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So, when do we get that ‘Peace Dividend’?

Sat, Mar 26, 2011

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by gregg brazel

Peace and kindness to you, my brothers and sisters of all the lands
and seas of this turbulent world. I hope you and yours are managing to
maintain your sanity and lives in these dreary days. I wish with all my
being for nothing other than the madness to end, RIGHT NOW!

I don’t consider myself a “blogger”; in fact, I don’t even like the word. I just pound out some observations that wind up posted here or there, so I truly appreciate Guy offering to publish these words. My readership is very modest, which is not a concern. This as an exercise in mental health …. a way to get some of those nagging disturbances “out there” so I can move on to other things.

So you’ll note I’m a bit peeved. You see, the Peace Laureate has launched one more little war of aggression to seize yet another cache of valuable resources coveted by his financiers, that is, the ruthless but highly organized global crime syndicate that he fronts. This despite the fact that while politicking in 2007 and 2008, the Peace Laureate and constitutional lawyer repeatedly proclaimed, thereby demonstrating that he knew, the truth: only Congress has the power to make war; waging it unilaterally is illegal and unconstitutional, and smacks of dictatorship. But as we all know, what a candidate says is much different from what s/he actually intends, and dictators don’t rule “democracies”.

Yes, another “humanitarian war” (ah, please come back for a visit, Mr. Orwell. You’d be astonished) has been conjured up through the blessing of the UN, this time in oil-rich Libya. So it goes. The apologists and enablers who continue to provide cover for this wanton slaughter, and the unaccountable miscreant who solely brings it forth, should knock it off already. Seriously, if you believe in God or karma or fate or just being on the right side of reality, you would condemn this madman with equal vigor as you might have the psychopaths and mass murderers who came before him, from whatever nation they came.

Dead children and their families care not a whit if their murderer is Republican or Democrat. To allege it is impossible for Obama to quit launching his lethal bombing raids on defenseless, innocent villagers — that somehow the Republicans are forcing him to commit these atrocities — is a terrible lie.

There is no conceivably legitimate reason to continue and expand this wholesale destruction and irradiation of an entire region. Not national security, nor “humanitarian intervention”, nor even barbaric vengeance for some previous act can explain it away. No, Obama could stop his savage slaughter campaign this very minute if he wanted to. Why doesn’t he? Because he doesn’t want to. That’s all there is to it, people. To say or believe otherwise is fallacy, political rhetoric, and rationalization of totally unnecessary killing on a grand scale.

What does this deliberate terror campaign say of the man? What sort of creature is this? How much longer will we as a nation permit and condone such crimes against humanity? Will you fall for the “lesser evil” ruse and vote for one of these heinous villains again in 2012? Or will you put your foot down and show that they have no consent to rule you or deliver your children’s futures into the hands of their demonic backers?

In related news, a bit of poking ‘round the nuke power industry reveals that — surprise! — big biz has been in bed with big gov for decades, conspiring to conceal the obvious dangers of nuclear plants and the resultant waste. There’s big money (as in, your money) in them thar silos, folks. Gotta get them time bombs built, even if they do kill off legions of plebes who pay for them!

The greatest propaganda coup of the last century must be the successful propagation of the meme: “there’s no such thing as conspiracy”. Average people are convicted of “conspiracy to” this or that every day in this nation. They are then sent off to rot in the world’s largest, and for-profit, corporate gulag, along with 2,297,400 of their country -men, -women and -children.
But law only applies to the commoners. The elites, almost invariably, skate on by. Their crimes are so unconscionable, so grotesque, odious and unfathomable, that the mind boggles at the audacity to such a degree that these serial killers are actually congratulated, richly rewarded, and finally celebrated as heroes at their funeral pageants.

Dear lord, insanity does rule this world.

I think we are each given only so many free passes in this life, so many “that’s the way it is”-es, a limited supply of “it’s out of my control”-s, before we are officially “with them”. I believe that, yes, God — however you define that being or concept — really is watching.

Fight the good fight, brothers and sisters.

________

gregg brazel is a designer, builder, and traveler. He lives in Michigan and plans to WWOOF in Mexico. An earlier draft of this essay appeared at his website.

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143 Responses to “So, when do we get that ‘Peace Dividend’?”

  1. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    I’m torn by your essay gregg. On one hand I agree with you. I’m so sick and tired of these atrocities against humankind being perpetuated by my government, to which I pay a considerable amount of my income. On the other hand, since we started recording history, human beings have been committing various heinous acts against one another over and over and over. That these latest wars have been over oil is really inconsequential. For centuries it has been about territory. Before that it was about food. Often it has been about religion. The Bible is full of examples of resource wars. The only real difference between then and now is scale.

    I’m not excusing Mr. Obama. But I’m not blaming him either. As a rule, human beings who reach positions of authority seem to be incapable of waging peace.

    My guess is that it’s a genetic trait common to all vertebrates. After all, it really is a survival skill that’s gone to the extreme. Not everyone has it to the same degree, but almost all of us will do whatever we have to do to survive if we feel threatened – even kill someone. Unfortunately, so many are now dependent on the industrial economy for their very existence that when it’s threatened, it is the same as threatening the humans behind it.

    So, until there are far, far fewer of us, we will go right on killing and destroying each other any time we feel as if our lives are in danger and we have no other option.

  2. john rember Says:

    Gregg: It’s obvious that you have a lot to say, and it’s also obvious that you’re writing down every third thought or so. I’d like to see the other two thoughts, because you’re a seriously intelligent writer. But you’re not all that specific.

    I hope you start laying out, in detail, the terrible truths after identifying the terrible lies.

    As for Obama, I’m voting Republican next election as the lesser act of nihilism.

  3. Kevin Moore Says:

    Unfortunately the US has a fairly unbroken record of interfering in the affrairs of other nations or actually invading them that goes back well over 100 years. Obama or his successor couldn’t possibly break that tradition: it would be ‘unAmerican’.

    It’s much the same for the Nato countries that are associated with the various invasions and atrocities, of course, notably Britain, which has been invading nations and killing civilians for many centuries.

    Important spoils of war are the ability to write the official history of it and to hold trials for defeated leaders.

    As I understand it, under the protocols of the Nuremberg trials Bush and Blair would be hung as war criminals.

  4. Graham Wells Says:

    “As I understand it, under the protocols of the Nuremberg trials Bush and Blair would be hung as war criminals.”

    No, Kevin. They would be *hanged* as war criminals.

    And who knows, as history seems to move fast these days…

  5. Kathy Says:

    Gregg, yes Obama is a disaster. Since the right wing bashes him, often for doing the same things Bush did, it is hard sometimes to not want to defend him, but he has done nothing defensible.

    John Pilger, seems to think that Obama may have once worked for the CIA (he worked at one time for Business International which has a long history of providing cover for the CIA). That would make sense. That would mean we have been had once again.

  6. Regina Kaniewski-Turcios Says:

    I’m living in hope that Obama is “playing the long game” and giving these extreme Republicans enough rope to hang themselves….but he has broken so many promises!? he has however visited El Salvador last week to commemorate Archbishop Romero’s anniversary. Which leads me to ask in turn why is it that recently dead Pope John Paul is to be shortly beatified whilst Romero not considered?————only kidding I know the answer

  7. Michael Irving Says:

    Graham Wells,

    Webster says:

    Hanged = pret. & p.p. of “hang”

    Hung = pret. & p.p of “hang”

    Officious = tight ass

    You can do better in the face of Gregg’s post.

    Michael Irving

  8. Jan Steinman Says:

    The REAL Dr. House Says: “I’m so sick and tired of these atrocities against humankind being perpetuated by my government, to which I pay a considerable amount of my income.”

    Then stop!

    There are numerous ways to do this. Any of them take courage.

    1) Leave the US. If you give up your citizenship, you no longer have to pay US taxes. If you don’t want to give up citizenship, and don’t have a problem with “cheating,” at least your income is harder to trace. And if you choose to “go legit” and ‘fess up to the US Treasury, you get a tax credit for anything you pay to a foreign government. Since the US has among the lowest taxes in the world, this effectively means you’ll pay little or nothing to the US.

    2) Become a tax resister. You could be thrown in jail. But you can hold your head higher than if you simply cheat on your taxes.

    3) Take up voluntary poverty. Not for the faint-of-heart, but if you can afford a paid-for dwelling with a bit of land to grow food, you can get by fairly well below the minimum tax level. This is arguably the best option for combating any number of civilization’s ills, including peak energy and global warming, because if you don’t make much money, you don’t spend much money, and spending money is arguably the cause of much of our troubles.

