Supreme Court ruling is bad news for consumers

April 30, 2011 San Francisco Chronicle

It went nearly unnoticed in a week of royal matrimony and birth certificates. The Republican-appointed majority on the Supreme Court gave corporations a major victory at the expense of consumers….

The case blesses shady business tactics. Firms can get away with credit card overcharges, unauthorized fees or a phony bill because a showdown class action lawsuit isn’t allowed. The ruling casts a shadow on another case before the high court in which 1.5 million women are seeking to bring a class action case against Wal-Mart for sex discrimination.

Congress could fix the situation by mending the arbitration law to allow for group lawsuits. But that’s hard to imagine given the pro-business GOP majority in the House, no doubt delighted by the ruling.
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Procedural failure resulted in Vermont Yankee steam leak – Brattleboro Reformer

Procedural failure resulted in Vermont Yankee steam leak – Brattleboro Reformer.

Saturday April 30, 2011

BRATTLEBORO — A leak in a steam trap line at Vermont Yankee was attributed to “a failure to follow procedures that resulted in incorrect gasket material being used as a replacement for spiral wound gasket material,” according to a licensee event report filed with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on April 14.

The failure was due to the fact that “… maintenance and planning personnel did not involve engineering personnel …” in the repair of a weld to a flanged connection in the pipe, according to a quarterly inspection report that was released on Thursday.

The identified steam trap is part of the nuclear power plant’s high pressure coolant injection system.

full article –

Grand Theft Bernanke, The Quantitative Easing Scam is Exposed

Apr 29, 2011 – 05:44 AM                      By: Mike_Whitney

It’s the biggest flim-flam in the nation’s history. But, thanks to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the scam has been exposed and the public can now get a good look at the type of swindle that passes as monetary policy.

Here’s the scoop: When Fed chairman Ben Bernanke initiated the first round of Quantitative Easing (QE), the stated goal was to revive the flagging housing market by purchasing $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities (MBS) from the country’s biggest banks. The policy was a ripoff from the get go. No one wanted these mortgage stinkbombs that were stitched together from subprime loans to unqualified applicants. But because the banks were already busted–and because the $700 billion TARP was barely enough to keep the ventilator running until the next bailout came through– the Fed helped to conceal its real objectives behind an elaborate PR smokescreen. In truth, the Fed must have colluded with the banks to move the toxic assets off their books (and onto the Fed’s balance sheet) with the proviso that the banks withhold foreclosed homes from the market….

full article –

Burlington Wake-Up! to ICLEI and the “Kiss” of a Greenwash Agenda

At the U.S. Conference of Mayors in San Francisco on June 5 (World Environment Day), 2005, every mayor in attendance signed two documents – the “Green Cities Declaration” and the “Urban Environmental Accords”.

The first is the declaration that the mayors of all the cities of the United States and the world are going to be the implementers of Agenda 21 (The UN’s Agenda for the 21st Century).  The second explains how it will be implemented, closing with the statement “The goal is for cities to pick three actions to adopt each year.”

If the cities achieve the goal of implementing three actions each year from 2005, they will have completed their 21 Actions in the seven years leading up to June 5, 2012, the date of World Environment Day.

(above text from) –

Burlington, South Burlington and Brattleboro are members of ICLEI. ICLEI is the main NGO working with state officials tasked with implementing this plan.

The Burlington legacy project,  Smart Growth, Smart Grid, Quick Start and other buzz-word titled “green” projects look and sound great!… but are they a front for a piecemeal style “action plan” to alter our town and state government. Towns and their people around the country are catching on, as you will see.

Here is a story of Vermonters catching-on, from: the Reformer – Brattleboro quits energy program….”One of the key provisions of the program is that it allows participating municipalities to join together to obtain financing. The program’s progress has been stalled for months, both in Vermont and across the country, due in large part to issues with the leading agencies for the project, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.”

“chairman Lester Humphreys said the details of the program are “even less clear than they were when Brattleboro joined the Quick Start program” about five months ago”

Freedom Festival II – Guest Speaker Michael Shaw presents how United Nations policy is adversely affecting land use, property rights, environmental policy and education on the local level in the Spokane/Coeur d’Alene area and around the country. (video above)

Excerpts from: John Birch SocietyLocal Governments Reject UN’s Agenda 21              April 21, 2011

Rio Hosted the Birth of Agenda 21
More than 35,000 government officials, diplomats, environmental activists, and journalists journeyed to the UN’s 1992 extravaganza in Brazil. In country after country, achieving the goal contained in Agenda 21 has now proceeded in “piecemeal” fashion.

