Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thoughts on OBL

At least a portion of what is wrong with the world today is that too many people think that the thoughts in their own head are so important that they need to kill other people because of them. If there was any single thing I could magically teach everyone, it would be that no matter what's going on inside your head, no matter what you believe, it doesn't give you the right to kill others.

When OBL claimed responsibility for 9-11, he was either telling the truth, or he wasn't. If he was telling the truth, then he's a monster that killed thousands. If he wasn't, then he was lying to build a terror organization that had the goal of killing thousands. Either way, the man wanted to kill people because of the political and religious thoughts in his head. From what we know, that was all he cared about. I don't miss his presence in the world.

But, I still don't like the fact that the USA just went and killed an un-armed man who was apparently only defended by his wife and some friends. If the Navy Seals can't handle a couple of un-armed senior citizens without killing them, then they are vastly over-rated on their hand-to-hand combat skills.

I do not believe that the government should have the power to either execute or assassinate. Giving the state the power to do either is very dangerous, and history shows that any state that has these powers is almost certain to abuse them.

Leaders are like serial killers. Once they start killing, once they get the taste for blood, once they realize that they can solve problems by killing their opponents, they almost never stop killing on their own. They'll kill for as long as they have the power to kill, and the only way to stop them from killing is to remove them from power. Which itself becomes much more difficult and dangerous as when you try to remove them from power, then you become a big problem to the leader and thus a potential target of the leader's death squads.

Below is a post about assassinations based on an article up on Socialist Worker. If you look at that list, you notice that many of the names are from one era. During the 1950's and 60's, America's leaders got in the habit of thinking that assassination was a valid tool for solving problems around the world. The other reason for this cluster is that we know about those killings from the period of post-Watergate, post-Vietnam perestroika that the US had in the 1970's.

That post-vietnam period forced an official end to assassination as a policy of the US government. It broke the deadly cycle of president after president thinking that the way to solve problems was to kill the people causing the problems. Now, copycat killings have begun again.  Bush was proud to restart the American tradition of being the world's gangster power which murders those who dare to stand in opposition. Obama has now shown that in this very important area, he is no change at all from Bush.

Thus, once again we are deep into an era where US presidents of both parties feel that its perfectly legitimate for them to kill their opponents to solve problems. If I have a deep unease in hearing about Osama's end at the hands of a navy death squad, then its because this isn't the sort of world I want to live in. That unease is there because this isn't the sort of United States of America that I believe in. I don't want my country to be the mafia boss of the world.

That wasn't the America that was founded over two centuries ago. That's not the America which so many have died defending. That's not the America I believe in. Of course, in today's America, its those who don't show proper joy at the killing of OBL that are attacked as un-patriotic and un-american. Here in Orwell's century, that's how those who believe in the same ideals as those who overthrew tyranny to found this country are abused.

During the American Revolution, it would have been King George III who would have believed he had the power and the right to kill any who opposed him. In fact, those who signed the Declaration of Independence did so knowing they would be hanged as traitors if they ever came into the clutches of the King. America was founded fighting against this sort of tyrannical power to kill.

There's another reason why many should feel a very deep unease about this. In the last era when American Presidents decided they had the power to assassinate their opponents, those assassinations followed them home. The last era of assassination as American policy had its own wave of American assassinations.  It was the era where we saw our leaders gunned down.  As well as an era where we saw our government assassinate opponents like Fred Hampton.  Don't count on this latest wave of assassinations staying overseas.

There's a quote I keep on the side of this blog.
“In a government of law, the existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for the law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”
-- Justice Louis Brandeis

It is not wise to have the government saying that killing is an appropriate way to solve a problem.

Assassination nation

Assassination nation
Elizabeth Schulte describes the bone-chilling history of America's assassins in the aftermath of their latest--but certainly not their first--kill in the Middle East.

and ...
You can call it "regime change" or assassination or something else. It amounts to the same thing--in the name of upholding the empire, the U.S. government has never been afraid to use trained killers whose actions would shock the Mafia's Murder, Inc.

