I attended last evening TVA/Anderson County Commissioners meeting. I am a Claxton Home Owner. I just have a few comments. When the TVA VP stated in reply to a commissioners question regarding eminent domain, that ” No we will not use eminent domain”. I thought ” of course he can state that”. Why? because they KNOW that once they had the contract in hand to purchase the key property they had in their plans [which they do]– that the other bordering properties would become ” less desirerable, lower in the sale market, loose value on the housing market etc…and the owners would have to come to TVA and play the domino game with TVA and sell their lands. Hence, eminent domain isn’t needed. This very same market decrease, health risk etc comes into play with every land owner within a 3-5 mile radius. But their not going to feel responcible nor deal with the rest of those negatively effected. I am already effected value wise due to drug dealers the country just ignores, the national economical situation– and now this issue that IS COMING no matter what. When the rep stated the enormous number of trucks that will be using Edgmore Road and New Henderson Road— commissioners eyes twinkled with tax revenue expectations. The Commissioners can change nothing nor do anything ‘for the landowners’. All they can do is offer a forum to allow them to ‘voice’ their opinions. The rep all but stated TVA is doing-the-do as far as following process; which includes attending meeting like this. He did say that TVA was looking at two other sites, but could not publically state which two. But it was obvious that a few commissioners must not be considered ‘public’ because they knew. And they knew those sites were also in Anderson County. My favorite part was after the meeting when an un-named commissioner came downstairs to some of the residents an whispered ” ya’ll need to go outside of this county, get someone big to get involved, this is all wrong”. Now wasn’t that a confidence booster! lol. My home is all I have as an investment. And between the drug sellers, drug fencers, that national economic situation and now this ‘forced’ upon us issue– my tomorrows are not secure at all. Who is going to pay my health bills for breathing this mess, who addresses the countless within the sir-pollution flow? Aw, politics and power ego people— always bedfellows, always. SO TVA, don’t say anyone WANTS to sell to you. You play a nastier game than these good folks can bear. Your resources and game plan is far past their reach– and you and the state have had this plan for years. By the way…. Bull Run Steam Plant is the number three polluter in our country of all the plants– now we surely should pop up to number 1.
Then as now— it all echoes back , for me, to hearing Dwight David Eisenhower’s Presidential Departure speech “Beware of the Industrial/Military Complex”.
Currently trying to wrap my weary brain around the fact that our government is going to intentionally flood miles of farmland, homes and businesses to supposedly save miles of farmland, homes and businesses that WHAT???— are more important? more valuable? AND pay nothing to these people that THEY are doing this too??? I am SO like Carlin right now. And I shouldn’t be… really I just shouldn’t be. There actually still should be a voice in me that does and says more than Fuck It, I give up.
I miss you B’man… love to all!
Knoxville News Sentinel Editorial March 3 2011: regarding the article about the upcoming legislation regarding No Muslims allowed in Tennessee
A bill in the Tennessee Legislature that would basically outlaw Islam in Tennessee is obviously unconstitutional and an embarrassment to the entire state.
State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, the legislation’s sponsor, should withdraw the odious bill and issue an apology to all state residents, Muslims in particular.
The bill ostensibly addresses terrorism but in reality outlaws a religion. That’s unacceptable, unsupportable and unconscionable. It’s also unconstitutional on a variety of fronts.
Ketron’s bill would require the state attorney general to label any organization that advocates adherence to Shariah, the Muslim religious and legal proscriptions, as a terrorist group. The organization’s finances would be frozen immediately and members could face felony charges that could result in as many as 15 years in prison. Employees, presumably including school teachers and administrative assistants, are specifically targeted for possible prosecution.
A disclaimer that the law doesn’t apply to peaceful followers of Islam is laughable.
Based on the Quran, examples drawn from the life of Muhammad and a long history of scholarly thought, Shariah is more than a set of laws. It also instructs Muslims how to practice their faith.
All Muslims follow Shariah – which, like Christian and Jewish traditions, has conservative, moderate, liberal and fundamentalist interpretations – to some degree. Every Muslim organization can be construed as a Shariah organization, so the bill simply would outlaw Islam.
The bill also would set up the state attorney general as a grand inquisitor, giving the office sole authority to designate an outlaw organization using secret evidence out of the scrutiny of the public. Organizations wouldn’t be able to appeal the designation for two years.
Jailing Tennessee residents for practicing a religion is terrible to contemplate. The bill is repugnant and runs counter to America’s tolerance of all religious faiths. The Constitution forbids the enactment of a law that would interfere with the free exercise of religion, and Islam is one of the world’s oldest faiths.
The bill didn’t originate in Tennessee. According to the Associated Press, the Tennessee Eagle Forum gave the bill’s text to Ketron and House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma. Eagle Forum state President Bobbie Patray told the AP it was drafted by David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based attorney who runs the Society of Americans for National Existence, a nonprofit that claims following Shariahh is treasonous.
If the bill does become law, a court challenge is all but certain. Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, was quoted in the Tennessean as saying at an interfaith protest rally in Nashville on Tuesday that his organization would file a lawsuit the instant the governor signs the bill.
Christians, Jews and followers of other religious faiths, plus those who follow no religion, should join in denouncing this bill. Legislators should condemn it, too. Gov. Bill Haslam should announce plans to veto the legislation should lawmakers pass it.
Religious liberty is at the core of American values. Ketron’s bill poses a threat to those values and must be defeated.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
“Mary, give me one of your Kleenexes,” my mother told my aunt one morning long ago when we were entering Holy Cross Church. She held a bobby pin in her lips, reached up to part her hair, and fixed the Kleenex on top of her head. My Aunt Mary already had her handkerchief in place.
“Why do you have to do that?” I asked.
“Because we are going into the house of the Lord,” my mother explained, “and we have to spare him from the sight of us.”
“It’s because we’re women, honey,” Aunt Mary said.
It must have been a Holy Day of Obligation. That would explain why we’d gone across town to attend Holy Cross with Mary instead of going to our own church, St. Patrick’s. I can speculate that it was a day off, and after Mass they were going to a sale at Robeson’s.
The world of a small child is closely confined in church. I could barely see over the back of the pew without standing on a kneeler. There was nothing for me to do. My mother and aunt were standing and kneeling and sitting down according to no rhythm I could comprehend. I owned a ball point pen that had three points you could slide down–red, green, and blue–and sitting down backwards on the kneeler I used our pew as a desk and began to color the cross on the cover of the church bulletin.
After Mass was over and we were in the car and my mother and Mary lit up their cigarettes, I asked, “Why doesn’t God want to look at you?”
“Because he wants to keep an eye on you,” my mother said. I hated answers like that. My Uncle Bob had an infuriating response for every question: “It’s to make little boys like you ask questions.”
