Sunday, February 28, 2010

Every Day is an Anniversary

Every day another death, or more.
Blown apart, shot, starved,
Military or civilian, young or old,
Innocent or guilty, they die.

Looking back through history;
Egyptian, Jew, Babylonian,
Greek, Roman, European or American;
As today, they died.

Peaceful farmers raising their crops,
Came the conqueror, they died.
Poets writing of Peace.
A Dictator’s decree; they died.

Lovers picnic in a mountain meadow.
Overflies the drone, a missile fires;
Blast of fire and steel.
Must have been terrorists, they died.

Collateral damage is a convenient term.
Doesn’t sound like weeping widows,
Crying children and shattered homes.
Just pay them compensation and forget them.

Forget them all, soldiers, civilians, young and old.
Forget the wasteland of war, the trampled crops.
There are always lots more where they came from.
Forget that every day is an anniversary.

Steve Osborn
28 May 2006

And now, they, and perhaps us, are just "bug splats."

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whatever Happened to Empathy?

I wrote this several years ago, but the situation seems to have gone downhill ever since. Empathy and compassion are now weaknesses, to be treated with contempt.

Years ago, empathy used to be imbibed with mother’s milk. If you did something thoughtless or inconsiderate, mom or dad said, “How do you think that made them feel?” or “How would you feel if someone said (or did) that to you?”

Eventually, you learned to reflect upon the beliefs, customs and feelings of other people, not only in foreign countries, but in other areas of your own. If you were really lucky, your folks or your buddy’s folks subscribed to National Geographic magazine. After you got over your pre-adolescent sniggering over the occasional naked breast, you began to realize how diverse and rich in customs our beautiful world was. Now, with the advent of home entertainment centers and global satellite links, the world has shrunk to the size of our livingroom. With this benefit, we should be far beyond provincialism and jingoism, but unfortunately our current obsession with the “bottom line” seems to have blunted many of our human sensibilities. Empathy seems to have faded. The ability to put yourself in another’s place is now looked upon as a weakness. This extends not just to foreign nations and customs, but to our own.

The jobless and homeless in this nation, whose numbers are legion, are not freeloading parasites. They are, for the most part, people whose living has vanished as company after company has closed plants and “outsourced” the work to countries where people work for a few dollars per day, then move them even further when they find a place that accepts pennies per day, or perhaps just a bowl of rice. These companies, or their managing staff, look upon every dollar spent on employee retirement funding, medical plans, or workplace safety, as money wasted; money which could go into their pockets or into the acquisition of yet another company which can be raided and dismantled for profit.

To these people, the workers they displace are not people, they are merely ciphers. There is no empathy, they do not put themselves in the place of those desperate men and women trying to feed, clothe and house their families.

Albert Pike, writing for Freemasons in the nineteenth century said, “Teach the employed to be honest, punctual and faithful as well as respectful and obedient to all proper orders: but also teach the employer that every man or woman who desires to work, has a right to have work to do; and that they, and those who from sickness or feebleness, loss of limb or bodily vigor, old age or infancy, are not able to work, have a right to be fed, clothed, and sheltered from the inclement elements: that he commits an awful sin against Masonry and in the sight of God, if he closes his workshops or factories, or ceases to work his mines, when they do not yield him what he regards as sufficient profit, and so dismisses his workmen and workwomen to starve; or when he reduces the wages of man or woman to so low a standard that they and their families cannot be clothed and fed and comfortably housed; or by overwork must give him their blood and life in exchange for the pittance of their wages: and that his duty as a Mason and Brother peremptorily requires him to continue to employ those who else will be pinched with hunger and cold, or resort to theft and vice: and to pay them fair wages, though it may reduce or annul his profits or even eat into his capital; for God hath but loaned him this wealth and made him His almoner and agent to invest it.”

When Pike wrote this, the industry of the United States, and that of other industrialized nations, was controlled by the robber barons, or “Captains of Industry,” as they preferred to be called. To get an idea of the condition of the working class, one should read some of Dickens’ novels, set in the slums of industrialized England.

Many writers, including Dickens, brought enlightened views as to the dignity of man, as our Constitution had put forth the rights of man. The great depression of the 1930's brought forth Franklin D. Roosevelt, who instituted programs to provide jobs, and to see that none should be left to starve after their working years had ended. World War II left the world with hope, as the United States set out to help rebuild a ravaged planet. The United Nations was established so that all nations, all peoples, would have a forum to solve disputes without resort to war and violence; to promote programs to end famine, ignorance and poverty. To a degree, this worked. It was not perfect, but at least it provided a forum for understanding. People had empathy. They could put themselves in other’s places and understand and feel their problems. Slowly, we were taking steps forward.

