Tag Archives: neoliberalism

Fukushima – Deep Trouble, by Robert Hunziker

Source: counterpunch

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The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster may go down as one of history’s boundless tragedies and not just because of a nuclear meltdown, but rather the tragic loss of a nation’s soul.

Imagine the following scenario: 207 million cardboard book boxes, end-to-end, circumnavigating Earth, like railroad tracks, going all the way around the planet. That’s a lot of book boxes. Now, fill the boxes with radioactive waste. Forthwith, that’s the amount of radioactive waste stored unsheltered in one-tonne black bags throughout Fukushima Prefecture, amounting to 9,000,000 cubic metres

But wait, there’s more to come, another 13,000,000 cubic metres of radioactive soil is yet to be collected. (Source: Voice of America News, Problems Keep Piling Up in Fukushima, Feb. 17, 2016).

And, there’s still more, the cleanup operations only go 50-100 feet beyond roadways. Plus, a 100-mile mountain range along the coast and hillsides around Fukushima are contaminated but not cleansed at all. As a consequence, the decontaminated land will likely be re-contaminated by radioactive runoff from the hills and mountains.

Indubitably, how and where to store millions of cubic metres of one-tonne black bags filled with radioactive waste is no small problem. It is a super-colossal problem. What if bags deteriorate? What if a tsunami hits? The “what-ifs” are endless, endless, and beyond.

“The black bags of radioactive soil, now scattered at 115,000 locations in Fukushima, are eventually to be moved to yet-to-be built interim facilities, encompassing 16 square kilometers, in two towns close to the crippled nuclear power plant,” Ibid.

By itself, 115,000 locations each containing many, many, mucho one-tonne bags of radioactive waste is a logistical nightmare, just the trucking alone is forever a humongous task, decades to come.

According to Japanese government and industry sources, cleaning up everything and decommissioning the broken down reactors will take at least 40 years at a cost of $250 billion, assuming nothing goes wrong. But dismally, everything that can possibly go wrong for Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) over the past 5 years has gone wrong, not a good record.

And, Japan is hosting the 2020 Olympics?

Continue reading Fukushima – Deep Trouble, by Robert Hunziker

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PLEASE DO NOT POISON MY BRAIN WITH THE US ELECTIONS!, by Andre Vltchek

Andre Vltchek is by far one of the most engaging truth tellers out there, tirelessly working for the greater good. He captures the sentiment of the vast majority of thinking people with his piece below on US Elections, that pitiful farce repeated every four years.

A little while back, we had published an excellent interview between Andre and Milan which is definitely a must read as well.

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Text first published by New Eastern Outlook (NEO)

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Milan Kohout is a thinker, performer, and professor. He was born in Czechoslovakia, where he lived before signing of ‘Charter 77’, and immigrating to the United States, where he became a naturalized US citizen. Mr. Kohout got thoroughly disappointed with capitalism, and the Western regime.

I am consecutively stuffing my ears with various airline earplugs, in order not to hear the news blasted on the radio.

I am closing my eyes when the topic appears on TV, even on RT or Press TV.

I skip newspaper headlines.

I beg my friends, comrades and relatives not to bring up the subject in front of me.

I don’t want to know anything about the US Presidential elections!

It is not some sort of pose or “rebellion”; it is just an honest, powerful fear of having my brain damaged, my thoughts derailed from searching for alternative humanistic and political concepts.

I see no need to know who, from all those already pre-approved by the Regime and therefore allowed to “compete”, is going to get nominated by his or her political gang, and who will be finally mounting the saddle of that static wooden horse which is as a rule galloping nowhere, inspires no one and only jumps around crushing with its heavy murderous horseshoes everything and everyone who dares to demand true freedom.

Go and follow elections; even participate in them! If you believe in Western multi-party “democracy”, good for you! Or bad!

Decades, in fact centuries, of the terrible stagnant political scene in North America and Europe has taught you nothing? Then go for it and stick those pieces of marked paper into a carton box!

It was done for ages, that paper insertion. The same thing, when slaves were being chained and shifted from Africa to that “New World”, when hundreds of millions were exterminated by Western colonialism, when the Chinese people were brought to North America for horrible labor, and treated like animals. It was done when the first and the second generation of Europeans were annihilating almost the entire native population of North, Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean.

