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Bigger blasts nixed ... for now

Thursday, 08 March 2007

A local board has put the brakes on bigger bomb tests at Site 300. By Niko Kyriakou

An appeal by local activist Robert Sarvey convinced air pollution regulators to revoke a permit that would have allowed Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to increase the size of explosive tests at Site 300 southwest of Tracy.

“The pollution control district did the right thing to protect the health and safety of the citizens of Tracy,” said Sarvey.

Lawrence Livermore obtained a permit last November to detonate 350 pounds of TNT per day and up to 8,000 pounds per year — up from a previous 100-pound per day and a 1,000-pound per year limit.

But the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District revoked that permit Tuesday after reviewing an appeal filed in December by Sarvey, owner of a local shoe store.

Sarvey’s appeal questioned whether the Lab’s explosives tests, which sometimes use radioactive materials like depleted uranium and tritium, truly abide by state environmental laws.

San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District Director Seyed Sadredin says the permits will remain invalid until his agency has reviewed whether the radioactive emissions, left out of the lab’s permit application, endanger local people.

“They (the Lab) did not quantify the emissions or describe the radioactive emissions on their application,” said Sadredin. “We have to quantify those emissions and plug them into a risk assessment analysis and a sophisticated computer model to see the effect of emissions on people downwind.”

So far, the district has only looked into the health impacts of nonradioactive toxic materials and fine dust released in the test blasts.

Lawrence Livermore maintains that its tests abide by all state and federal laws. It argues radioactive materials were absent from its permit application because those substances fall under the federal jurisdiction of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Sadredin said this is a question he plans to probe, but that some local regulations certainly apply to the Lab.

“We do have a general nuisance rule that says you cannot release any emission that exposes health risk to population, vegetation or physical structures,” he said.

“Our regulations do apply to federal facilities; it’s a question whether (the California Environmental Quality Act) would apply, or a federal requirement.”

Sarvey says that the act requires the district to evaluate the risks of any “heavy metal” pollutants. He says the lab’s use of depleted uranium, which is not only slightly radioactive but also a heavy metal — which can cause neurological damage if accumulated inside the body in sufficient amounts — means that it is covered by the state’s environmental law.

Sarvey insists that air regulators investigate the combined effects of heavy metals, particulate matter and radioactive emissions from the Site 300 outdoor explosive tests.

“Any type of chemicals have synergistic effects,” said Sarvey. “When you combine them, they are more deadly together than when they are separate.”

• To contact reporter Niko Kyriakou, call 830-4274, or e-mail niko@tracypress.com.This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it

By staff

Republished from Fox40 KTXL

Lawrence Livermore officials had not disclosed the use of depleted uranium on the range near Tracy, California. TRACY — San Joaquin Valley air officials rescinded its decision to allow the federal government to test its nuclear weapons arsenal in the Altamont Hills after they learned the bombs would have radioactive material.

The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District initially granted a permit to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to test the 350-pound bombs on Site 300, a 7,000-acre open field owned by the lab off Interstate 580 near Tracy. But air officials changed course when they learned that the tests would involve depleted uranium.

“They did not tell us they had radioactive emissions (in the explosives),” agency executive director Seyed Sadredin told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’m not saying they tried to hide it. They did not think it (the radioactivity) was significant….

[end excerpt]

Permit Pulled For Nuclear Testing

March 7, 2007 TRACY — San Joaquin Valley air officials rescinded its decision to allow the federal government to test its nuclear weapons arsenal in the Altamont Hills after they learned the bombs would have radioactive material.

The San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District initially granted a permit to the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory to test the 350-pound bombs on Site 300, a 7,000-acre open field owned by the lab off Interstate 580 near Tracy. But air officials changed course when they learned that the tests would involve depleted uranium.

"They did not tell us they had radioactive emissions (in the explosives)," agency executive director Seyed Sadredin told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I'm not saying they tried to hide it. They did not think it (the radioactivity) was significant."

Sadredin said the agency found out about the radioactivity after local residents who brought it to his attention.