One might gather God has never wanted to look at women. They are an offense to his eyes. He doesn’t want to see them on the altars of his churches. He doesn’t want them fooling with his sacraments. His son never married one. For the mother of his son, he provided a virgin who had never employed her womanly organs for the purpose of procreation. We know Mary grew large with child and presumably gave birth in the usual way, although whether giving birth to the son of God was easy or difficult for her is not recorded by the Evangelists, who were all men, as were all twelve of the Apostles.
One woman Jesus seems to have been close to, apart from his mother, was Mary Magdalene. As we all know, she was a prostitute, and Jesus cleansed her of her sin. She washed and dried his feet with her hair before or after the cleansing. She accompanied Jesus on his travels, and was accorded the honor of being the first to see him after his Resurrection. As a follower she was therefore a disciple, but not one of the Twelve Apostles.
The fact is, there’s not one word in Scripture to support the notion that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute. We are told that Jesus cleansed her of seven demons. One of the demons was possibly assumed to be prostitution by men who later interpreted the gospels, because her sexuality itself stirred unease in them. Patriarchal logic at work: If Magdalene was possessed by demons, one of them must have been sexual, and since she was not married she must have been a prostitute.
Yet after the other Disciples fled in fear from the foot of the cross, only Magdalene, Mary and John the Beloved loyally remained. In a disputed translation of the apocryphal Gospel of Philip, found on a Nag Hammadi scroll in 1945, we may read: And the companion of the Saviour was Mary Magdalene. Christ loved Mary more than all the disciples, and used to kiss her often on her mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, “Why do you love her more than all of us?” The Saviour answered and said to them, “Why do I not love you like her?”
The Catholic Church expresses grave reservations about the Dead Sea Scrolls and other early manuscripts, perhaps because they may not entirely corresponded to the patriarchal party line. Some tweaking of the Gospels has been going on since the beginning. For example, most of us know that John was “the most beloved disciple,” but a great many modern Biblical scholars believe that his name was substituted somewhere along the line for Magdalene’s.
I am not concerned so much with Church teachings, but with the way men’s minds work. To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up. The earliest archeological evidence we have for human family development indicates patriarchies preceded written language. Indeed, if we study other primates we see that their cultures are also male-dominant, and presumably they’ve not arrived at this state after careful discussion.
Once primates got started on this track, it seems to have been fixed in our nature. I know evolutionary and biological theories have been advanced to explain it. I can think of a theological reason: Eve was required to tempt Adam so that Man would be stained with Original Sin, and then Jesus could die to redeem us. Two sexes were required. Parthenogenesis provided few opportunities for sin.
Today such reasons are less compelling. A lot of it comes down to: Men like it this way, it suits their nature, and they have the power to enforce it. There must be something abhorrent to some men in the ideas of female rights and equality. Does it threaten them? Does it diminish them?
In doing some research for my review of “Made in Deganham,” the movie about the women strikers against Ford UK, I wanted to find out when equal pay for equal work first became the law in the United States. I didn’t discover what I expected. Only two weeks ago, a Republican filibuster in the U. S. Senate prevented passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would have added teeth to measures for equal pay. The Republicans presumably feel they have some support from women on this subject, especially those following religions which preach that a woman must submit to the will of her husband: Either her actual husband, or her legislatorial surrogate.
Some religions are more outspoken about female subservience than others, some less, and a few preach against it. The Catholic Church, in the midst of trying to clarify its teachings on women, dropped a spanner into the works last summer by describing the ordination of women as a “grave crime” like pedophilia. The Vatican had also described pedophilia as a “grave crime,” and many news reports quickly made an equation.The Pope might have been prudent to give as an example a grave crime like genocide that didn’t make you think of priests.
There was a moment in the 2008 Presidential debates when candidates were asked if they agreed with Creationism. Many did. Catholics are encouraged to accept the Theory of Evolution. What if you asked Catholic candidates if they agreed that ordaining women and pedophilia are comparable crimes?
You could ask questions along parallel lines of Muslims and Orthodox Jews. Their women in some branches are not even allowed to attend worship services in the same spaces as men. Members of some kinds of Islam require women to shield themselves from everybody’s eyes. To be an uncovered woman is to be an affront to a man–a possible temptation. (That reminds me of grade school, when we were warned that entertaining thoughts about a woman’s body was a possible Occasion of Sin.) One of a husband’s duties is to breed with his wife to produce sons who will follow this tradition, and daughters who will submit to it. Another duty is to prevent any other men from getting ideas into their heads.
I watched the debate last week between Christopher Hitchens and Tony Blair. Their subject was: “Be it resolved, that religion is a force for good in the world.” The most stimulating thing about the debate was that it was held at all. How often do we ever hear fundamental questions debated in a civil manner between intelligent speakers? Would there be an audience on cable for weekly debates between college teams? In America, debating was the leading intercollegiate sport before the introduction of football.
Blair and Hitchens made points one might agree with, and points one might not. At one point, Hitchens asked Blair a question that hung in the air for a second and went unanswered, because Blair must have had no answer. This was the question:
“Is it good for the world to consider women as an inferior form, as all religions do?”
R. Ebert “An afront to the Eyes of God” Chicago Suntimes Dec 1 2010
Israel’s proposed new Terrorism Law significantly extends definition of terrorism
A new version of Israel’s Terrorism Law recently proposed by the Israeli government introduces a very broad definition of terrorism and terrorist organizations. Legal experts believe it is liable to endanger organizations and activities that are currently defined as legal in Israel.
Source: Israel Ministry of Justice, IDI, @ygurvitz
A new Terrorism Law was recently drafted by Israel’s Attorney General, the State Attorney and senior officials from the shabac (Israel’s secret police, also called the Israel Security Agency), and approved by the Minister of Justice. It is scheduled to be introduced to the Knesset for a vote shortly, but has received little coverage in Israeli media so far.
The Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) has criticized the proposed new law in a recent publication. According to the IDI, “the basic problem with the draft memorandum bill lies in its overly broad definitions …. As a result of the breadth of these definitions, legal tools that raise the level of punishment, compromise due process, and violate rights of suspects and defendants are deployed in far too many cases, causing serious violations of rights.”
The proposed law seeks to replace other pieces of legislation including the current Israeli law for prevention of terrorism and the law prohibiting funding of terrorism, as well as modifying various existing laws such as the Public Defense Law and extending the provisions of others.
The proposed law significantly extends the definitions of terrorist acts and organisations, for example by introducing the concept of “envelope organisations.” According to Israeli authorities these are groups that provide socio-economic services to the public but are also linked to or support terrorist organisations and should therefore also be defined as “terrorist organisations.”
The explanatory notes to the new version specify explicitly that the new definition of “terrorist acts” does not distinguish between crimes committed against soldiers and those committed against civilians, because “terrorism is an illegitimate method of attaining political, ideological or religious ends irrespective of the identity of its victims.”
