Getting away with Murder: Whatever happened to ‘above all, do no harm’? by Jason Miller

Warning

These pictures may contain images depicting the reality and horror of violence and should only be viewed by a mature audience.

by Jason Miller
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Thomas Paine’s Corner
April 29, 2009

Graphic: Time To Turn The Tables by ~m7

“The moral is that animal model systems not only kill animals, they also kill humans. There is no good factual evidence to show that the use of animals in cancer research has led to the prevention or cure of a single human cancer.”

—Dr. Irwin D.J. Bross, Ph.D., 1982, former head of research design and analysis of the largest cancer research institute in the world, the Sloan-Kettering Institute

Vivisection, the anachronistic practice of condemning nonhuman animals to the sterility, isolation, and confinement of laboratory cages and subjecting them to cutting, poking, sticking, burning, poisoning, and addicting, bears a much closer resemblance to medieval torture than to 21st century scientific research. Fittingly, vivisection’s history is rooted in medieval religious edicts that forbade the dissection of human cadavers.[1] And anthropocentrism is so deeply inculcated into our psyches that despite living in an “enlightened” age, we continue with our collective barbarism based on a church doctrine that held that rotting human corpses were more sacred than living, breathing sentient beings.

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Capitalist Incarnate: My interview with a vampire by Jason Miller

by Jason Miller
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Thomas Paine’s Corner
March 29, 2009

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

By Jason Miller

3/27/09

While it’s a commonly held belief that “everyone has a nonbiological twin somewhere in the world,” I wonder if we all have an antithetical “anti-twin” as well. Because I recently met someone who could easily be mine. Ironically enough, it was at the public library, one of my favorite haunts.

It’d been a particularly cold winter and the mercury had finally inched up to where it was light jacket weather, so I decided to spend a day prowling around an area called The Country Club Plaza, a Kansas City “landmark.”

Picture the Plaza as a physical incarnation of the spiritual realm where all the souls of the “good” members of the bourgeoisie will transcend once they’ve run themselves to death in the race to acquire the most toys.

Featuring rather exotic-looking architecture styled after that of Seville, Spain; retailers who demand credit approval and notarized validation of net worth exceeding six figures prior to entry into their establishment (so as to prevent “the rabble” from invading their luxurious fiefdoms); and restaurateurs whose appetizers cost enough to feed a family of four for a month, this “shopping district” is at the nexus of what some people refer to as Kansas City’s “old money.” Suffice it to say that the inhabitants of the palatial estates lining nearby Ward Parkway and State Line Road enjoy extensive insulation from the current “economic downturn.”

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Feigned Indignation: Of marauding exploiters, their “ethical qualms,” and a new proposal by Jason Miller

by Jason Miller
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Thomas Paine’s Corner
March 16, 2009

[Graphic: Greed by ~Liol]

Since there was little appetite for my recent polemic in which I advocated including necro-cannibalism as an integral part of our strategy to combat ecocide and world hunger, because very few appeared to take note of the fact that it was not my intention to carefully craft an update of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” (I was actually hurling a hunk of concrete into the placid waters of the indoctrinated readers’ minds in order to observe the resultant splash and subsequent ripples), and since despite the depth of Homo rapien moral depravity and their sheer indifference to the suffering, murder, mayhem, and destruction that the human collective causes in order to satiate our desires and perpetuate the disease we call civilization, reader response indicated that the thought of eating our “fellow man” was taking things a bit too far, I’m advancing yet another potential solution to the myriad and complex maladies we’ve inflicted upon nonhuman animals, the Earth and ourselves.

Homo rapiens, who, judging by the state of the world, outnumber Homo sapiens by a wide margin, are a self-centered, mean-spirited bunch. Maybe their swarming hordes can get behind an idea that saves their asses, eases what little conscience they have, requires little or no risk or effort on their part, and doesn’t involve the possibility of their cherished grandmas winding up as hotdogs rather than worm fodder or cinders.

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Flesh, flesh everywhere, Nor any morsel to eat… by Jason Miller

by Jason Miller
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Thomas Paine’s Corner
March 16, 2009

“Nothing more strongly arouses our disgust than cannibalism, yet we make the same impression on Buddhists and vegetarians, for we feed on babies, though not our own.” Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894)

“Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink” Samuel Taylor Coleridge

In Niger, a toddler’s mother shoos annoyingly persistent flies away from her precious child’s mouth and eyes in a futile attempt to ease his suffering in some way—his emaciated face and distended belly portend his imminent death. Even when she manages to find food or water and gives him a bit, he immediately vomits it back up. He will soon become another of the 15 million nameless, faceless children who will die of starvation this year.

