Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from October, 2016

Fukushima: Scary!.....plus a gigantic cover up

Cause for more than concern- for all of us wherever we might be located.   Really scary that we simply don't know.

"It is literally impossible for the world community to get a clear understanding of, and truth about, the Fukushima nuclear disaster. This statement is based upon The Feature article in Columbia Journalism Review (“CJR”) d/d October 25, 2016 entitled: “Sinking a Bold Foray Into Watchdog Journalism in Japan” by Martin Fackler.

The scandalous subject matter of the article is frightening to its core. Essentially, it paints a picture of upending and abolishing a 3-year attempt by one of Japan’s oldest and most liberal/intellectual newspapers, The Asahi Shimbun (circ. 6.6 mln) in its effort of “watchdog journalism” of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. In the end, the newspaper’s special watchdog division suffered un-preannounced abrupt closure.

The CJR article, whether intentionally or not, is an indictment of right wing political control of media throughout the world. The…

GM not what it is cracked up to be

Many won't be surprised to learn that despite all the hype and advantages touted for genetically modified food (GM) an examination of the subject by The New York Times throws up that basically there aren't any.

"The controversy over genetically modified crops has long focused on largely unsubstantiated fears that they are unsafe to eat.

But an extensive examination by The New York Times indicates that the debate has missed a more basic problem — genetic modification in the United States and Canada has not accelerated increases in crop yields or led to an overall reduction in the use of chemical pesticides.

The promise of genetic modification was twofold: By making crops immune to the effects of weedkillers and inherently resistant to many pests, they would grow so robustly that they would become indispensable to feeding the world’s growing population, while also requiring fewer applications of sprayed pesticides.

Twenty years ago, Europe largely rejected genetic modification…

To Clinton & Trump: What about climate change?

FAIR in"The Debates Are Over, and No One Asked About Climate Change" quite rightly highlights that neither presidential candidate even raised the important and pressing issue and question of climate change....

"From campaign finance reform to gun violence to poverty to education to LGBTQ rights, lots of important subjects were ignored by corporate media debate moderators in the presidential (and vice-presidential) debates. All of these topics are urgent and deserve a spotlight on the national stage. But one topic stands out as a non-factor: climate change.

Climate change—or, more accurately, climate disruption—is the greatest existential threat of our time. It threatens the economy, national security and health, exacerbates poverty and racism, and threatens to undermine or compound virtually all other issues discussed on the stage tonight.

Scientists say that burning the oil, coal and gas in currently operating fields would warm the Earth by more than 2 degrees Celsius, co…

1984 alive and well....

"Not quite 1400 words in its entirety, one paragraph in particular of El-Ad’s testimony sums up life for millions of those captured by a democracy that sees day as night… pain as pleasure. Crushing, despite its brevity, the power and pain of these words could easily be part of an opening statement by a war crimes prosecutor at a tribunal called to hold Israel accountable for crimes unseen since the Nuremburg tribunals some 70 years ago.

“What does it mean, in practical terms, to spend 49 years, a lifetime, under military rule? When violence breaks out, or when particular incidents attract global attention, you get a glimpse into certain aspects of life under occupation. But what about the rest of the time? What about the many “ordinary” days of a 17,898-day-long occupation, which is still going strong? Living under military rule mostly means invisible, bureaucratic, daily, violence. It means living under an endless permit regime, which controls Palestinian life from cradle to grav…

Escape to a "maritime grave"

How the world has forgotten!    There was much media coverage last year about those fleeing a variety of Middle Eastern and African countries and risking their lives crossing the Mediterranean.    Many, many didn't make it!       

The problem hasn't gone away.     In fact, the level of drownings has increased this year - as a report, just out, from Médicins Sans Frontières, chronicles....


 Médecins Sans Frontières field coordinator Michele Telaro, together with members of the Bourbon Argos crew, distribute life jackets during the rescue operation in the Mediterranean Sea
"Marking a grim milestone, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has reported that 2016 is the deadliest year ever for migrants trying to reach Europe.

The agency said Wednesday that at least 3,800 migrants—many of them fleeing war in their home countries—have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean Sea this year, despite a significant drop in attempted crossings compared to 2015.
"From one death f…

That Israeli Occuption. A call for action and the means for doing so....

Palestinian woman looks at member of Israeli security forces at Qalandia checkpoint. Palestinians wait to cross from West Bank to Jerusalem for Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, July 3, 2015.Abbas Momani, AFP Photo
More than an "interesting" op-ed piece "Amos Oz, to the Barricades: How to Bring Down the Occupation" in Haaretz- and, in reality, a challenge - on some constructive ways in which to bring about the end of what is now 50 years of occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands and its people.

"This is a proposal for action. It is based on three principles: One, what’s needed is a mass movement with the active involvement of Israeli VIPs. Two, law-abiding marches and petitions by themselves aren’t enough; the peace camp has to start raising some non-violent hell, and keep it up. Three, the goal is to rattle the Israeli political establishment, fire up anti-occupation sentiment abroad that will translate into pressure on Israel, and ultimately lead an Israel…

Message to the GOP........You own Trump!