Piecemeal means: achieving implementation of the overall goal step by step. By using this process of a very slow, dispersed, and steady  incremental implementation, the change is designed to go unnoticed. – VT4Evolution

Piecemeal Implementation of Agenda 21 Through ICLEI
Launched in 1990, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) is one of many Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in association with the United Nations. Self-described as “an association of over 1,200 local government members who are committed to sustainable development,” ICLEI seeks to swallow up a nation’s independence by having local governments adopt the overall Agenda 21 program in piecemeal fashion. Because independent nations are obviously too large to swallow in a single gulp, ICLEI was created to gain control over local governments one bite at a time.

ICLEI’s website openly admits that its Local Agenda 21 Model Communities Program will “aid local governments in implementing Chapter 28 of Agenda 21, the global action plan for sustainable development.” Former Clinton administration adviser J. Gary Lawrence later worried that there might be some who discover that the ICLEI effort constitutes “an attack on the power of the nation-state.” At a seminar in England, he told a British audience,

The segment of our society who fear “one-world government” and a UN invasion of the United States through which our individual freedoms might be stripped away would actively work to defeat any elected official who joined [in our effort.] So, we’ll call our processes something else, such as comprehensive planning, growth management, smart growth.

Americans Awakening to the Threat
Early in 2011, the Board of Commissioners in Carroll County Maryland voted unanimously to abolish the county’s “Office of Sustainability” and withdraw from the ICLEI program. Commissioner Richard Rothstein explained that the cost of the program wasn’t the greatest motivation for the commissioners’ decision. They took their action because of their awareness that ICLEI is “an organization with extreme beliefs on global warming that promotes United Nations big-government socio-economic policies…. In reality, Agenda 21-based sustainability programs seek government control of land, labor and capital….” City, county and community leaders across the nation should take heed.

The city of Edmond, Oklahoma, has also pulled out of ICLEI. In Maine, the state’s Department of Transportation cancelled plans for the “Gateway Project,” a plan to create unnecessary linkages among 20 communities. Some opponents of the Maine project expressed their belief that the idea stemmed from the overall Agenda 21 planning.

While some Americans now realize that Agenda 21 and its numerous stepchildren pose a danger to their communities and their nation, many more must be made aware. Far more than considerations about the cost and control associated with involvement, the more important overall threat posed byAgenda 21 is loss of independence at the community, county, state, and national levels.

full article –

With global climate change and the ever declining economy, now is a good time for laying the foundation stones of such an infrastructure.

For a more in-depth analysis and other stories of towns kicking ICLEI out   “Thinking Local to Be Global-ized??”

Related posts –

Freedom Advocates site full of  incredible amounts of resources to understanding this issue…

VSNAP sticks to closing of VY

Thursday April 28, 2011

VERNON — About 50 people attended the Vermont State Nuclear Advisory Panel meeting in the Vernon Elementary School gymnasium on Wednesday…

During the meeting, Chris Campany, executive director of the Windham Regional Commission, gave a presentation on the economics between two facility decommissioning processes SAFSTOR and DECON.

The Windham Regional Commission assists towns in southeastern Vermont to provide local government and work cooperatively with them to address regional issues in 27 towns in Windham, Windsor and Bennington counties…

“The station (VY) occupies land along the Connecticut River that is of substantial economic value,” he said. “The long-term beneficial commercial development and use of this land is important to the state and region.”

Any delay in returning that land to productive use following the eventual closure of the plant would have negative effects upon the economy of the state and the region, Campany said.

“The type of decommissioning process used will have significant economic and employment impacts,” he said. “The WRC advocates for what the Nuclear Regulatory Commission refers to as DECON. Under DECON, or immediate dismantlement, soon after the nuclear facility closes, equipment, structures and portions of the facility containing radioactive contaminants are removed or decontaminated to a level that permits release of the property and termination of the NRC license.”