    After the second invasion of Iraq, I swore that Son-Of-A-Bush would not use any of my money to fund war. So we chose a combination of #1 and #3.

    Between a higher minimum income level for taxation and free health care, Canada is much nicer to poor people than the US is. But then, just about any other country in the world is nicer to poor people than the US.

    (Before the trolls arrive: other than free health care — a biggie — and an occasional agricultural grant, we don’t try to take advantage of any other social welfare systems here.)

  9. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    I’m asking your forgiveness for being a butt on the previous post. I hope your take on Japan holds.

    As for Gregg’s post, do you put Obama down as evil or a victim of circumstance? And what do you make of the Marines heading into the Mediterranean? Will we soon discover that there is a need for peacekeepers and suddenly we need to put “boots on the ground?”

    Is Gregg’s post the rant of a Tea Party true believer or the deeply held convictions of a serious anti-war activist? I hold those two positions to be mutually exclusive contending that Tea Party opposition to Obama’s wars is based on political rather than humanitarian grounds. All the Tea Party supporters I know are the same people who, in response to our action in Iraq, drove around with flags on their cars chanting “We’re #1!”

    Michael Irving

  10. Kathy Says:

    Michael, we sure do agree on the Tea Party. They by and large object to Obama because of the color of his skin and because they watch too much Glenn Beck and other Fox idiots. That is my frustration, that Obama is clearly just a version of Bush (and in some ways worse) and thus I want to bash him but hard to do when the Tea Party is bashing him for pseudo reasons but really because he had the effrontery of daring to become President. But all that said, don’t you think it shows how crafty TPTB are, to put in power someone who the left will be afraid to bash even though he is running the same agenda. Bought them a couple of years eh?

  11. Privileged Says:

    The fact that people are still voting puzzles me. What exactly are we voting for? Is it a system that requires pain and suffering below in order for there to be profit at the top? Is it because we feel a civic duty? I don’t see any anti-civ candidates so quit wasting time and learn a useful skill.

  12. Kathy Says:

    full article at http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/7493328.html
    More obstacles impede crews in Japan nuke crisis
    By YURI KAGEYAMA and MARI YAMAGUCHI Associated Press © 2011 The Associated
    TOKYO — Mounting problems, including incorrect radiation figures and a shortage of storage tanks, stymied emergency workers Sunday as they tried to nudge Japan’s stricken nuclear complex back from the edge of disaster.
    Workers are struggling to remove radioactive water from the tsunami-ravaged nuclear compound and restart the regular cooling systems for the dangerously hot fuel.
    The day began with company officials reporting that radiation in leaking water in the Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times above normal, a spike that forced employees to flee the unit. The day ended with officials saying the huge figure had been miscalculated and offering apologies.
    “The number is not credible,” said Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Takashi Kurita. “We are very sorry.”

  13. Michael Irving Says:

    Kathy,
    Damn, there’s a confidence builder.

    Michael Irving

  14. Kevin Moore Says:

    Let’s face it, the world is run by international corporations (especially oil companies) and money lenders, for the benefit of international corporations and money lenders. The military are just a subset of system -and have been for at least 200 years.

    This system had ‘humnle’ beginnings in the 1600s. It has taken four centuries to reach the present level corruption and control. There seems to be no way for this system to end other than in tragedy.

    The NZ economy is about to be ‘saved’ via exploration for oil off the east coast by the Brazilians. Security forces will ensure there is no interference with this by anyone with different ideas.

    Privileged.

    ‘The fact that people are still voting puzzles me. What exactly are we voting for?’

    I believe the purpose of elections is to provide leaders with faux authority to govern. There is no doubt in my mind that all elections in western nations are charades, orchestrated by corporations, and geared to putting psychopaths, puppets and opportunists into office. But I guess you already know that.

  15. Victor Says:

    But I guess you already know that.

    Indeed…..*sigh*

  16. Privileged Says:

    @ Kevin

    I agree that tragedy is really the only way out at this point. In fact that seems to be the only thing of late that wakes us up momentarily. The only problem is this time most will be dead from this “awakening.”

  17. Kevin Moore Says:

    Kathy.

    All that hosing with sea water may have prevented a meltdown (we’re not even sure of that yet) but the water had to go sonmewhere -like back into the ocean. So now we must assume the creatures living in the Pacific have to contend with nuclear radiation as well as mercury, degraded plastic, acidification etc.

    Oh, I nearly forgot: the oceans are too big for humans to have any effect on them.

  18. Victor Says:

    The evolution and fall of modern civilisation – must see video:

    https://mail.google.com/mail/?shva=1#inbox/12ef39b82f683d76

  19. g.brazel Says:

    John,

    I apologize for all the holes in the logic, how I got from there to here. This piece was just some venting, not a serious attempt to document or prove my beliefs, which are absolutely genuine… there is no hyperbole in my thoughts or words. I DO mean psychopath, and I DO mean mass murderer.

    The latter is self-evident with a quick look at civilian casualty numbers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen(?) and now Libya (I’ve excluded Iraq because that is mostly the work of the previous mass murderer). The former is also apparent to those who’ve looked up the characteristics of the psycho/socio-path. The primary characteristic is the inability to feel compassion or empathy. In place, there is nothing, a total void.

    Now, put yourself in the position where you “have to” order missile strikes on a regular basis, and you absolutely know there will be civilian casualties. You do this repeatedly, day-in, day-out. Dead, dead, and more dead civilians because of your orders. And rarely is “the enemy” among the dead. How would you feel? Would you be out playing golf, or on TV picking your favorites for the NCAA basketball tournament? Would you stand in front of a crowd of “journalists” and make this joke http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WWKG6ZmgAX4 ?

    See? Psychopath. Dubya also had it bad. Here’s his greatest hit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9EbssUgHj4 (warning: graphic war images). Note also his audience, the press and politicos ―the enablers― yukking it up also. Maybe they are all psychos.

    *** comic relief / related (one of the best standup videos of all time, imo, and loads of history “dress to kill” eddie izzard): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAOLOGGftTY ***

    My next essay will back these broad statements with facts. As such, it will be pretty lengthy… as such, i’m putting it off as long as I can ― lol.

    peace -g

  20. Victor Says:

    Michael

    Obama is evil. Has been from the beginning.

    A lot of right-wing neo-fascists truly believe that the only way to success in Libya is boots on the ground…does Obama have the guts?…we shall see. Whatever happens, however, the oil will be protected…

    Tea Partiers, IMHO, are dupes of the billionaire club. They will swallow the line about smaller government (for the rich), lower taxes (for the rich), and reduced regulations (for the rich). I really feel sorry for them. Many are well-meaning, but naive. But is Gregg a Tea partier? I do not know. Perhaps you should ask him…. ;-)

    The USA is no longer a democracy. You should know that. You should take it to heart. You should meditate on it. You should accept it. Democrats? Republicans? No difference. They dance to the same piper – the ruling 1%.

    The USA is a third world country, no better than an average banana republic. It’s citizens still actually believe they have a say in how the country is run. How pathetic.

  21. Kevin Moore Says:

    I find it fascinating that Tony B Liar had a meeting with Gadaffi ‘in a tent’ several years ago to arrange the export of a portion of Libya’s fossil energy. Presumably the meeting was sponsored by BP.

    So what went wrong recently? What did Gadaffi do to upset BP?

  22. Kathy Says:

    Dr. Helen Caldicott on the nuclear disaster in Japan
    Listen or read at http://www.energybulletin.net/stories/2011-03-26/dr-helen-caldicott-nuclear-disaster-japan

    Only thing is that she thinks solar, geothermal, etc can save us. Other than that great interview

  23. g.brazel Says:

    Michael,

    Am I a tea partier? I would say not, but I have no idea what they stand for. From the little I’ve heard from them, I gather that they don’t either. I’d say the same for most Ds and Rs.