The West created elections. So that the elites from within the white race, as well as the white race in general, could justify the brutality with which they have been ruling the world. They need to feel that they are fulfilling the wishes of the world, or at least of their own citizens.

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The moneyed and bellicose clans always get elected; there are ways to assure it.

Several Greek philosophers protested: they were defending direct democracy, the direct “rule of the people”. They were sidelined, or silenced altogether.

 *

During the previous US Presidential elections I was in Nairobi, Kenya, where my good friend, an Indian bookseller at Yaya Center, was pushing on me several Greek classics.

“Why?” I asked him.

Continue reading PLEASE DO NOT POISON MY BRAIN WITH THE US ELECTIONS!, by Andre Vltchek

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Conversation: New Zealand’s National Poet lays down the law on the TPPA

Source: Te Kahu Rolleston

Te Kahu Rolleston is Aotearoa’s (New Zealand) National Poetry Slam champion and has one hell of a penchant for weaving words with devastating effect.

Watch him lay down the law. The people’s law.

In the words of uncle Bob:

“Get up Stand up, Stand up For ya rights, Get up Stand up, Don’t give up the fight”

Mohsin Siddiqui

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Kiwis come out to exercise that thing called freedom, by Mohsin Siddiqui

Anti-TPPA protesters in Auckland on 4 Feb 2016
Anti-TPPA protesters in Auckland on 4 Feb 2016

Today was a good day to be out and about in Auckland. A bouquet of human values was on display that is usually confined to that, overtly distorted, place called ‘personal space’ in this ever shrinking public space.

The protests in Auckland were anticipated by the vast majority of the population in this truly unique Island in the Pacific. There is an almost electrifying blend of people from all walks of life who came out to voice their dissent.

The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was signed despite the opposition of the majority of the population. It does not ,however, surprise as precisely such an outcome was predicted at last week’s Auckland Town Hall meeting. The intent of the protesters was more to do with the assertion of their right to dissent and to mark a start to their struggle as renowned New Zealand journalist and film maker Bryan Bruce noted.

Queen Street, Auckland, NZ
Queen Street, Auckland, NZ

Signing the TPPA is merely symbolic and no matter what the state propaganda machine regurgitates (from PR coaches), the truth is that the majority of a nation cannot be silenced. And as such, a piece of paper is meaningless. The people do not want the TPPA and they will not allow for it to steal their right to life,dignity and freedom.

The Establishment should simply give up pushing through a corporate takeover of sovereign Aotearoa. What is the point? Do they never expect to interact with the common man? Do they really think human spirit can be crushed by politics of fear,lies,intimidation and injustice?

Last night the Auckland Transport Authority ‘mysteriously’ announced that buses will not be running from 09:00am to 03:00pm. That just happened to coincide with the peak commute time for protesters from around Auckland.

This is Aotearoa and its people cannot be dominated by corporations:

To their credit the people were 100% peaceful with their protest and civil disobedience. Men, women, children and the elderly marched in solidarity cheerful,hopeful and dignified as their rights were being signed away at a casino. The government decided to sign a fundamentally undemocratic treaty in the one place they could.

Continue reading Kiwis come out to exercise that thing called freedom, by Mohsin Siddiqui

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Speaking the Unspeakable: Why the Establishment Wants to Silence Donald Trump, by SAM HUSSEINI

Sam offers below a fresh perspective on how there could still be hope left in the most unlikeliest of places, the police state of America.

After all, the country still claims to be a democracy so why not call it out on that? At the very least it advances the debate beyond the goebbelsesque headlines being pumped out of the “media”. The establishment has always fed off hate at every turn and the common man is manipulated,isolated and disenfranchised.

300+ million Americans are being “informed” by 6 media companies on what they should eat,drink,write,think,see,accept,vote and well you get the picture. Anything that leads to a distortion in a false reality – which promotes endless war – is positive.

Sam has done a great job at bringing a viable solution to the table, check out his excellent initiative at votepact.org

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source: counterpunch

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The establishment so wants everyone else to unfriend Trump supporters on Facebook. There’s even an app to block them. That’ll teach them!

Yes, Trump plays a bully boy and is appealing to populist (good), nativist, xenophobic, and racist sentiments (bad).