Lawrence Livermore lab spokesman David Schwoegler defended lab officials' decision not to mention the use of depleted uranium in the original permit application.

"Generally, depleted uranium is not considered radioactive because its radioactivity level is so low as to be equal to or below background level," he said. "It is in the ballast of every sailboat and jetliner in commercial use."

Schwoegler said lab officials have not decided how to respond to the agency's decision, which was made public Wednesday.

The planned tests, which were to be conducted over the next 18 months, would have simulated full-scale nuclear weapons blasts. Because the U.S. halted testing of real nuclear bombs in 1992, officials have used depleted uranium to determine how well the nuclear weapons are holding up with age.

"If these huge explosions had been allowed to go forward, the hills, nearby waterways, the workers and the surrounding community would have all been put at risk," Loulena Miles, staff attorney for Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, said in a statement praising the agency's decision

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Brazil Police Battle Bush Protesters

By STAN LEHMAN

The Associated Press Thursday, March 8, 2007; 11:04 PM

SAO PAULO, Brazil -- Police clashed Thursday with Brazilians protesting a visit by President Bush and his push for an ethanol energy alliance, while dozens of students in Colombia showed their opposition by lobbing rocks and explosives at authorities.

Violence in Sao Paulo took place several hours before Bush arrived in South America's largest city on the first stop of his five-nation Latin America tour.

More than 6,000 students, environmentalists and left-leaning Brazilians held a largely peaceful march through the financial heart of Brazil before police fired tear gas at protesters and beat them with batons. Hundreds fled and ducked into businesses to avoid the chaos, some of them bloodied.

Authorities did not immediately report any injuries, but Brazilian media said at least six people were hurt and news photographs showed injured people being carried away.

Protesters said scuffles broke out when some radical demonstrators provoked officers and threw sticks at them _ but said police overreacted. A police officer who declined to give his name in keeping with department policy confirmed that extremists appeared to cause the confrontations.

After the clash, the protest continued peacefully but with far fewer people. The marchers waved communist flags and railed against Bush, the war in Iraq and the ethanol proposal. Almost all had departed by sundown and streets were calm several hours later when Bush arrived in Sao Paulo.

In the southern Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, more than 500 people yelled "Get Out, Imperialist!" as they marched to a Citigroup Inc. bank branch and burned an effigy of Bush. Protesters also targeted the U.S. Consulate in Rio de Janeiro, splattering it with bright red paint meant to signify blood.

In Colombia, about 200 masked students at Bogota's National University clashed with 300 anti-riot police carrying shields and helmets, spray-painting anti-U.S. slogans on walls and shouting "Out Bush!"

Police fired water cannons and tear gas, and the students hurled back rocks, fireworks, a few Molotov cocktails and dozens of "potato bombs" _ small explosives made of gunpowder wrapped in foil. There were no immediate reports of injuries or arrests.

The Colombian demonstrators called for the scuttling of a U.S.-Colombia free trade agreement signed in November and currently stalled in U.S. Congress, and accused Washington of meddling in the South American nation's internal affairs by sending some $700 million a year in mostly military aid.

Colombia is beefing up security in the capital for Bush's visit Sunday, the first by a sitting U.S. president since Ronald Reagan in 1982. About 21,000 security agents will patrol the capital.

Meanwhile, Colombia's police chief said authorities have foiled leftist rebel plans for terrorist acts to disrupt Bush's visit, but offered no details.

Asked about the protests, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said Bush "enjoys traveling to thriving democracies where freedom of speech and expression are the law of the land. He has a positive agenda here that we believe the people of Brazil and the rest of the Americas will benefit from."

Some protesters in Brazil carried stalks of sugarcane _ which is used to make ethanol _ and a banner reading: "For every liter of ethanol produced, 4 liters of fresh water are consumed, monoculture is destroying the nation's greatest asset."

"Bush and the United States go to war to control oil reserves, and now Bush and his pals are trying to control the production of ethanol in Brazil. And that has to be stopped," said Suzanne Pereira dos Santos of Brazil's Landless Workers Movement.