    If I HAD to put a label on my political persuasion, it would be anarchist (which is not what most people believe it to be). Am I a “serious anti-war activist”? I wouldn’t say that, but I’ve done some work here and there, and met and housed some fascinating people along the way (Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Stephen Lendman, Jane Goodall). I do not attend many rallies or other such things, but seriously anti-war, I am. Smedley Butler’s “War is a Racket” has been very influential, along with a lot of research into the realities of war coming from people such as war vets, generals, politicos, and the off-record statements of people like Henry Kissinger, Bush I&II, Madame Albright, Billary, and Zbig Brzezinski (see http://ehrlum.com/wildbigsur/brief-history-war-peace.htm )

    Here are some previous posts that provide more context and background on my beliefs and political evolution: http://ehrlum.com/groundup/022709/ http://ehrlum.com/groundup/9-23-08/ http://ehrlum.com/groundup/11-14-08/

    Thanks for your inquiry and reading my post, g

  24. Sue Says:

    Victor, Why does the link you posted take me to my email inbox?

  25. g.brazel Says:

    Privileged,

    I agree on the voting hoax. I encourage people to vote their conscience (which for me is always a “third” party), or not vote at all. My reasoning is here http://ehrlum.com/groundup/9-23-08/

    regards, g

  26. Privileged Says:

    @g

    I would be interested in hearing about your WWOOFing experience in Mexico. My wife and I will start WWOOFing this summer and are considering Mexico eventually.

  27. g.brazel Says:

    @sue

    damn. what a loss. rest in peace, joe.

  28. g.brazel Says:

    Privileged,

    I will post some pics and words from Mexico at my website.

    Good luck in your wwoofing adventures.

  29. g.brazel Says:

    Michael,

    As to your question, “do you put Obama down as evil or a victim of circumstance?” Evil is a loaded word, full of religious/mythical connotation (yes, I do use it occasionally). But, I do feel that the system is such that no truly good wo/man can make it to the top. The requirements of the job are such that “the winner” must continue the killing and plunder.

    Those candidates who succeed in present times are always willing to do so. If they weren’t, they wouldn’t get the nomination. If a candidate campaigned (sincerely) on ending the wars, cutting pentagon spending down to sane levels, abolishing the Federal Reserve, or enacting economic policies that would equitably distribute wealth, they would not be funded by the corporate state. Whoever collects the most money wins.

    If the candidate does win and then decides once in office to take the above measures, they and their party would have to sit the next round out, and they would either be impeached or assassinated to reinforce the message.

    So, my feeling is that only those able and willing to do the dirty work run and win. I don’t see your question as an either/or.

    As far as marines in the Mediterranean, I am experiencing battle fatigue and haven’t gotten into that one very far yet. I don’t know exactly what is going on there, but have no plausible reason to suspect it’s not more of the same. I mean, why on earth would it be?

    peace, g

  30. Victor Says:

    Sue

    So sorry for that…obviously placed the wrong link – try this:

  31. Victor Says:

    Joe Bageant gone? Damn! What a loss! Brilliant man. Rest in peace.

  32. Sue Says:

    Thanks Victor, freaked me out =0
    Sad to lose Joe.
    Why don’t we ever lose the asshats ?

  33. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Joe was the greatest. He could make you laugh and cry and swear all at the same time. Big loss.

  34. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Years ago a wise man said, “If voting changed the system, it would be illegal.”

  35. Carrie Says:

    Kevin,

    “Oh, I nearly forgot: the oceans are too big for humans to have any effect on them.”

    You crack me up. LOL. Guess it just shows that we are getting a little to big for our britches now that we are laying waste to something as enormous as the Pacific ocean. I think we are in line for a big spanking. American schools don’t believe in corporal punishment any more but I think Ma Earth may have different views on that subject…..or perhaps she is one who believes in allowing children to suffer from the consequences of their actions. Either way we are pretty much screwed.

    Privileged: You vote to earn the right to complain. If you don’t vote then you made no effort to change the status quo so you should sit quietly in a corner and accept the stink emanating from the bathroom because you didn’t even attempt to flush the toilet. Yes, all of us dweebs who do vote are taken for a ride every time we enter the voting booth but at least we tried.

    Carrie

  36. Privileged Says:

    @ Carrie

    I used to use that old adage but then I realized that voting for something that is ultimately killing me is a sure sign of insanity. Trying for me isn’t good enough at this point. I’ll take a different approach and see where that takes me…stay tuned.

  37. Carrie Says:

    Privilege: Insanity? It seems to me that the insane do not understand what it is that they do, that is why pleading insanity can keep you out of the slammer. From what I can tell the majority of voters that I have the privilege talk to about each election, know exactly what they are doing. Also, voting and taking action are not mutually exclusive.

  38. Privileged Says:

    I suspect many do know what they’re doing which is my point. When you continue to participate in a process that more or less gives you the same result and yet you expect a differnt outcome, well that sound like insanity to me.

    By all means take some action. Individuals can start simply by walking away from the voting process.

  39. Carrie Says:

    Jan: I am going to pick #3 and live a simpler life. It is my belief that the evil rich powerful corporations are evil, rich and powerful because we bought their product. If we don’t buy, they go bankrupt and thus have no money or power. Our purchasing choices run their war machines.

  40. Robin Datta Says:

    A very thoughtful essay,Gregg Brazel. Thank you, sir. As with

    most essays and comments on NBL, I wish the unrealistic wish that

    you too were wrong.

    Kevin Moore: It’s much the same for the Nato countries that

    are associated with the various invasions and atrocities, of

    course, notably Britain, which has been invading nations and

    killing civilians for many centuries.

    While such military adventures are rightfully classified as

    morally repugnant, they are laden with unforeseen and

    unintended consequences: I owe my existence to the Second World

    War. But for it, my parents – both then commissioned officers

    in the British Indian Army, from different areas of the Indian

    subcontinent, and unable to understand each other’s native

    tongues – would not have met.

    Kevin Moore: As I understand it, under the protocols of the

    Nuremberg trials Bush and Blair would be hung as war

    criminals.

    From my father’s war stories about his time as a regimental

    medical officer in southeast Asia in WWII, the Nuremberg

    nooses would have nicely fit some Allied necks.

    In any conflict, history is written by those who survive to

    write it. In the Balkans and in the Indian subcontinent, the

    invading Muslims of history – Turks in case of the Balkans,

    and the Persians in the case of the Indian subcontinent – are

    liberating heroes to the present Muslim populations, and

    villains to the rest. If the British manage to secure a victory

    in their present conflicts, the locals who cooperate with them

    now, are the ones who will be written into history as the

    heroes- otherwise it will be the other party. In the history

    of the Vietnam conflict, the locals who sided with the

    Americans have bees consigned to oblivion.

    Michael Irving Will we soon discover that there is a need

    for peacekeepers and suddenly we need to put “boots on the

    ground?

    Robotics has not – and with the current Peak Oil scenarios may

    never – advanced to the point where robots can be the winners

    in wars. The infantryman (or rifleman in the case of the

    Marine Corps) witi his personal weapon is the ultimate

    enforcer. Everything else is ancillary: when such proxies

    fail, troops are tho only resort left.

    Kathy we sure do agree on the Tea Party

    How to get something done is a issue handled by the brain’s

    higher cognitive centers; the “why”s that are subordinate to

    higher-level “how”s are also handled here. However, the

    highest-level “why”s are in the domain of affect, ethics and

    aesthetics:emotion, virtue and beauty – something honorable,

    loving, beautiful &c.

    Seen this way “conservative” politics claims to promote

    individual responsibility and “liberal” politics claims to

    promote societal responsibility, each with its concomitants in affect, ethics and aesthetics. Although the “Tea Party” seems to lie in the right of this spectrum, its primary motivations seem to rest elsewhere: vengeance and anger, neither of which is conducive to positive long-term results.

    Privileged The fact that people are still voting puzzles

    me. What exactly are we voting for?

    From an anarchist perspective a vote cast is one’s sanction given to continuation of the system. Voting was mandatory in the Soviet Union.

  41. Privileged Says:

    @ Robin

    Word.

  42. john rember Says:

    Gregg: I very much look forward to your longer essays.

    On the problem of psychopaths, I’ve found a true-crime novel, “Doc,” an illuminating if disturbing study of a psychopath in a small Mormon community in Wyoming. Toward the end of the book, the author [Jack Olsen] points out that psychopaths will always spontaneously arise in every community. What is all important is the community’s way of dealing with psychopaths, and the community in question, because it respects a patriarchal religion and a patriarchal medical establishment, has no defenses against psychopathy at all.

    Perhaps the only reason to have a community is to defend against psychopaths. That it can’t defend against psychopaths strikes me as the biggest weakness of anarchism, both in its classical and popular definitions.