Those things need to be meaningfully addressed and engaged, not for self-styled sophisticates to raise their noses, dismissing them.

But focusing only on the negative aspects of Trump’s campaign has blinded people to the good — and I don’t mean good like, oh, the Democrat can beat this guy. I mean good like it’s good that some of these issues are finally getting aired.

Trump appeals to nativist sentiments, but those same sentiments are skeptical of the militarized role of the U.S. in the world — as was the case during Pat Buchanan’s 1992 campaign.

The New York Times recently purported to grade the veracity of presidential candidates. Of course by their accounting, Trump was off the scales lying. But he recently said the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State “killed hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity….The Middle East is a total disaster under her.” Now, I think that’s pretty accurate, though U.S. policy in my view may be more Machiavellian than stupid, but the remark is a breath of fresh air on the national stage.

But I’ve not seen anyone fact-check that assertion, because that’s not an argument much of establishment media wants to debate. Of course, a few sentences later Trump talks about the attack on the CIA station in Benghazi, causing Salon to dismiss him as embracing “conspiracies,” which is likely all many people hear.

Shouldn’t someone who at times articulates truly inconvenient truths be noted as breaking politically correct taboos? Trump says such truths, such as this nugget from the Las Vegas debate about U.S. wars:

“We’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now.”

This I think is a stronger critique of military spending than we’ve heard from Bernie Sanders of late.

Continue reading Speaking the Unspeakable: Why the Establishment Wants to Silence Donald Trump, by SAM HUSSEINI

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REVIEW OF THE NOVEL “BUTTERFLY PRISON” BY TAMARA PEARSEN

Review by: Andre Vltchek

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The Butterfly Prison begins slowly, combining seemingly disconnected stories that are taking place in poor neighborhoods of Australia. The stories are like tiny vignettes; shy, modest, minimalistic but always significant and beautifully told. A fear here, a bitter humiliation there, a dream of a child interrupted by a police officer.

Then suddenly, the stories begin to interconnect, intertwine, and the novel gains speed. Real pain – deep and overwhelming – emerges. Profound hurts, bitterness and injuries are slapping the faces of the characters, and somehow, we are drawn in and begin suffering with them.

It is Australia that we don’t know; that we are not supposed to see. After some 40 pages I thought, “it feels little bit like Carpentaria”, but then, just a few pages later, it did not feel like anything else, it only felt and read like the “Butterfly Prison”.

“Then they dreamed the same dream. The whole world had been stolen, and people tumbled about on it like hungry and lost refugees in a foreign land. All spaces seemed to be owned by private companies. And the world had fences in strange places. And many long walls.

Paz couldn’t move, and his real leg jerked as though he had fallen down stairs. Mella murmured. In the stolen world they walked carefully, trying not to upset anything, like visitors. Because it wasn’t their home. Barbed wire between their toes. They bumped into another wall and got a new bruise, and it seemed that there were bluebruised people everywhere discovering new walls.

A queue then to buy back a bit of the world: a little bit of space for $2.5 million, so they could have somewhere to sit down. But they had no money, so they walked and walked and bumped into walls.”

“A stolen world”! That could easily be the second title of the novel.

*

Tamara Pearsen is my friend, and my comrade; she is a true revolutionary.

She is a person who spent several years fighting for the Latin American revolutions, for “the process”, first in Venezuela and then in Ecuador. She gave everything to the revolution, never looked for privileges, and never demanded special treatment. She is pure and she is really strong. She saw it all, from the bottom, from the angle of real people.

When she told me that she wrote a novel, I was almost certain that it would be about South America, based in Venezuela, Ecuador or Bolivia.

But Tamara decided to write about Australia, about her complex homeland.

We sat in a Vietnamese restaurant in Quito, Ecuador, when she said, simply:

“After all these years, it is time to go back; to visit Australia… I am scared.”

But she already went back. Butterfly Prison is her great return home. Instead of explaining Latin American revolutions to Australian people, she depicted an Australian reality through the eyes of a Latin American revolutionary.

An oppressed and humiliated woman, a child living in hopelessness, adults with no future, a chocking and merciless consumerism, a country that already reached its zenith but without managing to bring zeal, enthusiasm and happiness to its people: those are some of many images of Australia that will stay in our sub-consciousness after reading the “Butterfly Prison”.