“We are concerned that SAFSTOR will be the decommissioning process of choice by Entergy in order to build the decommissioning fund,” he said. “It must be ensured that the decommissioning fund and other guarantees are adequate to accomplish the prompt and complete decommissioning of the plant upon shutdown. The WRC contends that the existing fund and its projected growth does not satisfy that need, even given the decommissioning plan as submitted in Public Service Board Docket 7440. Consideration should be given to requiring a more complete analysis of decommissioning costs and related funding.”…

Kathleen Krevetski, a registered nurse from Rutland, said that the way cancer incident rates are wrong.

“Lumping men and women together over 10 years tells us nothing,” Krevetski said. “Public health monitoring using these methods is a disgrace and should not be considered acceptable to this board. With this type of reporting, the public has been lulled into a false sense of security as we have been lead to believe that the radiation spewing out of Vermont Yankee into the air, into the earth and into the water is not harmful to our health, to our children and to future generations of Vermonters.”

full article –

Bernie Sanders “the most right wing extremist piece of legislation that I have ever seen in my life.”

From Bernie Buzz – Americans are outraged about a House-passed budget bill that would destroy Medicare and Medicaid, put Social Security at risk and give $1 trillion in new tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations. Republicans rammed the bill through the House on a party-line vote the same day Congress adjourned for its Easter recess. House members who voted for the bill have encountered angry crowds at town meetings. Bernie called the measure “the most right wing extremist piece of legislation that I have ever seen in my life.” The Senate, he said, should vote it down.

Watch Bernie on the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC »

Polls on the US Budget 

VT4Evolution Supports the People’s Budget – support it too by telling your Representatives.

Lakeside NY town hauls away thousands of dead fish

Associated Press

MORIAH, N.Y. — Crews are cleaning up the thousands of dead fish that have washed up along Lake Champlain’s New York shoreline, including a stretch where public campgrounds and beaches are being prepared for opening this spring.

Lakeside residents in Vermont began reporting thousands of dead alewives showing up along the shore earlier this month. Vermont fisheries biologists say alewives, a species not native to the lake, are sensitive to frigid temperatures and likely died off during the winter.

Officials in the Essex County town of Moriah (mor-EYE’-uh) tell the Press-Republican of Plattsburgh that the stench from fish rotting on the shore would have affected the opening of local campgrounds.

Inmate work crews from a nearby shock incarceration camp are dumping the fish in large trash containers that are then hauled away to a landfill.

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Utility rejects contract to buy Vermont Yankee power

(Reuters) – A utility in Vermont rejected a contract to buy power from Entergy Corp’s embattled Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on Tuesday.

The board of directors at the Vermont Electric Cooperative, the third biggest power distribution company in the state, voted nine to one to reject a 20-year offer from Entergy to buy power from the 39-year old nuclear plant at below market prices.

The plant will shut by March 21, 2012 unless the state allows it to continue to operate longer or the company wins a court battle to prevent the state from shutting the plant.

Pioneer Valley women among those arrested in anti-nuke protest at Vermont Yankee

By Patrick Johnson

VERNON, Vermont – Seven long-time Pioneer Valley activists were among 11 women arrested Friday afternoon after chaining themselves to the main gate of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant in an attempt to shut the facility down.

The protest, coinciding with the observance of Earth Day, sought to have the controversial nuclear plant closed immediately.

full article –

Thousands in France mark Chernobyl with protests

By Arnaud Bouvier (AFP)

STRASBOURG, France — Thousands staged anti-nuclear protests around France on Monday, demanding reactors be closed on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Chernobyl and after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident.

Between 6,000 and 9,000 mostly German activists took to different bridges on the Rhine between Germany and France, AFP journalists reported, with the main Easter Monday demonstration involving hundreds in a so-called “die in” at Strasbourg.

The protest at the midway point on the Pont de l’Europe joining Strasbourg in eastern France and Kehl in Germany aimed to show that “radioactivity knows no borders,” said organiser Remi Verdet.

“We’re here to remind people that zero risk does not exist,” he said.

full article –

Thousands march to protest nuclear power

Protesters in Basel and Bern have had their say on the controversial topic of nuclear energy. Some 2,000 people from Switzerland, France and Germany gathered in Basel on Monday for a parade demanding the shutdown of the ageing nuclear plant in Fessenheim, north of Basel.