The proposed version permits a suspect to be held for up to 96 hours before being brought before a judge, and revises the period of detention of terrorist suspects without charge up to 30 days.
It also enables court hearings to be held in the absence of the suspect and denial of legal counsel for prolonged periods.
The proposed law details three different methods of seizure of property and freezing of assets of suspected organizations and individuals without recourse to fair process. To this end, secret evidence and “inadmissible evidence” may be presented to the court in order to demonstrate connection between the assets and the perpetrator of the act, even if the organization involved is not a declared “terrorist organisation.” The law also grants the authorities extensive search and confiscation rights for purposes of seizure, and the right to close premises.
As an example of the possible impact of these extensive seizure authorities, the IDI cites a situation in which an Israeli medical charity donates money or medical services to another medical charity that provides free health services to Palestinian civilians, but is partly linked to or recognized by the Hamas de-facto Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip. Under the new law, that Israeli charity can be immediately closed down, its property seized and its assets frozen under the new law, all without the possibility of due process, due to “links to a terrorist organization.”
On 3 October the IDI initiated a round-table discussion of the proposed law, seeking to arouse public debate on the subject.
IDI experts warn that “when legislation of this nature is enacted with regard to terrorism, there is the danger of radiation to other areas. Practices for dealing with terrorism that become routine are liable to spill over to other areas…. Israel must be careful not to overstep the boundaries of criminal law, both in terms of substantive criminal law and criminal procedure.”
In the opinion of the IDI, the law “relies too heavily on pre-existing local legislation that is archaic in nature, as well as on new legislation from other countries, which was adopted in the post 9/11 hysteria.”
Below is a non-exhaustive summary outlining selected aspects of the 105-page proposed law, as published in a memorandum by the Israeli Justice Ministry.
Definition of “terrorism”:
A “terrorist act” means the use or threat of action where-
(a) the use or threat is made from political, ideological or religious motives or out of hostility to the public,
(b) the use or threat is designed to intimidate the public or to persuade a government or governmental organization, including international governmental organizations or public organizations, to act or to refrain from acting in a certain way; in this paragraph, a prior reasonable assumption that the use or threat of such an action will intimidate the public shall be the same as design to intimidate the public,
(c) the use or threat involves one of the following, or poses an actual risk of one of the following:
(1) actual damage to the body or liberty of a person, or danger to a person’s life or risk of serious injury to a person
(2) serious damage to state security or to the health or safety of the public
(3) serious damage to property or damage to property that involves or may involve damage to government institutions or symbols
(4) damage or serious interference with essential infrastructure, systems or services, or serious damage to the state economy or the environment, or damage to the environment that could cause serious financial damage.
Definition of “terrorist organizations”:
The proposed law extends the definition of a “terrorist organization” to include so-called “envelope organizations” – organizations promoting, encouraging, supporting, cooperating or enabling the activities of “terrorist organizations.” Its explanatory notes specify that terrorist organizations are accompanied by support organizations engaged in socio-economic activities, as well as sympathizing organizations, without which they could not function.
The law also extends the definition of a member of a “terrorist organization” to persons participating in meetings or other activities of organizations defined as terrorist, or agreeing in principle to join a “terrorist organization,” even without acting on its behalf. Membership is assumed to remain in place until proven otherwise, and the burden of proof is on the alleged member.
Under the new law, if any crime is committed by a “terrorist organization” or by a member of one, it is assumed that this crime was committed with the intentions of a terrorist act. Crimes by a member of a “terrorist organization” are therefore assumed to be terrorist acts unless proven otherwise.
The Minister of Defense shall be authorized to declare an organization as a “terrorist organization,” but suspects and organizations can be convicted of terrorism or of membership even if the organizations involved have not been officially declared “terrorist organisations.”
The law grants the Minister of Defense the authority to declare organizations or individuals as terrorist, based on similar declarations by authorities overseas.
Suspects’ and detainees’ rights:
The proposed law permits a suspect to be held for up to 96 hours before being brought before a judge, and revises the period of detention of terrorist suspects without charge up to 30 days.
It also enables court hearings to be held in the absence of the suspect and denial of counsel for prolonged periods.
The law extends scope of the law permitting Administrative Detention (internment without trial), enabling the Minister of Defense to also impose “control orders” prohibiting the suspect from leaving a place or area, to impose exit bans from the country, and to ban suspects’ access to certain places, for a period of up to one year. It also enables police and army extensive authority to search persons and premises or carry out “any reasonable act” for the enforcement of these limitations.
Penalties are significantly stricter than in current anti-terrorist legislation. Those convicted of terrorism will serve 40-year minimum prison sentences, instead of 30.
According to the proposed law, criminal offenses should be punished more strictly if by intention, aim and circumstances they fulfill the definition of terrorist acts. Criminal offenses made with the intention of terrorism shall receive a double prison sentence, or 30 years.
In addition the law includes newly defined terrorism-related crimes with severe penalties, such as:
Directing a terrorist organization (25 years); employment by a terrorist organization (15 years); membership in an organization, whether it is an officially declared terrorist organization or not, and without proven participation in its activities (5 years); public expression of sympathy with a terrorist organization (3 years); Incitement to terrorism, including publicly encouraging, lauding or supporting terrorist acts or organizations; holding forbidden publications for dissemination or providing services for preparation, dissemination or publication or forbidden publications (minimum 3 years); providing means or services that can assist terrorist acts (2 years); harboring after terrorist acts (3 years); non-prevention of terrorism (3 years); threatening terrorism (half the sentence of the threatened act or 5 years); training for terrorist acts, for prevention of their discovery or for disruption of their investigation, or for the use or manufacture of weapons (7 years); receiving such training (5 years); trading in arms for terrorism (20-25 years); trading or holding goods belonging to a terrorist organization in order to pre-empt freezing of assets or confiscation (3 years); failing to report assets (1 year); vandalism to property for terrorist ends (7 years); or violation of control orders (2 years).
Freezing of assets:
The proposed law includes a comprehensive chapter detailing extensive authority for three different methods of seizure of property and freezing of assets of suspected organizations and individuals without recourse to fair process. To this end, secret evidence and inadmissible evidence may be presented to the court in order to demonstrate connection between the assets and the perpetrator of the act, even if the organization involved is not a declared “terrorist organisation.” The law also grants the authorities extensive search and confiscation rights for purposes of seizure, and the right to close premises.
Cached version of the public memorandum issued by the Israeli Justice Ministry on the proposed law (Hebrew): http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:h…
Israeli Democracy Institute overview and summary of its critique of the law (English):
This article may be reproduced on condition that JNews is cited as its source
Image from http://toppun.com
Inviting us to bow down before the
god of fortune by Frank Furedi
Today’s deification of fear encourages us to succumb to fate. But we should learn from the Romans and seek to subdue Fortuna.
