Peeking out.. 4 April 2011Posted by marisacat in 2012 Re Election, AFRICOM, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Pan Arab Revolt - 2011.
Children play inside steel pipes that will be used by the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System in Manila, the Philippines [AFP/GETTY]
On top of everything else (of which there is a surfeit) what happens…. an experimental Gulfstream luxury small jet for the corporate trade with two pilots and two flight engineers aboard crashes, burns completely and all 4 die.
Where did it manage to come down?
A good update on Fukushima by Al Jazeera…
[T]hus, radiation from a meltdown in the reactor core of reactor No. 2 is leaking out into the water and soil, with other reactors continuing to experience problems.
Yet scientists and activists question these government and nuclear industry “safe” limits of radiation exposure.
“The U.S. Department of Energy has testified that there is no level of radiation that is so low that it is without health risks,” Jacqueline Cabasso, the Executive Director of the Western States Legal Foundation, told Al Jazeera.
Her foundation monitors and analyzes U.S. nuclear weapons programs and policies and related high technology energy, with a focus on the national nuclear weapons laboratories.
Cabasso explained that natural background radiation exists, “But more than 2,000 nuclear tests have enhanced this background radiation level, so we are already living in an artificially radiated environment due to all the nuclear tests.”
“Karl Morgan, who worked on the Manhattan project, later came out against the nuclear industry when he understood the danger of low levels of ionizing radiation-and he said there is no safe dose of radiation exposure,” Cabasso continued, “That means all this talk about what a worker or the public can withstand on a yearly basis is bogus. There is no safe level of radiation exposure. These so-called safe levels are coming from within the nuclear establishment.” . . .
The report notes that this month is the 25th anniversay of Chernobyl and last week is the 32nd anniversary of TMI.
Avoid spring, I guess. If you can!
Pepe Escobar has an update on the deals coming down in The Soon-to-be Libyan Colony (at least the Eastern part)…
[A] curious development is already visible. NATO is deliberately allowing Gaddafi forces to advance along the Mediterranean coast and repel the “rebels”. There have been no air strikes for quite a while.
The objective is possibly to extract political and economic concessions from the defector and Libyan exile-infested Interim National Council (INC) – a dodgy cast of characters including former Justice minister Mustafa Abdel Jalil, US-educated former secretary of planning Mahmoud Jibril, and former Virginia resident, new “military commander” and CIA asset Khalifa Hifter. The laudable, indigenous February 17 Youth movement – which was in the forefront of the Benghazi uprising – has been completely sidelined.
This is NATO’s first African war, as Afghanistan is NATO’s first Central/South Asian war. Now firmly configured as the UN’s weaponized arm, Globocop NATO is on a roll implementing its “strategic concept” approved at the Lisbon summit last November.
Gaddafi’s Libya must be taken out so the Mediterranean – the mare nostrum of ancient Rome – becomes a NATO lake. Libya is the only nation in northern Africa not subordinated to Africom or Centcom or any one of the myriad NATO “partnerships”. The other non-NATO-related African nations are Eritrea, Sawahiri Arab Democratic Republic, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Moreover, two members of NATO’s “Istanbul Cooperation Initiative” – Qatar and the United Arab Emirates – are now fighting alongside Africom/NATO for the fist time. . . .
And to things keep rolling along, the UN has joined military forces with La Belle France (which, in any case, has “an occupying level force” based in Cote d’Ivoire) and sent in armed helicopters to strafe Gbagbo supporters. All Hail Ouattara.
Shall he be different?
Does it matter? I mean, to the West. Obviously it matters to the poor people on the ground.
Lewis Lapham has a lovely essay on Labor. The labor of work, that is.
[I]t isn’t simply that the consumer markets don’t value work worth doing; it’s that the society’s ruling and possessing classes regard working for a living as the mark of inferior or damaged goods.
The attitude made its first appearance on the American scene during the Gilded Age, dancing with the newly crowned kings of finance under the ballroom chandeliers in Newport and New York. Thorstein Veblen took note of the arrival in 1899, his Theory of the Leisure Class suggesting that it is the conspicuous consumption of the product of other people’s time and effort that makes up the sum of one’s own worth and meaning. Not the doing of the work, the digesting of it. “Leisure, considered as an employment,” said Veblen, “is closely allied in kind with the life of exploit, and the achievements which characterize a life of leisure and which remain as its decorous criteria, have much in common with the trophies of exploit.”
During the years prior to the Second World War, the attitude was safely confined to a small number of people preserved in the aspic of what was then big money. The victories over Germany and Japan fostered extensions of the franchise. Rescued by force of arms from the Great Depression, America seemed blessed with the enchantments of both Croesus and Colossus, the indisputable proofs of its wealth and military power giving rise to the notion that all its children were the inheritors of a vast fortune and therefore deserving of the best of all possible worlds that money could buy. No reason not to have it all — a new frontier, a great society, guns for a splendid little war in Asia, butter for the old folks at home, a house in the country, a boat on the lake, the face and fortune in the ad for one of Ralph Lauren’s tennis dresses.
Much of the world in 1945 was either bankrupt or in ruins, and the refurnishing of it supplied the American economy over the next 30 years with an abundance of jobs that afforded the means of independence and a measure of self-worth, while at the same time bringing forth the trophies of exploit to a consumer market more wonderful than the wonderful world of Oz, seeding ever broader acres of the nation’s human topsoil with the presumptions of entitlement favored by Veblen’s Newport heiresses. Don’t worry, be happy; go forth and shop. Leisure considered as employment.
Which was all well and good until it turned out, somewhere in the middle of the 1980s on the yellow brick road with Toto and the Gipper, that the Wizard was easy access to conspicuous credit. For how else could the American leaves of grass join their top-dressed companions on a golf course unless they borrowed money? The country’s working and middle classes discovered that it wasn’t the value of the work itself, or its manufacture of a decent living (as architect, bus driver, sales clerk, actress, lathe operator, automobile mechanic) that made up the sum of the country’s wealth and well-being.
Their great collective enterprise was the labor of consumption, and with it the derivative of debt, a byproduct, like the methane exuded by factory-farmed pigs, that funded the patriotic service owing to God, country, and the American Express card. The work was maybe mindless, a substitution of what is animal for what is human, but it fattened the gross domestic product, enriched the insurance companies and the banks, welcomed the second coming of an American Gilded Age, and now accounts for the increasingly grotesque disparity between the income earned as wages and the revenue collected as rent, interest, dividend, stock option, and year-end bonus.
Americans with jobs imagine they now work longer and harder hours than did their forebears on Mark Twain’s Missouri frontier; if so, their labor serves a purpose other than the one in hand. Finance accounted for 47% of total U.S. corporate profits in 2007; 58% of Harvard University’s male graduates in that same year (the heirs and assigns of Woodrow Wilson’s small class of persons deserving of a liberal education) took up careers as high-end traffickers in the drug of debt. It’s a lucrative trade, up to the standard of the cotton export from the dear old antebellum South. That it doesn’t add to the sum of human happiness or meaning is probably why the gentry on the lawns of Connecticut, together with their upper servants in Washington and the news media, talk about the lost battalion of America’s unemployed as a set of conveniently invisible numbers rather than as a body of fellow citizens.