Some Poetry & Some Politics

I was pleased to find some political poetry, specifically about Fukushima today.  It’s fitting for this blog, anyway.  An excerpt:

 

Fukushima Man

by Jon Rappoport

So there I was
in one of those giant discount stores
trying on a new pair of pants in the dressing room

a cool neutral voice said
“changing your underwear is politics
and by the way when was the last time
you cut your toenails
wearing or not wearing a watch is politics
that mole near your left knee is political
the calcium deposit on your right ankle is political
the way you look at yourself in the mirror is political
those three years of your life in the 60s we can’t account for
are political”

The curtain brushed aside and a tall naked woman walked in
she ran a black instrument over the new pants
-a loud buzz-
“they’re radioactive,” she said “testicular cancer in three months
try the pink drawstring sweat pants instead”
she withdrew

the neutral voice picked up…
“you’re a month late on your appointment for a dental cleaning
you haven’t changed your oil in a year
your health plan will be canceled next week”

Read the full poem.

 

I can only imagine the fear people living in Japan might feel as a result of the Fukushima disaster.  No one can be happy about the dangers of removing the fuel rods, either.  The second in Reactor 4 pool will be removed today.  No one’s really talking about it. And no one’s really talking about the disaster and the plume that’s making its way to North America.  There seems to be a media blackout. Perhaps, now that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is there, we’ll hear more.

A team of 19 experts from the IAEA and other bodies will tour the plant on Wednesday and evaluate Tepco’s fuel extraction process at the No. 4 reactor and its handling of contaminated water. It concludes its review on Dec 4.

“They must look into Tepco’s overall management of the site,” Masashi Goto, a retired Toshiba’ nuclear engineer and critic of Tepco. “They shouldn’t just look at each little issue. They should look at the organizational challenges at Tepco that have created the recent string of incidents.”

I hope we hear more about creating a nuclear-free world where disasters such as this can never take place.  Going with alternative energy sources would be a wise start.

Renewable energy could change the energy business. While some large-scale organizations will always be part of the energy industry, we are seeing the start of decentralized, distributed generation of energy. Although the conventional wisdom tells us that solar power, battery technology, and smart grids are far in the future, we are only a breakthrough or two away from a new age of decentralized energy technology. While none of us can predict the future, and technological breakthroughs cannot be assumed, the risk of nuclear power is not difficult to predict.

The price of solar energy continues to come down, as the number of solar cells continues to grow. Breakthroughs in nanotechnology have the potential to shrink the size of these cells, making it possible to imagine smaller, more inexpensive installations of solar arrays. While some of the discussion of solar technology imagines utility-scale centralized power stations, my own view is that improved solar cells coupled with improved battery technology makes it possible to imagine a far more decentralized approach to energy generation.

Let’s do it, ok?

Fire the Wolf

From the inbox:

Dear Avaaz Member,

The battle for the Presidency of the World Bank is coming to a climax, and it’s a replay of the Iraq war: George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz vs the World. The world is on the verge of winning this time — and we can help tip the balance.

On Monday Wolfowitz will testify before the Bank Board. At the same time, Bush will meet with European leaders to decide his fate. We need one last push to build our petition before we deliver it on Monday. Click below to sign it and pass it on to 5 friends:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/sack_wolfowitz

Our YouTube campaign against Wolfowitz’s misleadership of the Bank has gone viral with over 100,000 views, and has been covered by USA Today, the Washington Post, and the Guardian (UK). World Bank staff have also been circulating it on their internal staff lists.

All the pressure is working. Governments around the world, the World Bank Staff Association, even Wolfowitz’s own deputies believe he should resign. The World Bank is far from perfect. Some of its policies have helped alleviate poverty; others have made things worse. But fixing it is urgently important for the world’s poor — and no progress is possible so long as Wolfowitz is in charge.

Let’s win this one. Sign the petition, and send it to five of your friends. It’s time to show Bush that the world won’t stand for Wolfowitz to stay.

http://www.avaaz.org/en/sack_wolfowitz

With hope,

Ben, Galit, Ricken, and the rest of the Avaaz team

PS: For more information about the Wolfowitz case and the facts mentioned in this email, check out our blog

“other people’s shit on their heads”

Thanks to Purple Library Guy over at POGGE for the link to a powerful new Arundhati Roy interview at Zmag.org.  I admire Roy’s activism particularly in that she isn’t afraid to speak truth or, if she is, she doesn’t hold back from speaking it.

