The Fukushima Rivers Forever Radioactively Flow Into The Once-Fair Pacific June 12, 2012
(Also see 8:50 video >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awl8_dgWbng) Restraint In The Paint, We Do Have Limits To Respect. Dickens, Berry, Kneen, Vivian Quotes 'ere
As we watch the ocean and the blue sky, planning for the future, full of faith that it will be there for us, we have to be a little wary today. "Before the specialization of the disciplines that accompanied the Industrial Revolution, one of the dominant strains of Western culture was a concern for the limits of responsible action. And these limits were defined primarily by the human place, below the angels and above the animals, in the hierarchy of created things. To act in violation of these limits is to invite consequences that cannot be controlled, and may not be survived.' -- Wendell Berry
Just think: before the Industrial Revolution, how much pollution did we have? Life might have been a greater struggle, but we could breathe the air and drink the water almost anywhere. Now we have Fukushima radioactive water from the nuclear accident of March 11, 2011 running out into the Pacific every day from massively tainted rivers and groundwaters poisoning the Pacific Ocean, being detected in tuna fish caught off the city of San Diego; thousands of new chemicals being introduced into our environment every year; superweeds resisting herbicides that Monsanto and Dow manufacture to match their genetically altered crops, now wanting "Agent Orange Corn' to be released into our fields and water, inviting 2-4-D to be the GMO-latest plant saviour.
Industry and corporations, profiteers and nuclear plant owners, want to regulate their own industries, as we are inviting chicken processors to do. There was lead in gasoline that car manufacturers and oil companies resisted regulating, although lead was damaging our health, and especially the health of our children. Now there is mercury, that people try to poo-poo, still using it in the vaccine industry, although it looks like it is linked to causing autism. Then there was Coketown back in the summer of "Hard Times' by Charles Dickens:
"The streets were hot and dusty on the summer day, and the sun was so bright that it even shone through the heavy vapour drooping over Coketown, and could not be looked at steadily. Stokers emerged from low underground doorways into factory yards, and sat on steps, and posts, and palings, wiping their swarthy visages, and contemplating coals. The whole town seemed to be frying in oil. There was a stifling smell of hot oil everywhere. The steam-engines shone with it, the dresses of the Hands were soiled with it, the mills throughout their many stories oozed and trickled it. The atmosphere of those Fairy palaces was like the breath of the simoom; and their inhabitants, wasting with heat, toiled languidly in the desert. But no temperature made the melancholy mad elephants more mad or more sane. Their wearisome heads went up and down at the same rate, in hot weather and cold, wet weather and dry, fair weather and foul. The measured motion of their shadows on the walls, was the substitute Coketown had to show for the shadows of rustling woods; while, for the summer hum of insects, it could offer, all the year round, from the dawn of Monday to the night of Saturday, the whirr of shafts and wheels.
Drowsily they whirred all through this sunny day, making the passenger more sleepy and more hot as he passed the humming walls of the mills. Sun-blinds, and sprinklings of water, a little cooled the main streets and the shops; but the mills, and the courts and alleys, baked at a fierce heat. Down upon the river that was black and thick with dye, some Coketown boys who were at large -- a rare sight there -- rowed a crazy boat, which made a spumous track upon the water as it jogged along, while every dip of an oar stirred up vile smells. But the sun itself, however beneficent generally, was less kind to Coketown than hard frost, and rarely looked intently into any of its closer regions without engendering more death than life. So does the eye of Heaven itself become an evil eye, when incapable or sordid hands are interposed between it and the things it looks upon to bless.'
That was in the mid-1800's. Imagine if that existence had been accepted, continuing through and progressively worsening unhindered, until today"But we have used our brains and senses of responsibility not to throw our garbage on our neighbors' lawns or persistently poison the air and water that our children must breathe. Though today, in modern day America, we have the corporations gaining increasing control of our politicians and media, pushing de-regulation that has protected us from our excesses being excessively expressed, so that we are grabbing and stabbing at our health again, a la the Alberta Tar Sands (the largest industrial project on Earth today, each barrel of oil produced from these massive chomps of tar sands/earth producing three times the pollution of a "conventional' barrel of oil) in Canada that investors and Mitt Romney want to pipeline down through the heartland of America; the Agent Orange Corn, and the GMO-soy we are feeding our own infants; the herbicides polluting our rivers that are not "black and thick with dye' or saturated with "vile smells' [for the most part], as they would have been if we hadn't made intelligent adjustments to what our businesspeople wanted to perpetually foist onto the market.