Suddenly, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, which should have been a time of hope, we suddenly reverted to the days of the robber barons. Greed and expediency outweighed every other value. Laws and treaties which had given hope to the world were unilaterally discarded. The wealthy were given breaks beyond their wildest dreams. We suddenly became the power which, with overwhelming military force, could stand astride the globe, dictating what other nations must do, making war upon those that did not kowtow to the new power.

Whatever happened to empathy? How did the world suddenly become inhabited by good, red-blooded Americans and a bunch of gooks, slopes, ragheads, hadjis and any other pejorative which makes them seem less than human? How did the world suddenly become us and them? How is it that no one’s beliefs and concerns have validity except ours? How has it come about that the world is now divided between us, our few allies, and a world of terrorists?

Islam is not a religion of terror. It is a kind and loving religion, drawing its influence and origin from the time of Abraham. It regards the religions of Israel and Christianity as also being, “People of the Book.” Unfortunately, it has its fanatical adherents, just as we do, but in the main, the Muslim peoples are no different than us. All they ask of us, of the world, is the chance to live in peace, to raise their families and provide food, clothing and shelter for them. To educate them and teach them to live in peace when their generation matures. These are hard lessons to teach in the midst of death, starvation, war and killing. When this is all you know, you lose your ability to have empathy and put yourself in another’s place. You then grow to learn that there is you and the enemy, and you kill the enemy. If you have no hope, then life becomes cheap and it is easy to sacrifice it; to strap a bomb on your body and walk into a building full of humans, who are no longer humans, but the enemy, and push the button.

Somehow, we must take hold of our destiny and our lives and return to a path of peace and construction. War, greed and destruction is not working. A good start would be to once again learn the skill of empathy, and learn again to put ourselves in another’s place. As we would not be treated, so should we not treat others. Come to think of it, isn’t that covered in the Golden Rule?

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Nuclear Veteran Remembers

In 1956, I was at Bikini in the Marshal Islands for the H-Bomb tests. It haunted me for years. In 1983, The Day After, a film for TV, caused me to write of my experience. I sent copies to the UN, to the Kremlin, to the White House, and to my legislators. Barbara Boxer read it on the floor of the House on Hiroshima Day, 1984. Sadly, the message is still needed, the situation worsening even when some of the, then, major players are no more.

* * *

Stephen M. Osborn

Where does one begin, in responding to The Day After? For me, it can have many beginnings. I remember, as a seven or eight year old boy, looking with awe at the Bikini battered ships at the Bremerton Navy Yard. Then, I grew up in the cold war rhetoric of the late- forties and fifties.

In 1956, as a young navy man, I was at the thermonuclear tests at Bikini, code named Operation Redwing. The first bomb exploded was, we were told, a twenty megaton plus thermonuclear device, to be detonated at an altitude of twenty thousand feet. Our observation point was to be aboard ship at a distance of thirty miles from ground zero. That is a long way; about as far as the doctor was from Kansas City when the first bomb went off in the movie [The Day After, 1983, TV]. It is not far enough.

Most of the crew was ranged on deck, wearing blast goggles and facing aft, away from the blast. I was not on deck as there were not enough goggles to go around. Instead, I picked a spot in a passageway, about thirty feet forward of a light well. Any light coming in would have to come from the direction away from the blast, down about a twenty foot well, then penetrate the passageway. I had my back to the well. During the final countdown, I wrapped both arms across my eyes, one over the other. I could hear the voice on the ship's intercom; 5...4...3...2...1...ZERO.

Suddenly, I could see light, right through my arms! The heat was intense, as though I had my back to an opened furnace door. The silence was deafening. After what seemed like minutes, but was probably a few seconds, the light began to fade. As it grew dark, I eased one arm away from the other and the light was back, but again fading. When it was gone, I moved my other arm. The light through my clenched eyelids was painful, but it continued to fade and I gradually opened my eyes and began backing toward the light well. As the light continued to decrease, it finally got to the point where I could squint up the light well at the sky. The light was brilliant, the sky an intense blue. I climbed out of the well and peeked forward around the shelter of the conning tower, directly at the cloud and the, now fading, fireball.