On India’s Growing Violence: ‘It’s Outright War and Both Sides are Choosing Their Weapons’

Arundhati Roy interviewed by Shoma Chaudhury

You have been traveling a lot on the ground — can you give us a sense of the trouble spots you have been to? Can you outline a few of the combat lines in these places?

Huge question — what can I say? The military occupation of Kashmir, neo-fascism in Gujarat, civil war in Chhattisgarh, MNCs raping Orissa, the submergence of hundreds of villages in the Narmada Valley, people living on the edge of absolute starvation, the devastation of forest land, the Bhopal victims living to see the West Bengal government re-wooing Union Carbide — now calling itself Dow Chemicals — in Nandigram. I haven’t been recently to Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, but we know about the almost hundred thousand farmers who have killed themselves. We know about the fake encounters and the terrible repression in Andhra Pradesh. Each of these places has its own particular history, economy, ecology. None is amenable to easy analysis. And yet there is connecting tissue, there are huge international cultural and economic pressures being brought to bear on them. How can I not mention the Hindutva project, spreading its poison sub-cutaneously, waiting to erupt once again? I’d say the biggest indictment of all is that we are still a country, a culture, a society which continues to nurture and practice the notion of untouchability. While our economists number-crunch and boast about the growth rate, a million people — human scavengers — earn their living carrying several kilos of other people’s shit on their heads every day. And if they didn’t carry shit on their heads they would starve to death. Some fucking superpower this.

Police Brutality: IWD March, Montreal

from the inbox:

For Immediate Release

Montreal 9 March 2007
Police brutality mars Women’s Day Celebration in Montreal
Police Assault women at International Women’s Day March

Yesterday, as Montrealers, along with many around the world celebrated
International Women’s Day – the event was marred by police brutality in
which three young women were assaulted, injured and traumatized. Among the
issues that were brought up during the speeches at Montreal’s women’s day
march was that in Iran women were prevented from celebrating international
women’s day. And women in Pakistan were also attacked yesterday in a
women’s day event. Yesterday’s events make ensure Montreal shares this
distinction!

Marchers celebrating International Women’s Day had walked from Place
Emilie Gamelin (Berri Square) to Phillips Square, along Ste-Catherine
Street. After speeches they made their way back to Berri Square. The
police made an announcement asking people to walk on the sidewalk. Jaggi
Singh, who had been one of many male supporters among the 200 strong
celebrating international women’s day moved onto the sidewalk. The others
continued marching in the street. Police officers began to rush towards
Singh, still walking on the sidewalk. They grabbed him and threw him
against a nearby police car.

Other marchers gathered around the car out of concern for the violent way
in which police were intervening. Police began hitting and pushing people
indiscriminately. Several people were knocked to the ground with batons
and night sticks. Emma Strople, a 17 year old marcher, was hit in the
chest with the end of a night stick and thrown to the ground, by an
officer later identified as Doyon. Her ribs were bruised, she was winded,
trembling from shock and her knee was cut open enough that the blood
seeped through her jeans. Two other women were also injured – one woman’s
lips and mouth were swollen and bleeding, from being punched in the face
by a police officer; another left with cuts on her knee and stomach. The
police showed a total disregard for the injuries mounting around them.
They placed Jaggi Singh in the police car and began to leave. The
marchers that remained left by Berri Metro.

The 8th March Committee of Women of Diverse Origins, one of the key groups
involved in the march strongly denounces last night’s police brutality
yesterday and the arrest of Singh. Are we to go back to the time when
women in Canada were not considered ‘persons’? When women were to be seen
and not heard? In Quebec today on the eve of an election we have seen
how violence against women is still something that is trivialized,
including by those that seek to represent us in the democratic system.
Yesterday’s police attack on women and their allies proves that even
those who are supposed to be the guardians of the law and ensure gender
equality, see women as people to be controlled with the threat and the use
of violence. Women, as we struggle for equality are facing a backlash. How
can we feel safe when the police themselves exhibit the violence that is
endemic to patriarchy?

More than ever the police brutality of yesterday demonstrates that we
have a long way to go; that women’s struggles for equality that have
always linked to improving the lives of our families and communities,
ensuring democratic processes of equality and participation of ALL in the
political process are constantly BLOCKADED by the state and its
representatives. How can women seek assistance against the violence in
their lives when those entrusted with their safekeeping are perpetrators
of brutality and violence?