Australia – the land where native people were robbed of everything and where they are, until now, living in appalling destitute. Australia, which belongs to the elites; Australia where one has to comply with the ruling-class narrative, or to be crushed and humiliated.

Tamara told me why she wrote the novel, “The Butterfly Prison is life and soul wrenched out and turned into a tale, as a way of saying some things that need to be said – of screaming them in fact. It is unravelling dominant ideas so that beauty, for example, can be what it really is, and we can get some hope from that. Its my grain of sand of solidarity with so many others who have been made invisible in different ways, and I hope that it can reach some of those people and connect with them in that magical way that stories do, and even inspire them.”

 In this, she definitely succeeded.

The Butterfly Prison is filled with compassion and solidarity. It is also full of beauty: not that cheap sentimental beauty of the popular literature of the 21st Century, but of profound, lasting beauty found only in life itself, and in the great works of art.

Two lives of Tamara Pearsen have merged in one powerful novel: one of her childhood and sadness of her native land, Australia, and the other, that of her epic battle for better world which she has been fighting for many years in Latin America.

As the novel progresses, it becomes fully international, with many stages built into its pages: those in India, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Argentina… The battles rage… But at closer look, there is really only one battle: that for our humanity, for human dignity, and for human kindness.

Life, as temporary as a kiss on a cheek: already gone, but a little tingle that lingered behind. Mella thought of the things people of her generation had grown up to believe would last forever: countries, poverty, and capitalism. Yet all those things were gone now. Nothing was forever, nothing was so powerful, except for change.

Now a Latin American writer, or more precisely “an internationalist” writer, a socialist realist, a revolutionary, Tamara Pearsen, returned home, on the wings of imagination, through her powerful novel “Butterfly Prison”, uniting several realities into one. She demands change and she does it determinedly but affectionately. And the result is stunning.

 *

The Butterfly Prison on Amazon, in print, kindle edition, from the publisher’s website, and more about the book from the author’s website.

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and Fighting Against Western Imperialism.  Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western TerrorismPoint of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Greece: Raped, Humiliated, Frightened But Standing!, by Andre Vltchek

Source: Counterpunch

And on the Greek Menu today
And on the Greek Menu today

A small town of Distomo is just 150 kilometers from Athens, positioned in the heart of Greece, literally squeezed between two great world heritage sites: Delphi, the cradle of the European democracy, and a stunning Byzantine monastery of Hossios Luckas.

But Distomo is much more than some picturesque village surrounded by mountains and history. Here, On June 10, 1944, according to Greek government records, but also according to Western mass media sources like the BBC, “for over two hours, Waffen-SS troops of the 4th SS Polizei Panzergrenadier Division under the command of SS-Hauptsturmführer Fritz Lautenbach went door to door and massacred Greek civilians as part of a ‘retaliation measure’ for a partisan attack upon the unit. A total of 214 men, women and children were killed in Distomo.‪‬ According to survivors, SS forces “bayoneted babies in their cribs, stabbed pregnant women, and beheaded the village priest.”‬‬‬‬‬

Distomo was not the only place where German troops performed despicable crimes against humanity. During the WWII, Greece lost around 8% of its population.

But Distomo became one of the symbols of Fascist madness on European soil, not unlike Guernica or Lidice.

[Please click below to continue reading]

Continue reading Greece: Raped, Humiliated, Frightened But Standing!, by Andre Vltchek

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They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror, by Andre Vltchek

Source: counterpunch

Welcome to Asuncion
Welcome to Asuncion

I have always liked this country of red earth, mighty rivers and rough cobblestone streets. I have liked its bougainvillea, its long silent nights, and its endless open spaces.

But almost everything that could went wrong for the Paraguayan people, or at least for its indigenous majority.

Before Evo Morales became the President, Bolivia had been the most destitute country in South America. Paraguay was slightly “above it” – the second poorest nation. Now, most likely, it is the most deprived.

***

It is pitch dark outside, and the road is flooded. As in other extreme right wing countries worldwide, from Indonesia to Kenya, the drainage system is far from being a priority of the rulers.

[Please click below to continue reading]
Continue reading They Say Paraguay is in Africa: Mosaic of Horror, by Andre Vltchek

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