They may be seeking to distance themselves from Trump, but the unquestionable fact is that Trump is the GOP's nominee for US President in the upcoming election.      

Paul Krugman, writing in The New York Times, nails the issue perfectly......

"The presidential campaign is entering its final weeks, and unless the polls are completely off, Donald Trump has very little chance of winning — only 7 percent, according to the Times’s Upshot model. Meanwhile, the candidate continues to say disgusting things, and analysts are asking whether down-ballot Republicans will finally repudiate their party’s nominee.

The answer should be, who cares? Everyone who endorsed Mr. Trump in the past owns him now; it’s far too late to get a refund. And voters should realize that voting for any Trump endorser is, in effect, a vote for Trumpism, whatever happens at the top of the ticket.

First of all, nobody who was paying attention can honestly claim to have learned anything new about Mr. Trump in the la…

The struggle and "hell" of exonerees

It is almost common nowadays to read of a prisoner somewhere in the USA being exonerated of a crime she or he was alleged - and convicted - of carrying out.   The exonerees have mostly spent many multiples of years in jail and quite a few even on Death Row.    But what happens after these people are released?    Mother Jones in an article "After Prison, the Exonerated Face a Different Kind of Hell" provides an insight into something rarely read or heard about.......

"A national registry tracks the number of exonerees in America—1,900 since 1989—but nobody knows how many of them struggle with chronic health issues like PTSD. And that's a problem, according to experts on wrongful conviction, because the United States currently has few safeguards in place to help them get back on their feet after prison, leaving many struggling to adjust. After his exoneration, Gary Gauger, who was sentenced to death in 1994 for the murder of his parents, said he didn't leave his ho…

Trump's whines!

Credited to Nick Anderson, Hearst Papers

Global assault on Freedom of Expression

We are all under threat!     Freedom of expression is not only being tested by Governments around the world, but legislation brought in which curtails or limits freedom of expression - much of it in the name of fighting terrorism.

A UN expert has now raised the issue, as explained in this piece, here, on CommonDreams.....

"Governments are treating words as weapons," a United Nations expert has warned, previewing a report on the global attack on the freedom of expression.

The report, based on communications with governments stemming from allegations of human rights law violations—reveal "sobering" trends of threats worldwide and "how policies and laws against terrorism and other criminal activity risk unnecessarily undermining the media, critical voices, and activists."

The expert, Special Rapporteur on the freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, is presenting his report on the sometimes "abusive" practices by governments to the UN General Asse…

A refugee family taken in....but what those still back home?

Commendably, the Canadian Government jumped to it and "let in" some 26,000 Syrian immigrants when there was the mass exodus of Syrians last year and hundreds of thousands of people  streaming across Europe in search of a safe haven.   Who can forget those rickety boats crossing the Mediterranean or the photo of the young boy, lying dead, on a beach in Turkey.

Many individual Canadians were also at the forefront in helping these refugee families by taking them in, helping in material ways, etc. etc.    But, for example, "helping" a family refugee family overlooks those still left home and all that entails.

The New York Times has an interesting article "They Took In One Refugee Family. But Families Don’t Have Borders" on the issue......here.


Australia's Shame: The forgotten children of Nauru

The following speaks for itself.....

"There are 755 refugees on Nauru and 128 of them are children.

Both the Nauruan and Australian governments say they want the refugees moved on from Nauru, but they have been unable to reach agreements on where else they could be sent.

While that stalemate continues, many of these children are struggling to hang on to hope.

Here are some of the children still trapped in limbo.

Shamim

Shamim is 17.

She's from Myanmar and came to Nauru with her mother and grandmother. When she heard that she was going to Nauru, she thought it was Norway.

"When they told us you are going to Nauru. I was like 'Oh we are going to Norway it's so good. Norway is so beautiful. Mum why are you crying? We are going to Norway'," she said.

"And they were like 'No we're not going to Norway, we're going to Nauru and we don't know what that place is like'."

She wants to be an obstetrician.

"She was very talkative, she was alwa…

Trump and the GOP

This op-ed piece by Charles M. Blow in the New York Times - Trump's nemesis and the people he says he will sue, but won't! - encapsulates all that is bad and negative about Trump and the GOP.

"For years, Trump built a reputation on shuffling through women, treating his exploits with jocularity and having too much of America smiling in amusement at the bad boy antics.

But he’s not a kid; he’s a cad.

And he seems constitutionally incapable of processing the idea that wealth is not completely immunizing, that some rules are universally applicable, that common decency is required of more than just “common” folks. He seems genuinely offended that he should be held to the same standards of truth, decorum and even law as those less well off.

Trump is in fact the logical extension of toxic masculinity and ambient misogyny. He is the logical extension of rampant racism. He is the logical extension of wealth worship. He is the logical extension of pervasive anti-intellectualism.