Who decides our individual fates? How much of our future is influenced by our exercise of free will? Humanity’s destiny has been the subject of controversy since the beginning of history.
Back in ancient times, different gods were endowed with the ability to thwart our ambitions or to bless us with good fortune. The Romans worshipped the goddess Fortuna, giving her great power over human affairs. Nevertheless, they still believed that her influence could be contained and even overcome by men of true virtue. As the saying goes: ‘Fortune favours the brave.’ This belief that the power of fortune could be limited through human effort and will is one of the most important legacies of humanism.
The belief in people’s capacity to exercise their will and shape their future flourished during the Renaissance, creating a world in which people could dream about struggling against the tide of fortune. A new refusal to defer to fate was expressed through affirming the human potential. Later, during the period of Enlightenment, this sensibility developed further, giving rise to a belief that, in certain circumstances, mankind could gain the freedom necessary to influence its future.
In the twenty-first century, however, the optimistic belief in humanity’s ability to subdue the unknown and become the master of its fate has given way to a belief that we are powerless to deal with the perils that confront us. Today, the problems associated with risk and uncertainty are constantly being amplified and, courtesy of our own imaginations, are turned into existential threats. Consequently, it is rare for unexpected natural events to be treated as just that; rather, they are swiftly dramatised and transformed into a threat to human survival.
The clearest expression of this tendency can be found in the dramatisation of weather forecasting. Once upon a time, TV weather forecasts were just those boring moments when you got up to make a snack. But with the invention of concepts like ‘extreme weather’, routine events such as storms, smog or unexpected snowfall have been turned into compelling entertainment. Also these days, a relatively ordinary technical IT problem, such as the so-called Millennium Bug, can be interpreted as a threat of apocalyptic proportions; and officialdom’s reaction to a flu epidemic can look like it was taken from the plotline of a Hollywood disaster movie. Recently, when the World Health Organisation warned that the human species was threatened by swine flu, it became clear that cultural prejudice rather than sober risk assessment influences much of current official thinking.
In recent times, European culture has become confused about the meaning of uncertainty and risk. As a result, it finds it difficult to live with the notion of Fortuna. Contemporary Western cultural attitudes towards uncertainty, chance and risk are far more pessimistic and confused than they were during most of the modern era. Only rarely is uncertainty about something looked upon as an opportunity to take responsibility for our destiny. Invariably, uncertainty is presented as a marker for danger, and change is often regarded with dread.
Frequently, worst-case thinking displaces any genuine risk-assessment process. Risk assessment is based on an attempt to calculate the probability of different outcomes. Worst-case thinking – these days known as precautionary thinking – is based on an act of imagination. It imagines the worst-case scenario and demands that we take action on that basis. For example, earlier this year, the fear that particles in the ash cloud from the volcanic eruption in Iceland could cause aeroplane engines to shut down automatically mutated into the conclusion that they would. It was the fantasy of the worst case, rather than risk assessment, which led to the panicky official ban on air travel.
Implicitly, and sometimes explicitly, advocates of worst-case thinking argue that society should stop looking at risk in terms of a balance of probabilities. These critics of probabilistic thinking are calling for a radical break with past practices, on the grounds that today we simply lack the information to calculate probabilities effectively. Their rejection of the practice of calculating probabilities is motivated by a belief that the dangers we face are so overwhelming and catastrophic – the Millennium Bug, international terrorism, swine flu, climate change – that we cannot wait until we have all the information before we calculate their destructive effects. ‘Shut it down!’ is the default response. One of the many regrettable consequences of this outlook is that policies designed to deal with threats are increasingly based on feelings and intuition rather than on evidence or facts.
Worst-case thinking encourages the adoption of fear as one of the dominant principles around which the public, and its government and institutions, should organise their lives. It institutionalises insecurity and fosters a mood of confusion and powerlessness. By popularising the belief that worst cases are normal, it incites people to feel defenceless and vulnerable in the face of a wide range of threats. In all but name, it is an invitation for us to defer to Fortuna.
Crisis of causalityThe tendency to engage with uncertainty through the prism of fear, and always to anticipate destructive outcomes, can be understood as a crisis of causality. Increasingly, policymakers are demanding precaution in relation to various different problems. When events appear to have little meaning, and when society finds it difficult to account for the origins and the possible future trajectory of those events, then it is tempting to rely on caution rather than on reasoning. Human beings have always exercised caution when dealing with uncertainty. Today, however, caution has become politicised and has been turned into a dominant cultural norm.
The clearest manifestation of this is the rise of the idea of sustainability. The doctrine of sustainability demands that we don’t take any risks with our future. Taking decisive action to promote progress is seen as far more dangerous than simply staying still. That is why, these days, the ideals of development, progress and economic growth enjoy little cultural valuation. In contrast, just to ‘sustain’ a future of more of the same is represented as a worthwhile objective.
Today’s precautionary culture answers the age-old question about where fate ends and free will begins by insisting that our fate is to sustain. In Roman times, and during the Renaissance, it was argued that virtus could overcome the power of Fortuna. The ideals of virtue upheld courage, prudence, intelligence, a dedication to the public good, and a willingness to take risks. Petrarch’s remarkable The Remedies of Both Kinds of Fortune (1366) proposed the very modern and radical idea that mankind had the potential to control his destiny. In the context of the Renaissance, the conviction that people had the power to transform the physical world began to gain ground. In the current climate, however, when Western culture is so apprehensive about dealing with uncertainty, our aspiration to transform, develop and progress has been overwhelmed by the ethos of caution and sustainability.
The crisis of causality expresses a profound sense of unease towards people’s capacity to know. This has a significant influence on the way that communities interpret the world around them. Once the authority of knowledge is undermined, people lose confidence in their ability to interpret new events. Without the guidance of knowledge, world events can appear as random and arbitrary acts that are beyond comprehension. This crisis of causality does not simply deprive society of an ability to grasp the chain of events that led to a particular outcome; it also diminishes the ability to find meaning in what sometimes appears as a series of arbitrary events.
Frequently, the dangers faced by humans are represented as problems that we can’t really understand. In contrast to the Enlightenment’s conviction that knowledge could eventually solve all problems, the intellectual temper today tends to focus on the impossibility of knowing. This pessimistic view of our capacity to understand has important implications for how society views its future. If the impact of our actions on the future is not knowable, then our anxieties towards change become amplified. The scepticism about our ability to anticipate outcomes is often based on the idea that we simply don’t have the time to catch up with the fast and far-reaching consequences of modern technological development. Many experts claim that since technological innovations have such rapid consequences, there is simply no time to understand their likely effects.
In a roundabout way, the devaluation of knowledge expresses a diminishing of belief in the power and influence of human subjectivity. That is why it is now commonplace to hear the Enlightenment project described as naive, or to see scientists castigated for ‘playing God’. The idea of diminished subjectivity, as communicated through the precautionary culture, inexorably leads to a reconciliation with – if not a deference to – fate.