Haitians lob Molotov cocktails, burn tires, smash windows, and pelt riot police with rocks in a desperate demand for something more than “mud cookies” to satiate their hunger. According to the World Health Organization, one third of the human population is well-fed, one third malnourished, and the other third is starving.

In the wealthiest nation on Earth, the mean-spirited “every man for himself” ethos forces lonely, forgotten grandmothers to face the grim choice of buying their medicine or putting meager amounts of food on their table and demands that single working mothers forego paying their utility bills so that their children can eat.

Such abject and profound suffering….and so unnecessary!

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Averting the China Syndrome: Response to Our Critics and the Devotees of Fundamentalist Pacifism By Steve Best & Jason Miller

by Steve Best and Jason Miller
Featured Writer
Dandelion Salad
Thomas Paine’s Corner
February 24, 2009

For all the political prisoners of the animal liberation movement, for everyone involved in militant direct action for animals and the Earth, and for all the nonhuman animals themselves who suffer at the hands of human barbarity.

We can’t say we’re disappointed with the responses to our publication of Pacifism or Animals: Which Do You Love More? A Critique of Lee Hall, Friends of Animals, and the Franciombe Effect in the New Abolitionist Movement.” We accomplished what we set out to do, and more.

We brought much-needed attention to the uncritical reception of Hall’s self-published polemic against militant direct action (MDA), Capers in the Courtyard. We alerted an unknowing UK activist community to the slander and distortions of militant anti-vivisection campaigns in England and the United States. The ensuing fiery commentary on our article (as it appeared on blogs such as Thomas Paine’s Corner and Mary Martin’s Animal Person) helped to expose the propaganda and advertising tactics that Hall, Priscilla Feral, and Friends of Animals (FoA) use as masks for “objective” review of Hall’s regrettable book.

The discussion – featuring the bitter encomium and slew of ad hominem attacks by Feral’s husband, Robert Orabona, against former FoA lawyer, Derek Oatis (we wonder what überpacifist Lee Hall thinks of Orabona’s approach and language) – casts a bright light on the problematic nature of FoA itself and perhaps has some value for the historical record as it serves to document some of the inner conflicts of FoA, a long-established animal rights organization. An insider expose revealed that Feral and Orabona pay themselves a hefty salary (which we verified to be over $180,000 a year) from donor money intended to help animals rather than to boost their bank account. As we quickly discovered, Hall is not wanting either, pulling down $82,000 a year, about $15,000 more than her annual salary in 2005.

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Homo rapiens be damned: Savagery is not programmed into our DNA, by Jason Miller

by Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
February 3, 2009

“I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to an area, and you multiply, and multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet, you are a plague, and we are the cure.” —Agent Smith from The Matrix

One is expected to know things, to believe things. Knowing and believing are all in your head – there is nothing in your heart. If you cannot feel that the earth is your grandmother, then of course you will find it easy to rape her, to behave as if she is under your dominion. You will find it easy to believe that we humans are the dominant species, and to act as though the earth and everything on it are ours to do with as we please. … if all human beings were taken away, life on earth would flourish.—Russell Means

“Let’s pray that the human race never escapes from Earth to spread its iniquity elsewhere.”—C.S. Lewis

The last sound on the worthless earth will be two human beings trying to launch a homemade spaceship and already quarreling about where they are going next.—William Faulkner

In the last analysis, even the best man is evil: in the last analysis, even the best woman is bad.—Friedrich Nietzsche

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The absurd persistence of domination: Of speciesism, capitalism, and shaking their foundations

by Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Dec. 29, 2008

Even the most ardent reactionaries, deluded ‘patriots,’ and apathetic cynics, whose myopic, Panglossian perspectives ensure that they continue to reflexively genuflect to the deeply criminal enterprise of American Capitalism and rationalize the savage imperialism of US foreign policy, are beginning to concede that we are in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions.