From this article, here's a partial list of US assassinations and attempts
  • Osama Bin Laden
  • Saddam Hussein
  • Muammar el-Qaddafi
  • Ngo Dinh Diem (Vietnam)
  • Patrice Lumumba (Congo)
  • Fidel Castro
  • Mohammad Mosaddegh (Iran)
  • Salvador Allende (Chile)
  • Sukarno (Indonesia)
  • Che Guevara
  • Jawaharlal Nehru (India)
  • Manuel Noriega (Panama)

This list is of course just the ones we know about. And, its also the list of people who are relatively famous. US death squad have been active in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade. And, they've mostly killed people Americans have never heard of. Back in the Vietnam era, the infamous Phoenix Program assassinated tens of thousands of Vietnamese.

Then of course, America is a strong believer in outsourcing jobs to foreigners. Allende is on the list, but how many other Chileans died from Pinochet's death squads and torturers? During the 1980's, there were death squads in the US allies in Central America, El Salvador notably, but also Honduras, Guatemala, and of course the Nicarguan contras. It's estimated that the CIA helped Indonesia kill approximately 1,000,000 people after the overthrow of Sukarno. The US government didn't seem to have any problem with Indonesian assassinations and killings in East Timor for years. And of course, back to Iraq, the Iraqi government always seems to have run their own death squads. There have been rumors of US special forces and aid to groups in Iran that lead to a wave of car bombings and killings there. And the US is always helpful to Israel in their attempts to kill and murder the people who live around then. How many have the paramilitaries in the US client state of Colombia killed?

Of course, in the midst of this, we can also look at these shores. Everything from the killings of Robert Kennedy to Martin Luther King to Fred Hampton. Environmental activist Judi Bari had a bomb placed in her car. If we look backwards, we see the KKK and anti-labor forces using violence and killing as part of their political agenda. They never found whichever American right-winger was sending anthrax in the wake of 9-11. There's a segment of American society today that believes in the assassination of abortion doctors. How many people do American police kill each year?

Assassination Nation indeed.


Finding facts on Abbottabad is interesting.  In the US media, its being portrayed as a small wealthy town that's mainly a military town.

When writing yesterday, I found a link somewhere that gave the population as over a million.  Wished I'd saved that link.

Today, as I read different accounts, I found this link ... CITY OF ABBOTTABAD (from the Ayub Medical College in Abbottabad) which says

Abbottabad, the headquarters of Hazara Division, situated at an altitude of 1,225 m (4002 ft) above sea level and surrounded by refreshing green hills of Sarban, is one of the best-known hill resorts of Pakistan. It is situated on the Karakoram Highway (Silk Route) to China, 120 Km from Rawalpindi/Islamabad and 205 Km from Peshawar. The climate is temperate with 4 distinct seasons-spring, summer, autumn and winter. The summer is pleasant while the winter is moderately cold with occasional snowfall. The city is non-industrial, situated in the green Orash valley and is free from environmental pollution. It has a population of over 300,000.
and ...
Abbottabad boasts the highest number of educational institutions in the country per population or area. The literacy rate is also among the highest in the country. Two other medical colleges in private sectors are already established with one in the pipeline. Besides PMA, Abbottabad Public School, Army Burn Hall, Beacon House and some other very famous educational institutions are situated here.

In the US media, I hear about it being a military town. When I search other sides, its referred to as an educational town. Of course, the two overlap, as the "PMA" in the list above is the Pakistani Military Academy, and Army Burn Hall sure sounds like a military institution as well.

Still, we seem to be hearing an amazing amount of BS in the American media about how Bin Laden was killed in a small town that's home to military bases, therefore, the Pakistanis must have been helping him.

First, 300,000 is not a 'small town'. Could you go to a city of 300,000 and know everyone by name, know where they come from, and notice that the old man who rarely leaves his house is a most wanted criminal?