One of the most important ways in which today’s sense of diminished subjectivity is experienced is through the feeling that individuals are being manipulated and influenced by hidden powerful forces. Not just spindoctors, subliminal advertising and the media, but also powers that have no name. That is why we frequently attribute unexplained physical and psychological symptoms to unspecific forces, such as the food we eat, the water we drink, an extending variety of pollutants and substances transmitted by new technologies and other invisible processes.
The American academic, Timothy Melley, has characterised this response as agency panic. ‘Agency panic is intense anxiety about an apparent loss of autonomy, the conviction that one’s actions are being controlled by someone else or that one has been “constructed” by powerful, external agents’, writes Melley. The perception that one’s behaviour and action are controlled by external agents is symptomatic of a heightened sense of fatalism, which springs from today’s sense of diminished subjectivity. The feeling of being subject to manipulation and external control – the very stuff of conspiracy theory – is consistent with the perception of being vulnerable or ‘at risk’. As Melley observes, this reaction ‘stems largely from a sense of diminished human agency, a feeling that individuals cannot effect meaningful social action and, in extreme cases, may not be able to control their own behaviour’.
The re-emergence of pre-modern anxieties about hidden forces is testimony to the weakening of the humanist sensibility that emerged as part of the Enlightenment. The loss of a sense of human agency has not only undermined the public’s engagement with politics – it has also altered the way in which people make sense of the world around them. The crisis of causality means that the most important events are now seen as being shaped and determined by a hidden agenda. We seem to be living in a shadowy world akin to The Matrix movies, where the issue at stake is the reality that we inhabit and who is being manipulated by whom.
In previous times, that kind of attitude was mainly held by right-wing populist movements, which saw the hand of a Jewish or a Masonic or a Communist conspiracy behind all major world events. Today, conspiracy theory has gone mainstream, and many of its most vociferous promoters can be found in radical protest movements and amongst the cultural left. Increasingly, important events are viewed as the products of a cover-up, as the search for the ‘hidden hand’ manipulating a particular story comes to dominate public life. Conspiracy theory constructs worlds where everything important is manipulated behind our backs and where we simply do not know who is responsible for our predicament. In such circumstances, we have no choice but to defer to our fate.
It is through conspiracy theories that Fortuna reappears – but it does so in a form that is far more degraded than in Roman times. To their credit, the Romans were able to counterpose virtus to Fortuna. In a precautionary culture, however, fortune favours the risk-averse, not the brave. The current deification of fear instructs us to bow to fate. In such circumstances, there is not much room left for freedom or the exercise of free will. Yet if we have to defer to fate, how can we be held to account? In the absence of the freedom to influence the future, how can there be human responsibility? One of the principal accomplishments of the precautionary culture has been to normalise irresponsibility. We should reject this perspective, in favour of a mighty dose of humanist courage.
The above is a speech given at the Philosophy Festival in Modena, Italy, on 18 September 2010. An edited version was published in theAustralian on 9 October 2010.
Of course the 2000 election was f’ed with. Then to have such a Senate Committee [more money]… and then do nothing… geeece. Same ole shit.
I was pondering all the cases lately that made their way to the Supreme Court and then an “Act of God” ran through my mind. I guess with everything else that has been changed or challenged lately I was sort of surprised when I thought– ” It is a wonder this has never been challenged or tested as a defense”. First that the word ‘God’ remains… and second I had always felt that no one could prove what God did or didn’t do or cause or produce. How could someone prove God didn’t tell me nor motivate me to kill my husband? [just an example folks!!!! lol] Think about it. The courts would have to either abolish the word ‘God’ or state that God remains God, or re-constitute a definition for God. This being such a ‘Global’ but ‘politically correct’ world, the outcome would be the lighting of the final fuse I would think. But I sure as hell see it happening. I know for myself, there have been times that I 100% knew and felt God set before me an action. This one statement or explaination as to why something happened is huge. Here are a few definitions… then I want the debate to start!
Seems to me that someone would have to prove, literally prove there is no God and no evil. OR finally define ‘God’. Again– I can see this coming!
n., pl., acts of God.
A manifestation especially of a violent or destructive natural force, such as a lightning strike or earthquake, that is beyond human power to cause, prevent, or control.
WHAT IS NOT COVERED: THIS PLAN DOES NOT COVER: (1) INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (2) PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS; (3) DAMAGE FROM ABUSE, MISUSE, INTRODUCTION OF FOREIGN OBJECTS INTO THE PRODUCT, UNAUTHORIZED PRODUCT MODIFICATIONS OR ALTERATIONS, FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE MANUFACTURER’S INSTRUCTIONS; (4) ACCESSORIES AND SUPPLIES, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: BULBS AND/OR LAMPS, BATTERIES, ANTENNAS, CARTRIDGES, STYLUSES, RECORDS, AUDIO/VIDEO DISKS, TAPES, COMPUTER SOFTWARE OR DISKS, PRINT ELEMENTS, EXTERNAL POWER SUPPLIES; (5) ACTS OF GOD; (6) PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE; (7) INHERENT PRODUCT DEFECTS, ( MULTI-USER ORGANIZATIONS, PUBLIC RENTAL, OR COMMUNAL USE IN MULTI-FAMILY HOUSING; (9) DAMAGE WHICH IS NOT REPORTED WITHIN 30 DAYS AFTER EXPIRATION OF THIS PLAN; (10) LOSS OR DAMAGE TO STORED DATA, REPAIRS RELATED TO INSTALLED SOFTWARE, COMPUTER VIRUSES, CRACKED OR PHYSICALLY DAMAGED SCREENS OR COMPUTER HARDWARE WHICH IS ADDED AFTER THE ORIGINAL PURCHASE; (11) BURNED-IN PHOSPHOR IN CATHODE RAY TUBES OR ANY OTHER TYPE OF DISPLAY; (12) ANY DAMAGE TO RECORDING MEDIA INCLUDING ANY SOFTWARE PROGRAMS, DATA, OR CONFIGURATION/SETUP INFORMATION RESIDENT ON ANY MASS STORAGE DEVICES SUCH AS HARD DRIVES, CD-ROM DRIVES, DVD DRIVES, FLOPPY DISKETTES, TAPE DRIVES OR TAPE BACKUP SYSTEMS, AS A RESULT OF THE MALFUNCTIONING OR DAMAGE OF AN OPERATING OR NON-OPERATING PART, OR AS A RESULT OF ANY REPAIRS OR REPLACEMENT UNDER THIS PLAN; (13) PRODUCTS WITH REMOVED OR ALTERED SERIAL NUMBERS; (14) LOSS OR CORRUPTION OF DATA AND/OR THE RESTORATION OF SOFTWARE AND OPERATING SYSTEMS; (15) LOSS AND/OR THEFT OF THE PRODUCT; (16) LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF PROFITS, DOWN-TIME AND CHARGES FOR TIME AND EFFORT; (17) ANY FAILURES, OR PARTS AND/OR LABOR COST INCURRED AS A RESULT OF A MANUFACTURER’S RECALL (18) DAMAGE COVERED UNDER ANY INSURANCE POLICY, OR ANY OTHER WARRANTY OR SERVICE PLAN.
