Archive for category Divine Strake

11 Banks Still ‘Too Big To Fail’


Via HuffPo:

Eleven of the nation’s largest banks have failed to convince federal regulators they could safely be wound down if they neared failure, government authorities said Tuesday, reinforcing the idea that they are too big to fail.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said October blueprints submitted by banks, including JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, detailing how they think they’d be resolved in bankruptcy if they neared collapse were “not credible.” The Federal Reserve, another bank regulator, said the so-called living wills need significant improvement by July 2015 or the government may force them to shrink.

…The phenomenon known as too big to fail is based on the notion that government officials will always rescue a failing financial company when it believes the failure would cause financial chaos. Since investors in the company believe they’d be bailed out, they accept a lower return for funding the company’s operations. That in turn enables the too big to fail company to enjoy a taxpayer-provided subsidy unavailable to its smaller rivals.

Tuesday’s announcement by federal regulators that the 11 banks’ living wills were inadequate strikes at the heart of the argument that the banks are no longer too big to fail.

TBTF means bailouts and bonuses for billionaires and corporate execs, and nothing for the ever-shrinking American middle class.


The War Power, The Sergeant, the Senator: Treason or Heroism

The Sergeant who some years ago left his post in that unnecessary and unwinnable war in
Afghanistan is either a hero, a traitor, or just a terribly young man in the wrong war at the wrong time. He spent terrible years of torture and probably said things he didn’t really mean.

Some years ago in Vietnam, Senator McCain was shot down over Vietnam, another unconstitutional war, and equally unwinnable war, confessed repeatedly to things he later recanted, once safely in the United States, and is, quite rightly regarded, despite his confessions to American war crimes, a hero. The two cases are not quite completely on all fours, as we say in the law. But the similarity is sufficient to compare with each other and with the undergirding of law.

Presidents, from George Washington to Barack Obama, who are visited by war, either their own or, like Obama, inherited from another (in Obama’s case two other) fools who preceded them, have always had this power. While not yet president, and without this act may well not have become president, Ronald Reagan communicated with Iran, telling them, in effect, just to refuse to deal with Carter on releasing our citizens from the U. S. Embassy in Iran, and await his presidency. Their deal (which killed Jimmie Carter’s hope for a second term and by the way was treason, meriting a firing squad.)

The 30, 60, 90 day notification of Congress is also unconstitutional, but not for the reasons the Republicans and Democrats alike, trumpet. Saint Paul, as I recall, said “this trumpet has an uncertain sound.” And I know he said that some leaders have “zeal without knowledge.” This is Republican and Democratic leaders on steroids, just like my former wife.

The reason the War Powers Act is unconstitutional is not what is now said by either Republicans or Democrats, as I told Joe Biden when he was both Minority Senior member of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate and when he was chair. I testified before his committee a few times, and he called me at the law school sometimes to chat about this. The reason is simple. Due to both a few but very senior Democrats and almost all Republicans, Congress forced the Demo’s to give the president 30, 60, or 90 days to play with Congress’ army while he picked his nose. War has not been officially declared since FDR did it in WW2. George Bush (the first) and Colin Powell, in my opinion, got it right, constitutionally, by voting 50-50 in the Senate, and then the Dark Lord, Vice President Cheney, broke the tie and we went to war in Iraq the right way by law; and they had the smarts to stop when their limited mission was accomplished. And until this time, the President, as Commander in Chief, has no constitutional power to use the United States armed forces, save self-defense.

In the Framers’ mind that means only when the United States of America, not our allies, are attacked. For Utahns, the reason J. Reuben Clark, my hero and a great patriot, a rock-ribbed Republican who served under many Republican presidents, served variously as chief legal adviser to the Department of State (then, as an deputy Attorney General on loan from Justice to State,,,,,,now called Legal Adviser to the State Department; and Vice Secretary of State, and Ambassador to Mexico; and advised many presidents between world wars one and two, on all arms control treaties between those to dreadful wars) opposed NATO was because it delegated the war power to a generation not yet born and for the defense of people, and nations, not yet born. Neither the United Nations (Korean War) nor NATO (Ukraine?) can declare war for the United States of America. This is the statement of law, the War Clause, that makes this beyond debate. Remember, that it is also the sole right of Congress: not the President of the United States, nor NATO, nor the United Nations, that decides what constitutes International law, as well. So, both Constitutional Law and International Law, save an attack on the United States, inform us that Congress, not the president or these international bodies, who determines for war or peace.