And, in any country, people go underground and the government can't find them. Its happened in the US. The members of the Weather Underground and people like Abbie Hoffman went underground for years. The US Government could never find them. Generally, they only surfaced when they wanted to surface. And, quite likely during their underground years, they might well have lived in towns that also hosted US military bases .... since its damn hard to find anywhere in the US that isn't a host to a US military base.

Does this mean the US Government was secretly sheltering and supporting the Weather Underground and the Yippies? Hardly. But that's the logic that the people who want to kill, kill, kill and kill some more are applying to Pakistan.

Eric Rudolph, the guy who bombed the '96 Olympics in Atlanta, as well as abortion clinics across the south was underground and in hiding for several years. Does this mean the US government was secretly supporting Eric Rudolph?  Remember, he was hiding in the 'south', which is the region of the US that's home to many military bases.  So, is it obvious that if Mr. Rudolph was hiding in the south, that the US military must have been helping and supporting him?

In propaganda, there are always these strange leaps of logic. The propagandist will present some facts ... like OBL being found in Abbottabad. And that Abbottabad is the home to the Pakistani version of West Point. But, then there's this strange leap of logic that says because OBL was found hiding in Abbottabad, therefore the Pakistani military was helping him to hide. That jump always happens quickly. There's usually a lot of noise and shouting that follows quickly afterwards, both to stop one from thinking that no one knows everyone who lives in a city of 300,000, and to promote the next wave of wars and killings that are supposed to follow because of this strange leap of logic.

I went to a university of 12,000 students. Whenever Iwould tell someone I went there, I'd often hear "my brother went to that school .... do you know Billy?" I'd always smile and say no, but inside I was thinking ...."hey, there were 12,000 students there, and maybe we didn't even go at the same time ... how the heck do you expect me to know your brother?"

Same reaction to this bs about Abbottabad. Its a city of 300,000 people, in a district that seems to have a population of somewhere between 800,000 and a million. Guess what, that means most likely most of the people who were there didn't know the old guy who kept mainly to his house and who let others go out and do his shopping and such.

Pretty flimsy excuse for trying to inflame even further the US war in Pakistan. But then again, we pretty much fight all of our wars on pretty flimsy excuses these days.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Change you couldn't believe in.

President Obama Picks New National Security Team, 3/4ths of Whom Served Under Bush

The announcements were interesting because three of the four men on stage – Petraeus and Allen in the military, Crocker as part of the diplomatic corps -- served in senior national security positions for the administration of President George W. Bush, whose foreign policy President Obama has not been particularly effusive in praising.

You voted for "Change". You got the Bush team continuing on to fight the same wars.

And, whenever you hear someone trying to spin you that Obama is really a captive of his advisors and trapped into whatever policies they propose, well, remember that Obama picks his advisors. The people that he picks are the same people who ran the wars for Bush. If Obama wanted different advice, he could pick different advisors.

As always with Democrats, or any politician for that matter, watch ACTIONS and ignore words. Obama is critical of Bush with his words. But his actions show full support for continuing Bush's wars, and even expanding, escalating and surging them until there is no doubt that they are now Obama's wars.

And, in case you think maybe the mistake was electing the wrong Democrat, notice how Hillary is beaming like she's watching her daughter get married, and Biden seems to be completely losing his fight not to break out in joyful giggles and laughter.  Strange reactions at a ceremony that guarantees continued death, destruction and torture ... including the deaths and maiming of young Americans who serve in our armed forces.  Yeah, that always causes me to break out with the giggles.

Don't blame me, I voted for a real anti-war candidate. If you oppose the wars, perhaps someday you'll join me.

Wikileaks files show US had trail to Abbottabad five years ago

US Knew Where Osama Was Since 2005 ,By ISRAEL SHAMIR

This article does a very good job of explaining the behind the scenes manueverings of The Guardian and the New York Times related to the Wikileaks memos. And it shows the way the US and probably British intelligence services controlled the 'redacting' of info in the Wikileaks cables they published.