We ALL already knew this– but hey, as long as it keeps getting postivie press— YEA!
(Health.com) — People with chronic pain who aren’t getting enough relief from medications may be able to ease their pain by smoking small amounts of marijuana, a new study suggests.
Marijuana also helps pain patients fall asleep more easily and sleep more soundly, according to the report, one of the first real-world studies to look at the medicinal use of smoked marijuana. Most previous research has used extracts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in the cannabis plant.
“This is the first time anyone has done a trial of smoked cannabis on an outpatient basis,” says the lead researcher, Mark Ware, M.B.B.S., the director of clinical research at McGill University’s Alan Edwards Centre for Research on Pain, in Montreal.
Health.com: Medicinal marijuana, state by state
The study included 21 adults with nervous-system (neuropathic) pain stemming from surgery, accidents, or other trauma. Fourteen of the participants were on short-term disability or permanently disabled. All of them had tried marijuana before, but none were current or habitual smokers.
“They were not experienced marijuana users,” Ware says. “They came because they had severe pain that was not responding to any conventional treatment.”
Each patient in the study smoked four different strengths of marijuana over a period of 56 days. The THC potency ranged from 9.4 percent — the strongest dose the researchers could obtain legally — to 0 percent, a “placebo” pot that looked and tasted like the real thing but was stripped of THC. (By comparison, the strongest marijuana available on the street has a THC potency of about 15 percent, Ware estimates.)
Health.com: Medical marijuana may help fibromyalgia pain
The participants — who weren’t told which strength they were getting — were instructed to smoke a thimbleful (25 milligrams) from a small pipe three times a day for five days. After a nine-day break, they switched to a different potency.
The highest dose of THC yielded the best results. It lessened pain and improved sleep more effectively than the placebo and the two medium-strength doses (which produced no measurable relief), and it also reduced anxiety and depression.
The effects lasted for about 90 minutes to two hours, according to the study.
The results were published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
Health.com: 8 natural remedies to help you sleep
Though small, the study adds to a growing body of evidence suggesting that cannabis has painkilling properties that may be useful in medicine, perhaps in addition to other treatments. THC extracts have been shown to help ease cancer pain and the nausea associated with chemotherapy, while a few small studies in hospital populations have found that smoked marijuana can help relieve neuropathic pain.
But medical marijuana isn’t ready to become a mainstream chronic pain treatment, says Andrew McDavid, M.D., director of the division of pain management at Scott & White Healthcare, in Temple, Texas.
“The studies out there show some decrease in pain, but it’s not alarmingly or shockingly great,” says McDavid, who was not involved in the new research. “Although it may have some use, it’s probably going to need to be used with something else, if it’s approved.”
As the study notes, the pain relief the patients experienced from marijuana was modest compared to that seen in studies of analgesic medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica).
Health.com: 6 mistakes pain patients make
Christopher Gharibo, M.D., an anesthesiologist at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, in New York City, points out that the study didn’t address whether marijuana enabled the patients to perform everyday activities without pain — the best test of a chronic pain treatment.
“I’m not convinced [marijuana] helps from a functional standpoint,” he says. “I’m not even impressed by the pain reduction. We have analgesics that do much better.”
The potential long-term side effects of habitual marijuana use could prove problematic as well, Gharibo adds. Over time some patients may experience weight gain, a generalized feeling of sedation, and even changes in mood and cognitive function, he says.
Health.com: Can psychedelic drugs treat depression?
The study participants did report some minor side effects, including coughing, dizziness, headache, and dry eyes. Few reported feeling “high” or euphoric, however, which suggests that abuse or addiction is not a major concern with amounts as small as those used in the study.
“We had a total of three single episodes where patients felt a little bit high,” Ware says. “So it was extremely rare. The possibility that one would become addicted is low.”
Still, if marijuana were to become a more common pain treatment, it’s possible that some patients might overdo it, McDavid says.
“We saw the problem with narcotics. You can’t ever predict which people, when prescribed, will abuse it or not. Obviously there needs to be more research.”
When you think about it– for over 100 years [I am sure more] DC has promoted some ‘wonderful’ theorys for all of us to believe and follow suit regarding. I mean, come on– remember the Orbital Labodomy! everyone needed one… even Joe Kennedys daughter needed to be turned into a vegetable. And then– there was this. It totally reminds me of Tobbacco lobbiests… also a test to see how many Americans will bend over and drop them believeing what they are saying;… and for some odd reason, we as citizens will stand up and shout ” I feel so much better now that my Government has given me a remedy for the ills of my country and healthcare!
This post is from todays AOL News Page.
Ballad and narcocorrido singer Sergio Vega was shot and killed while driving on a highway near Los Mochis on June 26 — just hours after he contacted the press to refute rumors of death. The gunmen who murdered the singer have not been apprehended.
As Mexico grapples with a lengthy and increasingly bloody drug war, tunes glorifying drug runners, gang enforcers and narcotics cartels have emerged as the songs of an era.
“Narcocorridos” are in many ways a continuation of Mexico’s long “corrido” tradition of lyrical storytelling. But instead of singing the praises of folk heroes like Pancho Villa or a woman who saved her village from a flood, these ballads are musical tributes to the generals and foot soldiers in a drug war that, according to the U.S. State Department, has claimed some 23,000 lives since December 2006.
“The ballad is completely alive in the present day, and it’s about things going on in the present day,” said Elijah Wald, author of “Narcocorrido: A Journey Into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerrillas.”
Corridos first emerged in the 1800s as a kind of historical ballad that honored famous people and notable exploits. Though there were some Prohibition-era crooners who sang about booze smugglers sneaking liquor across the border, modern narcocorridos only emerged in the 1970s as drug trafficking became increasingly lucrative in Mexico.
That’s when groups like Los Tigres del Norte began documenting the drug trade with tunes like “Contrabando y Traicion” (“Contraband and Betrayal”), a song detailing a Bonnie and Clyde-style couple who smuggle drugs across the border, only for the girlfriend to gun down her man and escape with the money.
A decade later, Mexican immigrant and Los Angeles resident “Chalino” Sanchez brought a gruff voice and a tough persona to the world of narcocorridos. While earlier singers of narcocorridos became popular as documentarians of the drug trade, Sanchez became a star by acting as if he was a part of it himself.
Eduardo Parra, WireImage
The Mexican group Los Tigres del Norte has been singing about the drug trade with narcocorridos for more than 30 years. The band, pictured here playing in Spain in 2009, started with a Bonnie and Clyde-style tune called “Contrabando y Traicion.” Newer tunes include political commentary about Mexico’s drug war.