So screw the people and the Congress and president now living. When the president, any president, has this army to use, that army will never return to Congress’ care. This is unconstitutional because it is an illegal attempt to delegate to the President a plenary power, given exclusively, textually, to the Congress. Like the power over interstate commerce (the road by which most civil rights legislation is constitutional), along with the equal protection and due process of law clauses of the 5th and 14th amendments. It’s as if Congress were to say to Obama, “Say, friend, we’re so damned tired of life in Washington, despite the cherry blossoms, we will do what the Supreme Court does, and reconvene when good weather returns. We’re going to go to Balboa Island, California, where it’s nice and sunny, in ocean or on the beach, and pick our nose and scratch our butts. And better yet, we have one in eight chances not to pick both with the same finger. Even though we’ve proven, time out of mind, that we in Congress cannot chew gum and pick our nose, simultaneously (a great blessing). So, pres., you now have the taxing and the spending power, and we’ll sweeten the loaf by throwing into the pot, since you do have to stick around in this shitty weather, and give you the power also to fund and provide for the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Navy. And don’t sweat it about financing things by the provision in the Constitution that spending bills begin in the House. Since you already have the taxing and spending power, do all this in the White House. P.S. please instruct the Treasury Department to deliver our checks, our salaries, and all the REALLY big bucks from the armaments industry and all those other lobbyists. We really have earned this right by selling our souls to the devil. Have a good life.

I say that both Senator and Soldier are bona fide heroes. Ed Firmage xoxox


What About a Sin Tax For War Profiteering?


Divine Strake Cancelled! Bush Administration Runs Two More Seasons

You know the saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me (I think that’s right. I’m lousy at math). If this was five years ago, Utahns would’ve been more ready to accept Divine Strake. Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and the Republican-ruled Congress would’ve made sure it happened. But time and truth betray the designs of ambitious fools. The lies of the Bush Administration about Iraq combined with the lies the government told us fifty years ago about the nuclear tests they were performing doomed Divine Strake. But I remember running the WCIA (no kidding, those are the call letters) newsroom in 2002, after 9/11 and the start of the Afghanistan War, watching the detonation of a so-called “bunker buster” bomb and thinking “Yeah- we’re going to find Bin Laden and his goons- in tiny bits.” But we never did, despite all our firepower, determination and revenge motivation. I consider Divine Strake a victory for peace-loving people everywhere. Mission accomplished. But I also feel sad. Sad our leaders thought we needed yet another test of another massive (if only theoretical) weapon to fight or simply intimidate enemies real or imagined. Sad we never caught the guys who committed the ugliest terrorist attack of our age. Sad the American people lost interest in pursuing justice for the 9/11 victims while allowing our misguided leaders and corporate news media to pursue a costly and futile adventure in an unrelated land. Divine Strake’s cancelation is a happy day. Yay. Now, we rejoin the sadness- which was already in progress.



While I always remain skeptical of sudden government announcements, I am overjoyed over today’s announcement (below). I and dozens of others have been working hard on this for about a year now.

Cancellation of Proposed Divine Strake Experiment

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) has decided to cancel the proposed Divine Strake experiment. ?I have become convinced that it?s time to look at alternative methods that obviate the need for this type of large-scale test,? said DTRA Director Dr. James A. Tegnelia. This decision was not based on any technical information that indicates the test would produce harm to workers, the general public, or the environment.

Divine Strake was a scientific experiment designed to significantly advance the nation?s ability to defeat underground facilities that produce and store weapons of mass destruction. The experiment would have entailed detonating a large amount of a common blasting agent over an existing tunnel at the Nevada Test Site. It was to be the largest in a series of experiments that relied on the specific geology at that location.

DTRA will attempt to develop alternative scientific means for obtaining the important data that this experiment would have provided. Such methods to assess capabilities to defeat underground facilities do not currently exist. The agency will develop advanced analysis techniques and conduct confirmatory experiments at a much smaller scale to assist in developing new capabilities to defeat underground facilities.