My first impression was of a weird beauty. The cloud was sharply defined, like a thunderhead, and had a fluorescent, amethyst colored glow, which tinged toward a dark red. It is impossible to communicate the scale of the cloud. We were thirty miles away, yet the feeling was similar to when one stands beneath a huge redwood, watching the trunk taper away above you, to be surmounted by a crown of spreading branches far overhead. At thirty miles, it was as though we were right at the base of the cloud looking up, rather than out, at it.

We stood there in silence, looking at the cloud and quietly commenting on the colors. On the right side, close to the cloud, we could see two bright, stationary lights. They were visible for a short while, then they faded.

Over two minutes had passed, then the voice on the intercom began the countdown for the shock wave. 5...4...3...2...1...Zero. The pressure wave at that distance was not violent; there was an increase of about one atmosphere, enough to make your ears pop; the sound was a long low rumble lasting about thirty seconds.

The sun began to rise, lighting the outside of the cloud and overpowering the internal glow. The cloud was identifiable for much of the day, with the. top being slowly torn to rags by the jet stream.

We steamed back to the atoll, rather sobered by the experience. We were quite curious about the mysterious lights we saw beside the cloud. About a week or so after the shot, I was speaking to one of the scientists that had been aboard. He said they also had been puzzled by the appearance of the lights. They finally concluded that what we saw were two bright stars, essentially as we would have seen them from outer space. Apparently, the heat of the explosion was so great that it literally burned away the atmosphere around the fireball. As soon as the temperature dropped sufficiently, the air collapsed back around the envelope, the starlight was attenuated and they disappeared.

We spent, if memory serves, about six months at Bikini. Every so often, we would steam out for a shot. Frequently, we would go out, muster on deck in the pre-dawn, the countdown would proceed, then, "The shot for today has been canceled," and we would steam back to the anchorage to try again the next morning. This might go on for ten days or more before they would finally set it off..

Once, the wind shifted after a shot and we were battened below in the stifling heat while the ship tried to run from under the fallout. Personnel that had to go topside were decontaminated and their clothes were taken for disposal. After a couple of days, we headed for Kwajalein, some four hundred miles away, until it was "safe" to return to the atoll.

Following one, either underwater or surface burst, the cleanup crews told of fish falling out of the coconut palms. The swimming float that had been anchored with huge concrete blocks in the lagoon was found floating at sea. Two of the blocks were found in the middle of the island.

The final shot of the series found us eighteen miles from ground zero. The heat was incredible; though this was a much smaller bomb, possibly a tactical warhead. The shockwave jolted the whole ship backwards several inches. It felt as though my whole body was struck by a sledge hammer. The sound was one sharp crack, as though a rifle or firecracker was fired off next to my ear.

After a few days spent dismantling the establishment on Nan Island, Bikini Atoll, we steamed for home.

In later years, I had nightmares of the bombs going off, where I would be standing, crying, realizing that some SOB had finally pushed the button and it was the end of all things. I would wake up covered with sweat, pulse racing and face wet with tears. Gradually, that dream receded, until I saw the rockets blasting out of their silos in The Day After. I was sitting with my arm around my son's shoulder. Suddenly, I began to shake and my eyes filled with tears. Each time another took off, it got worse. I knew what was going to happen, I had been there!

Since the program, it has been continually on my mind. Watching that reptilian Buckley, "Megadeath" Scowcroft and Kissinger sit there, speaking in Orwellian doublethink, explaining that more is less and death is peacekeeping, made me wonder how long these aging, frustrated cowboys are going to be allowed to determine how much youth and innocence is to die for this "ism" or that one, Weisel, Sagan, even McNamara, made sense. This is one fragile green and blue planet.

Buckley and company brought to mind the lectures we got from some Bircher neighbors, when taking our children trick-or-treating. We shouldn't trick-or-treat for UNICEF because UNICEF gave milk to "commie babies!"

There are no "commie babies" or "free world babies." There are just babies and children and youths and adults, all with their hopes and dreams. The man in the street in Moscow, London, Paris or Athens is no different from the one in New York or in Mill Valley. We are all frightened and we all simply wish to be left in peace. The Russian and the European may want it more, because they have been overrun by war at least twice this century. They know what war on the home front means, something no American has suffered on the mainland since the civil war.

Every man, woman and child on this planet must let his government and political leaders know that nuclear terror must cease. It is no longer a viable option, if it ever was. The odds of a mistake are far too great and there is no way to retrieve the error, once an attack/counter-attack has been launched.