“Chalino Sanchez was a little more like Tupac [Shakur] in a sense,” said Mark Edberg, author of “El Narcotraficante: Narcocorridos and the Construction of a Cultural Persona on the U.S.-Mexico Border.”
“He was a little bit more in that world, unlike some of the other singers. In fact, he pulled out a gun and fired at the crowd at one of his shows,” Edberg said.
Sanchez was shot and killed in 1992 after a concert in the Mexican state of Sinaloa, a major drug-running region. But his violent death only added to the mystique of narcocorrido songs and their singers.
The Mexican group Los Tigres del Norte has been singing about the drug trade with narcocorridos for more than 30 years. The band, pictured here playing in Spain in 2009, started with a Bonnie and Clyde-style tune called “Contrabando y Traicion.” Newer tunes include political commentary about Mexico’s drug war.
“After some of the original narcocorrido heroes like Chalino Sanchez, the record companies realized that there is street cred and street value in these things, and they started marketing them and playing them up, looking for the most exaggerated and extreme form of the character,” said Edberg, an associate professor at George Washington University. “The marketing becomes the reality — like gangsta rap.”
Since then, narcocorridos have continued to gain fans both north and south of the border.
The tunes themselves aren’t bound to a distinct sound — they can be performed over a number of different musical arrangements, from brass-heavy “banda” stylings to “norteno” backings featuring an accordion, a 12-string guitar called a “bajo sexto” and other instruments.
That said, many narcocorridos have powerful lead vocals, a steady, polka-influenced beat and intricately crafted lyrics filled with evocative language and thinly veiled puns.
For instance, if you ever hear the words “cuerno de chivo” — literally a “goat horn” — the singer is really talking about an AK-47 assault rifle.
“Corridos are an old, traditional form,” said Edberg. “There are little subtexts and humor that you find in these things. At a concert where narcocorridos are played, there may be exaggerated gunfire sounds — but people are dancing happily and treating it almost like pro wrestling, almost like a cartoon
It’s the lyrics that make a tune a narcocorrido, and like the historical corridos of yesteryear, today’s songs often describe specific events such as shootouts and drug runs.
Narcocorridos can also be boastful “corridos de amistad” — songs of friendship — that are reminiscent of many boastful gangsta rap songs.
“Corridos de amistad don’t tell a story, they just say, So-and-so is the greatest ever, he has the biggest guns, the fastest cars, the prettiest girlfriends,” said Wald.
“The big advantage of the corrido de amistad is that [the subjects] don’t have to have done anything impressive,” he said. “It means they can hire someone to write one. A lot of corrido writing is done for hire — particularly the corridos de amistad.”
In a music market largely demonetized by piracy, connections to drug traffickers can prove lucrative for musicians and songwriters. For the narcotics cartels, the songs serve as a kind of an ad, according to Edberg.
“The traffickers commission them,” he said. “They are like advertisements in a cultural form that are known.”
As narcocorrido musicians have emerged as historians of the drug trade — and sometimes even hire court singers for drug cartels — some musicians have met the same violent fates as the characters in their songs.
Gregory Bull, AP
Ballad and narcocorrido singer Sergio Vega was shot and killed while driving on a highway near Los Mochis on June 26 — just hours after he contacted the press to refute rumors of death. The gunmen who murdered the singer have not been apprehended.
Singer Valentin Elizalde was murdered in 2006, and many fans of narcocorridos believe his death was linked to his song “A Mis Enemigos” — “To My Enemies” — which mocked the Gulf Cartel drug gang.
The following year, Sergio Gomez, the lead singer of the group K-Paz de la Sierra, was kidnapped, tortured and strangled to death after a concert. Gomez wasn’t known for his narcocorridos but rather his love songs. However, some speculate that the 34-year-old was murdered by drug gangs in the Michoacan state because of ties to rival narcotics traffickers.
In June, narcocorrido singer Sergio Vega, 40, was killed hours after he gave an interview to a news website, denying rumors of his murder.
“It has happened to me for years now — someone tells a radio station or a newspaper I have been killed, or suffered an accident,” Vega told La Oreja shortly before gunmen ambushed his vehicle with automatic weapons. “And then I have to call my dear mother, who has heart trouble, to reassure her.”
Wald doesn’t think narcocorrido singers are necessarily being targeted because of the content of their music — unlike many American gangsta rappers from the 1990s.
“These are people who play at parties for the drug lords, they do songs for the drug world,” he said. “They are in that world, and that is a very dangerous world to be in. Whether the murders have any connection to the music, nobody you ever talk to will know the answer to those questions.
“Once you are in a world where they are killing a dozen people a day, it doesn’t take a lot to get killed,” he said.
As the Mexican government has attempted to crack down on drug cartels, there has been a push to limit the radio play of narcocorridos, and even imprison musicians who sing them. But according to Wald, the tunes were never big radio hits — instead they were performed live and distributed on bootleg tapes, CDs and now YouTube.
“Now they are talking about a national ban in Mexico,” he said. “Nobody in the business is bothered by the concept of a ban. The government is just posturing.”
Despite governmental opposition, the music remains popular in Mexican regions where the narcotics trade thrives, like the states of Sinaloa, Sonora and Michoacan. The tunes are also popular in Mexican neighborhoods around the U.S.
Why? Well, for the same reasons that gangsta rap, crime movies and violent video games have found audiences, said Edberg.
“You do get a lot of people saying, ‘This is horrible, this is terrible,’” he said. “But you also have people saying, ‘This just reflects reality — we’re just telling stories about what we see every day.’”
‘US to sell Saudis F-15 fighter jets’
Long-range weaponry reportedly not included in proposed $30b. deal.
The US will sell Saudi Arabia F-15 fighter jets without long-range weapons and other advanced equipment as a result of Israeli pressure, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.
The report states that 84 fighter jets will be supplied to Saudi Arabia over a ten year period, but these will not be as technologically advanced as those used by the US.
The $30 billion defense package is said to be one of the biggest deals of its kind to date.
During months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, officials including Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly conveyed grave concern to the US regarding the proposed deal, on the basis that if advanced weaponry is supplied to other countries, Israel’s military advThe Wall Street Journal quoted Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell as saying: “We have been working very closely with the Israeli government at the highest levels to address their concerns on this and other issues.”
He added: “Israel is not the only one with security concerns in the region and we have responsibilities to other allies as well.”
antage in the region would be diminished and security would be compromised.
The Obama Administration’s conflicting messages on Iran
Posted by Alan M. Dershowitz
The Obama administration is sending conflicting and confusing messages both to Iran and to those who fear an Iranian nuclear weapon.