There is a national consensus on the need to improve conventional capabilities to defeat underground targets that pose a threat to the United States. ?DTRA remains committed to help develop non-nuclear means to defeat underground targets. I am optimistic that we will succeed,? said Tegnelia.
See more info at Dee’s ‘Dotes


KTVX Tells Bush to Shove His Missile Where the Divine Don’t Often Stray

Today, Vince Horiuchi, TV critic for the Salt Lake Tribune, took local TV station KTVX to task for its strong editorial position against Divine Strake, a non-nuclear weapons test proposed for the Nevada Test Site. While non-nuclear, it poses significant health threats to people living downwind, and it presages the beginning of a new nuclear arms race. It is another manifestation of the Bush Administration’s swagger that would be comical if its effects weren’t so deadly. Herewith my response to Vince and the other milktoasts of our present press corps.

Dear Vince,

The views of a TV critic don’t in my case generally provide fodder for a hot reader response, but yours today taking KTVX to task for editorializing against Divine Strake inspire me to think that nothing is impossible.

I, for one, applaud KTVX for their stance, and for the bold way in which they took it. Your criticism of them is what’s off base.

When Edward R. Murrow editorialized against Joseph McCarthy, he made the press proud. This week, KTVX made me proud.

I don’t believe in journalistic objectivity, or true objectivity in any profession outside mathematics. The ways in which our opinions shape what we say and how we say it are manifold and subtle and often far beyond any of us to recognize much less correct. Read the rest of this entry »


ABC Channel 4 Takes a “Determined Stance” Opposing Divine Strake.

BE SURE TO WATCH THIS STUNNING VIDEO and account of delivery of email comments that overloaded the government’s computers so channel 4 decided to deliver them. Watch and listen to the resistance they confronted and the statement by channel 4. Channel 4, KUDOS!!


Go to

or and click on the video for the story ‘ ABC 4 hand delivers viewers comments to the Department of Energy in Las Vegas ‘ that includes a moving commentary from Terry Wood, a 40-year veteran journalist.




The video may not work best with Firefox; if so, try Internet explorer.


KTVX Joins Fight Against Divine Strake; Hey, Legislators: Got Courage?

“We must all obey the great law of change. It is the most powerful law of nature.”- Edmund Burke

As I sat bored through the Super Bowl, I wondered why it didn’t seem to to matter. When I was younger and a huge Bears fan living in Chicago, it all seemed so important. Now, I didn’t even care if the Bears won. Lots of people watch the Super Bowl just to see the ads. Me too. I’ve been in TV all my life and it used to seem so important. But even the ads done by the Internet producers– groundbreaking for their inclusion if not their content or execution- were lame. Was it me? Or something else? The answer: Something so big it’s not only changing me but the entire planet and everyone on it. THE BIGGEST, MOST INSPIRING STORY OF ALL TIME: HOW WE SAVED THE EARTH. A lot of people don’t share my opinion but they’re just staving off the inevitable. Utah’s legislature, for example. Proposing bills about teens using cell phones and tanning booths: HEY, I HAVE A MOM! And our federal government-protectors of our precious natural resources- so desperate for cash they’re proposing to allow almost four times as many snowmobiles to further pollute and destroy Yellowstone, our most famous national park! As Utahns choke on our own airborne effluent and the U.S. government refuses to even recognize our climate dilemma, I see an incredible and encouraging trend not just among regular folks but among corporate media and American business. The latest flash: at 10 p.m. Sunday night, KTVX announced it was joining Gov. Huntsman in fighting Divine Strake. As someone who worked in the corporate media for 30 years, THIS IS BIG! Big Media taking a stand on a controversial issue that affects an ongoing war in which Utah lives are at stake both here and in Iraq. Newpapers taking editorial stands is not uncommon; the Tribune came out a couple of weeks ago against the test and even Deseret News and smaller papers have lined up against Bush/Cheney Inc. on DS. But TV stations are historically scared to death of pissing off anyone, especially their arch-right-wing sugar daddies in the automobile, pharmaceutical and, in this case, spiritual industries. You could tell something was up last week when they interviewed One Utah pundit Ed Firmage who persuaded the LDS to successfully oppose the MX missle system back the 1980s (which I covered as a reporter in Denver at KUSA). Channel 4’s coverage of Divine Strake has been ahead of the competiton but now they’ve taken it to a new level. I not only applaud the effort from a political standpoint. I think it’s about time corporate media do things that are just plain right for their communities. We discussed this at the Journalism That Matters conference in Memphis which I’ve written extensively about. It’s this kind of courage that can produce great things and endear a medium to a community, boost circulation/viewership and EVERYONE WINS! Not just a few wealthy sponsors or powerful politicians. It’s the courage all our corporate media, our state and federal governments still need to find in covering and making what will truly be- the greatest story ever told.