So lack of awareness, which is usually the first obstacle to solving a problem, isn’t the real enemy here. Our chief foe is a swarm of greed-driven, self-absorbed, mean-spirited locust-like human beings who are dedicated to “reforming” and perpetuating capitalism, the very system that has led us to this woeful state of environmental, economic, social, and political affairs. Continue reading

“Class is a dirty word” – Michael Parenti interviewed by Jason Miller

Abolish capitalism

Image by Gareth Harper via Flickr

Michael Parenti interviewed by Jason Miller
Featured Writers
Dandelion Salad
Dec. 26, 2008

“Class is a dirty word in that it gets close to the truth about who governs and for whose benefit.” – Michael Parenti

In the land of those who think they’re free and the home of savage capitalism, class is indeed a dirty word. Remember, we’re a nation of Joe the Plumbers. If we just work hard enough and fend off those socialist vampires who want to suck us dry by redistributing our hard-earned wealth, we can all be financial successes. And if you’re a faux-progressive presidential candidate—like Obama, you’re doomed to political perdition unless you sign a blood oath disavowing your ties to socialism.

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Stacks of dead presidents or flesh and blood companions?

Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Nov 21, 2008

Jason Miller interviewed by Robert Turnbull

Robert Turnbull: I guess I’ll start with a rather mundane question. How are you?

Jason Miller: I just looked at some horrific photos of extremely sick and emaciated people who suffer from a drug-resistant strain of TB and AIDS, so I’m feeling blessed because I’m relatively healthy and able to employ my personal strengths to carry out my purpose on Earth.

RT: What is that you consider your purpose on Earth to be? Continue reading

Industrial capitalism is a given and the natural world is secondary (Interview with Derrick Jensen)

Crossposted at Thomas Paine’s Corner thanks, Jason.

Melissa Gragg and Jason Miller interview Derrick Jensen
11/8/08

“Top priorities may not be any of those five. It may be continuing to stabilize the financial system. We don’t know yet what’s going to happen in January. And none of this can be accomplished if we continue to see a potential meltdown in the banking system or the financial system. So that’s priority number one, making sure that the plumbing works in our capitalist system.” —President-Elect Barack Obama

Ironically, it is the plumbing of that capitalist system that we are using as we flush the future of life on Earth down the toilet.

We can “elect” a charismatic, intelligent man from a brutally oppressed minority to be our president to purge our collective guilt, mouth “feel good” platitudes, celebrate the triumph of “democracy,” and delude ourselves into believing we are preparing to warp back to a fictitious golden era when America was a benevolent guardian of humanity and the Earth, but that doesn’t change the fact that industrial capitalism is rendering this planet uninhabitable.

And just two days after the “election,” we learned that our newly minted “savior,” for whom we were desperate after eight years of “anomalous” malevolence under the Bush administration, is making the viability of our violent, irrational, unstable, exploitative, unjust, and unsustainable socioeconomic paradigm “priority number one.”

Obama has sold his soul to capitalism, a way of being premised on greed, selfishness, materialism, alienation, and infinite growth—a recipe for ecocide.

Perhaps the best “change” for which we can “hope” is that more people will awaken and fall into a despair that spurs them to do something about the rapidly deteriorating state of our environment, frighteningly large increases in the number of extinct species, rising scarcity of potable water, ecological overshoot, and a host of other symptoms of the terminal disease Obama blithely calls the “capitalist system.”

Let’s glean some insight from Derrick Jensen, an anarcho-primitivist, author, lecturer, philosopher, and tireless fighter for a beleaguered, dying planet. Here is a back and forth he had with radical activist, Melissa Gragg, and Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor, Jason Miller, on 4/15/08:

Melissa: Okay, let’s start off with you kind of, I’ve seen a couple interviews, and I guess you have to answer some of the same questions over and over.

Derrick: [laughter]

Melissa: But do you want to explain to people who haven’t read your writing why you think civilization needs to be brought down?

Derrick: Well it’s killing the planet. Ninety percent of the large fish in the oceans are gone. There’s six to ten times as much phytoplankton in the oceans as—I’m sorry, six to ten times as much plastic as there is phytoplankton, and that’s the equivalent of, in temperate forests, of there being Styrofoam ninety feet thick through all the forests, and . . .

Jason: Wow, that’s a pretty horrifying metaphor.

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‘Sticking it to the Man,’ 21st Century style… By Jason Miller

By Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Oct 28, 2008

Paul Watson interviewed by Jason Miller

“Well, as usual, you people have everything all upside down and turned around and back to front.”