At that point, the data river forked. The treasure trove was copied by a Wikileaks German employee,Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who went AWOL after this profitable appropriation. Domscheit-Bergmade a deal with David Leigh of the Guardian; Leigh used it to cross Assange. He cold-shouldered Assange, declared the deal ‘void’, and used the data to promote his career and to make friends with Bill Keller, editor of the NY Times They published the cables after redacting them, or should we say “censoring” – removeing everything the secret services demanded to remove. We wrote about it at length here in CounterPunch.

Julian Assange succeeded in regaining some lost ground: he established new partnerships, with the Daily Telegraph and others. The cables were being published all the time. And then Assange learned that the Guardian and the New York Times planned to publish the Guantanamo files. There was no time to lose: in a few days, the Wikileaks team prepared the files and began to upload. So did the competitors, possessing the Domscheit-Berg appropriated copy. This was the double-cross per Leigh.

The unredacted Wikileaks Gitmo memos show links to people in Abbottabad. So, if you go by what the NYTimes tells you, with the official permission of US Intelligence, you would never know this.

Careful reading of the file shows that al-Libi was connected with al Iraqi since October 2002. In 2003, OBL stated al Libi would be the official messenger between OBL and others in Pakistan. In mid-2003, al Libi moved his family to Abbottabad, Pakistan and worked between Abbottabad and Peshawar. He maintained contact with al Iraqi.

And we know that OBL was found and killed in Abbottabad – just as this publication hit the pages of the newspapers. So the trail to Abbottabad was known to the American services at least since 2005, when al-Libi, another Abbottabad dweller, was captured.

Now, that sounds damning .... until you go look up Abbottabad and see that its an 'education city' with a population of 1,000,000. When I used to tell someone where I went to university, they'd almost always respond with "my cousin Jim went there, did you know him?" Yeah right, there were 12,000 students there.

So, at this point, I have to stop short of saying that just because another lead led back to this city of 300,000 (edit: I had said 1,000,000, but that's apparently the population of the 'district'. See link in later post above), then that doesn't exactly mean that it automatically led to OBL's door. Its like saying you know Tony Soprano is hiding out somewhere in Jersey.

Still, it surprised me to hear that OBL had supposedly been living in this hideout for five years. That seems to break any sensible rules that a world super-villian on the run might have for staying alive and hidden. Did it really take US intelligence five years to find OBL after he stopped moving around? That's not exactly Butch and Sundance being chased by a relentless posse, is it?

The link is worth reading for understanding the details of where the information coming from Wikileakss, the NYTs, the Guardian and other papers has been coming from, and who's been doing the 'redacting'. Exactly how far you believe that the US had a trail to OBL for the last five years is up to you.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Best year in safety performance in our Company's history?

How Stupid is Condoleezza Rice? By WILLIAM BLUM

Transocean, the owner of the drilling rig that exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico a year ago, killing 11 workers and sending two hundred (200) million gallons of oil cascading over the shoreline of six American states, has announced that (through using some kind of arcane statistical method) it had "recorded the best year in safety performance in our Company's history." Accordingly, the company awarded obscene bonuses on top of ludicrously inflated salaries to its top executives.

If this is the 'best' year in terms of safety performance, I'd hate to know what their worst year was. Did they have the contracts to operate Chernobyl and Bhopal back in the 80's?

In Japan, even as it struggles to contain one of history's worst nuclear disasters, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) has proposed building two new nuclear reactors at its radiation-spewing power plant. The plan had taken shape before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and TEPCO officials see no reason to change it. The Japanese government agency in charge of approving such a project has reacted in shocked horror. "It was just unbelievable," said the director of the agency. 11

Which leads us to A.W. Clausen, president of Bank of America, speaking to the Greater Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, in 1970:

"It may sound heretical to some in this room to say that business enterprise is not an absolute necessity to human culture ... Ancient Egypt functioned more than 3000 years without anything resembling what we today understand by the term 'corporate enterprise' or even 'money'. Within our span of years, we have witnessed the rise of the Soviet Socialist empire. It survives without anything you or I would call a private corporation and little that approaches our own monetary mechanism. It survives and is far stronger than anyone might have expected from watching its turbulent beginnings in 1917 ... It is easy to mislead ourselves into thinking that there is something preordained about our profit-motivated, free-market, private-enterprise system — that is, as they used to say of gold, universal and immutable."