    Another book that I’ve found valuable is “Meeting the Shadow” edited by Zweig and Abrams. It’s an anthology of articles on the dark side of human nature, and it throws some light [dark light] on our our culture’s ongoing suicide attempt. In particular, it has some insightful articles on the dark side of Buddhism and other religions.

    A final book that you might enjoy [!] is M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie,” which records a psychotherapist’s growing belief in human evil.

    Sorry if this comment seems like a homework assignment–old habits die hard. But I found your essay deeply important in that it identifies elements of humanity that make things more insane rather than rational, in a situation where the rationality of our fellow human beings is our last hope. There are a number of writers out there who have been working on this problem and they’ve at least identified the bedrock it rests upon.

  43. g.brazel Says:

    george carlin on voting: “if you vote, you have no right to complain.”

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/667854/

    (language)

  44. Michael Irving Says:

    Robin Datta,

    I’m sorry I confused you. The term “boots on the ground” is used by some (mainly military personnel) to indicate that ground forces, that would be men and women with guns, will be inserted into a conflict as infantry (armor, artillery, etc.). President Obama promised (March 22, 2011) “No boots on the ground” in Libya. I took that to mean he would not insert any infantry into the conflict, and instead would only be blowing the crap out of people from the air. My question to Victor, in that context was whether or not Victor thought the US Marines (shipping out to the Mediterranean) would see combat.

    I used the term “boots on the ground” as a short hand, thinking it was common knowledge, since the President used it in a speech. Victor, to whom the comment was addressed, seemed to understand the reference. I’m sorry you were not familiar with it.

    I also got it that you are a career military officer, a doctor I believe, and are pulling rank on me. I was only a grunt, US Regular Army 1964-70.

    Michael Irving

  45. Victor Says:

    I believe strongly that voting is as direct a form of approval of the system as you can manage. When you cast your vote, you are saying in effect, “I approve of the system we have, and I participate in its processes.”. Voting will never change the system; it will only extend it.

    The only true means of change has to come from either violent resurrection, or from consistent and persistent social disobedience.

    Somehow people think that holding a protest march will change things. They could be right IF they finished the march. Finishing the march means that when the people arrive at their destination, they make noise. And when the police decide they should break up, they refuse. And when the authorities challenge them to leave, they disobey and stay. And they stay until change is effected.

    I think the main problem with the modern version of the protest is that they continue to obey authority.

    We should refuse to vote. We should find ways of punishing the corporations by abstaining from their products as much as possible. We should refuse to obey authority when protesting. We should re-discover the General Strike and bring everything in the country to a screeching halt, and keep it there until change is made. That is civil disobedience in my mind.

  46. Michael Irving Says:

    Gregg,

    I have no illusions about Obama any more. The hook JFK stuck in me early on repeatedly snags me. I was young, idealistic, and thought we could change the world. My friends found me studying back in the stacks and told me of the shooting. Maybe I will never recover from that. Dennis Kucinich still turns me on 10 times a year and I’ll admit I really, REALLY wanted Obama to be something else. I knew it wasn’t true, but hope springs eternal.

    Similarly, I am a believer in the founding ideals of the American Republic, even though anyone can find a thousand reasons for labeling them false. I hate to admit it but I’m probably controlled by the propaganda I was fed as a kid growing up in the 50s. I knew we Americans had just helped stitch the world back together after the war. Just on that basis I knew we were the good guys. Hope dies hard.

    Plus, would you believe it, I’m a union guy! I’m a total sucker for the Democrats.

    I am kind-of like Kathy too, with her, “You’ll have to pry my gun (oops, books) from my cold dead hands.” The reason I use my full name here is that I want those sons-of-bitches to know I’m pissed off when the c&%$uck@rs read this. I hate this crap-hole police state where I have to watch what I say on the phone because Big Brother is listening.

    One more thing about America, as late as the 90s it was a place where a smuck like me could sit down for a half-hour meeting with the Speaker of the House. You could meet with your Senators. You could talk with your State representatives. You could present your case and discuss your issues. If you did a good job, and (as I thought) had right on your side, you would see important, long lasting, changes. Maybe that was then, and this is now. I haven’t worked on anything but local issues lately. I do know that representative democracy was working for me, at least for a while. I never thought the US was perfect, but I did think we could make it better. As I said, hope dies hard.

    Michael Irving

  47. Kathy Says:

    Carrie, if we all stopped voting they, TPTB would know the game is up. Not going to happen, but in fact TPTB do pay attention to how many vote. It is tabulated as voter dissatisfaction and it tells them something that a vote for Tweedle Dum or Tweedle Dee cannot. It is the only way to answer the question of who to elect with the answer that is not provided “none of the above” which is a valid statement. Hey maybe we could start writing in “Noneofthe Above” on our ballots. I think in fact that if a very sizable group refused to vote it would begin to make TPTB very nervous.

    I always vote, but perhaps it is no longer relevant and just helps keep the fiction going.

    http://www.theonion.com/video/diebold-accidentally-leaks-results-of-2008-electio,14214/

  48. Victor Says:

    Kathy

    Creative video….more truth than fiction there, eh?

  49. Victor Says:

    Sorry Kathy….the Helen Caldicott interview was as biased, or more so, as an interview with a representative of the nuclear industry. Perhaps she just rubs me the wrong way, but almost everything she says is clouded with hyperbole and scaremongering, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong – there is truth in some of what she says – it is just blown out of proportion.

    When she says that the nuclear industry is far more safe than the coal industry, she loses all respect from me. There is not a dirtier industry in the world than coal – not even a close contender (with the possible exception of the petrochemical industry).

    The lady is obviously on a mission, and nothing, not even truth will deter.

  50. Kathy Says:

    I don’t always trust that the Market Skeptics is right but his post today brings up some info that might mean things are getting really really dicey in the economy. “My reaction: The Fed is FREAKING OUT. 1) The Fed has pumped nearly $500 billion into the system since the start of 2011.
    2) All is NOT well “behind the scenes”. “Something BIG is going down and it’s NOT good.”
    Conclusion: There is no recovery. As I said before, the world is headed towards a disconnect. The markets will freeze (a big “bank holiday”), and, once people understand what is going on, the dollar will be worthless.”

    http://www.marketskeptics.com/2011/03/the-fed-is-freaking-out-2.html Comments?

    Several pieces I have read in the past few days have indicated the housing market might be getting worse. “And it’s only getting worse: The national vacancy rate crept up to just over 13% according to last week’s decennial census report. That’s up from 12.1% in 2007.” http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Housing-market-13-of-all-US-cnnm-62477853.html;_ylt=Av7Ty.YfhdP09i9azKAsUNy7YWsA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1NXI0aG1uBHBvcwM2BHNlYwN0b3BTdG9yaWVzBHNsawNob3VzaW5nbWFya2U-?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=3&asset=&ccode=

    “The housing market is now in full retreat. This week, the Commerce Department reported that sales of new homes plunged nearly 17 percent in February to a 250,000 annual pace. ” Mike Whitney http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney03252011.html

    The auto industry disruptions triggered by Japan’s earthquake and tsunami are about to get worse….ecause parts and supplies are shipped by slow-moving boats, the real drop-off has yet to be felt by factories in the U.S., Europe and Asia. That will come by the middle of April. “This is the biggest impact ever in the history of the automobile industry,” says Koji Endo, managing director at Advanced Research Japan in Tokyo. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/As-Japan-shutdowns-drag-on-apf-1842426479.html?x=0&sec=topStories&pos=1&asset=&ccode=

    Is the next round of shit about to hit the fan?

  51. Mike Says:

    Chris Hedges posted a nice elaboration at Truthdig. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_collapse_of_globalization_20110328/

    As far a voting goes, voters excercise more “power” when voting in local elections regarding local issues. Of course democracy is better suited to populations that actually have a grasp in reality on what is happening around them. It is debatable as to whether America has ever had representative government “by and for the people.”

  52. Kathy Says:

    Mike thanks for posting the Hedges article. Man he is on a roll now since he separated from the NY Times. I particularly liked these comments “Who wants to shatter the myth that the human race is evolving morally, that it can continue its giddy plundering of non-renewable resources and its profligate levels of consumption, that capitalist expansion is eternal and will never cease?…They peddle the self-delusional dream of inevitable human progress. They assure us we will be saved by science, technology and rationality and that humanity is moving inexorably forward.”