–Mel Gibson as Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon 2

As a species of beings that reflexively and unequivocally identifies itself as “superior,” we human animals have taken self-deception to a level of inimitable brilliance. And we Americans who have self-servingly cast ourselves in the role of moral beacon to the world (while engaging in industrialized wholesale violence against humans, animals, and the Earth on a breath-taking scale) are the living embodiments of the word hypocrisy.

Need proof of the systemic rot eroding the very cores of our souls? Look no further than the meteoric rise of the grossly under-qualified, hyper-ambitious, morally retarded narcissist who still has a realistic chance to be one heart-beat away from ostensibly ruling the most powerful nation in the world. Palinesque tendencies to “drill, drill, drill,” exploit obscene technological advantages to “cull predatory species,” employ our “justice” system to accelerate the extinction of yet another species (to advance the interests of Big Oil no less), and perpetuate the murderous “sport” of hunting with the intellectually dishonest and morally bankrupt justifications of “necessity” and “cultural tradition” serve to shred our ridiculously thin façade of humanity and reveal the truly barbarous nature of Western “civilization” and the “American Way of Life.”

While the speciesism and capitalist obsessions with property, growth, and profit that contaminate nearly all aspects of our cultural and social modes of being are not unique to Western industrialized nations or the US, we wield the most power in the world, and hence inflict the most pain on other species. And while our economic and technological advantages endow us with the potential to shift the paradigm and significantly reduce the unnecessary suffering our non-human animal brethren experience as a result of reification, greed, and exploitation, we choose to fight tooth and nail to preserve our “right” to dominate, torture, and slaughter for profit and pleasure, while portraying those who dare to take direct action against our murderous system as ‘eco-terrorists.’

Frightening and dangerous as it may be, let’s get inside the head of a leading member of the radical environmental defense and animal liberation movements, which the FBI continues to target as America’s “number one domestic terror threat.”

Here is the back and forth between Captain Paul Watson (animal defender extraordinaire, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, and courageous practitioner of extensional self defense on behalf of marine animals) and Jason Miller (associate editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online and founding editor of Thomas Paine’s Corner):

Jason Miller: You were reportedly expelled from Greanpeace in 1975 for your refusal to embrace their dogmatic adherence to non-violence. What were the events prior to and during your expulsion?

Captain Paul Watson: I was not in fact expelled from Greenpeace. I was voted off the Board of Directors because Patrick Moore had just replaced Robert Hunter as President. The excuse he used was that I had broken the law by grabbing a sealer’s club and throwing it in the water thus stealing and destroying his “property”. I then resigned from Greenpeace however the proof that Greenpeace was not opposed to my methods can be found in two pieces of evidence. (1) After I hunted down and rammed the pirate whaler Sierra, Greenpeace published my story as their headline article in the Greenpeace Chronicles. And (2) I was one of the 8 signatories for the formation of Greenpeace International in October 1979. My main reason for leaving Greenpeace was because I was tired of protesting and seeing whales and seals die. I established the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society not as a protest organization but as an interventionist organization to specifically target illegal operations. We remain non-violent. Since I founded Sea Shepherd in 1977, we have never injured a single person, we have never been convicted of a felony crime and we have never been sued. That’s a better record than Greenpeace has.

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One Nation under Capitalism: It’s Time for a Crucifixion By Jason Miller

By Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Oct 2, 2008

Proudly surveying our kingdom from atop the capitalist pyramid, we US Americans have deluded ourselves into believing we are at the pinnacle of cultural, social, political, and economic evolution. We fancy ourselves to be so exceptional that we are entitled to a perpetual blessing from “our” Christian God.

Break out the Haldol!

We have afflicted the globe with the fatal contagions of the American Way and corporatism. And all of us, to varying degrees, are culpable. From bicycle-peddling vegans to limo riding corporados, we are each complicit in perpetuating American capitalism, a system so rotten that were it a piece of decaying meat, starving maggots would reject it.

We would have far fewer amends to make if our nation’s impact were limited by the size of our population. Were that the case, we would be a mere blemish on the face of Mother Earth. But due to our extraordinary wealth and power, insatiable avarice, hostility towards life, and obscene appetites for consumption, the United States is more akin to a cankerous fist-sized boil, oozing pus and reeking with infection.

We’re gluttonous beyond belief, greedily devouring every morsel of meat and marrow and leaving the “dogs” of the rest of the world to gnaw hungrily on the hollow bones we thoughtlessly cast aside.