By virtue of our alleged intelligence, we have assumed stewardship of this planet and all of the creatures upon it. We have shown great callousness and ignorance in the exploitation of earth's natural resources, the casual dumping of toxic wastes and the wholesale slaughter of entire species. With wisdom and patience, some of these blunders can be retrieved, but with the development of nuclear technology, we have met our destroyer, one way or the other, if we do not call a halt to it. We cannot dispose of spent fuel and refining waste in a safe manner. The cancer and birth deformation rate has risen enormously since we began using it, there is no defense against nuclear attack or terrorism and there have been few signs of sanity or good judgement among those entrusted to do our thinking for us. Papers discussing an acceptable number of megadeaths in a nuclear exchange are not of strategic value, they are obscene, a visible manifestation of insanity and immorality.

Mankind has always had a tendency for its technology to outstrip its moral growth, It is time we begin to slow down the technical race and begin to think, not of what is expedient, or will show the greatest short-term profit, but what will benefit the planet and ourselves in the long run. What kind of agriculture will leave the land fertile and productive for a thousand years and more? What processes can be used that will leave only biodegradable wastes? Does society's existence depend on an endless flow of gadgets and novelties, designed to fall apart almost immediately? Must everything be designed to wear out in two or three years? Is it possible to recycle our mineral resources rather than continually mining more and allowing worn out products to decay, or simply rust in storage? Can't we produce crops and see that they are distributed, rather than stored to rot? Why don't we make a major effort to harness and use wind and solar energy for power and make a greater effort to reduce energy needs?

Let us pledge to make a start by informing all world leaders that nuclear war is out. The people of this planet will take no more of fear and terror!

Then, with this as a starting point, let us, as stewards of a fragile .planet, begin the process of healing and growing, individually and as a species, to the point where all of this will seem an horrible, impossible nightmare. A lesson to be forever remembered, but never repeated. It is up to us.

* * *

In the article, I made no mention of my bout with radiation poisoning. The fear I felt as my gums bled and my hair came out in clumps every time I combed it. I eventually recovered and, so far, have survived.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What is Fascism, really?

The word Fascism is thrown around very freely these days. We’ve had “Red Fascists,” “Islamofascists,” and Lord knows how many other “fascists.” The word is equated with evil, dictatorships, or just plain different.

What is fascism? Where does it come from? Are there real fascists today? Let’s take a look.

Fascism comes from the Fasces, a bundle of rods around an axe, carried by Roman Lictors and symbolic of power. You have probably heard the old story about the old man who gave his sons each a stick, then told them to break them. They did. Then he gave each of them another stick and told them to tie them all together in a bundle, then directed them to break it. None could, the bundle was too strong. Then the father told his sons that if they would stick together, they would be strong and unbeatable.

In Italy, during the 20's, 30's and early 40's, Mussolini’s supporters were the Fascist party. Their symbol was the tightly bound bundle of rods with an axe inside. Mussolini himself stated that his government would be better described as a “corporate state.” Let’s look at a corporate state from the point of view of that symbol.

If corporations compete with one another, they can be broken, by unions, by alliances of several corporations against them. However, suppose the corporations formed their own group, their own bundle of rods. They would be mutually strengthened. Now, let’s put the axe of government in the bundle and see what we get. The ideal corporate state! That was approached in Italy, but Mussolini was not as well organized in those days as corporations are today.

The ideal corporate state is one in which all major corporations band together for mutual profit and power (the bundle of rods) wrapped around the axe of government, which exists to protect the corporate profits from attack. The corporations then support (or buy) the government and all backs are scratched.

Fascism was supposed to have died, along with National Socialism (Nazis) at the end of WW-II. Like the legendary Hydra, however, when you cut off a head, it grows two more.

When you look at fascism using this definition, there are only a few of them, and it is not Islam, it is no longer "red," it rests much closer to home. It is more powerful than anyone guesses and, it is preparing for a Nazi style of oppression if its aims are in any way thwarted.

Does this sound familiar?

Beware the Corporate State, wherever it raises its ugly head.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Happened to My Country?

Some of my blog entries will be retrospective, but sadly not obsolete. During the Cheney/Bush years, I had over a hundred articles posted or published. Most were to try to awaken the American People as to what was being done to us by the regime. With a name change, they are as current as today's newspapers. What Happened to My Country? was published in early 2006, but written shortly after the start of the Iraq and Afghan wars. It first appeared in CommonDreams on February 17th 2006 and was picked up and circled the world. It was translated into German, Russian, Italian, French, Spanish and, I am told, Arabic.