    So he advocates civil disobedience. I personally think that the situation is beyond saving – we are on a runaway train and perhaps we are only left with the stance taken at the end of the movie Runaway Train http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0089941/ – defiantly enjoying the ride on the way to the wreck.

    Hedges mentions Ayn Rand and Greenspan – for a lighter take on the two see the Versus Plus song – The Cinders of Ayn Rand http://versusplus.com/cinders.html

  53. Victor Says:

    It is debatable as to whether America has ever had representative government “by and for the people.”

    Indeed. I believe America has been designed from the beginning to be ruled by a relatively small group of very powerful elite, as is plain to see in their Constitution. For a good portion of their history this powerful elite was composed of “old money” with an overall favourable view of a somewhat representative democracy ruled, “by and for the people”, though perhaps more emphasis on the “for” than the “by”.

    Over the years, however, the power elite changed hands from old money to a class of sociopathic scum led by Wall Street banksters and multi-national corporate executives, whose principles and loyalties, if they had any at all, rested solely with money and profits. They had an interest in ruling the government only to the extent they could control its tendencies to tax, regulate and gain entry into new markets across the world through its military might. They had little interest in democracy as long as it did not threaten their interests, which they just happened to perceive to be the interests of the United States.

    So the system is essentially the same. It just evolved from “enlightened” leadership to criminal oppression by monied thugs.

  54. Kathy Says:

    Victor, people with causes have narrow vision. Perhaps endocrine disrupters are worse than coal or nuclear for you guys.
    The Case of the Shrinking Penis
    by Gene Logsdon
    Gene Logsdon, The Contrary Farmer
    Photo by T.L. Gettings, Rodale Images. Full screen [179 kb]
    Americans smirk at Ruandans and other African societies which lately seem to be on a binge of penis phobia. There have been reports of angry crowds slaughtering witch doctors who were thought to be casting spells on males to shrink their penises. But a new and alarming and respected scientific theory suggests that First World industries have cast a “spell” on penises throughout the world. Not to mention breasts, livers, thyroids, and other glands.
    Alligators in Florida are turning up with shrunken or deformed sex glands, as are fish in the Great Lakes and off the coast of England, as well as birds in California. These problems have been tentatively traced (some scientists say conclusively) to hormone compounds in wastewater or, in more cases, to synthetic endocrine disrupters in pesticides and other industrial chemicals that mimic natural hormones.
    http://www.ibiblio.org/farming-connection/ruralwri/logsdon1.htm

    http://www.brynosaurus.com/funny/alligator/

    I don’t care to play the game of which human generated disaster is worse. I think Helen C may take a stand a bit too strong, but I think you take a stand far to weak.

    As I said, my grief with her is her belief in alternatives, she talks of how much carbon is burned to build nuclear plants but ignores how much carbon would have to be burned to make all the solar panels, windmills etc and the possibility of causing earthquakes by geothermal.

  55. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Victor,

    Agreed. To the extent possible, you can only vote with your wallet and feet.

    Carrie,

    Picking #3 (from Jan) is not easy. We are fed propaganda 24/7/365. It helps to live without a TV, as we do, and never listen to a radio. Years ago, I read “Muddling Toward Frugality”, by Warren Johnson, helps to put you in the right frame of mind. We still have wearable clothing 10, 20 even 30 years old.

    Kathy,
    I bet my wardrobe is older than yours. Ha, Ha!

    We never shop. We go to a store with certain known needs, and not to graze. Always ask the question, “Do I really need this?” It will take practice and resolve.

  56. Kathy Says:

    Victor, re the Onion Diebold clip – yes perhaps more truth than fiction. One of their more inspired clips. One wonders just how much is truly orchestrated and how much freedom the two teams really have.

  57. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Today on Counterpunch, this to add to the radiation debate.

    http://www.counterpunch.com/busby03282011.html

  58. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, one time when I was traveling someone noticed the badges on my down filled winter jacket. They said “oh you ski Snowmass” I replied, “no I shop Goodwill”. End of conversation! Made my day!!!! :)

    Since I don’t know how old my clothes are when I buy them I cannot venture whether my wardrobe is older than yours, but my workday clothes are patched and frayed :)

  59. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Kathy,

    I have a light weight brown jacket, that I wore to work 36 years ago. One of my co-workers called out, “Hey, UPS man”. I still have it and proudly wear it in the spring.

    Let’s call it a draw. Ha, Ha.

  60. Victor Says:

    I think Helen C may take a stand a bit too strong, but I think you take a stand far to weak.

    It’s been a long, long time since someone accused me of taking a weak stand on something… ;-)

    BTW, your bias is showing….. interesting contrast – her stand is “a bit” too strong. My stance is “far” too weak.

    I simply look at the dangers posed by nuclear in relation to fossil fuel technologies, and must come to the conclusion that nuclear, for all its risks, is safer and has cost fewer lives than fossil fuel power. Of course, when I say that, I am dismissing as outright exaggeration the stretch on statistics to imply that Chernobyl was responsible for “millions of deaths in Europe” – such a statement can not be supported by the hard evidence, of which we have very little. Should hard evidence come forward at some point, I am happy to change my mind.

    Outside of Japan, Chernobyl, and Three Mile Island, there is little evidence to suppose anything other than nuclear has had an extremely good record in that regard. That is not minimising its other risks and its potential for wide-spread damage to people.

    And if you factor in the possibility of thorium-based nuclear power, you can not avoid coming up with a solution even less risky than uranium-based technology.

    From an energy perspective, I think people are throwing the baby out with the bath water as they seem consumed by fear over this issue.

    I only wish they would take the same hard-line against coal, an industry with a far, far worse record of environmental and population damage than nuclear!

  61. Robin Datta Says:

    I used the term “boots on the ground” as a short hand, thinking it was common knowledge, since the President used it in a speech. Victor, to whom the comment was addressed, seemed to understand the reference. I’m sorry you were not familiar with it

    As I stated,
    The infantryman (or rifleman in the case of the
    Marine Corps) with his personal weapon is the ultimate enforcer. Everything else is ancillary.

    If all the ancillaries are unable to produce the desired results, then the infantry are needed: not just boots, but infantrymen’s boots. Everything else – armor, artillery, medical, engineers, Air Force, Navy, etc. – are ancillary.

  62. Kathy Says:

    Victor, I have a very strong stand against coal, oil from anywhere but deepwater especially, tar sands, fracking, biofuels, and nuclear. I also fear that any of the other “so called renewables” if used in massive quantities might very well have their own hazards. Every bit of energy on the planet is being used in some way – there is no unused solar or wind. Oil and coal were just sitting in the ground or so we thought but they were also sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Wind creates weather patterns and should we ever try to replace all our electricity with wind we might well disrupt weather patterns in unexpected ways. All the sun falling on earth is part of what is even if all of it is not captured by plants. Taking huge measures of it to make electricty might have unexpected consequences.

    The problem is not so much the type of energy used but the quantity we are using. Of course nuclear can’t be used in small ways like coal or wood used to be used in home stoves. It sets up unique problems in terms of management and the length of time the waste is dangerous.

    I am not biased in the sense that I feel strongly about nuclear being bad and not so strongly about coal. I feel strongly about both. I am biased against all attempts to continue BAU.

  63. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, you win. However my husband still has some items of clothes that he wears that his father wore in WWII. They made stuff better then…

  64. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    On the energy debate, I think the only “renewable” that makes sense is the solar chimney or solar updraft tower. It’s simple. It’s clean. It works 24 hours a day when constructed properly. The only modern technology it requires is the electromagnetic motor – and that’s been around for many decades. Post-collapse it won’t be a long-lasting solution since there won’t be any factories to make malfunctioning parts, but it is, IMHO, the most elegant solution around. I’m working on a smaller version that will attach to my roof and capitalize on the heat generated in my attic. I’ll let you know how that goes. :-)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_updraft_tower

  65. The REAL Dr. House Says:

    I should add to my previous post that the solar chimney also requires the usual energy storage/conversion/transmission technology as does any other electricity generating solution.

  66. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, thanks for the Busby article. I guess Victor would say he has an “anti nuclear agenda”, but I would say that TPTB have a “pro nuclear agenda”.

    Getting the right data is sort of like getting the number who died in Iraq – little bit hard to count in the midst of war, so “The Lancet, one of the oldest scientific medical journals in the world, published two peer-reviewed studies on the effect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent occupation on the Iraqi mortality rate.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancet_surveys_of_Iraq_War_casualties At that time they came up with about 600,000 deaths because of the US invasion. I am quite sure that there are plenty of “experts” who would deny that, but I suspect it is in fact a conservative number.