Trump …

Climate change: Grave danger

We - or should that be the so-called politicians who "lead" (?) us - continue to deny climate change and all that that brings with it.  As for taking real positive action? - other than attending global gab-fests?    Read the following from CommonDreams with grave concern....

"One of the worst droughts in living memory continues to threaten East and Southern African countries, brought on by the recent El Niño event. More than 40 million people across the continent are projected to be food insecure until early 2017, as maize harvests wither and millions of livestock perish from lack of water and food.

Scientists expect more frequent and more intense droughts in a changing climate. As temperatures rise, soil moisture levels are depleted more quickly. As rainfall patterns change, farmers experience less frequent and/or more intense rains, leading to reduced or failed harvests. The current El Niño impacts give us a glimpse of the future under climate change, with greater varia…

Weep for the fallen children of Syria

This letter to the Editor (in the Australian Financial Review today - and published here in full) from the Centre for Global Affairs in New York, really should make us weep.....

"I urge every reader to spare a moment and imagine the plight of the Syrian people, especially the children. This is what you will see: more than 50,000 children under the age of 15 have been killed – if they stood shoulder to shoulder, they would form a line 80miles long. Two and a half million children are languishing in refugee camps, including 306,000 that have been born since the civil war began in 2011. Eight million children inside and outside the country are in desperate  need of food and medical care. More than 15,000 children crossed Syria's borders by themselves; many were left to die not knowing what happened to them and why. One in three children have endured horrific violence against them and their families, and over 2.5million children have no access to basic education.

Take another momen…

Call by Haitians not to donate to the American Red Cross

Anyone who has followed the travails of Haiti over the last years, will know it is a blighted country.    It's people have probably suffered more than in any other country.      Even the UN stands accused of introducing cholera to the stricken country.

The latest tragedy to befall Haiti has been Hurricane Matthew the other day.     The devastation has been widespread and there are reports of some 900 deaths....and yet, the call has gone out from Haitians not to donate to the  American Red Cross.      The organisation is simply not trusted.

"As the death count after Hurricane Matthew approaches 900 and reports of deadly cholera outbreaks begin to surface, Haitians have sent out desperate pleas for help.

Government officials estimate at least 350,000 people needed assistance after the devastating storm.

Yet accompanying many requests for aid comes a warning – do not give your money to the American Red Cross (ARC)

Trust in the ARC, and in foreign aid more widely, has been badly shake…

Whack! Calling Trump out for what he is....

As this is being written it would seem that Trump - and those left in the GOP who still support him - is in meltdown.    The latest revelations about Trump now make him an über sleazeball.

Before this weekend's tawdry revelations, this is what Roger Cohen, columnist for the New York Times, had to say in encapsulating Trump.....    Ouch!!!!!

"Donald Trump is a thug. He’s a thug who talks gibberish, and lies, and cheats, and has issues, to put it mildly, with women. He’s lazy and limited and he has an attention span of a nanosecond. He’s a “gene believer” who thinks he has “great genes” and considers the German blood, of which he is proud, “great stuff.” Mexicans and Muslims, by contrast, don’t make the cut.

He’s managed to bring penis size and menstrual cycles and the eating habits of a former Miss Universe into the debate for the highest office in the land. He’s mocked and mimicked the handicapped and the pneumonia-induced malaise of Hillary Clinton. His intellectual interests w…

Haiti remains blighted by past so-called assistance to the ravaged nation

Haiti has been hit yet again.   This time, it has been a cyclone, which has killed at least 900 people.   However, a legacy of simply poor and downright "bad" aid in the past, continues as a legacy for and to the country to this day.

"The storm sent 145-miles-per-hour winds through the nation's villages, ripping roofs off of houses and whipping up floods and mudslides. In addition to the immediate damage, the hurricane is expected to exacerbate existing, long-standing problems in Haiti, from a pending outbreak of cholera—introduced to the country by United Nations peacekeepers in 2010—to the widespread destruction of infrastructure.

 As the New York Times elaborates:

This latest disaster revives unresolved questions that continue to haunt the country from the 2010 earthquake, when international aid groups practically usurped the role of the government.

The government has been clear that this time around it will take the lead on coordinating aid, as donors bring in fresh…

Warning to Europe....expect extreme weather conditons

As we witness all manner of strange and unusual patterns of weather around the world, more than a timely warning to all of Europe to prepare for extreme weather conditions in the future.

"Extreme weather, high winds and flooding are causing increasing disruption and damage in European cities, and local authorities and scientists are being warned that they need to act together to lessen the impact.

Because storms do not respect country borders, regional long-term weather forecasting needs to be developed so that early warnings can be given for all areas that may be in the path of extreme weather, says the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action (DG CLIMA).

Starting immediately, all towns and cities across Europe should be assessed for their vulnerability to flooding and other hazards, according to DG CLIMA, which leads the EC’s efforts to fight climate change at European Union and international level.

When the storms come—as inevitably they will, with increasing f…