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 (Minus North Korea’s)

A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 (Minus North Korea’s)

Unsafe at any dose

The amazing Dr. Helen Caldicott, trying to blow away some of the bs about nuclear power and radiation in a New York Times Op-Ed. Unsafe at Any Dose By HELEN CALDICOTT Published: April 30, 2011

There’s great debate about the number of fatalities following Chernobyl; the International Atomic Energy Agency has predicted that there will be only about 4,000 deaths from cancer, but a 2009 report published by the New York Academy of Sciences says that almost one million people have already perished from cancer and other diseases. The high doses of radiation caused so many miscarriages that we will never know the number of genetically damaged fetuses that did not come to term. (And both Belarus and Ukraine have group homes full of deformed children.)

Nuclear accidents never cease. We’re decades if not generations away from seeing the full effects of the radioactive emissions from Chernobyl.

As we know from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it takes years to get cancer. Leukemia takes only 5 to 10 years to emerge, but solid cancers take 15 to 60. Furthermore, most radiation-induced mutations are recessive; it can take many generations for two recessive genes to combine to form a child with a particular disease, like my specialty, cystic fibrosis. We can’t possibly imagine how many cancers and other diseases will be caused in the far future by the radioactive isotopes emitted by Chernobyl and Fukushima.

As the US tries to con its citizens into accepting more nuclear power plants, you'll hear the line of BS often that only a handful of people died because of Chernobyl. They only count the firefighters and plant workers who died directly from radiation, which is around 30 people. When you hear that, you should start laughing. Here's some facts about Chernobyl from Iris Cheng, Return to Chernobyl And no, this is not old info from 25 years ago. This is all from a recent visit she just made.

Like every year Ukraine government needs to spend between six to eight percent of the fiscal budget to cope with the consequences of Chernobyl.

Like how tens of thousands of Ukrainian children need to be sent away every year to uncontaminated areas for at least a month, in order to allow the body to get rid of some of the Cesium-137 accumulated through eating everyday food like milk, mushrooms, berry jam and meat.

Like how food sold in every market needs to be tested for radionuclide like Cesium and Strontium.

Like how children of Rokytne get tonsillitis several times a year because their immune systems are compromised by radionuclide. According to deputy head doctor from the District Hospital, two-thirds of the population of 53,000 he cares for is affected by Cesium-137 contamination in food. Rokytne is 300km away from Chernobyl, on the other side of the country.

Like how the local health and sanitary station in some areas need to make maps to tell local communities where the radiation hotspots are and thus unsafe to go.

Like how in school children are taught the practical steps of radiation safety, and do emergency drills with gas masks.

Like how young expectant mothers get advice about what food they need to avoid, in order to minimise radionuclide uptake, which causes deformity in the developing fetus. They need frequent checks and if the fetus develops serious deformity then it may have to be aborted.

Like how it is considered impolite to ask workers building the new sarcophagus about their personal radiation dose. If it reaches the limit then they cannot work, which means they lose their job.

Like how radioactive waste containment and management had become an important sector of the economy, because of the Chernobyl disaster. The original sarcophagus, hastily built in the months after the accident, is meant to only last 25-30 years and now at risk of collapse. Underneath, the destroyed reactor is still on site and cannot be dismantled because of its extreme radioactivity.

The consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster lie in these mundane everyday facts. Life for these communities is brutally distorted, for centuries to come.

Yeah, Chernobyl was just this little ol event that was unfortunate but it only killed 30 people ... yeah, right. Got any other bridges to try to sell me?

Back to Dr. Caldicott and the effects of radiation ...