    The problem with cancer deaths from nuclear releases is that most will happen years later. I imagine the farther away you are from an accident the harder it becomes to believe that a nuclear release 15 year ago caused your cancer. For those who don’t get cancer, if there is an increase in cancer deaths it may be hard to detect. Dimitry Orlov says of the increased deaths after the fall of the Soviet Union, that people didn’t notice it much until they looked at their yearbooks and realized half of their classmates were dead.

    My tendency is to trust those with humanitarian agendas who have done studies over those with profit agendas. Like with cigarettes…somehow I just never trusted the cigarette companys’ line that they were safe.

    Oh well, we need a population reduction. Or maybe we will all mutate into Cosmist’s super humans.

  67. Kevin Moore Says:

    Victor.

    I am surprised that you seem unaware of the saga of leaks from the UK Sellafield nuclear facility which apparently went on for decades (but were covered up, of course). The Independent UK ran a series of articles several yewars ago.

    Apart from safety issues, one of the more interesting questions concerning nuclear is not the cost of building and running facilities, but the cost of decommissioning them and of storing waste for the next ‘x’ years. A report several years ago suggested the cost of decomissioning Britain’s reactors was greater than the value of all the electrictiy ever generated by them and that the only reason BNF continues to exist is becasue of massive subsidies paid by taxpayers.

  68. Robin Datta Says:

    Rage at TPTB is not an unexpected reaction, but it plays into the plan to keep the status quo: instead of getting rid of the farm, it replaces one oligarchy with another.

    The kernel of every state is the option to initiate the use of force. This is true regardless of whether the state is capitalist, fascist, communist, democratic, autocratic, plutocratic, or whatever. If that option is removed, the state disappears. Rage, however, implicitly retains that option and vests it in some other oligarch.

    This kernel represents the culmination of sociopathic behavior: initiation of force implies that it is used against someone who is non-violent. The ones best suited to this agenda , and who congregate around that center of state power, are sociopaths themselves.

    No matter how much the powers of the state may be pared down, as long as that kernel remains intact, it will be nurtured by the sociopaths who gather around it, and its effects will again be widely extended.

    Getting mad at one set of sociopaths will obscure the real problem: the sociapathic kernel; another batch of sociopaths may replace the first one, and even the rule books may be rewritten. But as long as the kernel persists, sociopathy will again prevail.

    It will be shielded from public scrutiny by distracting layers that appeal to a person’s morality and ethics, as in “the greater public good”, “social responsibility towards the less fortunate”, “the social contract” etc., etc.: If anyone draws attention to this kernel of supreme sociopathy at the core of every state, the human livestock will promptly set upon the person in an attempt to censure the ideas, distracting attention from the core again. That is why human livestock farming is so remunerative: the livestock is self-policing.

    As an aside, writing in “none of the above” on a ballot still gives one’s personal sanction to the existing system.

  69. Victor Says:

    But as long as the kernel persists, sociopathy will again prevail.

    It’s the structure…it does no good to replace TPTB because the structure of human civilisation is such that they will simply be replaced by others of the same ilk.

    The structure must be changed. And in my mind that means getting rid of modern industrial civilisation. And that will happen.

  70. Robin Datta Says:

    The structure must be changed. And in my mind that means getting rid of modern industrial civilisation. And that will happen.

    Yes, it could be a promising start. However, the same kernel was part of pre-industrial states also.

  71. Victor Says:

    Kevin

    Excellent point about de-commissioning costs. They make the uranium-based nuclear option very expensive and not a likely candidate for future implementation, esp given the direction society and its economic model are headed today.

    The thing about all these studies “proving” the deadly nature of leaks at nuclear power stations is that in the end, at least as I understand it (and I certainly might not!), they seem to rely upon a wide array of assumptions that boil down to the statement “Well, we can’t think of anything else that might account for the rise in cancers over the last 30years.”

    Well, I can. And it is not just nuclear power station leaks. It is a whole cadre of unregulated chemicals developed by the usual suspect petrochemical firms that have been unleashed on the public over the last 30-40 years, many of which are carcinogenic, and which enter the food chain through packaging, are put into household cleaners and other home chemical products, are in plastics and other modern materials, are in the air we breathe. Our civilisation is chock full of poisons that are mostly unregulated and in some cases not even known due to trade secret law.

    How can anyone stand up in the middle of all this poisonous environment and say “THIS is the cause of the rise in cancer over the last 30 years and this is why extra millions died.”? My position is that they can’t.

    Cigarette smoke was proven because of its target audience, the smoker and its affects on that smokers health. Depleted uranium is proven to my mind because of its timing and location of use. But nuclear leaks that took place over the years alongside a public being poisoned by unregulated chemicals during the same period? Maybe. But maybe not. Perhaps both had a part in it. Perhaps not. Perhaps the increased stress of life as things have gone pear-shaped over the last 30 years also contributes to the increase in cancers. Cancers can be caused by stress.

    That is why I am inclined to accept that nuclear leaks perhaps played a role, but not THE role as proposed by folks like Caldicott and Busby and the like.

    I am not pro-nuclear. Never have been. But I am not going to let that position colour my opinion about hype and scaremongering.

    In the end it really matters not one iota whether nuclear is safe or not. Everything depends on oil. When that goes, we go with it – plain and simple – nuclear, alternative energies, or no – they ALL depend on oil.

  72. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Robin, Victor, and Kathy, and Terry and Dr. House also: (Sorry if I am leaving anyone out, write ins are welcome)

    It seems that we are drawing together in the resignation that the best we can do, certainly for ourselves, is to accept what is coming with the realization that there is nothing we can do except keep our heads down and try to save ourselves. If we are lucky we will have the chance to see enough of it unfold to see how close we called it.

  73. Kathy Says:

    … the $61 billion the GOP wants to cut from spending this year includes a 28 percent decrease in funding for the National Weather Service (h/t Steve Benen), which includes the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, which is located in Hawaii. As the Associated Press reports this afternoon:

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/robert-schlesinger/2011/03/11/gop-would-cut-tsunami-warning-funding

  74. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    I once worked in an office where some nepotistic goof wanted to get rid of the controller of the tape drives for the computer system.

    Lets just turn off the power grid now and eliminate the suspense.

  75. Kathy Says:

    Victor, my point about the cigarettes is that those who have an interest in continuing an activity that makes them money do anything and everything they can to promote it as safe. Thus when there are two sides I lean to the one that has the least self interest if they have enough background in the subject to comment on it. A righteous cause is of course a self interest and how it influences people cannot be discounted. But ah greed. I remember discussing dispersants on The Oil Drum. I was told that the same chemical was in window cleaning products (company shill?) I said OK, but I don’t clean windows all day every day or even 40 hours a week. In fact I probably use window cleaner about 3 times a year for maybe 30 mins. I hate cleaning windows. But that is the kind of argument the people with money interests promote. The fact that they are comparing this to X-rays, when as I have learned now that is very different from ingesting or inhaling particles which lodge in your bones or thyroid and just keep on giving, indicates that they are fudging big time. So maybe Caldicott and Bertell go a little too strong, I don’t know, I just would rather trust them than the folks that have always been shown to fudge.

    Any rate as Curtis says, resignation is the order of the day.

  76. Kevin Moore Says:

    With all thet water ‘sloshing around’, the inevitable has happened in Japan. And the law of unintended consequences regns supreme yet again.

    Fears for food supply as radioactive water pours from stricken reactor

    Contaminated samples increase tensions and lead to import bans

    By Daniel Howden in Tokyo

    Tuesday, 29 March 2011
    EPA

    Fishermen haul in their morning catch in Oharai city, 50 miles east of Tokyo

    Radioactive water was pouring from a damaged reactor at Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant last night, with officials warning it will soon reach the sea. The contaminated samples were found outside the reactor building for the first time, causing concern that soil and sea in the surrounding area will be poisoned.

    Efforts to contain the crisis at the stricken complex, which was hit by a massive earthquake and towering tsunami earlier this month, have been hampered by repeated setbacks.

    The crisis has begun to fray relations between the embattled government and the power utility widely blamed for creating confusion over the real extent of the crisis. That confusion has spurred import bans on Japanese products abroad, the flight of some 160,000 foreigners from Tokyo, an embargo on food from the affected region and a global debate on the future of the nuclear industry.