Divine Strake Testimony Utah State Capitol

Testimony before the Divine Strake hearings at the Utah State Capitol Jan 24, 2007

If you were to awake tomorrow, with no previous knowledge of the event, to learn that someone had detonated 700 tons of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil directly under an area of the West where tons of radioactive debris still scars the ground from 928 previous nuclear tests, throwing tons of radioactive debris into the atmosphere, in a 10,000 foot mushroom cloud, you would assume that we had been struck by terrorists. You would be right. The radioactive debris above this huge detonation in our own heartland will contaminate our air, our water, our land, and our food. Who but an enemy would do this? If this benighted administration insists upon committing an act of war upon the West, then at least Mr. Bush should ask Congress to declare war upon us, thus giving us fair warning of his intent.

This self-destructive explosion is designed to produce another generation of nuclear weapons. How can we do this when we already possess more nuclear weapons than all other nations combined? And at the same time demand that North Korea and Iran halt their nuclear program? Just how effectively can the town drunk call upon his community to go on the wagon? And in the process of testing further weapons we radiate our downwind communities, from St. George to Salt Lake City and thousands of miles eastward? We should be using the bully pulpit of government to rid ourselves and other nuclear weapon-states from the weapons we have, and not to build even more rubble bouncers. Instead, we encourage other nations to test and deploy nuclear weapons by our own example.

After the military test these weapons , we’ve faced in the West the attempts of our own government to deploy such weapons in our backyards. And then when these monster nuclear weapons are finally decommissioned, the government wants to bury their radioactive core right here in the West. So EnergySolutions (Envirocare by whatever name) can continue to make a million dollars a day for contaminating once again our land, our water, our air, and our food supply. Test, contaminate; deploy, decommission, bury, and contaminate once again. One eternal round. For the half-life of radioactive weapons goes on forever.

In democratic government we have the right and the power to change our mind and change our direction. We must stop our march toward the spread of nuclear weapons. Every weapons system ever developed has been eventually used. Let us stop this degradation of our environment and at the same time stop the relentless progression of nuclear weapons. If we reverse our course on nuclear weapons, we have the power of example and the integrity to encourage other states not to develop such weaponry.

We are encouraged to denounce war and proclaim peace. The defeat of Divine Strake is a good place to begin. Thank you.

Ed Firmage
Utah Capitol
West Building, room 135
January 24, 2007


Gay Sheep, Divine Strake, Bad Air and Todd Rundgren

Unlocking the secrets of the Zeitgeist is hazardous for the untrained humanist. But this one was easy. The controversial experiment on “gay sheep” is a firestorm that, of course, was started by bloggers and was eventually picked up by corporate media. As NYT discovered, the reality of the story is less interesting than what it says about human perceptions of reality, and how our prejudices prevent us from knowing real truth and taking corrective action. Similarly, the outrage over Divine Strake and lack of outrage over our air crisis is indicative of how our biases prevent us from learning and improving. Governor Huntsman and hundreds of others spoke out Wednesday at a special hearing on the proposed Divine Strake explosives test in Nevada. Their concerns are legitimate: loved ones dying of radiation-related illnesses, military and government officials lying, and the prospect of escalating tests up to and including nuclear weapons. But should we be more worried about Divine Strake than our air problem? How come hundreds of people don’t get together to talk and take action against conditions arguably more likely to kill us and ruin our loved ones’ lives? Because WE ARE ALL PART OF THE AIR PROBLEM but EXPECT OTHERS TO CONTROL THEMSELVES while we are UNWILLING TO CONTROL OURSELVES. Why? Because of our bias and prejudice toward ourselves and our perception that what “I” want individually is more important than anything: our families, our community, our planet- and ironically, even our own health. That’s why we’re getting fatter, sicker and stupider: we eat everything we want, expect someone else to heal us and can’t find the time to learn how to save ourselves. As long as Utahns- rugged, classic American individualists that we are- continue to drive without conscience and restraint, and refuse to take positive, immediate, personal action to curb our air problem, we lack the moral authority to tell or expect anyone else, including the military, oil and power companies, to do the same. Todd Rundgren asked “How can I change the world if I can’t change myself?” Given the lack of resolution of this moral dilemma, Divine Strake should not only be allowed to proceed. Perhaps it should be relocated to clear ground for the new Real Stadium in Sandy or the new landfill they’ll need to service Daybreak. At least we’d have the perception we’re getting something out if it.


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