Tuesday, March 24, 2015

If news isn't reported did it even happen?

~ ~ ~

"Two monks were arguing about the temple flag waving in the wind. One said, "The flag moves." The other said, "The wind moves." They argued back and forth but could not agree.
The Sixth Ancestor said, "Gentlemen! It is not the wind that moves; it is not the flag that moves; it is your mind that moves." The two monks were struck with awe."
                                                                    - The Mumonkan Case 29, translation by Robert Aitken

~ ~ ~

We are at a time in our lives where very often our minds are still. This is not a good thing. We must keep our minds moving and thinking.

A recent blog post from Simplyinfo.org and Fukuleaks.org revealed that the U.S. Media downplayed the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. I think that is almost an understatement looking back over the past four years and the amount of news coverage we have here on this subject.

American news media seems to prefer dramatic faster moving shorter life news stories like Ebola. Here today and gone in the next news cycle or by next week for sure.

Stories that require time and digging to get to the facts or that have a lifelong impact are less popular to report on. Considering the worldwide impact of global warming the subject gets rather moderate news coverage. The Fukushima disaster is much the same and has slipped off the American news charts almost completely.

In the Study Finds US Media Downplayed Fukushima Daiichi Disaster there were two points mentioned that jumped out at me:

The research shows that corporations and government agencies had disproportionate access to framing the event in the media, Pascale says. Even years after the disaster, government and corporate spokespersons constituted the majority of voices published. News accounts about local impact — for example, parents organizing to protect their children from radiation in school lunches — were also scarce.” (emphasis ours)

The mainstream media — in print and online — did little to report on health risks to the general population or to challenge the narratives of public officials and their experts,” Pascale said. “Discourses of the risks surrounding disasters are political struggles to control the presence and meaning of events and their consequences. How knowledge about disasters is reported can have more to do with relations of power than it does with the material consequences to people’s lives.”  (emphasis ours)

Another story reported in Science Daily based on information from American University says:

"A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage of the disaster largely minimized health risks to the general population. Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster's occurrence March 11, 2011 through the second anniversary on March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage -- 129 articles -- focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant."

The scary part of the news is really what is not being reported and why it isn't. But then again... if it isn't reported did it even happen?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

A Sad Anniversary - Fukushima Still Struggles

March 11, 2011
Fukushima is Stricken

It has been four years since the disaster struck in Japan. The problems continue to surface and grow. I could not bear to post the pictures of mutated animals and plants, a reality that seems all too cruel to cast your eyes upon. Instead I turn once again to the beautiful Cherry Blossom design from a Japanese artist, so beautiful, so serene and so hopeful.

"... four years later, the nuclear crisis continues to unfold: both the environmental contamination and the ongoing human suffering caused by the disaster."

Here are some excerpts from the Greenpeace blog post. Staggering numbers.

"Just how big is TEPCO’s radioactive water problem?
Well, let's get down to the numbers:
  • 320,000 tons – the amount of highly contaminated water as of December 2014 waiting in about 1000 massive tanks onsite for "treatment" to remove the 62 radioactive elements contaminating it – except for the radioactive hydrogen isotope, tritium.
  • 300 tons – water per day sprayed into the reactor vessels to cool the molten reactor cores in Units 1-3: cores that no one actually knows the exact location of.
  • 800 tons – the amount of groundwater migrating onsite every day. Of which, 300-400 tons becomes radioactively contaminated.
  • 400 tons – the amount of highly radioactive water flowing into the Pacific Ocean every day – a figure that does not include this latest leak announced in February.
  • 11,000 tons – the estimated amount of highly contaminated water sitting in trenches – which TEPCO has attempted to pump up for treatment with limited success.

The crux of this is that, not only does the contamination continue to flow from the reactor site and into the environment, but the locating of the reactor cores and decommissioning of the site are themselves contingent upon controlling this onsite watery onslaught."
"Decontamination efforts are generating a massive amount of radioactive waste. This waste is packed into huge cubic meter black bags and moved to temporary sites. 54,000 thousand such open-air, temporary, rad waste storage sites lie scattered throughout the surrounding areas, including in the backyards of homes, parking lots, and parks. Official estimates of the storage volume required to house this mountain of radwaste are between 15 and 28 million cubic meters of waste, enough to fill 12 to 23 Tokyo Domes.
In short, the decontamination efforts are not getting "rid" of the radioactive problem – they are simply moving it, and sometimes not very far."
In another article from Phys.org - Microbial Soil Cleanup at Fukushima a ray of hope emits from the gloom of today's problems, perhaps it will be the Cherry Blossoms about to bloom.
"Proteins from salt-loving, halophilic, microbes could be the key to cleaning up leaked radioactive strontium and caesium ions from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant incident in Japan. "

Let's hope more answers are found then questions that arise. Still in the United States is the under-reported story of the sailors aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. The USS Reagan was sent to Fukushima immediately after the disaster to offer aid. Many of the sailors have fallen ill due to radiation exposure. 

Read Der Spiegel US Navy Sailors Search For Justice After Fukushima Mission

It's been four long years since the horrific natural disaster occurred. Four long years of cover-up and lies. And four long years that have filled buckets and buckets with the tears of so many Japanese people. Yes, it is a sad anniversary for so many.

Cherry Blossom Haiku

blossoms scatter in the storm . . .
his withered hands catch
a cherry petal wish

  by Yilin Wang, 2012      

Interesting follow-up reading:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Religion and Politics

As always, it’s an honor to serve the Second Congressional District and I look forward to speaking with you again soon!
Ann Wagner
Member of Congress

I got my email from my Congresswoman this week. I am glad she didn't say it was an honor to represent me in Congress. About the only thing she and I have in common is we both drive on the right hand side of the road.

In her email this week she led off with this:  "It was an honor to hear from the Prime Minister and I will continue to fight for the Israeli people in Congress."

I hope she has some time and energy left over to fight for the American people in Congress as well. it seems for Ms Wagner, Netanyahu confirmed what many in Washington only suspected and that is Iran's quest for nuclear weapons and support for global terrorism "threatens not only the stability of the Middle East, but the very existence of our ally Israel."

If there is anybody that can handle threats it is Israel, they have a long history of proving just how capable they are in protecting the Promised Land. Frank Bruni of the New York Times wrote an opinion piece this week Christians Loving Jews and brings up the not often talked about 'real' reason there is so much right-wing support for Israel here in the United States. Give it a read it is interesting.