Here is a quote from the Diary of Sidney George Fisher:
"Everyone is talking about the expose' . . . of the [banking] frauds. Astonishment & indignation are generally expressed. Indeed it is villainy on the most enormous scale. Yankees do nothing by halves, they always go the entire figure . . . I believe there has been more corruption & fraud in this country in the last five years than it all England for the last three hundred . . . . In the meantime the press is dumb. All bought, all indebted to the Banks, all bribed. A curious fact showing the power of these institutions. They have thus obtained control over the country by the mere power of money. They bribe legislators & the press, and by governing the interests, govern to opinions of an immense army of merchants, speculators, stockholders, lawyers, politicians, all in short who direct public sentiment. The 'monster' has verified the predictions of its enemies."
Thing is, folks, that was not written today, but rather in 1841. Bank bailouts, car industry bailouts in our 21st century, are still the norm. Still big bonuses for the CEO's, while millions have lost their jobs, or been denigrated to lesser loftiness of labor. Then the Republicans complaining about the car industry bailouts being successful? of course, BECAUSE Obama did it.
But we could think of it this way, from Brewster Kneen's "Dragging People Around by The Economy' in the wonderful publication "Ram's Horn' Issue 288:
"The economy came into being as an object of calculation and a means of governing populations not with the political economy of the late nineteenth century, but only in the mid-twentieth century. Its appearance was made possible by oil, for the availability of abundant, low-cost energy allowed economists to abandon earlier concerns with the exhaustion of natural resources and represent material life instead as a system of monetary circulation -- a circulation that could expand indefinitely without any problem of physical limits.
Economics became a science of money; its object was not the material forces and resources of nature and human labour, but a new space that was opened up between nature on one side and human society and culture on the other -- the not-quite-natural, not-quite-social space that had come to be called "the economy'. (emphasis added)
This is why the Harper Government (previously known as the Government of Canada) insists on making the exploitation of the [Alberta] tar sands its top priority. If an endless flow of oil can be counted on, then the government can happily focus on "the economy' and its numbers game, overriding any other interests or concerns. By numbers game I refer to the habit of counting "indicators", such as the Gross Domestic Product, "jobs' -- doing what, at what pay, for whom not explained; trade, as if the more oil, gold, or grain is exported, the better off we will all be; and share prices. The numbers, of whatever, are considered to be indicators of good, and of economic growth, which is assumed to be limitless.'
It's good to have another way of looking at the present and the future, besides what we are force-fed. That the economy, as framed by our current ideologues and economists, is what it is, though it has not been pictured that way always. More from Mr. Kneen and friends:
[My college studies were] about political economy, the organization and functioning of society, not about calculability and abstract money flows, and statistics was not part of the curriculum. But that was in the mid-1950s before the construction of "economics' and "the economy'. It was not so many years after the crash of 1929 and the New Deal of US President Franklin D. Roosevelt that created employment for hungry, homeless and jobless citizens to build public amenities like parks and washrooms, in spite of capitalist fears. The New Deal was a set of programs focused on Relief, Reform, and Recovery: Relief for the unemployed and poor; Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat depression; and Recovery of a functional economy. There was also a recognition that capitalism required state intervention to save it from its own failure and that, distasteful as it might be, this state intervention was also necessary to counter the appeal of communism. The New Deal was thus an ethical, social and economic program, unlike the cold numerics of the current notion of an "economy'.
While there is no longer a threat from an "alien' ideology and economic system to impose limits on capitalist excesses, there is the threat of limited energy supplies. The beast referred to as The Economy is totally dependent on the premise of unlimited energy supplies to fuel limitless growth.