Daily Digest

Daily Digest 3/15 - More On Japan Quake, 'Anonymous' Pledges Civil Disobedience, What Now For Nuclear Power?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011, 9:40 AM
  • Japan Earthquake: Before And After
  • Japan Earthquake: Rescue, Recovery, and Reaction
  • Hacker Group Anonymous Brings Peaceful Revolution To America: Will Engage In Civil Disobedience Until Bernanke Steps Down
  • Nikkei Flash Crash - Futures Plummet 16% As All Hell Breaks Loose In Japan
  • Japan Faces Nuclear Meltdown
  • What Now For Nuclear Power?
  • Nuclear Power: When The Answer Becomes The Problem
  • What The Media Doesn't Get About Meltdowns
  • Analysis: Seawater Helps But Japan Nuclear Crisis Is Not Over

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Japan Earthquake: Before And After (Phil H.)

Aerial photos taken over Japan have revealed the scale of devastation across dozens of suburbs and tens of thousands of homes and businesses.

Japan Earthquake: Rescue, Recovery, and Reaction (jdargis)

Search and rescue teams arriving in Japan's hardest hit areas are so far finding very few survivors, after last week's devastating earthquake. The official number of deaths has climbed above 1,800, but officials fear the eventual number may exceed 10,000, as thousands of bodies are now being discovered on remote beaches.

Hacker Group Anonymous Brings Peaceful Revolution To America: Will Engage In Civil Disobedience Until Bernanke Steps Down (Joe M.)

The world's most (in)famous hacker group - Anonymous - known for effectively shutting down their hacking nemesis security firm (with clients such as Morgan Stanley and, unfortunately for them, Bank of America)- HBGary, advocating the cause of Wikileaks, and the threat made by one of its members that evidence of fraud by Bank of America will be released on Monday, has just launched communication #1 in its Operation "Empire State Rebellion." The goal - engage in "a relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience" until Ben Bernanke steps down and the "Primary Dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the global economy effective immediately."

Nikkei Flash Crash - Futures Plummet 16% As All Hell Breaks Loose In Japan (pinecarr)

All hell is currently breaking loose following an explosion at reactor #2 and a another hydrogen explosion at reactor #4 per Kyodo, leading to a 16% drop in Nikkei futures as blind panic grips Japan. Kyodo essentially confirms there was a reactor meltdown as radiation levels at Fukushima 3 are now 400 times legal levels. And topping it all Japan's warning that all people within 30 kilometers from Fukushima should stay indoors and that the radioactive winds may reach Tokyo in as little as 8-10 hours. The BOJ has just intervened to prevent the yen from surging, as the following chart shows. Our prayers are with the people of Japan.


Japan Faces Nuclear Meltdown (pinecarr)

Chernobyl was a 3,200-megawatt reactor which exploded while working at peak capacity. The three reactors in Japan are around 500 megawatts each and they were immediately and successfully turned off with the first tremors of the earthquake. Once it turns off, its output is reduced to about 5% or 25 megawatts.

His assessment is backed by that of James Stubbins, a nuclear energy expert at the University of Illinois, who claimed, "The likelihood there will be a huge fire like at Chernobyl or a major environmental release like at Chernobyl, I think that's basically impossible."

What Now For Nuclear Power? (Ivo)

"After the earthquake and tsunami in Japan followed by the ever-worsening stream of terrible news relating to the countries nuclear power facilities, even the last remaining advocates of the technology must realize that we can't go on like this. It is over. Done. Finished. Nuclear energy cannot be controlled by humans, no matter how good the arguments might be in its favor. The danger of disaster is real, and it can happen at any time - even in a super high-tech country like Japan."

Nuclear Power: When The Answer Becomes The Problem (guardia)

Japan certainly has stricter building regulations than many countries but unfortunately that doesn¹t mean they are strictly enforced. Some years back many buildings constructed according to these rules were found to be substandard because avaricious construction companies had cut corners.

Nevertheless, there has been widespread complacency that things are OK. For example, last month several Japanese said to Rick that what happened in Christchurch “would not happen in Japan”.

What The Media Doesn't Get About Meltdowns (jdargis)

"I covered Chernobyl and I covered Three Mile Island," NBC's chief science and health correspondent Robert Bazell said today. "So far it's not anything like Chernobyl. Let's keep our fingers crossed that it will continue to stay that way." A jet-lagged Bazell, who had just arrived in Tokyo, stressed, "the situation here is still not under control." He emphasized that "it is a race against time" to prevent a serious breach of the containment structures housing the nuclear fuel cores in at least two reactors at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, as well as potential dangers at several other plants in the region.

Analysis: Seawater Helps But Japan Nuclear Crisis Is Not Over (jdargis)

Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) workers on Sunday were pouring seawater into two reactor cores at the coastal Fukushima Daiichi power plant and were considering using seawater on a third. Authorities have been forced to vent radioactive steam into the air to relieve pressure in the plant and reactors at the company's nearby Daini plant are also troubled.