Sadly, it seemed to have little impact here. Now, it is many times more accurate and we are in much more desperate straits than we were then. They were just getting started then. Now, Mr. "Change" and his gang have escalated it almost beyond belief. So, for your interest and, if you wish, your comments, here is What Happened to My Country?
I grew up an American, and proud of it. I was taught in school about the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Bill of Rights. My brother was a Merchant Marine Officer during the war and had three ships sunk beneath him. We beat the Nazis, the Fascists and the Japanese and made the world safe for democracy. After the war came Nuremberg and the assurance that things like the holocaust could never happen again. The Marshal Plan helped to rebuild the shattered portions of the world. America, Democracy, compassion and help. It was good to be an American. Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sad, but necessary to end the war and save lives, we were told.

We read George Orwell’s 1984, which could happen in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but we could never have thought police and endless war here in the United States. Then came the Cold War, McCarthy, Korea, and later on Vietnam. My service time crossed those wars, but I thanked my stars I didn’t have to fight in them. I was at Bikini for the Hydrogen Bomb tests in 1956, which taught me the unthinkable horror of nuclear war.

Vietnam taught us the danger and folly of going to war on a false pretext. Tonkin Gulf was to be a lesson to us all, as was the intended impeachment of Nixon for violating the law and the Constitution. We wouldn’t let that happen again; no president was ever going to spy on his own people again, or persecute people who didn’t agree with him or his policies.

Yes, the United States was a nation of great wealth. A nation that took care to see to the freedom and well being of its citizens, and welcomed the downtrodden foreigner to the new land. It was a nation that pioneered the exploration of space and gloried in the advance of science. I was proud to be an American!

My God! What has happened to my nation? My nation that no longer pays more than lip service to its Constitution and Bill of Rights, which have been a beacon to the world for over two centuries. My nation that unilaterally discards treaties that were the hope for a world of peace, guided by law and diplomacy. My nation that will wage a war of aggression against a far off nation that was no threat to it, but that has lots of oil. My nation that gives all of its wealth to the rich and is satisfied to leave its citizens to starve, homeless, unemployed and sickly.

What happened to that Constitution that so wisely divided the government into three separate units, to provide a system of checks and balances against any one branch usurping power? How did we wind up with a President that refers to the Constitution that he swore to protect and defend as “just a goddamned piece of paper” and a Congress that seems willing to rubber stamp any giveaway the President demands? How did we find ourselves with a Supreme Court that will set aside the Constitution in favor of unlimited presidential power for the duration?

Now I live in an America I don’t dare leave for fear of being spat upon, shot, bombed or kidnapped. I am looked upon as a citizen of a rogue nation that has no concept or respect for any law except bullying and strength. I need a passport even to visit Canada, which was to be our sister nation with open borders forever. I must expect to be required to show my “papers” at any time, to any official. I must accept that the government can break into my house and rifle my belongings and papers any time it wishes on the thinnest of excuses and it is not even required to let me know it has violated my home and my privacy. I must accept the fact that the government can listen in to my private conversations, my phone, my e-mail, can probably read my snail mail if they wish and can put a gag order on anyone who has information about me so I may not even be made aware that I am being spied upon. George Orwell’s absolute dictatorship has crept into my home and my life and thrown out my beloved Constitution and Bill of Rights. The difference between the United States, Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy is steadily and inexorably diminishing and the people are letting it happen while they remain paralyzed with fear. Fear incited by the gang that runs the White House and their cronies in the propaganda ministry that used to be our last bulwark against tyranny; our once free press.

So now my pride in America is for our past; my sadness for our present; my fear for our future. I am no longer proud to be an American, but I have no place to go.

So, here we are in 2010, a "new" administration, populated by many of the same gang that ran things in 2000 - 2006. They have consolidated their gains, at our expense. There is no end in sight. What happened to my Country?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Arms Race and Arms Reduction are Not Identical

Mr President, Building Up the Nuclear Weapons Complex Is NOT Nuclear Disarmament

When the CCCP collapsed and the cold war ended, the MIC was terrified! They were looking at the specter of having to make refrigerators and stoves, perhaps even get into real estate. A guy buys a refrigerator or a stove and he keeps it twenty years. Guy buys a house, he may be in it for many years. One sale! Where is the profit in that?

Guy buys a thousand pound bomb and, BOOM!, he buys another. That, my friends is real profit. Especially when your Corporation can sell thousand pound bombs to both sides of any conflict.

Phasing out nuclear power and coal/gas for solar/wind/wave/geothermal power cuts into huge profits by the associated corporations, heavily invested in by other corporations.