Activists from the environmental group Greenpeace warned that increased ethanol production could lead to further clearing of the Amazon rain forest as well as cause social unrest, since most sugarcane-ethanol operations are run by wealthy families or corporations that reap most of the benefits while the poor are left to cut the cane with machetes.

Bush has spoken approvingly of Brazil's ethanol program, which powers eight out of every 10 new cars. The proposed accord is meant to help turn ethanol into an internationally traded commodity and to promote sugarcane-based ethanol production in Central America and the Caribbean.

Brazil is mounting what has been described as its biggest security effort ever in Sao Paulo. About 4,000 agents _ including Brazilian troops and FBI and U.S. Secret Service officers _ will be on hand during Bush's almost 24-hour visit.

Graffiti reading "Get Out, Bush! Assassin!" appeared on walls near locations in Brazil where Bush will drive past on his tour, which also includes stops in Uruguay, Guatemala and Mexico.

However, there were no visible signs of protesters along Bush's motorcade route in the nearly hourlong drive from Sao Paulo's airport to his hotel.

In Mexico, which Bush is scheduled to visit Tuesday, about two dozen demonstrators gathered in front of the U.S. Embassy in the capital chanting slogans against the U.S. project to construct border fences and Bush's visit.

Carmelo Ramirez Reyes showed up in a devil's mask, carrying a placard reading "My name is George Bush, killer of Mexicans."

___ Associated Press writers Tales Azzoni in Sao Paulo, Mark Stevenson in Mexico City and Toby Muse in Bogota, Colombia, contributed to this report.

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Statement on the Iraq War Resolution

Before the U.S. House of Representatives March 7, 2007 By Ron Paul

Link

The scandal at Walter Reed is not an isolated incident. It is directly related to our foreign policy of interventionism.

There is a pressing need to reassess our now widely accepted role as the world’s lone superpower. If we don’t, we are destined to reduce our nation to something far less powerful.

It has always been politically popular for politicians to promise they will keep us out of foreign wars, especially before World War I. That hasn’t changed, even though many in Washington today don’t understand it.

Likewise it has been popular to advocate ending prolonged and painful conflicts like the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and now Iraq.

In 2000, it was quite popular to condemn nation building and reject the policy of policing the world, in the wake of our involvement in Kosovo and Somalia. We were promised a more humble foreign policy.

Nobody wins elections by promising to take us to war. But once elected, many politicians greatly exaggerate the threat posed by a potential enemy-- and the people too often carelessly accept the dubious reasons given to justify wars. Opposition arises only when the true costs are felt here at home.

A foreign policy of interventionism costs so much money that we’re forced to close military bases in the U.S., even as we’re building them overseas. Interventionism is never good fiscal policy.

Interventionism symbolizes an attitude of looking outward, toward empire, while diminishing the importance of maintaining a constitutional republic.

We close bases here at home – some want to close Walter Reed – while building bases in Arab and Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia. We worry about foreign borders while ignoring our own. We build permanent outposts in Muslim holy lands, occupy territory, and prop up puppet governments. This motivates suicide terrorism against us.

Our policies naturally lead to resentment, which in turn leads to prolonged wars and increased casualties. We spend billions in Iraq, while bases like Walter Reed fall into disrepair. This undermines our ability to care for the thousands of wounded soldiers we should have anticipated, despite the rosy predictions that we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq.

Now comes the outrage.

Now Congress holds hearings.

Now comes the wringing of hands. Yes, better late than never.

Clean it up, paint the walls, make Walter Reed look neat and tidy! But this won’t solve our problems. We must someday look critically at the shortcomings of our foreign policy, a policy that needlessly and foolishly intervenes in places where we have no business being.

Voters spoke very clearly in November: they want the war to end. Yet Congress has taken no steps to defund or end a war it never should have condoned in the first place.

On the contrary, Congress plans to spend another $100 billion or more in an upcoming Iraq funding bill – more even than the administration has requested. The 2007 military budget, $700 billion, apparently is not enough. And it’s all done under the slogan of “supporting the troops,” even as our policy guarantees more Americans will die and Walter Reed will continue to receive casualties.

