotopes.

Adding to the uncertainty, a draft report released last summer by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the lab may have substantially underreported the extent of plutonium and tritium released into the environment since the 1940s.

More recently, the state Environment Department reported finding DEHP, an organic compound used in plastics and explosives, at 12 times the safe exposure level in an aquifer that supplies drinking water to Los Alamos and the nearby community of White Rock. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency classifies DEHP as a probable human carcinogen also capable of harming reproductive systems.

In another surprise, water from a broken main flushed out buried waste near an old plutonium processing plant last year and pushed it beyond the largest dam built to stop the spread of contamination. Analysis of sediment by the U.S. Department of Energy's Oversight Bureau revealed "the highest concentrations [of plutonium] the bureau has ever recorded for this medium."

One of the canyons where radioactive waste has been found joins the Rio Grande just three miles above a diversion project the city of Santa Fe is building to capture nearly 3 billion gallons of water annually from the river. The $200-million project, scheduled to start operating in two years, is being designed to screen out and treat contaminated water. But not all radioactive isotopes are easily treatable. Tritium, which has been detected near the Rio Grande, bonds with water.

The directors of the diversion project -- while publicly expressing their confidence in the treatment system -- have been quietly urging the laboratory to do more to stop waste from moving toward the river.

George Rael, assistant manager of environmental operations at the lab, said it would cost as much as $13 billion to remove all accessible contamination. Even if there were enough money available, exhuming the waste could put more people at risk than leaving it alone -- at least in the short run.

"Some of the waste offers quite a challenge," said David McInroy, director of the lab's corrective action program. Digging it up, he said, could expose workers and others to a toxic cloud of debris. If left in place, it might turn up years later in groundwater.

With a population of more than 12,000, Los Alamos today is a far different place than it was in 1943 when the secret weapons complex was known as "Site Y."

The lab conducts climate-change research, screens AIDS vaccines, evaluates new tests for breast cancer and analyzes biological pathogens. Yet most of its budget still goes toward national defense. Los Alamos is the nation's sole manufacturer of plutonium pits, the triggers for nuclear weapons, and it continues to produce toxic waste.

Many residents of Los Alamos have become inured to the hazards of their environment. They hike and picnic in canyons dotted with toxic hot spots.

Just north of Los Alamos, the Santa Clara Pueblo recently installed air monitors that confirmed fears that the wind carries radioactive dust.

Joseph Chavarria, head of Santa Clara's environmental affairs department, said dust settles on the ground after it rains and contaminants are absorbed by edible plants. He said even potters are at risk: "When we make pottery, we test the texture of the clay by putting it in our mouths."

Pueblo officials would not reveal the levels of contamination detected by the air monitors. "I can say they were high enough to raise concerns about the future," said Santa Clara Gov. Walter Dasheno. "It made me think it might not always be safe to live here."

New Yorker Magazine Censors the Word ‘Censored’ in Report Criticizing Israel

by Kitchen Table Cartoons on November 1, 2009

“Censored NY Times Cartoon,” the true story behind how the New York Times reneged on running a cartoon critical of Israel, was scheduled to appear in the special November 2 cartoon edition of the New Yorker. Three days before the magazine went to press, the New Yorker staff–by order of the Editor–stated that the ad could not be published with the word “censored.” Ironically, this only validates the message of my original cartoon below. Was this censorship by the NY Times? You decide.

Cartoon: Serving the American People

Here is the backstory to the political cartoon above:

In the summer of 2003, the world watched as land, water, and dignity were stolen from the Palestinian people–all with the silent complicity of the US media. To express my growing outrage, I drew this cartoon at my kitchen table in Maine.

After realizing that no newspaper would accept it, I decided to publish the cartoon as an advertisement in the NY Times. I focused on the quarter-page space in the Op-Ed section reserved for opinion ads. Contacting the Times, I learned that pro-Israel organizations had reserved the space for 30 of the next 52 Sundays. I took the first available date.

My cartoon was scheduled to appear on September 21, 2003.

The Times required several changes to the cartoon so that it conformed to the acceptability standards of the newspaper. These changes were made. The Times production staff then asked for and was sent the camera-ready copy.

I paid the cost of the ad in full.

On Friday, September 19 I received notification that the cartoon’s publication was canceled by order of the Times‘ publisher. I recall simply shaking my head at the news–wryly noting that this action by the Times was validating the very point of the cartoon.

I next submitted the cartoon to USAToday, where it was accepted. The morning that the cartoon appeared, I received a call at 8:45am from a USAToday vice president.

He said that in all his years at the paper, he had never had a response like what was happening as a result of the cartoon’s publication. Apparently, American pro-Israel groups are geared up for such "emergencies" and inundated USAToday offices nationwide with telephone calls and emails. But of course it was too late.

Two postscripts:

1. I received more hate mail/ threats than I did accolades.

2. A year later, senior management at USAToday had been replaced.

Texas Governor's Secret Jerusalem Trip Raises Questions

By Bennett Cunningham
October 29, 2009

The city of Jerusalem is one of the oldest cities in the world and it has a new defender: Texas Governor Rick Perry.