Nuclear weapon development has always been a protected multi-billion dollar cash cow. The SALT talks, the Outer Space Treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and others; all of these were anathema to those who control us, and the government, through their purse strings.

Bush unilaterally (and illegally) tore up those treaties, restarted the cold war and a nuclear arms race. Obama, instead of pushing for a reinstatement of those treaties, is aiding and abetting the increase of military power at the expense of We the People and the world at large, but at greatly increased profits to the MIC. The bought and paid for Legislative branch goes along with it, and the bought Supreme Court will proceed to make it all legal.

Those few who still read and study history will recognize the parallels with 1930's Germany.

The German people failed to turn theirs around. Thousands were executed for making attempts to do so as Hitler consolidated his power. Millions died because they no longer had any power to do anything but heil der Fuhrer and do what they were told.

Now that the Corporations, the Oligarchy if you will, have consolidated their power to the point where they can come out in the open, we are rapidly finding ourselves in the same position. Our Constitutional Right to air our grievances and demand redress is getting ever more brutally suppressed by police. Heavily armed pre-emptive raids are made on people who are only planning or discussing a protest. Our alleged representatives either ignore our communications, or send us form letters which are puff pieces bragging about inconsequential legislative victories while ignoring our call for a return to the Constitutional form of government we once had.

I am no seer, but I see that the concentration camps built during the Bushwhacking years are still there, maintained and ready. NorthCom is training combat brigades in "suppressing civil unrest," the number of foreclosed, homeless, jobless, hungry and ill people is increasing exponentially. Sooner or later, the kettle is going to start to boil over. They are ready for it.

In ancient days, when Ug and Og went from throwing sticks and rocks to inventing the spear, they did not resist using it. When others developed the same thing, Ug stockpiled spears until his cave could outgun the other. Then someone invented the bow and arrow and so it went.

Hiroshima and Nagasaki showed what could be done. East and West began yet another arms race, which finally stalemated. Now, many of our caves have nuclear weapons, but we have the most and have proven ourselves unstable enough to use them.

Sooner or later, someone is going to try a sneak attack on someone else. That will escalate, through fear (Am I next?) or retaliation. Probably, most of civilization (as we consider it) will be destroyed. Science Fiction is becoming fact far too rapidly these days.

Einstein once said, "I don't know what weapons world war three will be fought with, but world war four will be fought with sticks and stones."

* * *

He looked out of the mouth of the cave at the devastation before him, then, cautiously, clutching his spear, he went out to forage for food for his hungry family...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hot Zone Expands in Nuclear Plant Aquifer

CommonDreams had an article on the above subject. This was my comment to the article.

Sometimes, the Nuclear Dragon swats us with its tail or rends us with its claws and jaws. Other times, it poisons us with its fetid breath. Now, apparently, it poisons us by pissing in our aquifers.

In 1956, (Operation Redwing, Bikini) I saw its claws and felt its jaws, I was poisoned by its breath, but (so far) have survived. Not very many of us left.

; was not an explosion, just a very stubborn fire in radioactive fuel. A huge area so contaminated that it will be three to six hundred years before it can again be occupied. Most of Europe was contaminated by the fallout. People have had elevated cancers, genetic damage to their children, etc., ever since.

We have had a number of accidents at our own Nuclear Dragon cages. Three Mile Island, the Fermi Breeder Reactor near Detroit, the Hanford Plant in Washington, on which million$, perhaps billion$ have been spent trying to prevent the leakage from entering the Columbia River. The list goes on and on. Statistically, the number of cancers, birth defects, etc., is much higher in those areas, compared with areas far away, and not downwind of the plants.

The same with the native populations of the Marshal Islands exposed by our testing in the '40's and '50's. Then there was our own testing in Nevada, which used our own citizens as guinea pigs (classified by the Eisenhower government as underutilized segments of the population).

As these contaminants get into our aquifers, there is no way to avoid them. You just have to take your chances, play the odds. People have to drink.

The only way to avoid the situation is to cease this endless twisting of the Dragon's tail. The only safe nuclear reactor is approximately 93,000,000 miles from earth and delivers more than adequate energy, if we will just take the effort to learn to harness it.

Remember, we already have mountains of spent fuel which we have as yet found no safe way to dispose of. All of this leads to still more contamination, more exposure, more cancers, birth defects and deaths.

I won't even discuss the horror that awaits us as Depleted Uranium spreads around the world from our endless wars.