Every problem Congress and the administration create requires more money to fix. The mantra remains the same: spend more money we don’t have, borrow from the Chinese, or just print it.

This policy of interventionism is folly, and it cannot continue forever. It will end, either because we wake up or because we go broke.

Interventionism always leads to unanticipated consequences and blowback, like:

  • A weakened, demoralized military;
  • Exploding deficits;
  • Billions of dollars wasted;
  • Increased inflation;
  • Less economic growth;
  • An unstable currency;
  • Painful stock market corrections;
  • Political demagoguery;
  • Lingering anger at home; and
  • Confusion about who is to blame.
  • These elements combine to create an environment that inevitably undermines personal liberty. Virtually all American wars have led to diminished civil liberties at home.

    Most of our mistakes can be laid at the doorstep of our failure to follow the Constitution.

    That Constitution, if we so desire, can provide needed guidance and a roadmap to restore our liberties and change our foreign policy. This is critical if we truly seek peace and prosperity.

    by Ron Paul

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    China Says Major Shift On Dollar Policy Coming Financial Intelligence

    By John Browne

    A News Max Alert

    1-23-7

    Some very worrisome news came out of China this Saturday - but it got a little more than a blip in the U.S. press.

    At a high-level financial conference this past weekend, China's Premier Wen Jiabao said, "China would actively explore and expand the channels and methods for using [its] foreign exchange reserves."

    Considering that the bulk of China's reserves are in U.S. dollars, it should send tremors about the future of the greenback.

    The dollar has been reeling in recent years. A shift by China out of dollars - as Wen is hinting - could be catastrophic.

    China's reserves recently surpassed Japan's - now exceeding $1 trillion. Some 70% of these reserves -­ more than $700 million - are in dollars.

    Interestingly, The Wall Street Journal carried this critical story on page A7 of Monday's editions with this pleasant spin headline: "China Shift on Reserves Isn't Likely to Hit Dollar."

    Perhaps I am missing something. China keeps most of its reserves in dollars - and its leader just announced they plan on diversifying their portfolio. This means it won't affect the dollar?

    It is of note that the Financial Times placed its report on the China development smack in the center of Monday page one. Why would U.S. media wish to play down such an important item?

    While we believe that in the short-term the dollar may not be hurt - the item should send tremors down the backs of U.S. dollar investors planning to hold the greenback over the long-term.

    The Journal reported that Wen's statement was the "highest-level confirmation yet that China is thinking actively how it can use its reserves, which have increased by more that six times since 2000 and made China one of the worlds largest holders of U.S. Treasury bonds."

    Later the article observed that, ". . . currency traders are hypersensitive to any signs Beijing is losing its appetite for the U.S. currency."

    The FT went on to observe, "This policy switch opens the way for China, which has been largely passive in managing its money to establish an agency akin to Singapore's government."

    As I wrote in my Financial Intelligence email in December and in our sister publication, Financial Intelligence Report, as the U.S. dollar depreciates, China is actively reviewing its holdings of gold.

    When China resumes, or even announces its intention to resume, its purchases of gold, expect the price of gold to respond, as we have constantly warned, possibly in a major manner.

    Of course, we believe it is not in China's short-term interests to disrupt the currency markets or the U.S. dollar, of which it holds some $700 billion.

    But, in the longer-term, we believe China will use all its strengths, including economic and military to further its path towards super power status.

    In this respect, we note last week's news (given a low profile in our mainstream media) that China had shot down one of its own defunct satellites, 500 miles out into space, at the same height as U.S. military satellites. What sort of message does that send to any observant investor or military strategist throughout the world?

    To us it means that China is already on the march to super power status and is our main challenge, even in times of peace.

    We urge our readers and investors to pay great heed to the recent announcements and especially actions of the Chinese, even if buried deeply in our news media.

    We believe that China's actions are set to influence such key items as the U.S. dollar (and therefore U.S. interest rates), world commodity prices, gold, and U.S. defense strategy and spending.