Spiritually we’ve struck a perverse Faustian bargain. Like the good doctor, we crave “more than earthly meat, cheese and drink.” But knowledge is not the object of our desire. What an insult to think that we’d relinquish our souls in exchange for something so hollow and meaningless. Big Macs, the NFL, NASCAR, McMansions, Hummers, American Idol, liposuction, and Viagra—we’ll settle for no less. Gloating over our seemingly endless supply of fast foods and hard-hitting dudes, heart-pounding races and expansive living spaces, monstrous cars and aspiring stars, and hot chicks and hard dicks, we glare contemptuously at the “rats” from other nations scurrying about our feet and fighting over the crumbs we don’t manage to inhale.

For years we have satiated our desires with utter disregard for environmental cost, have ignored the abject suffering we inflict upon humans and animals, and have spilled a veritable ocean of blood to enable corporate plunder and to stomp anti-capitalist movements into the ground.

Yet when we finally reaped a bit of what we’d sown in September of 2001 and again in September of 2008, we wailed, wept, and gnashed our teeth as if we were the only people ever to have sustained staggering blows.

While both events are tragic, how can we express such righteous indignation that we’ve been wounded as a nation when we’ve been dishing out misery for years and have remained relatively unscathed?

And can we be so blinded by the shimmer of the gold and diamonds that we worship that we can’t see that these deep wounds to the very heart of capitalism (both the destruction of the World Trade Center and the current financial market crisis) are clarion calls to slay this formidable but staggering beast?

Capitalism has had its run and it has failed. Miserably.

Despite a number of ‘socialist’ measures implemented by the ruling elite to pacify the masses throughout the crisis-ridden history of American capitalism, we still have an obscene percentage of wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, poverty and homelessness, unemployment, imperial conquests, monopolies and oligopolies, and ‘recessions.’

And our collective psyche suffers from a host of maladies and malformations. We are alienated from nature, each other and ourselves. We value property over life. We buy far more than we need or could ever use. We measure success in dollars and cents. We are driven by greed and selfishness. We worship money and militarism.

As obviously dysfunctional, unjust, and destructive as our system is, many of us who oppose the $700 billion ‘bailout’ of the financial markets still soberly nod our heads in agreement when bourgeois economists insist that while the ‘bailout’ proposal is excessive, ‘something must be done to restore investor confidence and get credit flowing again.’

How about no? How about we do nothing?

Most of those who stand to benefit from a ‘bailout’ of any dollar amount are all about the ‘free market’ and ‘law of the jungle’ capitalism. It’s sad how quickly those in the moneyed class cast aside their ‘principles’ when adversity slaps them in the face.

‘Dog-eat-dog’ is their mantra when they’re fighting tooth and nail to cut spending on socially beneficial programs, rewarding mass firings by increasing stock values, pushing for increased regressive taxes and decreases on progressive taxes, and slaughtering millions of innocents in resource wars. But when these uber-predators become prey, they expect the rest of us to charge to their rescue.

So what of Paulson and the rest of the power elite who are coming to the working and middle classes on bended knee, begging for a hand-out? Let them twist in the wind and pray they start hurling themselves out of windows.

What of the financial markets, Wall Street, and the decaying socioeconomic infrastructure of American capitalism? Let them collapse.

What of the rest of us? Let us suffer as our victims have suffered for decades.

Motivated by pain and by the realization that our system is ecocidal, genocidal, and morally reprehensible, we of the working and middle classes can finally redeem ourselves by nailing our depraved god of American capitalism to the cross and starting to forge a just, egalitarian, democratic and humane socioeconomic order. Good for us and good for the rest of the planet!

Jason Miller is the associate editor of Cyrano’s Journal Online, founding editor of Thomas Paine’s Corner, and a corporate wage slave. He has experienced unemployment and homelessness, looks forward to meeting interesting people at the soup kitchen once his 401K has zeroed out and his job has been eliminated, and wonders when America’s wage slaves will finally unite and revolt.

see

The New American Century: Cut Short By 92 Years By Mike Whitney

Does the Bailout Bill Mark the End of America as We Know It? by Richard C. Cook

Dennis Kucinich: Someone Sticks Up A Bank They Get A Jail Sentence!