"I am not aware of anyone using seawater to cool a reactor core before. They must be desperate to find water and the seawater was the only thing nearby," said Richard Meserve, former chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and president of the Carnegie Institution, in an interview on Sunday.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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1) Cost soars for California

"SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The unfunded cost of providing future health and dental benefits to retired California state employees has grown by $8.1 billion in one year, to $59.9 billion, the state's controller said Monday.

Controller John Chiang warned that the state should act quickly to reduce its long-term liability. The new actuarial projection comes as lawmakers in California and across the nation debate the cost of government pensions and benefits. "

"THE total exposure of foreign banks to the struggling quartet of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain tops $US2.5 trillion once all forms of risk are included, according to the latest data from the Bank for International Settlements.

On an ''ultimate risk'' basis that includes the potential loss on derivatives and credit guarantees of different kinds, the figure rises to $US2.51 trillion as of last September, well above the headline figure of $US1.76 trillion in cross-border loans. The sheer scale highlights the systemic dangers if the European Union fails to stabilise the debt crisis.

Euro-zone leaders agreed to boost the lending power of the European Union bailout fund on Friday, but Germany vetoed proposals for a debt buyback scheme or an activist policy of bond purchases."

"FLINT (WJRT) -- (03/14/11)--The city of Flint has just over $7 million on hand. Monday night, city leaders said it's just enough cash for the city to meet payroll through mid April.

Initially, it was feared city workers wouldn't get paid after next week. Now the finance director says there is money on hand that would carry the city for a few more pay periods, but the city still Flint needs that stabilization bond from the state.

But the question raised in council chambers was, what's the backup plan if the state says no?"


  • Other headlines:

Struggling states may cancel or delay primaries

Japan May Sell US Treasuries After Earthquake, Brown Brothers' Thin Says

Bank of Japan injects $98-billion more into system and Bank of Japan injects $245 bln into markets

Belgium delays bond due to Japan volatility

Democrats call for China rare-earth sanctions

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"At the heart of plutomy (an economy powered by the wealthy, who aggrandize larger chunks of the economy to themselves) is income inequality.  Societies that are willing to tolerate/endorse income inequality, are willing to tolerate/endorse plutonomy. 

Earlier, we postulated a number of key tenets for the creation of plutonomy.  As a reminder, these were: 1) an ongoing technology/biotechnology revolution, 2) capitalist-friendly goverments and tax regimes, 3) globalization that re-arranges global supply chains with mobile weel-capitalized elites and immigrants, 4) greater financial complexity and innovation, 5) the rule of law [which can be bought], and 6) patent protection"



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QE 18 Marc

QE 18 Marc Faber....

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Cripes! Those CNBC goons


Those CNBC goons have really drank the Kool-aid.

Perhaps they won't be laughing when they lose their jobs.

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There is some additional

There is some additional disturbing information in the atimes.com article I submitted to the DD, "Japan Faces Nuclear Meltdown", that was hard to convey in the short quote provided above, as it covered several paragraphs.  It was basically the counter-position to the more optimistic position given above. Here's a longer excerpt that conveys that info (bold mine). 


Experts disagree about the severity of the disaster. Many have attempted to compare it to the two most famous nuclear meltdowns in history, those at Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986 and in Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979. At this point, however, such comparisons appear highly speculative. On the International Nuclear and Radiological Events Scale, Chernobyl, which sent radioactive dust over much of Europe, is rated at 7, the most severe ("major accident''), while Three Mile Island, which also featured a meltdown but did not release significant amounts of radiation into the environment, is rated 5 ("accident with wider consequences'').

On Saturday, the Japanese Nuclear Safety Agency rated the accident at Fukushima at 4 on the same scale, but now this assessment appears due for major revision. According to a Monday assessment by the head of France’s Nuclear Safety Authority, Andre-Claude Lacoste, the Fukushima crisis is "worse than Three Mile Island but not as great as Chernobyl".

Even the favorable comparison with Chernobyl is disputed. On the one hand, many have pointed out that the Japanese reactors shut down successfully immediately prior to the earthquake on Friday, something that precludes a disaster on the scale of Chernobyl. "There’s no comparison with Chernobyl,'' Israeli professor Arye Dubi, of the Department of Nuclear Engineering at Ben-Gurion University, said on Monday.

"Chernobyl was a 3,200-megawatt reactor which exploded while working at peak capacity. The three reactors in Japan are around 500 megawatts each and they were immediately and successfully turned off with the first tremors of the earthquake. Once it turns off, its output is reduced to about 5% or 25 megawatts.''

His assessment is backed by that of James Stubbins, a nuclear energy expert at the University of Illinois, who claimed, "The likelihood there will be a huge fire like at Chernobyl or a major environmental elease like at Chernobyl, I think that's basically impossible."

This may be true from the point of view of nuclear physics, which concerns itself primarily with the amount of energy released, but it is not necessarily true from the perspective of radiological epidemiology, which takes into account a wider array of factors such as wind patterns, relative toxicity of the leaked elements, and population densities in the surrounding areas. On Saturday, even before the latest developments, Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Menachem Luria, an expert on air quality and poisoning, issued a stern prediction.