However, doctors know that there is no such thing as a safe dose of radiation, and that radiation is cumulative. The mutations caused in cells by this radiation are generally deleterious. We all carry several hundred genes for disease: cystic fibrosis, diabetes, phenylketonuria, muscular dystrophy. There are now more than 2,600 genetic diseases on record, any one of which may be caused by a radiation-induced mutation, and many of which we’re bound to see more of, because we are artificially increasing background levels of radiation.

There is no 'safe does' for radiation. Oh, there's an exposure level where the statisticians of the nuclear industry will say that your cancer was likely to occur even if you hadn't been exposed to extra radiation from a nuclear plant or fallout from a reactor around the world. And, the lawyers for the nuclear industry will force you to admit that you do not have a solid, chain-of-evidence connection between your cancer and the nuclear plant up the road.

But, any time radiation hits the body, there's a chance for severe damage. Does the radiation hit some of the water of which we are so predominantly made? Then, maybe you are ok. But, if the radiation just happens to hit the DNA in the nucleus of that cell that's about to divide in just the right way, then that becomes a cancer cell. If the radiation hits an about to divide cell in a fertile egg or new fetus in just the right way, well, that's now one of the 2600 genetic disease mutations that Dr. Caldicutt talks about. And if the radioactive source gets inside of you, like a spec of plutonium dust getting into your lungs, or as in Cesium or Iodine or Strontium mimicking minerals your body needs and getting into you, well, now that's much more dangerous as it will now just sit there blasting all the bone and tissue around it with a constant stream of radiation.

There is no safe dose. There's only the level of dose at which the lawyers of the nuclear industry claim that you can't prove that your cancer, your death, or the birth defect of your child is their fault. That doesn't mean that the cancers and birth defects from their 'safe dose' don't exist. Just that you can't pin the blame on them beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Remember that whenever you hear the nuclear industry, and the news media that parrots their claims, talking about 'safe doses' and radiation levels that 'pose no danger'. No danger of of the blame getting pinned on them is what they really mean.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Safest place ... until it isn't

Will the Nuclear Power Industry Melt Down?

"There's never been a death because of radiation ... in a civilian nuclear power plant. ... In Texas, if there's any kind of a serious earthquake or natural disaster, I want to be in the control room at Comanche Peak [Nuclear Power Plant] because that is the absolute safest place to be."

—Texas Congressman Joe Barton, April 6, 2011

The thing is, the congressman is correct. Well, the part about no deaths by radiation is pure sophistry. Radiation deaths are defended as being impossible to prove, but every reactor has certainly caused extra "bad effects" like cancers and leukemias. There's just not a smoking-gun type line of evidence that even the nuclear lawyers can't deny connecting that particular cancer to the radiation from that particular power plant. So, they then twist this unprovable statistic to the extreme and almost certainly, but not rock-solid-provably, false statement that no one has died.

But, about the control room at Comanche Peak, that's the part he's got right. Most of the time. The control room at Comanche Peak is a very safe place. Build very solidly I'm sure, with stuff like backup generators. Probably does feel like a safe place where one could ride out a hurricane. Right up until the moment when it isn't.

That's nuclear power. Everything seems safe and wonderful. Right up until the moment when it becomes not safe and not at all wonderful. The control room at Commanche Peak would be a very safe place. Up until the moment the Congressperson notices that the operators have all developed brown stains on the back of their trousers. Then, the congressperson would really be wishing he was a thousand miles away, or really, anywhere else, rather than inside the fence of nuclear plant that's now going out of control.

Nuclear power is safe and clean, on a good day, as long as we don't think too much about uranium mines and that sticky little problem of the fact that this 'clean' energy produces the most toxic and dangerous substances ever known to man as its 'waste'. But, yeah, on a good day, a nuclear plant puts out less carbon, indeed, less radioactivity, than a coal plant does. On a good day, you can take a tour of the control room and feel very safe indeed.

The problem with nuclear power is that not every day is a good day. There was a wise guy named Murphy once, who proposed as a law of the universe that 'Everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. And at the worst possible time.' One thing that anyone with any experience on this earth knows is that every day is not always a good day.