The Wall Street bailout and the threat of dictatorship

The Economy Sucks and or Collapse

Death Becomes Her: Let’s Make Her Our President By Jason Miller

By Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Sept 15, 2008

Savage animal slaughterer that she is, it’s apt that Sarah Palin has now brutally plunged a razor-sharp knife into the very heart of the seemingly invincible doubts concerning her capacity to be Vice-President of the United States. Wielding her chutzpah with the awe-inspiring deftness with which she employs her gun or rifle when hunting defenseless wolves or moose, she appeared on 20/20 and left our skepticism writhing on the ground in agony, immersed in its own blood and gasping its last. Continue reading

Yes, we’re matricidal: Murdering Mother Earth one forest, one species and one atom at a time

By Jason Miller
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE
Sept 4, 2008

I am the earth. You are the earth. The Earth is dying. You and I are murderers.

–Ymber Delecto

What a sorry lot we humans are, particularly those of us immersed in the “American Way of Life.” Killing is indeed our business. And business has never been better.

According to the World Resources Institute, 4 species go extinct every hour “due to tropical deforestation alone.”

More than half the tropical rainforests are gone and at the rate we’re going, we will have reduced chopped, hacked, sawed, dozed, and burned our way to the virtual eradication of the “lungs of the planet” by the year 2030.

Kids, get ready to start suffocating because we’re NOT giving up our meat habit! Patrick Henry was prepared to die for liberty, but we have a nobler agenda: Give us more grazing land or give us death!

Reflecting the spiritually perverse beings we are here in America (don’t be fooled by our carefully polished veneer of civility and humanity—we’re the most savage murderers of all) is the fact that we are considering replacing our “commander-in-chief,” (the most heinous war criminal since Hitler) with a senile war-mongering septuagenarian and his recently anointed reactionary sidekick who never met a non-human animal she wouldn’t slaughter or an ecosystem she wouldn’t decimate in the name of “hunting,” “free enterprise,” or “resource acquisition.”

Or we may occupy the impending vacancy in the White House with a pseudo-progressive who has sworn his allegiance to the genocidal “state” of Israel and to corporate America whilst surrounding himself with a depraved and ruthless entourage, most of whom sold their souls to Wall Street and the military industrial complex years ago.

McCain at the helm? Obama on the throne? Who cares? Either way we party on here in America, oblivious to the devastation and suffering our obscene existence is causing. Our factory farms will continue torturing and slaughtering billions of animals each year to satiate our meat addiction, McDonald’s will keep our arteries clogged and our ascent to obesity intact, Big Pharma will inundate us with soothing and sedating “happy pills” to ensure our guilt-free participation in the murder of the planet, Big Oil will gleefully continue meeting our gluttonous demand for its “black gold,” and the corporate media will keep our wretched and vile hologram intact by constantly re-enforcing rabid nationalism, ahistorical thinking, consumerism, narcissism, alienation, rugged individualism, “free” markets, the virtues of wealth, and the “superiority” of the American Way.

While numerous complex entities and dynamics enable the power elite to maintain their strangle-hold on wealth and power, military might remains their principal means of dominating, extorting, exploiting, stealing, and annihilating with impunity. While we outspend the rest of the world (that’s all other countries combined, mind you) maintaining and expanding the war machine we revere with religious fervor, it is not money alone that gives our lords and masters the capacity to keep the world safe for capitalism and corporate plunder.

Our dirty little secret here in the US is that we built and buttressed our crumbling empire by unleashing a force so potent and so capable of rendering life on Earth extinct that it makes capitalism’s “slow motion” ecocide look like candy-striping. In 1945 we became the first and only country to harness the power of nuclear fission and utilize it as a weapon of mass destruction. Our cold-blooded murder of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians cemented our position as global hegemon.

When the uber-capitalist ruling elite of the US saw a socioeconomic system that was a potential threat to their supremacy, they successfully convinced most of their wage slaves that they were well off under a system of the rich, by the rich and for the rich and that the “communist threat” in Russia must be extinguished. What was their solution? They forced the Russians (who were moving with amazing rapidity to industrialize an agrarian economy which was dwarfed by that of the US) into a pissing contest over who could manufacture the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Their strategy was of course successful. The Soviet Union eventually collapsed. Country-clubbing white men with snow on the roof-top and fog on the brain maintained their “right” to clench their billion dollar net worth statements in one decrepit claw and the deeds and titles of their myriad precious possessions in the other. And the rest of us could breathe easy knowing that the “American Way of Life” was no longer in jeopardy. But at what cost to the Earth and the rest of its inhabitants?

