Maybe this is punishment …

Irene as it approached the US.

A Pagan friend of mine suggested that perhaps the earthquake was meant to shake up and dislodge some of our old and misguided ways and Irene is meant to wash them away so we can start anew.

My husband joked that perhaps God is punishing us for being so conservative.

You can be certain that eomeone will say in all earnestness that God is punishing us for being open to allowing gays and lesbians to marry, but I like to twist that up a bit. If the devastation is punishment, maybe it’s because of our mean-spiritedness toward people who need help: the elderly, people who are poor or have disabilities, children, the working class, people who can’t get health care without help.

Instead of asking the wealthy and huge, multi-national corporations to pony up and pay their share, we villify the poor and middle class and because the corporate media control information, many of us believe we  are  to blame for the country’s financial troubles. We believe people who are out of work and collecting unemployment are lazy, and that teachers make too much money and we can’t afford to give everyone access to quality health care. We believe the wealthy are “job creators,” even though they’re sitting on more money than at any time in our history, and they’re looking for ways to amass even more at the expense of the poor and middle class.

Most of us feel powerless in the face of all this abuse — the abnsed often do feel that way, like there’s no way out.

Of course, I don’t believe in a god who throws thinderbolts around, but I do believe a little bit in what the Bea Arthur TV characrter, Maude, used to say: “God’ll get you for that.” You reap what you sow, in other words. In some way, your mean-spiritedness will come back and bite you in the ass. I don’t need revenge; I just need to believe that somehow, some way, there will be asses chewed.

Call it God, Karma or the Way of the Universe, your ass will get bitten, Koch brothers, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, et al. Stay safe through the hurricane because We the Paople are coming in October and we’re staying until you’re willing to listen.

When corporations are left to their own devices …

From Japanese television, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Finally, a week after the disaster at Fukushima Daiichi began, people are starting to question the information coming from officials at Tokyo Electric, which operates the plant. Might they be hedging just a little on the extent of the disaster?

Well, duh-huh, as my kids used to say. From today’s New York Times:

“The United States, with Japanese permission, began to put the intelligence-collection aircraft over the site, in hopes of gaining a view for Washington as well as its allies in Tokyo that did not rely on the announcements of officials from Tokyo Electric, which operates Fukushima Daiichi.

American officials say they suspect that the company has consistently underestimated the risk and moved too slowly to contain the damage.”

This is another instance where government can protect people from corporate power. If it were up to the corporations, and in this country it too often is, word of danger would never leak out, and if it were too obvious to keep secret, it always would be minimized.

A few days ago, Japan was advising people within a 10-mile radius to evacuate, and those within 20 miles of the plant to stay indoors, while US offiicials were telling people to move beyond 50 miles. The Japanese government was listening to the “experts” at Tokyo Electric; US officials were somewhat wary of the company’s assessment. Obviously, no one at Tokyo Electric had paid off US officials yet.

An article in yesterday’s San Fransisco Chronicle revealed decades of faked reports and ignorance of current science and standards.

The six rectors at Daiichi were made by three different companies: General Electric, which made reactors 1, 2 and 6; Toshiba, which made reactors 3 and 5; and Hitachi, which made reactor 4.

A spokesperson for GE said all six reactors passed inspection.

According to the article in the Chronicle, Mitsuhiko Tanaka was an engineer who worked on the $250 million steel pressure vessel that now houses the number 4 reactor. Tanaka knew about it because he helped to cover it up. Having to pay for a new container would have bankrupted the company, so documents were falsified and the faulty vessel was installed.

A decade later, Tanaka went to the government to tell them about the faulty vessel and he was ignored. 

Tokyo Electric knew about this and other problems at its plants, but covered them up.

Anti-nuclear activists say the government has routinely rubber-stamped the reports of power companies without doing its own inspections.

Sound familiar?

Last summer it was BP’s oil spill in the Gulf; this week it’s a nuclear meltdown in Japan.

Isn’t it time we stopped believing the corporations’ own assessments of the danger their operations pose and the extent of damages when the inevitable disaster happens?

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