"This is very worrying,'' he said in an interview with the Israeli Channel 2. "There is no doubt that we have not seen anything like this in years, perhaps ever since nuclear experiments were conducted in the atmosphere in the 1950s. From what we can gather, this disaster is even more dangerous than Chernobyl, both from the standpoint of the population's exposure to radioactive material and the spread of radioactive contamination in the area."

Fukushima poses unique challenges, not least of which is that never before have so many nuclear reactors experienced failures at the same time. To add to the complexity of the situation, one of the afflicted reactors - number 3 - is loaded with a controversial mix of plutonium and uranium known as pluthermal MOX (mixed oxide fuel). It is considered highly toxic, since inhaling even small amounts of plutonium can be lethal.

I am not an expert in this field, and so am not qualified to assess the quality of this information.  But one of my intents in posting this article was to bring this information to the forefront, for others to be aware of, and so those with expertise in the area can comment on it for the benefit of the rest of us. 

(Sorry for not doing a better job on the quote, Jeanine; I'm always in a rush in the morning!)

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Second link under plutonomy heading goes to 404 page.

I've looked at the first link a couple of times now.  I keep thinking it must be ironic, but apparently not.

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News From Japan

For a live feed of what is happining in Japan see link below - in English



It does not look good!!

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Ferfal's blog pointed to a

Ferfal's blog pointed to a thread on a reader's updates from Japan, at http://www.themodernsurvivalist.com/?page_id=936/general-discussion/sirusblacks-updates-from-japan/.   Here is the latestpost from "SiriusBlack":

Hi everyone,

I live in Saitama, which is a prefecture next to Tokyo. The earthquake didn't damage my house, and I'm far inland so the tsunami did not affect me. But the third-level effects of the earthquake are changing the situation every day, so I thought I'd offer updates as things change. I'd love to hear any questions other members might have, or input if anyone else on this forum is living in Japan.

There are shortages in this area and they are just starting to bite. There is NO gasoline in the gas stations. Rolling blackouts for three hours a day or so (3:20 to 7 PM in my area).

Today I decided to go shopping. I wanted to buy another battery operated radio (I have one but it's a bit big to carry around).

You would think it was the Sunday before a holiday. The stores that were open, were packed. But some stores were closed. I wanted a spare battery for my laptop — no dice, the electronics store was shut for the day. One gentleman outside the store told me, "If you're looking for flashlights (I wasn't, I've got two), they're all out."

The DIY store was open, but only from 9 AM to 1 PM and then it would be closed for a few hours. People were taking time off work to go shopping for various necessities. No radios — sold out. People were stocking up on instant noodles, diapers, cooking oil.

Next stop was the grocery store. One was closed for most of the day, but another one closer to my house was open and doing a brisk business. This is late Monday morning, not a holiday. Plenty of veggies and meat, but instant noodles and ready-made meals were cleared out. Whole shelves were empty now. Nobody looked panicked, though. I stocked up on vegetables and canned fish — I have plenty of rice and can tough it out for a month if need be.

That's all for now, I'll add more as I think of things or if the situation changes.

Oh, one more thing. We're still getting aftershocks from the big quake. They were coming every few minutes on the weekend. Now they're down to a few a day, some quite big.

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Now the truth was out, and they were fleeing...

This from the Telegraph: "Japan earthquake: residents flee as quake fears spread", @ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/8383978/Japan-earthquake-residents-flee-as-quake-fears-spread.html .  The bold below is mine:

The railway station at Nasushiobara, the last one still operating near Japan's nuclear crisis area, was jammed with frightened people. In this ghost town of closed shops and offices, pedestrian-free pavements, and empty petrol pumps, the station was the only place still alive, and the only escape route that most had left.

The Tokyo highway a mile to the west was busy, too – but you needed a lot of petrol to get to Tokyo. At the only garage which still had it, there was a five-hour queue. With radiation now leaking from the stricken plant just down the road, there might not be five hours to spare.

From the town and the whole surrounding region, on foot, by bicycle and using the last fuel in their tanks, the people came to the railway station, a river turning into a flood as word spread of just how serious the danger now was.

"I couldn't sleep and I was watching TV," said Noriyuki Fukada, an English teacher. "Then it was announced that there would be a government statement at 6.30. I thought, if the government announces something at 6.30am, it cannot be good."

It wasn't. Radioactive fuel rods in one of the stricken Fukushima nuclear reactors, the official spokesman admitted, were now "fully exposed", at risk of meltdown, and radiation had escaped into the atmosphere. Ninety per cent of the plant's own staff were evacuated, leaving only a skeleton team fighting off catastrophe. Most serious of all, an explosion the previous day – the plant's third – might have damaged a reactor containment vessel.

The containment vessels are the last barriers between the reactors' cores and the outside world, the very things the government has spent the last several days promising will protect us. A few hours later, the chief cabinet secretary, Yukio Edano, appeared on television.


"Now we are talking about levels [of leakage] that can impact human health. I would like all of you to embrace this information calmly," he said. But the beads of sweat were clearly visible on his own brow.


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