Last night’s police violence is shameful and fearful. We demand that the
City of Montreal and the government of Quebec immediately investigate the
assaults and arrest of yesterday and that women, our allies and
supporters feel safe and free to work in support of equality and
justice.


Info: Dolores Chew 514-885-5976 dolchew@hotmail.com

-30-

Poem: Fingering the dictionary

Fingering the dictionary

for Prime  Minister Stephen Harper on the occasion to celebrate International Women’s Day 2007

chattel

Main Entry: chat·tel
Pronunciation: 'cha-t&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English chatel property, from Anglo-French — more at CATTLE
1 : an item of tangible movable or immovable property except real estate and things (as buildings) connected with real property
2 : SLAVE, BONDSMAN

 

 

cattle

Main Entry: cat·tle
Pronunciation: 'ka-t&l
Function: noun plural
Etymology: Middle English catel, from Anglo-French katil, chatel personal property, from Medieval Latin capitale, from Latin, neuter of capitalis of the head — more at CAPITAL
1 : domesticated quadrupeds held as property or raised for use; specifically : bovine animals on a farm or ranch
2 : human beings especially en masse

capital

Main Entry: 3capital
Function: noun
Etymology: French or Italian; French, from Italian capitale, from capitale, adjective, chief, principal, from Latin capitalis
1 a (1) : a stock of accumulated goods especially at a specified time and in contrast to income received during a specified period; also : the value of these accumulated goods (2) : accumulated goods devoted to the production of other goods (3) : accumulated possessions calculated to bring in income b (1) : net worth (2) : STOCK 7c(1) c : persons holding capital d : ADVANTAGE, GAIN <make capital of the situation> e : a store of useful assets or advantages <wasted their political capital on an unpopular

cunt

Main Entry: cunt
Pronunciation: 'k&nt
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English cunte; akin to Middle Low German kunte female pudenda
1 usually obscene : the female genital organs; also : sexual intercourse with a woman
2 usually disparaging & obscene : WOMAN 1a

To My American Neighbours

Dear Relations to the South,

I know it wasn’t long ago that your nation suffered a terrible blow.  To many of you, it was a wake-up call.  To others of you, it seemed a logical consequence to the century long aggression and empire-building in which your government has been engaged.  No matter, it was a blow.  And that blow instilled fear in the American nation.  That fear allowed for the election and re-election of George W. Bush, currently the leader of the most vicious nation on earth.

Today, on AlterNet, I read an article written by an American, part of which said,

there seems to be a special viciousness that accompanies the current assault on human rights, in this country and in the world. We have had repressive governments before, but none has legislated the end of habeas corpus, nor openly supported torture, nor declared the possibility of war without end. No government has so casually ignored the will of the people, affirmed the right of the president to ignore the Constitution, even to set aside laws passed by Congress.

The time is right, then, for a national campaign calling for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

This is true.  The time is right.  Your country needs you.  The world needs you.  We need you to reverse the tide of viciousness the likes of which the world has not seen since Hitler.   Calling for cross-country impeachment hearings on Bush and Cheney is a brilliant idea.  I am certain that countries around the world, especially those negatively impacted by your brutal foreign and trade policies, would provide you with unlimited support for these actions.  But most importantly, you would be a people better able to control your own destiny, rather than to have it controlled by a not very bright man guided by a dogma deeply rooted in sexism, racism, and oppression of all sorts.

And so, dear friends, I encourage you to proceed with the organization of these hearings.  Push the Democrats to take real leadership.  Insist they work to make a difference for the good of the world, not for might and greed.  I beg of you, do it now!

The world is watching.  And waiting, ever-so patiently.

Sincerely,

Your Canadian Sister

ACTION: Racist Google Video

UPDATE 19DEC06: Well done Netizens!!!  “This video has been removed due to terms of use violation!!!”

I’m not even going to try to upload the video here, but please, please see why Faces Of Evil – Google Video should be flagged as inappropriate for its hateful content and flag it as such in the right hand sidebar. The video provides pictures, addresses, and phone numbers of people supporting Six Nations and encourages violence against them. You can also leave a comment at the site and suggest, as I have, that those who created the video should be punished to the full extent of the law for their hate crime.