In August, Perry was given the "Defender of Jerusalem" award. So Perry and his wife flew first class to Israel at more than $5,000 per ticket. The governor's security detail of four Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers was also along for the trip.

They all took the 7,000 mile journey to accept the award at a time when the governor was asking everyone else in state government to cut back on travel. During a speech in Houston, Perry directed state agencies to "curtail taxpayer funded travel."

According to state documents, the taxpayers' bill just to take Perry's security officers on the 5-day trip was more than $70,000. The breakdown includes $17,000 for rooms at the swanky King David Hotel, nearly $13,000 for food and more than 350 hours of overtime.

The specific price tag for the governor and his wife are secret. So when CBS 11 asked to see the governor's expense records for the trip, we received four pages and no specifics. Perry refused to do a formal interview with us and would only say, "Going to Israel or other countries is a wise investment for the state of Texas."

Keith Elkins is executive director of the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas. Elkins and his organization fight for government transparency. Elkins says, "This Governor operates under the premise of 'believe what I say, not what I do.'" While Elkins suggests, "There is something else going on here," he doesn't know what that 'something' is.

Records obtained by CBS 11 show the governor's airfare and trip costs for he and his wife were paid for by Irwin Katsof, a financier for energy companies around the world. And the man who presented Perry with the Defender of Jerusalem award, Guma Aguiar, owns a company that made billions of dollars in the Texas natural gas industry. Aguiar also created the award given to Perry.

Just two weeks before Aguiar and Perry posed for pictures in Israel, Aguiar posed for a mug shot in Florida. He was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. Aguiar pleaded no contest.

Sheila Krumholz is the executive director of the Washington D.C. based Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the effect of money on public policy. She says, "There is just too much of a potential for a conflict of interest with these trips particularly with privately sponsored trips." Krumholz also wonders, "Is this the real deal or a sleight of hand to provide political cover of those attending?"

CBS 11 obtained a list of people on the trip. The organizers describe those attending as "an elite cadre of 20 executives in, gas and oil, biotech, finance and technology." The list includes an out of state Congresswoman and Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo, whose agency regulates the oil and natural gas industry in Texas.

Carrillo says he paid his own way but refused to show CBS 11 any of his expenses. Also on the list of travelers: a host of energy executives, the governor's family -- which included his son's fiancée -- and a member of the State Senate Committee on Natural Resources, Juan Hinojosa of McAllen. Hinojosa told us the trip was not about energy. "I don't recall discussions about oil and gas with the business people there," he said.

The governor and others met with the President of Israel, the Prime Minster and Israeli soldiers. They toured the old city of Jerusalem and snapped photos of Aggie souvenirs (the governor is a graduate of Texas A&M). Perry even took time to do an interview with an Israeli TV station. Remember, the governor is doing all this while asking other state employees to "curtail travel."

Like the governor, State Senator Hinojosa's entire trip was paid for by Katsof, the financier. Hinojosa also received the Defender of Jerusalem Award. But unlike the governor's four pages of documents, Hinojosa gave us everything he had -- fully disclosing the nature of the trip.

Hinojosa maintains there was no conflict of interest by accepting the trip. "We as public officials have to make decision on public policy. Not who contributes money or pays for a trip," he explained. But Krumholz disagreed, saying, "This trip raises real concerns for the potential for a secret junket."

The trip also had its share of perks. CBS 11 obtained private emails and found the organizer, Katsof, asked attendees what kind of scotch they preferred for a "scotch and cigar bar" where they would admire "a starry Jerusalem." Krumholz says trips like this "can be a lucrative way to conduct business. You pay for vacation and in return you may get contracts or government brokered deals worth millions of dollars."

In late May a Texas appellate court ruled that all DPS expense reports for the governor's security detail were to be made public. A few days later, the state legislature passed a bill to get around that court ruling, allowing DPS to hide the expense reports of the governor's security detail from public view. The law took effect immediately.

(© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.) - Source

Police arrest Canadians tied to controversial U.S. mosque

Canwest News Service
October 31, 2009

WINDSOR, Ont. -- Two Canadian men linked to a fundamentalist Islamic leader who was gunned down in a shootout with FBI agents this past week were arrested Saturday in southern Ontario.

Yassir Ali Khan, 30, and Mohammad Philistine, 33 - also known as Mohammad Al-Sahli and Mohammad Palestine - were arrested around 8 a.m. Saturday in simultaneous early-morning raids in Windsor, according to local police and the FBI.

"They were arrested without incident," said Windsor police Staff Sgt. Dave Kigar.

Authorities have been searching for the men following the death this past week of the leader of a fundamentalist Islamic group, who was killed in a shootout with FBI agents after a raid on a warehouse in Dearborn, Mich.

Authorities allege the two men have links to a radical mosque in Detroit.

Both men were being held until an immigration and extradition hearing could take place. The FBI said that hearing was scheduled for Monday.

Their arrests come days after the police in Windsor also arrested 30-year-old Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, a third man wanted in connection to Detroit mosque.

It was Carswell's father, Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was killed in the shootout with FBI agents.