And the problem is, that when a nuclear plant has a bad day, it can have a really bad day. A bad day at a coal plant is a boiler explosion. That's a very bad day, as it can possibly kill some of the people who work there. But, for everyone who doesn't have family working at the coal plant, the boiler explosion might at worse mean a power shortage until the utility can get everything sorted again.

A bad day at a nuclear plant is Fukushima. A bad day at a nuclear plant is Three Mile Island. A bad day at a nuclear plant is Chernobyl.

A bad day at a nuclear plant leaves millions of people suddenly finding a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. When a nuclear plant has a bad day, a foul wind blowing in the wrong direction can be very harmful or even deadly.

Radiation is the ultimate scary movie killer. Its invisible. You don't know its there. If you don't have a machine that goes buzz when its radioactive, you can kill yourself by walking into an intense field of radioactivity without even knowing it. Or actually, its so invisible and silent that it doesn't make a very good scary movie killer. The young girl in the too-small t-shirt would be walking along. Everything would seem fine. Then she'd fall over dead. Or, actually, she'd collapse, struggle in a hospital for a few weeks dying a very slow and painful death as her body falls apart from the invisible blast of radiation that she never even knew she walked into. Doesn't sound like a very good movie after all. No action in the big scene where's she's killed by the invisible killer, then a long, slow, drawn-out ending where she dies and there's nothing anyone can do but watch and try to hold her hand.

Radiation is silent. How many Americans know that they've been exposed to Fukushima fallout over the last few weeks? If you aren't actively testing and monitoring for radiation around you, (and who does that?) then radiation is a silent attacker.

A bad day at a nuclear plant is 'exclusions zones'. Circles of the world blocked for a very long time from any human habitation. There's still one such circle around Chernobyl. Now there's another around Fukushima.

That's the contradiction of nuclear power. On one day, the control room at the nuclear plant may seem like the safest, sturdiest building from which to ride out a hurricane or an earthquake. But, on another day, that control room can be right at the center of an exclusion zone so dangerous that humans are allowed in only under controlled and monitored circumstances and for limited amounts of time. And even then, they are risking cancers or other effects of radiation during every second that they are there. Not a very safe place to be on that day. And once there's been one bad day, that's about as good as the good days get for a very long time.

That's the contradiction of nuclear power. The good days seem good. As long as you ignore the obscenely expensive costs, and that minor little problem of what to do with the toxic radioactive waste from which people will need to be protected further into our future than the Pyramids are into our past. Other than those little problems, on a good day, nuclear power seems clean and safe.

The problem is the bad days. The bad days are really bad. The bad days are bad as in destroying this circle of earth from supporting human life for at least hundreds of years into the future. The bad days are clouds of radiation spreading out over the country. A bad day is a disaster that's worst than the worst that Mother Nature can throw at us, because a bad day is an invisible pollution that silently kills being spread across our land.

Is every reactor going to blow up? Probably not. But, we are starting to develop a data line. Three Mile Island, 1978, Chernobyl, 1986, Fukushima, 2011. We really started putting nuclear plants online at roughly the early seventies, so that's three major accidents in 41 years. Or, just under one every 14 years.

The nuclear industry will stress the low odds of anything going wrong. Oh, its such an incredibly long-shot that anything will happen. You'll get run over by a truck or struck by lightening long before that happens.

But, here's the bad news. Everything with really low probabilities (meaning its very unlikely) does indeed occur if you take enough chances at it. If you go into a casino, there's usually one very low probability (meaning hard to win) slot machine that's advertised to pay out a huge jackpot if it does hit. The chance of you winning when you put your five dollars in is remote. But, if you sat there over time, playing penny slots and getting free drinks from the waitresses for days or weeks or months or even years, then guess what ... you will see that low probability slot machine pay out and some lucky soul win its jackpot. If the game is honest, someone will win that jackpot some day.