Nuclear non-proliferation is a joke. Treaties, vows, resolutions, good intentions, and promises involving crossing hearts, hoping to die and sticking needles into eyes have resulted in even more nukes brandished by more nations. Meanwhile, we US Americans continue dictating who gets “nuclear privileges” AND we still possess more WMD’s than any other nation. When is another country going to invade us, depose the evil junta in DC, and hold a public lynching like our puppets did in Iraq?

Thankfully sanity (or perhaps just sheer luck) has prevailed and we have been the only nation brutal and stupid enough to employ nuclear weapons. And we have put our nuclear knowledge to constructive use by harnessing the power of the atom to create electricity. Yet when Prometheus brought us the “fire of the Twentieth Century” and told us we could use it for peaceful purposes, he failed to warn us that if this “fire” gets out of control we’re all cooked.

Nuclear power only produces 20% of the electricity consumed in the US, but accounts for a number of staggering problems we simply keep sweeping under the rug for future generations to solve. Forget logic or consideration for our children or for Mother Earth, though. John McCain, Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore, and a host of other whores to the nuclear power industry hail nuclear energy as a “green” alternative to fossil fuels and clamor for more.

Yes, let’s build more nuclear power plants. After all, given our culture of militarism and death, why not erect as many temples honoring Thanatos as is humanly possible?

Let’s take a closer look at the technology many are ready to embrace as the “remedy for Climate Change.”

Nuclear power is touted as a cheap alternative to coal (and other ways of producing energy). While it is a less expensive means of actually generating electricity once a reactor is online (the operating cost is about half that of a coal-fired plant), there are tremendous fiscal costs associated with building a nuclear facility, removing and storing radioactive waste, and decommissioning a plant once it is retired. (One hasn’t been closed yet but the estimated cost to do so is around $300 million).

And just who’s underwriting these outrageous costs? We the taxpayers! On May 12, 2008, the Wall Street Journal wrote,

“For electricity generation, the EIA concludes that solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and ‘clean coal’ $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59.”

More importantly, the threat nuclear energy poses to the environment is so high that calling it “green” is an absurdity one would think had sprung from the mind of Lewis Carroll.

Since nuclear plants rely on large bodies of water to cool reactors (and avoid a melt-down) and discharge about 70% of the heat they generate (as waste), they are vulnerable to droughts and cause significant thermal pollution in the bodies of water that cool them.

Nuclear power production begins to contaminate the environment with radioactivity before the fuel even arrives at the plant. It takes a tonne of uranium ore to produce 3 kilograms of uranium oxide. While the tailings that are left behind emit small levels of radiation, they do release radon gas and radioactive dust at a rate 10,000 times faster than the unmined ore. This nuclear contamination stays in the environment for 100,000 years and over time reaches such high levels that a Los Alamos Laboratory report concluded that we need to, “to zone the land in uranium mining and milling districts to forbid human habitation.”

Nuclear power facilities produce a steady stream of low-level radioactive waste, including gas, solid and liquid. Gaseous and liquid wastes are “cleaned and diluted,” but are eventually released into the environment. Solid wastes are transported to one of three low-level radiation disposal sites in the US where they continue accumulating and emitting radiation into the environment. Sounds Earth-friendly, doesn’t it?

About once a year 33% of a reactor’s fuel rods are replaced, producing anywhere from 12 to 30 tonnes of high level nuclear waste. The frightening part is that we’ve been using this “green” technology for 40 years now and still haven’t figured out a safe and permanent means of disposing of its extremely dangerous and lethal by-products. Temporary pools or dry cask storage (large steel cylinders that require constant monitoring) onsite at nuclear facilities house most of the spent reactor fuel, which will remain a dire threat to the environment for tens of thousands of years. Nuclear power plants are running out of storage capacity and the “permanent storage solution” at Yucca Mountain, projected to be operational in 2017, is little more than a tentative and distant speck on the horizon. Perhaps we could erect dry casks on some of the sprawling estates that McCain has forgotten he owned….

The Chernobyl Disaster

How remote is the possibility of a nuclear melt-down resulting in a disaster? Let’s ask the thousands of heavily irradiated victims of Chernobyl and those living in the vicinity of the “near miss” at Three Mile Island.