    Tepco’s vice-president, Sakae Muto, promised to “do better” after company officials sent their own workers fleeing from the plant on Sunday when they reported radiation levels 10 million times higher than normal. The figure turned out to be a miscalculation.

    Several foreign energy firms said yesterday that they had been contacted by Tepco, asking for help in bringing the situation under control. Électricité de France (EDF) and Areva both confirmed that they had received contact. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said over the weekend that the crisis could take months rather than weeks to resolve.

    Japan’s government has been accused of allowing an incestuous relationship to develop with power giant Tepco to the detriment of safety standards. Senior government figures have become accustomed to lucrative posts in the energy sector on retiring from public life and criticism of companies like Tepco has consequently been muted.

    Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a retired nuclear engineer who had worked on the Fukushima reactors, said the “nuclear village” in which public officials, academics and power company employees avoided criticising each other had created a dangerous consensus which had made the industry less accountable.

    Influential nuclear critic and MP, Taro Kono, went further, suggesting the power lobby’s influence on the media, where it is among the country’s leading advertisers, had insulated it from proper inspection. “The power industry is one of the largest spenders so media can’t criticise it,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission took another step towards admitting that one of the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi had been breached. But it once again stopped short of confirming whether the breach was in the primary containment vessel where the nuclear fuel is stored – this would be the precursor to a full meltdown and a more serious situation.

    Radioactive sea water has been detected more than a mile from the plant but the government has dismissed concerns over fishing, saying the exclusion zone prohibits vessels from working near the nuclear complex.

    The plant’s operators have been hamstrung by the need to pump seawater and fresh water into the plant to avert a meltdown and now need to dry it out before power to the cooling system can be repaired and restored.

    Hundreds of thousands of gallons of water sprayed on to the damaged reactors since 11 March have become “highly radioactive”. It is preventing workers from approaching the units to carry out other vital work.

    With the spectre of a potential nuclear meltdown 150 miles away, the official blossoming of Tokyo’s cherry trees was met with muted celebrations yesterday. The normally joyous occasion, which marks the blossom appearing at the capital’s Yasukuni shrine, was overwhelmed by the news that the death toll from the 11 March disaster has climbed above 11,000, with more than 17,339 missing and 170,000 people living in temporary shelters.

    Recovery efforts along the 90 miles of blighted coast were further hampered by a strong aftershock yesterday morning registering 6.5 on the Richter scale and prompting a short-lived tsunami warning.

  77. Michael Irving Says:

    Robin Datta,

    I bow to your insight.

    I was using the term “boots on the ground” in the same way Kevin Rudd, the Australian Minister of Foreign Affairs and ex-Prime Minister (2007-10) used the term (CNN 8 March 2011): “Boots on the ground is direct, military, armed intervention on the ground.”

    After your helpful correction I was upset to learn that the editors of the Washington Post also clearly (mis)used the term, 10/9/2007, to mean troops in-country. Wiktionary is also confused by the meaning of the term. Both the US Court of Appeals and the VA have been wrong about it too, holding only that “boots on the ground” refers to military personnel who have actually stepped onto the land surface of a country with no mention of the requirement that the person be a member of the infantry. And, OMG, the term has been used to indicate the rank and file workers for political parties (Kerry’s team 2004), and “deck plate level of command” to the House Armed Services Committee. There are thousands more. I was shocked.

    Thanks for going out of your way to set me straight. Thanks for the gentle pat on the head too.

    Michael Irving

  78. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, I had a friend who told me her father had lost all his money to a partner who cheated him. He told her that he thought of suicide but decided to stick around to see how it all turned out. In his case in 5 years he earned back what he had lost. We know that when the Jenga Tower or house of cards starts to collapse that is that. But it will be interesting to see just how the cards fall and where they land….

  79. Privileged Says:

    Wear a helmet.

  80. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Kathy,

    I hope we all have good seats, but don’t get too close to the action. Certainly Japan is a serious event, but we may be just far enough away to be around for the next act. If Tokyo panics, then things can happen very quickly.

    Does anyone have any first hand knowledge of the situation in Tokyo? Not much news about how they are handling the stress there.

    The ME and NA are more of what we have been used to. Gang fights with serious weapons. We all expect oil output to be affected, so I just check Bloomberg daily for the price of oil. That should give us a little warning if things start to move quicker there.

    We all expect at some point to witness certain events. When they happen they will not have the psychological impact as will those that are unexpected. Those will be harder to deal with. The discussion here helps us to expand our own lists as to what might happen.

    This is very much a think tank putting out various scenarios.

  81. Carrie Says:

    On voting:
    I still maintain if you don’t vote don’t complain about who is in power because you handed the election to them without a word. Also, believe it or not, you can vote and protest AT THE SAME TIME *GASP!* You can vote, and not buy s**t from Walmart. You can vote, and egg the white house. You can vote AND hole up in Idaho with you AK-47. I can continue with many more things you could do and still vote but it would get tedious. Noting voter dissatisfaction doesn’t matter. It doesn’t change the menu. The big boys just keep on voting without you. But here is the big thing, a thing that was mentioned earlier. When you go to the ballot and vote for President and crew, you also get to vote for your local government and laws and property taxes, school levies and all that good stuff. In fact, here in Washington state, our lovely government imposed a tax on candy. The people were fit to be tied. Don’t you MESS with our candy! We brought it up on ballot and had the tax removed after only a couple of months. All because we voted.

    I know, I know, all you non-voters will scoff at me for supporting a corrupt system by marking my ballot. I, personaly, believe that I am supporting a good system that happens to be in big trouble right now but could be put right…..if everyone voted AND marched in front of the White House until we got our asses hauled off to jail. Perhaps set fire to a few hummers and such.

  82. Carrie Says:

    Curtis, as for option #3, Possum Living is another good read to prepare one’s mind for the move to living with less. It is a major mental adjustment. I am lucky in that my parents got the good idea to buy a lovely piece of property 35 years ago and are now willing to let me squat on it, in exchange for manual labor and good behavior. My cabin is going to be built this summer using things we can get off the land and reuse from other buildings that have or are coming down. I have my stove. My concern is food and clothing. It is good to know you have 30 year old usable clothing. I have a wool sweater that I bought for my ex-husband 25 years ago. He out grew it so I snagged it for my own. :) Also I have been a regular shopper at Value Village and Good Will for many years…..except I have noticed that they have raised their prices!

  83. Privileged Says:

    If people want to continue to vote that’s fine. I would suggest all white heterosexual males refrain from voting. Hell we should just step aside and try and follow for once and maybe actually listen to those who have had their necks under our boot(s) for centuries. Resistance to empire has been going on for a long time and allies are needed.

  84. Victor Says:

    The representative system of democracy is no better than totalitarianism within the context of a civilised society. It represents another complexity in the fabric of civilisation, and as such can not be expected to improve the problems inherent with civilisation – complexity, unintended consequences that threaten stability, population overshoot, environmental and habitat destruction, complex economies, resource depletion, socio-economic corruption at all levels. Civilisation, by nature is doomed to failure as unsustainable. Globalised civilisation is big enough to threaten the species and all others.

    For those of you who appreciate the import of keeping things moving along, and possibly improving the system through this act or that, then please, do so. Vote. Don’t vote. Exercise your conscience. But never for a moment forget that the impact of carrying on business as usual in a system designed to fail won’t affect its ultimate outcome. Our actions (or non-actions) truly don’t matter in the long-term.

    You might exclaim: “Victor, if everyone did as you propose, things would fall apart everywhere!”. My answer to that is: “Yes. They would, wouldn’t they!”.

  85. Victor Says:

    Plutonium in the soil around the reactor certainly points to a primary containment breach, I would think. Over the next few months, I suspect they will be trying to get positioned to get the reactor pumps operational (if possible), cool the fuel rods, systematically shut down the reactor, and then bury it. I seriously doubt if Fukushima Daiichi 1 will ever generate power again.

    I fear Japan will not recover from this. They have lost shedloads of power capacity that is not easily replaced. Their economy has come to a near standstill. You can’t remain an economic power in an environment of rolling blackouts. Something has to give.

    In my mind the remaining question has to be what the follow-on impact to the global economy will be. Any guesses?

  86. Victor Says:

    I, personaly, believe that I am supporting a good system that happens to be in big trouble right now but could be put right

    The system IS the problem, I’m afraid. If the system were right, corrupt people could not come to power, and if they did manage it, they would be removed and locked up. And you will never change the system by working within the system. Change has to come from outside the system.