U.S. authorities allege Abdullah and his followers were part of a Sunni Muslim group with the mission of establishing a separate Islamic nation within the United States.

The FBI has charged 11 people with various federal felonies, none of which is tied to terrorism.

"The 11 defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years, and known to be armed," the U.S. Department of Justice said in an earlier news release.

The two newly arrested men were considered fugitives by the FBI, but Windsor lawyer Patrick Ducharme emphasized earlier the pair wasn't on the run or in hiding and that "they live here in this community, they are citizens of Canada and I expect them to be treated within the parameters of the law no matter what anybody thinks they've done."

The lawyer has reportedly said his clients plan to fight extradition.

Kigar said arrest warrants for the men were issued Friday night.

He said the city's police tactical squad made the arrest, assisted by members of the RCMP's immigration task force and the Canada Border Services Agency.

With files from Windsor Star - © Copyright (c) The Vancouver Sun

Radwan: Clinton’s remarks on settlement expansion dealt a blow to Abbas

01/11/2009 - 04:42 PM

GAZA, (PIC)-- Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan stated Sunday that US secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s remarks on the need to resume Palestinian negotiations with Israel without asking it in advance to halt settlement expansion dealt a heavy blow to Mahmoud Abbas and his negotiators.

Radwan added that this American stand proved the credibility of the position voiced many times by Hamas that these frivolous negotiations would lead to more Palestinian concessions, vulnerability and begging at American tables.

He stressed that Abbas and his negotiators must be aligned with the choice of the Palestinian people, the resistance and the national constants instead of chasing a mirage leading to more land annexation, Judaization and security collaboration with the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian resistance.

Commenting on whether Abbas would stick to his opposition to the resumption of negotiations with Israel in light of the settlement activities, the Hamas official said that Abbas is unpredictable and his decisions are made by the American administration.

Speaking at a joint press conference ahead of her meeting with the Israeli premier, Clinton stated Saturday that a freeze on settlement construction in the West Bank is not a pre-condition for the resumption of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“There has never been a pre-condition. It's always been an issue within the negotiations," Clinton said.

"I want to see both sides as soon as possible begin in negotiations. Both president Obama and I are committed to a comprehensive peace agreement, she added.

Second autopsy: Hampton's death likely murder

Press TV - November 1, 2009 12:36:39 GMT

British nuclear expert Timothy Hampton who died mysteriously in Vienna

A doctor who carried out a second post-mortem examination on the body of Timothy Hampton says the nuclear expert's fall from the UN building in Vienna was murder.

The 47-year-old British scientist, who was involved in monitoring nuclear activities, was found dead last week at the bottom of a staircase in the United Nations' building.

The doctor who first examined Hampton's body concluded that there were 'no suspicious circumstances'. Following objections raised by his widow, Olena Gryshcuk, and her family as to the reliability of the assessment, another physician was asked to repeat the autopsy.

The new doctor, Professor Kathrin Yen, of the Ludwig Institute in Graz, Austria, says she has found evidence that Hampton did not commit suicide.

She believes one possible theory is that Hampton was carried to the 17th floor from his workplace on the sixth floor and thrown down from the height.

“In my opinion, it does not look like suicide. My example is that somebody took him up to the top floor and threw him down.

“At the moment I don't have the police reports. We did a CT scan. From the external exam, I saw injuries on the neck but these were not due to strangulation,” she explained.

At the time of his death, Hampton was an employee of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), which monitors tremors around the world to uncover illegal nuclear tests.

Initial reports said that Hampton may have been involved in the Vienna talks between Iran and world powers in the Austrian capital, but a CTBTO spokesman later said that he was not connected with discussions.

Israel confirms running spy networks in Lebanon

Press TV - November 1, 2009 05:12:11 GMT

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon

Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon has confirmed that Israel is running intelligence-gathering networks in Lebanon.

"When we are in conflict with an enemy, we gather information about them," Haaretz quoted Ya'alon as saying on Saturday.

"The moment Hezbollah renewed their attacks, we began to collect intelligence. We will stop when Hezbollah disarms itself and the [Israel-Lebanon] border is a border of peace," he added.

In October, two explosions over occurred in southern Lebanon after Lebanon's Hezbollah discovered cables used for spying in the al-Abbad area near an Israeli border post.

The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon (UNIFIL) who were called out to investigate the cause of the blasts later confirmed that the explosions aimed at destroying Israeli espionage equipment.

"Preliminary indications are that these explosions were caused by explosive charges contained in unattended underground sensors which were placed in this area by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) apparently during the 2006 war," UNIFIL said in a statement.

The UNIFIL had declared that the Israeli espionage operations in Lebaon, represent violations of Security Council resolution 1701 which halted the 33-day war.

Israel which has staged several wars in the region in its 60-year old history invaded Lebanon in 1982 in an operation dubbed as the Operation Peace for Galilee and occupied the southern Lebanon, but Hezbollah forces played as the key resistance movement and forced them to leave the country.

Once again in 2006, when Israel launched another offensive into Lebanon, it faced strong resistance from Hezbollah.

Israel sees Hezbollah's military might as the key hindrance to its expansionist policies in the region.