They carried banners reading, “Nuclear power, no thanks” and “Shut down Fessenheim”. A number of politicians also attended the event, including Guy Morin, president of the Basel City cantonal government.

full article –

Japan: Damaged Nuclear Plant Released More Radioactive Material Than Previously Estimated; Thousands Call for Nuclear Moratorium

Japan: Damaged Nuclear Plant Released More Radioactive Material Than Previously Estimated; Thousands Call for Nuclear Moratorium.

Democracy Now!

Newly released data from the Japanese government indicates radioactive material was leaking into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant Number 1 Unit in far greater quantities than previously estimated. The Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports the level of radiation on April 5 was six times higher than initially reported. In other news from Japan, 25,000 Japanese soldiers are being sent into the disaster zone to scour for the bodies of nearly 12,000 people missing and presumed dead. The estimated death toll from the tsunami and earthquake is 26,000. On Sunday, thousands of people rallied in Tokyo to call for the closure of all nuclear power plants in Japan. 

Atmospheric radiation leak underestimated

(japanese Article)

On April 17, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. said in its plan for stabilization of the crippled reactors it would not start to get radiation leakage under control until the plan’s fourth month of implementation.

This would mean 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive substances would be released into the atmosphere from the plant during the coming three months, according to simple calculations based on the estimated emission rate as of April 5…

The total amount of radioactive material discharged from the plant from March 11 to early April was estimated between 370,000 and 630,000 terabecquerels, according to government sources. 

terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels, a measure for radiation emissions…a measurement in becquerels is proportional to activity, and thus a more dangerous source of radiation gives a higher reading…One Becquerel is defined as the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second…so I guess 1 terabecquerel is radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per 11,574 days or every 31 years??? If my math and understanding is correct. – VT4Evolution

Lawmaker calls for tough law against VY

By CHRIS GAROFOLO / Reformer Staff          Monday April 25, 2011

BRATTLEBORO — State Rep. Richard Marek will introduce a bill this week that would make it a criminal enterprise to operate a nuclear plant in Vermont without receiving the approved permit from state lawmakers and the Public Service Board.

Marek, a Newfane Democrat, said he will hold a press conference at the Statehouse on Tuesday outlining a bill to put Vermont in a position where a statute pertaining to nuclear plants would be similar to other laws addressing illegal activities…

The penalties for violating the proposed measure would include a fine of up to $100,000 daily applied to both the owner of the plant (Entergy) and to board members and decision-making levels of management.

Marek’s legislation would also make it illegal to furnish services amounting to more than $10,000 annually to facilitate operation of a nuclear plant when the company knows it requires Legislature-approval to operate.

full article –

Genetically Modified Maize Trial in Mexico Prompts Debate

By Paulina Perlin

In a controversial move, the Mexican government has authorized transnational corporation Monsanto to conduct a field trial of genetically modified (GM) maize that could potentially lead to the crop’s commercialization.

Though Mexico has approved 67 permits for GM maize to be experimentally grown since lifting its ban on transgenic crops in 2005, this is the first venture that could lead to successful commercialization of the crop…

The Mexican Agricultural Ministry claims that the GM crop’s pollen will be controlled, noting that the project will occur “under the strictest biosecurity measures to guarantee the prevention of involuntary dispersion of the GM maize’s pollen.”

Yet other experts maintain that the move could potentially contaminate the thousands of maize varieties indigenous to Mexico.

“’This opens up the door to contamination of native species in the most important centre of origin [of maize] in the entire world,” said Elena Álvarez-Buylla, head of the Union of Scientists Committed to Society (UCCS).
full article –

Entergy files detailed case for injunction

The Commons

VERNON—Building a more detailed argument for their April 18 request for an injunction to keep the Vermont Yankee nuclear power station operating during legal action, the two Entergy Nuclear subsidiaries that own and operate the Vermont Yankee substation have filed a memorandum of law in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

Friday’s filing by attorneys Robert B. Hemley and Matthew B. Byrne of Gravel and Shea in Burlington includes more than 2,320 pages of documents ranging from news reports about the plant to employee exit interviews that list the uncertainty of the plant’s future as a reason for their departure.

Download the document here.