Lest we forget, nuclear reactors are “dual-use” by virtue of the fact that plutonium is one of their by-products and plutonium can be used to produce nuclear weapons. Small wonder our ruling class trembles with fear (hence their belligerence, bullying and macho posturing) at the prospect of Iran (a nation which refuses to genuflect to the American/Israeli Empire) developing nuclear reactors to generate power.

And someone please explain what it is that’s so “green” about a source of electricity that produces waste that people (whom our malevolent and brutal foreign policy has pissed off—there are millions and millions of them) could use to make a “dirty bomb” and then deploy it against us. Granted the potential efficacy of a dirty bomb is subject to debate, but who wants to find out? We already have 104 repositories for bomb-making materials scattered across the United States. Let’s push to add more!

While many anti-nuclear activists focus their efforts on opposing the issuance of licenses to build new nuclear power plants, another approach may prove to be more effective and is in play at this moment. Members of IPSEC, a group of over 70 community groups, have devoted themselves to shutting down the nuclear power plant known as the Indian Point Energy Center. Grassroots and non-profit, the objective of IPSEC groups like Riverkeeper is to replace nukes with a truly safe form of sustainable energy and to preserve the integrity of the environment. If IPSEC is successful in setting a precedent by catalyzing the shuttering of Indian Point, a domino effect could ensue and spell the beginning of the end for the menace of nuclear power.

For a litany of reasons, IPSEC is wholly justified in its appeals to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to deny Entergy Corporation’s bid to renew Indian Point’s license for another 20 years. In fact, if sanity and moral considerations amounted to more than a pair of sickly midgets making desperate and ridiculous attempts to halt the stampeding herd of narcissistic consumers and greedy corporations that are the embodiments of monopoly capitalism, there wouldn’t even be a debate.

Indian Point (pictured above) is situated about 25 miles from New York City, a rather populous area, eh? (93 million people live within a 500 mile radius of this nuclear facility, most of whom would be impacted by a major accident or meltdown at Indian Point).

Indian Point’s two reactors that continue to function were built in 1974 and 1976, which means that they are old, hence prone to cracks, leaks, fissures, wear, deterioration, and the like. It also means that they were built to less stringent safety specifications than newer reactors.

At one time Indian Point had three functional reactors. In an October 2001 article (entitled America’s Terrorist Nuclear Threat to Itself) long-time anti-nuclear activist Harvey Wasserman wrote, “Indeed, Indian Point Unit One was shut because activists warned that its lack of an emergency core cooling system made it an unacceptable risk. The government ultimately agreed.”

In 2006 the NRC fined Entergy Corporation, the owners and operators of Indian Point, $130,000 for problems associated with its system designed to warn nearby residents to evacuate in the event of a nuclear crisis.

Until they finally began moving them to dry casks in January of this year, Indian Point had 1500 tons of spent fuel rods stored in temporary pools. These pools have been leaking tritium and strontium-90 (both highly toxic substances) into the groundwater and the Hudson River since 2005 and are demonstrably vulnerable to sabotage or attack. And as Wasserman elucidates in the previously cited article, these pools (not to mention the reactor cores) are horrific accidents waiting to happen:

“Without continuous monitoring and guaranteed water flow, the thousands of tons of radioactive rods in the cores and the thousands more stored in those fragile pools would rapidly melt into super-hot radioactive balls of lava that would burn into the ground and the water table and, ultimately, the Hudson.”

Indian Point Energy Center manifests nearly all that is inane and insane about humans shattering atomic nuclei and hubristically believing we can play with the fires of hell without getting burned…..

Yet there’s at least a “little” Eichmann in all of us as we faithfully participate in our ecocidal “American Way of Life.” So what do we care about a little radiation here or a few meltdowns there?

Remember, “Killing is [our] business…..and business is good!” Just ask a member of that species that will be extinct in about 15 minutes….

Jason Miller is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor.

For those of you refusing to bow at the altar of Thanatos, click on the links below to find out what you can do to help IPSEC shut down Indian Point:

http://www.remyc.com/rockthereactors/gameplan.html

http://www.ipsecinfo.org/

http://www.riverkeeper.org/campaign_indianpoint.php

http://greennuclearbutterfly.blogspot.com/

http://www.petitiononline.com/cipn2002/petition.html

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Dandelion Salad

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