Play the slot machine often enough, and every low probability result, including winning the jackpot will eventually happen. The casino owners know this and plan accordingly how to pay the eventual and certain to occur winner of that jackpot. What the odds determine is the average time between the winnings of jackpots. If the casino makes the slot machine harder to win, then the jackpots occur at longer intervals on the average. If the casino makes the machine easier to win, then the jackpots occur at shorter intervals on the average. But, changing the odds does not prevent the jackpots from occurring. As long as the game is honest, they will occur. The only question is how frequently.

In Colorado, the odds of winning the Powerball lottery are 1 in 196,000,000. Somebody hit that winning number on April 23. And before that, on April 6. And before that, on February 26. Sell enough 1 in 200 million tickets, and you get roughly one hit on that lottery every month.

Build enough nuclear power plants, and no matter how remote the odds of a major accident, those major accidents will occur. Right now we are at one every 14 years.

With nuclear power, we keep plugging away at that slot machine. According to, there are 442 operating nuclear power reactors in the world. Actually, they should update their website to read 439, as that 442 number includes the three now-melted reactors at Fukushima.

Those 439 operating reactors are us playing the slot machine time after time, day after day. Each was almost certainly built with the promise to local residents that the odds of an accident occurring at that reactor were incredibly low. But, just like with that low odds slot machine, we keep pulling the lever time after time, on every day we operate these nuclear power plants.

And now, the US wants to increase the number of pulls we take on that lever by building new nuclear power plants. In the midst of huge budget deficits, the US government wants to offer tens of billions in loan guarantees to companies that want to build new reactors. Obama and the Democrats want more nuclear power plants in America as a part of a 'balanced' energy policy.

The more pulls we make on that lever, the more frequently we'll see more Fukushimas, more Chernobyls, more Three Mile Islands. The more pulls on the lever, the sooner those low-odds chances come up and hit again and the dials read all Cherry's, and the lights and the sirens go off and once again we have the next major nuclear tragedy to add to our sad list.

And, if they make the nuclear plants safer, well, that just makes the accidents less frequent. They can't make the plants so safe that there will be no accident. They can't say that the odds of an accident are 'impossible'. They can only make them less likely to occur, and thus less frequent. If the casino adds an extra wheel to the big jackpot slot machine, that doesn't keep someone from winning the jackpot. It only means it will happen less often. Making nuclear plants 'safer' doesn't make them completely safe. It only means that they have accidents less frequently.

We're establishing a data line. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima. One major accident every 14 years or so. Now they want to build more nuclear plants. More pulls on that slot machine. And meanwhile, the original nuclear plants, orginally built for 30 years of use, are now running for 40 or 50 or 60 years instead. Does an old car break down more frequently than a new car? Especially an old car that's being pushed to double its original design life? And all the while, we take more and more and more pulls on the big slot machine that pays off its jackpots with a nuclear catastrophe somewhere in the world.

Will the nuclear plant near you be the next disaster? Probably not. We've built some 450 or more nuclear reactors, and only melted or exploded 5 or 10 of them. So, the odds are the plant near you won't be the next Fukushima. But, understand this. There will be a next Fukushima. Some time, some place, the wheels are all going to line up. Everything will go wrong, and it will do so at the worst possible time. It won't be exactly like Three Mile Island, nor exactly like Chernobyl, and neither will it repeat Fukushima. It will be its own bizzare combination of everything going wrong, in just the wrong way, at just the wrong time, in a way only old Murphy could appreciate. But, it will happen. Somewhere in the world, some day, there will be another Fukushima.

And, if we keep using nuclear power, another one after that. And another one after that. And another one after that. Right now, the average disaster rate stands at one every 14 years.

The problem is, we can't keep doing that. Chernobyl and Fukushima have both put circles on the earth of places unsuitable for human habitation. And each has spread more and more radiation across the surface of the entire world, especially in the northern hemisphere. How many Fukushimas, how many Chernobyls can we afford? How many exclusion zones can we draw upon the earth? How much radiation can we survive?

We have to stop using nuclear power.