Archive for May, 2011

What are we fighting for?

The child martyr: Hamza Ali al-Khateeb, 13, was tortured to death by Syrian security forces

Whitewashing the call for revolution all over the middle east  by giving it a cutsey name like some ad campaign,  “Arab spring”,   downplays the dreadful reality of these revolutions and their causes.  It is surreal to read about this death beside the adds at the side for the likes of Gretchen Rossi, Snooki, and the latest whatever tv show. You may not know of this 13 year old boy. His name was Hamza Ali al-Khateeb.  He was picked up by the Syrian security forces April 29th.  After a month, his body was returned to his family. His father was detained last week for making his torture and murder by the Syrian government forces public. Reading the details in the article here at the Mail Online is horrific.

Thousands of protesters took to the  streets in Syria this weekend chanting his name and clutching his photo.  Amidst the flashing ads for diet aids and the latest episode of whatever, you may have missed this. Here’s a bump.

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Reliable News about the Fukushima disaster

Reliable sources of information regarding what is going on at Fukushima have been difficult for me to find. I am appalled at the lack of focused attention this situation is receiving in the lamestream media.  TEPCO seems more interested in protecting itself than the Japanese people or the rest of the world.  Their official information may be supplying bits and pieces of the truth to the public, but  I don’t trust their analysis  of those facts.

Informational Websites

Fairewinds Associates

I have found the website of Fairewinds Associates, whose tagline claims it’s focus is  “Analysis and solutions to complex engineering, environmental, energy, and legal issues” to be filled with reasonable and expert analysis of the disaster. There are many videos of nuclear expert and chief engineer, Arnie Gunderson, and others discussing the crisis and it’s implications.

The newest video is here from May 13th: Fukushima – One Step Forward and Four Steps Back as Each Unit Challenged by New Problems

 Link to archive of Fukushima videos from the past few weeks on the Fairewinds site

Informational reports regarding recent nuclear energy concerns in the US on this Fairewinds link. 

*Thanks to Kawamoto Tacuo   for this creative commons liscensed photo of the fukushima power plant from 1996. Attribution Some rights reserved

Spread of Radiation

University of Maryland Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

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nuclear safety…under the radar

Through news reports and headlines, mass media functions very similar to radar in the public mind, pointing attention to what is important.  There are vast numbers of scientists and other well respected voices who disagree with the popular  sentiment of the safety of nuclear power generation.  These dissident views have been pointedly kept off the media radar for years.  Countering this carefully crafted perception of safety is  the very “in your face” nature of the Fukushima disaster.  Once you begin to pay attention to it, several things  start to become clear:  Safety parameters at the plant were/are  not adequate, and the timing, amount, and type of information focused on by the media does not always seem to reflect a philosophy of primary concern for the safety of people, whether they are plant workers, the general population, or the children and infants most at risk for radiation exposure.

To assist you to see below the contrived media radar, I provide the links below. Facts help you to decide for yourself and empower your decisions about what you would like to continue to believe and what is the truth.

One point of caution before you click, I urge you not to fall into the trap of thinking nuclear energy is the best of the worst that we’ve got. If you feel yourself going there, please read this short post of mine before you do: a new year’s re-soul-ution and check out the links I provide there.

Nuclear Information Links:

The United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s real-time list of nuclear events here by year:

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2011/

online resources about Fukushima:

http://www.nucleartourist.com/events/fukushima.htm

A list of US nuclear accidents and information about them:

http://lutins.org/nukes.html

Nuclear information and resource center:

http://www.nirs.org/

ALSOS/ Digital Library for Nuclear Issues/ Nuclear Accidents-Civilian:

http://alsos.wlu.edu/qsearch.aspx?browse=issues/Nuclear+Accidents+-+Civilian

also from ALSOS, digital resources about Nuclear Power:

http://alsos.wlu.edu/qsearch.aspx?browse=issues/Nuclear+Power

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$10 billion a month gets you…..Suck-cess

10 billion dollars a month are being poured into Afghanistan by the US alone. Read that figure again. 10 billion dollars …………a month.

Let’s pause a moment and evaluate what we are getting for a return on  that. Bin Laden’s gone. Great, right? A  10 year “mission accomplished”, well  that is something.  But you really have to ask the hard questions like,  “What difference did this accomplishment  make? ”

Let’s take a look at  mission accomplished, US style,  for the current cost of 10 billion dollars a month.

From the CIA factbook online  come the following interesting facts as of 5/2011:

* Afghanistan  is smaller than Texas. with a population estimated at 30,419,928  [about 5 million more people than Texas].   In the CIA’s rankings it has the second highest death rate in the entire world, the second highest infant mortality rate, and only  28% of the population 15 and over is  able to read and write.

* It’s current environmental issues include:

limited natural fresh water resources; inadequate supplies of potable water; soil degradation; overgrazing; deforestation (much of the remaining forests are being cut down for fuel and building materials); desertification; air and water pollution  [lightenup-add to those, undetonated mines, depleted uranium, and various other unexploded  projectiles scattered about ]

* This un-enlightening blurb  is about why the US is still there, again from the CIA website:

“Following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., a US, Allied, and anti-Taliban Northern Alliance military action toppled the Taliban for sheltering Osama BIN LADIN. The UN-sponsored Bonn Conference in 2001 established a process for political reconstruction that included the adoption of a new constitution, a presidential election in 2004, and National Assembly elections in 2005. In December 2004, Hamid KARZAI became the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan and the National Assembly was inaugurated the following December. KARZAI was re-elected in August 2009 for a second term. Despite gains toward building a stable central government, a resurgent Taliban and continuing provincial instability – particularly in the south and the east – remain serious challenges for the Afghan Government.”

* and finally:

 The economy has improved significantly since the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001 largely because of the infusion of international assistance, the recovery of the agricultural sector, and service sector growth. Despite the progress of the past few years, Afghanistan is extremely poor, landlocked, and highly dependent on foreign aid, agriculture, and trade with neighboring countries. Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government’s inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world. While the international community remains committed to Afghanistan’s development, pledging over $67 billion at four donors’ conferences since 2002, the Government of Afghanistan will need to overcome a number of challenges, including low revenue collection, anemic job creation, high levels of corruption, weak government capacity, and poor public infrastructure.

You may note the incredible statement at the beginning of the above paragraph:the economy has improved significantly. Yes indeed. The country that currently has one of the lowest living standards in the world, has improved  since the US occupation, not just a little, but significantly according to the CIA. Improved all the way from being the absolute worst place in the world to live to the 2nd absolute worst place in the entire world  to live. 

 After choking on that,you might also  have noticed this shocker: “Much of the population continues to suffer from shortages of housing, clean water, electricity, medical care, and jobs. Criminality, insecurity, weak governance, and the Afghan Government’s inability to extend rule of law to all parts of the country pose challenges to future economic growth. Afghanistan’s living standards are among the lowest in the world.”

All that for  10 Billion dollars a month. Now that’s what you call Suck cess.*
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