According to The New York Times, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates sent a top-secret memorandum to White House officials bemoaning the fact that the United States simply has no policy in place to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. At the same time, it is telling Israel that although Iran has threatened to wipe it off the map, the Jewish state should not take military action to prevent a second Holocaust. Indeed, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, who has participated in White House discussions concerning the Middle East, has threatened that if Israel tries to destroy Iran’s nuclear weapon facilities, the United States is fully capable of shooting Israeli jets out of the air.
Although Gates subsequently denied that his memo, which he acknowledges writing, was intended as a “wake up call”, a senior White House official has confirmed that it was just that. There is no evidence, however, that the White House is prepared to confront the grave threat posed by a nuclear Iran. The policy that seems to be emerging from the White House is one called “containment.” But what is containment? It is little more than an acknowledgement of failure. Containment implies that the United States will not succeed in preventing Iran from securing nuclear weapons, but rather it will accept such an eventuality and seek to deter the use of nuclear weapons by threats and by the deployment of defensive measures. The analogy that proponents of containment point to is North Korea, which has nuclear weapons but has thus far been “contained” from using them. But there are vast differences between North Korea and Iran.
North Korea is a secular Communist regime that is risk averse and that has no sworn existential enemies. The goal of its leaders is simply to remain in power and maintain their totalitarian control over their people. Iran is a theocratic, apocalyptic regime that believes that it has a religious obligation to destroy Israel and threaten the United States. Iran, unlike North Korea, also operates through surrogates, such as Hizbullah, Hamas and other smaller terrorist groups. They could hand off nuclear material to such groups, or to sympathetic individuals, for use as dirty bombs directed against its enemies.
In the past 13 years– I believe due to a state of compromised and greedy deals– we, The U.S. of A. [administrations] have cut deals with various countries out of sheer greed and positioning–; and have cared basically less about old and understandable allies and the overall reasoning behind them. I believe Isreal stays in a fully understandable position of doom. Why wouldn’t it be?
Pipeline repaired as China works to contain spill– direct hands-on at risk!
BEIJING — China and environmental observers said cleanup efforts on the country’s largest reported oil spill were progressing Thursday, but the environmental and economic damage was clear.
The cleanup — marred by the drowning of a worker this week, his body coated in crude — continued over a 165 square mile (430 square kilometer) stretch of the Yellow Sea off the northeastern city of Dalian, one of China’s major ports and strategic oil reserve sites.
China National Petroleum Corp. said Thursday that the pipeline that exploded and caused the oil spill last Friday had resumed operations. The blast had reduced oil shipments from part of China’s strategic oil reserves to the rest of the country. The cause of the explosion that started the spill was still not clear.
The company, Asia’s biggest oil-and-gas producer by volume, also said more than 400 tons of oil had been cleaned up by 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to a posting on its website.
The environmental group Greenpeace China released photos Thursday of local fishermen cleaning up oily sludge at Weitang Bay with shovels, and of an employee scooping up dead snails at Guotai Water Products Farm, about 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) from the site of the explosion and spill.
“Dalian’s seafood farming and tourism industries have taken critical hits,” Greenpeace China said in a statement. It estimated 10,000 shellfish farms have been contaminated.
Fishing in the waters around Dalian has been banned through the end of August, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
Greenpeace China also saw progress in the cleanup at Jinshitan, one of Dalian’s most popular beaches.
“On Jinshitan beach, several hundred fishermen, citizens and paramilitary police were using straw mats to absorb the oil,” said Zhong Yu, a Greenpeace China worker. “The cleanup there was almost done, but the air still remained smelly.”
The Dalian Daily newspaper cited an official in charge of cleanup efforts as saying the polluted area was shrinking, but no update on the spill size was issued Thursday.
It remained unclear exactly how much oil has spilled, but state media has said no more is leaking into the sea.
China Central Television earlier reported an estimate of 1,500 tons of oil has spilled. That would amount roughly to 400,000 gallons (1,500,000 liters) — as compared with 94 million to 184 million gallons in the BP oil spill off the U.S. coast.
The ecological harm from the spill could last a decade, Zhao Zhangyuan, a researcher with the China Environmental Science Research Institute, told the Shanghai Morning News earlier this week.
“The most critical is the effect on people, the effect on health,” Zhao said, because the decomposing oil will produce some carcinogenic substances that could move along the food chain to humans.
Question? What will happen as countless people in China DEMAND oil for their new found ‘Western’ lifestyle desirers?
Just stop the world, I want to get off please. NOW!
Poisoned dog food and tooth paste??? Faulty mechanics and electronics??? so– you REALLY think your not at their mercey with what you stick in your mouth???? I HATE what our country gave away… jobs, industry, standards, quality assurance… etc etc etc etc
When numerous pharmaceutical companies across the US have started closing down their plants and transferring the production of many crucial drugs and their components abroad, few were concerned with national security. The primary concern back then was job loss and social security. But today more and more experts and authorities start looking at the problem form a different point of view. Depending on drugs manufactured overseas is a risk that the national security just cannot take. Thus there are more frequent calls to design a law that would assure some essential drugs to be manufactured in the US. Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, states that this is a very weak spot for the national defense, leaving many opportunities for biological terrorisms and other risks. A few decades ago, the majority of drugs bought and taken in the United States were produced within the borders of the country. But as with many other large-scale production operations, the manufacturing of of drugs was moved to Asia due to the considerably lower costs, allowing manufacturers to maximize their profits. The main ingredients for most essential drugs like antibiotics and painkillers are now manufactured only in China and India. So don’t be surprised to find out that the Zithromax you give your child for an ear infection has a “made in China” label. Amongst the 1,154 productions manufacturing drugs that are noted in generic medication applications to the FDA in 2007, only 13 percent were located in the United States was only 13 percent. 43 percent of the plants were registered in China, and 39 percent in India. The whole healthcare system of the United States relies upon drugs, which 96% are manufactured in developing countries that have no strict environmental or hygienic regulations. And this of course makes the United States a lot more vulnerable to external influences. Dr. Yusuf K. Hamied, chairman of Cipla, one of the biggest suppliers of medical ingredients in the whole world, tells that his company and other major pharmaceutical businesses have become very dependent on Chinese suppliers. It is to the extend that if in one day China will suddenly stops suppling pharmaceutical ingredients, the entire global drug-manufacturing industry would be completely destroyed the same day. The problem is far more serious because the sources for the ingredients, which the Chinese and Indian manufacturers use in their production are unclear. Officially it is kept as a secret, but the fact is that even after the public listing of master files required by the FDA, the most part of the presented data was inaccurate or out of date, because the is no strict requirement for the manufacturers to list their suppliers. The number of overseas drug plants in one federal database is about 3,000 businesses. Another database has 6,800 entries. And there’s no clear explanation of which one is correct. In this situation, China becomes a very significant element for the national security for the US. And if the Chinese authorities become upset with President Obama it is not hard to imagine how devastating the consequences might be.
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