  87. Kevin Moore Says:

    Victor.

    I’m afraid you are right. The ‘democratic’ system is a sham in most western nations. I know, I’ve had very intimate dealings with ‘the system’ and know what goes on.

    As things stand. it makes no difference which party is in government: the prime function of governments is to facilitate the agendas of corporations and money-lenders.

  88. Kathy Says:

    Carrie, I live in Alabama. I am quite sure that if all the voters in Alabama voted on whether to return segregation to the schools in Alabama the majority would vote to return segregation. Luckily they cannot make that choice, however the vote another way, whites who have enough money send their kids to private school, and others I know falsify their address so it looks like they are in a school district with less blacks. If they can they vote by living in the districts with less blacks. The idea that majority rule is necessarily good is false. The majority can be real assholes. Would you want to submit to majority rule if the majority voted to do things that went against every value you hold?

    Sometimes it is necessary to go back and check out the basic assumptions on which our beliefs rest.

    Since a few small companies own most of the computer voting machines and the owner of one of those companies are Christian Reconstructionists (Bob and Todd Urosevich)that believe that Christians must rule the world for 1000 years before the rapture (pre millenialists), our votes are likely being manipulated in ways we don’t approve. If you vote one way and the machine flips it to the other candidate, is voting worthwhile? http://www.votefraud.org/how_a_private_company_counts_our_votes.htm
    See also http://www.blackboxvoting.org/

    Al Gore won, but he did not get to be president. Likely John Kerry also won. He also did not get to be president. I think TPTB are laughing at us behind our backs.

    Hypothetical question, if you only had Hitler and Stalin to vote for would you still vote? I have always voted but I think the time is coming soon when I will see the choices as no better than that choice. And no choice at all as my vote can be made to not count.

  89. Kathy Says:

    Carrie, one more point, if anyone who really promises to do good looks like they will win, they will do to them what they did to RFK. If anyone is changed while in office and starts to do good they will do what they did to JFK. Electing a good man who cannot be corrupted to the Presidency of the US is probably giving them a death sentence.

  90. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Carrie,

    You are doing fine.

  91. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Here is why we have not been able to make progress.

    Kathy & Victor, close your eyes, or take that Valium, maybe two.

    http://www.livescience.com/13422-americans-natural-disasters-god.html

  92. Curtis A. Heretic Says:

    Sorry Victor, meant Terry.

  93. Kathy Says:

    To paraphrase Sir Walter Scott. Oh what a tangled web we wove when we made commerce span the globe.

    What do the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Caterpillar Tractor and the Apple iPhone have in common? They are all reeling from the aftershocks of the Japanese earthquake.

    Why Japan’s Disasters Cause Global Supply-Chain Turmoil

    The triple whammy of a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, 10m-high tsunami waves and a level five nuclear threat has also given a powerful reminder of our tight interconnectedness. Not only do the live images of a tragedy thousands of miles away tug at our heartstrings, the waves from an industrial Japan cascaded through the tightly intertwined world economy. The new evidence of vulnerability of supply chain dependence, however, could accelerate the search for solutions to help manage volatility and adapt to new situations.
    Full article at http://www.thejakartaglobe.com/opinion/why-japans-disasters-cause-global-supply-chain-turmoil/432207?

  94. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, Edward Current is my valium. Sometimes his humor is mistaken by believers to be real Christian beliefs, which of course makes it even more funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkCuc34hvD4&feature=relmfu

  95. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor,

    Three things:

    1. In your comment to Kevin (“Excellent point about … ALL depend on oil.”) and other comments you’ve made recently you’ve become increasingly shrill in your belittlement of assertions that nuclear power is dangerous. Any and all remarks, here or in the media, are deflected as scaremongering by hired anti-nuke activists with personal agendas or (comments on NBL) the uniformed hysteria of sheeple. The comments and tone you’ve taken are the same (exactly the same, even to sentence structure) as the assertions shills for the petro-chemical and tobacco industry use when describing the safety and benefits of their respective industries. Review your remarks to Kevin. Make the nuke/chemical substitution and you’ll see what I mean. It reduces your credibility.

    2. I’ve notice as a deflector of comments you often use phrases like “I’m not pro-nuclear” and yet the bulk of your comments is very pro-nuclear. That may not be your intent but it is what you project.

    3. I’ve noticed you often qualify nuclear energy production with the word uranium, as in “uranium-based nuclear.” Yes, even I know that is what the industry uses. But the point I’m making is that you seem to be indicating that while uranium-based nuclear power generation is safe, it is also expensive, but there are alternatives (nuclear alternatives). So, are you in the thorium reactor camp or are you holding out for fusion? Or am I just unable to follow the bouncing ball?

    What’s up with your nuclear apologist position?

    Michael Irving

  96. Michael Irving Says:

    Victor says: “We have a nuclear power plant composed of not 1 but 6 reactors of older nuclear plant architectural design which after sustaining heavy damage from a huge earthquake and a tsunami far greater than they were designed for, have come through this most harsh of natural tests with flying colours.”

    The BBC says today: “Small amounts of plutonium have also been detected in soil at the plant – the latest indication that one of the reactors suffered a partial meltdown.”

  97. Kathy Says:

    Curtis, re religion, it seems to be just something that is in our makeup to believe in higher powers of some sort. I wonder when in evolution this propensity became set in our programs. Or is it a meme not a gene moderated program. One would presume it is somehow useful as it persists. Of course the usefulness of things can change when environment changes so perhaps all the god genes or god memes will be weeded out in the collapse?

    I thought this might bring a smile to your day. George Washington has been somewhat diefied as the Father of our Country. Have you ever seen this – THE APOTHEOSIS OF WASHINGTON – CAPITAL DOME PAINTING – The Apotheosis of Washington depicts George Washington becoming a god (you can search for that on wiki and get the whole scoop on it, I am trying to avoid to many links in a post) This is in our capital, I wonder how many tea partiers have seen this and understand the significance. I know John Ashcroft could drape a statue that he found too bare in chest area but how do you drape a dome? All good Christians should be ready to burn the capital so this heresy can be removed, well at least plaster or paint over it….
    A large version of this can be seen at:

    http://www.rumormillnews.com/cgi-bin/archive.cgi?noframes;read=156079

    Reading Dan Brown’s books can be not only entertaining but also informative, and while they are rather wild fiction, all the art facts I have googled while reading his books are legit and this one takes the cake :)

  98. Michael Irving Says:

    Chris Hedges, TruthDig, March 27, 2011: “We must embrace, and embrace rapidly, a radical new ethic of simplicity and rigorous protection of our ecosystem—especially the climate—or we will all be holding on to life by our fingertips. We must rebuild radical socialist movements that demand that the resources of the state and the nation provide for the welfare of all citizens and the heavy hand of state power be employed to prohibit the plunder by the corporate power elite. We must view the corporate capitalists who have seized control of our money, our food, our energy, our education, our press, our health care system and our governance as mortal enemies to be vanquished.”

    Many will think Hedges’ comment is naive. That it is too little, too late. That we should just let the corporate elite continue their rapacious march until they crash the whole of civilization. What then? Who has access to the best/most resources? Who is thus most likely to survive? Do you want the corporate elite deciding what life after the bottleneck should be like? If anarchy is your choice, I suggest havoc is what you’ll reap, and afterward TPTB will continue to run the world. Or else we’ll all be dead.

    Please spare me the “everybody dies” comment. I think each of us has a responsibility to those generations that (might) follow us.

    Michael Irving

  99. Robin Datta Says:

    To view statism as good is to wittingly or unwittingly accept its sociopathic kernel – accepting the option to initiate the use of force – as good. Those who choose to vote because they consider the state to be good at its core are subscribing to this sociopathy by giving their sanction to its continuance. Any vote cast is a vote to continue the system.

    If the choice in voting were between Hitler and Stalin, it is a good possibility that voting would be mandatory, if not in that election, then in all subsequent elections. Voting was mandatory in the Soviet Union: the people rubber-stamping their approval of the system.

    There is nothing wrong if individual parents or a majority of individual parents in any state prefer a particular type of school for their children. What is wrong is the force (through economic means – the confiscation of assets) of the state that prevents them from exercising their personal choice. To suggest that they should not be allowed to exercise their preference in to buy into the socciopathy of the initiotion of force vested in the state.


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