    If you want to protect your portfolio and wealth in the coming years ahead, I suggest you read some of our recent Financial Intelligence Report issues, including:

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    Eleven states are working on resolutions that would oppose not only the implementation but the idea of a "North American Union

    Eagle Forum working with legislators to halt globalists'

    http://worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=54613

    March 9, 2007

    Eleven states are working on resolutions that would oppose not only the implementation but the idea of a "North American Union," or other plans that would lead to the integration of the United States into a larger structure.

    "Americans are rapidly learning the new vocabulary of the globalists," Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum told WND, "and they don't like it."

    While President Bush, many members of Congress, and Bush administration bureaucrats deny there are plans for a North American Union, under the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, those in state legislatures are taking no chances.

    Already, 11 states have introduced resolutions to oppose the SPP, the NAU, and even the idea of the amero, a proposed currency that could be used to replace the dollar.

    The resolutions also typically oppose the creation of North American Free Trade Act superhighways along the model of the Trans-Texas Corridor, the car-truck-train-pipeline corridor that is four football-fields wide and is being built parallel to Interstate 35 from Laredo, Texas to the border with Oklahoma, south of Oklahoma City.

    Schlafly told WND that those lawmakers, and their constituents, are reacting against a wide range of concepts and structures being generated by the increasing pace of the integration of North America they see under the Bush administration.

    "That's why state legislators are responding with resolutions criticizing a 'North American Community,' SPP, 'harmonization' of regulations, NAFTA superhighways, foreign-owned toll roads, totalization of Social Security, and speculation about the amero," Schlafly explained. "The groundswell is growing against measures that lead to 'economic integration' with other countries."

    Schlafly also has joined with Howard Philips of the Conservative Caucus to create an organization specifically opposing the NAU and NAFTA superhighways.

    "Phyllis Schlafly is doing a magnificent job leading the charge to oppose the North American integration at the state level," Phillips told WND. "Once again, we see the genius of Eagle Forum being able to communicate a message throughout America in terms that mobilize voters to take action."

    American University Professor Robert Pastor

    Robert Pastor is an American University professor who is using his book, "Toward a North American Community," to promote the development of a North American union as a regional government and the adoption of the amero as a common monetary currency to replace the dollar and the peso.

    The resolutions are typically worded to oppose, in addition to SPP and the NAU, the construction of NAFTA Superhighways and the creation of the Amero as a North American unitary currency.

    Anti-NAU resolutions have been introduced in the following state legislatures:

  • Arizona: Senate Concurrent Memorial 1002
  • Georgia: Senate Resolution 124
  • Illinois: House Joint Resolution 29
  • Missouri: Senate Concurrent Resolution 15 House Concurrent Resolution 33
  • Montana: House Joint Resolution 25
  • Oregon: Senate Joint Memorial 5
  • South Carolina: House Concurrent Resolution 3185 You also can find the bill here under "H 3185"
  • South Dakota: Senate Concurrent Resolution 7
  • Utah: House Joint Resolution 7
  • Virginia: Senate Joint Resolution 442
  • Washington: Senate Joint Memorial 8004 House Joint Memorial 4018
  • StopTheNAU tracks state legislative motions to oppose the SPP and NAU.

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    Latinos land 2 in 3 U.S. construction jobs]

    March 7, 2007

    Link

    WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- Latinos make up 13.6 percent of the U.S. employment population, but accounted for 36.7 percent of the 2006 U.S. employment growth, a study showed Wednesday.

    Most of the jobs Hispanic workers landed were in the construction industry, the Pew Hispanic Center said.

    In fact, two out of every three new U.S. constriction jobs went to Hispanic workers, the center said.

    Hispanic employment increased by almost 1 million from 2005 to 2006, with foreign-born Latinos who arrived since 2000 responsible for about 24 percent of the total U.S. employment increase.

    Undocumented immigrants accounted for about two-thirds of the increase in recently arrived Hispanic workers, the center estimated.

    The center derived its estimates from Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau data, it said.

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